Tag Archives: Nest Thermostat

Security Camera: Dropcam Pro

After using SwannSmart ADS-450 for about an year, I came across a new cloud cam called Dropcam. 

If you don’t know what cloud camera is, here is something for you;

Cloud cameras are new generation of surveillance cameras with capability of storing data on the internet, in the cloud. One of the obvious reasons to have a cloud based storage is high availability. Means, you can always access your contents whenever and from wherever you want to. Also, another major benefit is that all your data stays online that means away from your physical location. That means, even if any unfortunate event occurs and your camera gets destroyed or stolen everything it saw before going offline will still be available. This fact is not true when it comes to old fashioned video surveillance systems as they store all the data locally which can be stolen or be destroyed by flood or fire incidences.

How does Dropcam uses cloud?

Dropcam and Dropcam Pro use their own cloud service to store surveillance feeds. Unlike other small budget cloud cameras, Dropcam cameras upload continuous video feeds online. Depending on the cloud plan users can have unto 30 days of online cloud recording. This recording is then accessible via dropcam.com. Dropcam could has bank level encryption to keep user data secure. 

Dropcam Models

Dropcam has two models Dropcam and Dropcam Pro, below is the comparison as displayed on Dropcam.com 

Why Dropcam over others?

The major advantage of having Dropcam as your surveillance camera is that it stores whole video feed online with highest quality offers in current market. Apart from video feed recording, Dropcam apps are available on iOS, Android and also accessible via website. Following are pros of Dropcam cameras;

Video cloud recording – Depending on the subscription plan users can store 7 or 30 days of data
Two way audio – Hear what you see and make yourself heard on the other side
Digital zoom – 8x zoom to see things closer
Clear image feature – One click and see zoomed area sharper, yes the way we saw in Bond movies
Scheduled recording – Schedule when Dropcam should record.
Scheduled alerts – Get alerts only when required.
Integration with Nest thermostat – Users can sync Dropcam with Nest. So when nest is on ‘Away’, Dropcam starts recording.

Dropcam can be purchased at dropcam.com and at major retailers. Dropcam is sold for $149 and Dropcam Pro comes with price tag of $199 for it’s extra features.

Nest thermostat 4.3 update comes with new look and features

Nest is a smart thermostat by Nest Labs. Unlike their attention seeking smoke and fire alarm (Nest Protect) this flag ship product has been very successful. The thermostat has smart features like home and away modes, automatic scheduling, heat-cool combined temperature mode, remote access and many more, read here

According to Nest there are three major improvements to be observed after new 4.3 software update.

• Enhanced Auto-Schedule – Auto-Schedule can now help you save up to 6% more on your heating and cooling bills by learning new schedules quickly and adapting to changes better. So when your schedule shifts – like when summer’s over and the kids are back at school – Nest can now catch on faster that the temperature adjustments you’re making are part of a new pattern rather than just one-off changes.

• Quick View – One of our biggest customer requests has always been to show the time and outside temperature on the thermostat. So now we’ve made that info – plus the basics of what your thermostat is up to – a lot easier to reach. Push the ring once and you’ll see weather, outdoor temp and humidity. Turn the ring and you’ll see a quick summary of everything you need to know, like how much energy you used yesterday or what’s next on your schedule. Instead of having to scroll through settings and menus, all the info you need for the day will be right on the display.

• System Test – To make sure your system is running – heating when you turn on heat, cooling when you turn on the air conditioning – your thermostat can run you through a System Test. It’ll walk you through basic functions so you can spot and solve any issues. The Nest app will also be updated this week to include System Test.

How will I get this update?

Nest software updates are over the air, that means you do not need to connect Nest thermostat to your computer or even open smart phone app to update the software. These OTA updates are automatic and will be pushed to your Nest thermostat automatically. Nest Labs mentioned that it might take upto this weekend to reach that update to your Nest. If you don’t get an update in next few days then you shoud reach out to customer support to make sure you get one.

Nest either needs to be on away mode or not heating/cooling and it shouldn’t have any connection issues. If you have any connection issues please resolve them before you can expect any software update.

How would I know if my Nest software has been updated?

This is an easy question with respect to this update as you will see whole new interface. Also you can go to schedule and check for the update icon for the date of software update. Check the image below you’ll get the idea.

Free NEST for North-East States

NEST is a smart digital thermostat for your home which learns your temperature settings everyday and then makes smart decisions based on your schedule. Following Nest features help you save energy the smart way.


Nest connects to your home wifi that means, you can control it from your smartphone/tablet or online nest account. No need to worry when you leave your house.

A Nest Thermostat costs about $249 which is a little costly considering the savings so, here is a little tip. Nest has ties with NRG Residential Solutions (energy supplying company) which is offering a free Nest thermostat if you choose NRG as your electricity provider. You have to just submit an online application and PSEG (or your utility company) will continue to bill and support your issues.

Confusing? Not really, there are two types of energy companies ones who supply electricity and others who deliver electricity. Whenever you are billed for using your utilities you are billed separately by both of these companies in same statement. For example, in my case PSEG is my delivery company for both gas and electricity but, my gas supplier is BGSS Commodity and electric supplier is BGS Energy.

Okay, what I need to do to get free Nest then?

Complete an application on this site (http://www.nrgresidentialsolutions.com/nest/). Understand the electric plan and rate before hitting Submit. The plan is not bad, basically NRG wants you to commit to them for next 15 months as your electricity supplier at fixed rate of $0.11984/kWh. I currently pay $0.10948/kWh but it is variable, that means in summer it will increase around 0.18352/kWh according to my previous years rate. By signing this commitment, I will ensure that my rate will stick to $0.11984/kWh this summer. Of course, as a bonus  you will receive a free Nest (more savings) after 1st month of usage with NRG Residential Solutions.

Why my state is not on the link above?

Unfortunately the offer is only available to NJ, PA, MA, MD, IL and DC for now. You will have to keep in touch with your delivery company for such offers in future.

To know more about Nest, watch following video: