Thursday, December 5, 2013

Low Cost Remote Temp Control

Its getting really cold.  Today I almost ate it on a patch of ice walking down a clients pathway to the front door.  Good thing nobody was watching.  It was ridiculous.  It was probably partly my shoes fault.  I wear these dress boot type things sometimes.  The techs make fun of me for them.  I call them my power shoes.

We do a lot of remote control of several subsystems in the house via our control systems.  Today I'm not talking about that though.

Today I was in Home Depot and I saw this for $249.  If all you're looking for is remote access to your heating and air system, you should definitely take a look at the Nest thermostat.

Don't want to be wasting energy heating or cooling your home all day?  Want the ability to adjust any time, on your way home, on the way back from vacation via your smart phone?

Here are the full specs and features, Enjoy:

Meet the next generation thermostat. The Nest Learning Thermostat doesn’t need to be programmed — it remembers the temperature you set to build a personalized schedule. Nest turns itself down when you’re away to help save energy and you can change the temperature from anywhere using your smartphone, tablet or laptop.

  • Auto-Schedule - No more confusing programming. Nest learns the temperatures you like and programs itself.
  • Auto-Away - Nest automatically turns itself down when you’re away to avoid heating or cooling an empty home.
  • Nest Leaf - The Nest Leaf appears when you turn Nest to a temperature that's energy efficient. It guides you in the right direction.
  • Energy History - See when heating and cooling were on and what affected your energy use.
  • Remote control - Connect Nest to Wi-Fi to change the temperature from your smartphone, tablet or laptop.
  • Auto-Tune - Auto-Tune finds ways to automatically lower your energy bill will keeping you comfortable. It enables two Nest features: Rush Hour Rewards and Seasonal Savings.
  • System Match - Get the most out of your high–efficiency system. Nest turns on specific features for forced air, heat pump or radiant to help you save energy and stay comfortable.
  • Sunblock - In many homes the thermostat is in direct sunlight, causing it to warm up. Nest automatically adapts to direct sunlight to read and set the right temperature.
  • Nest will optimize itself for you and your system

Friday, November 29, 2013

Is your home pre-wired?

If you live in the greater Sacramento area and your home has been built within the past 15 years, its probably pre-wired for an alarm system and very likely a home theater system.  

Don't let the door to door guys convince you that wireless systems are better and lock you into a long term, expensive monthly monitoring contract.  Your home is hardwired and you should take the extra time to have a professional alarm company install the reliable system it has been pre-wired for.  

Same thing with home theater!  You'll certainly miss out if you're shopping for a home theater system at a large retail store.  Those guys are just trying to reach their sales quota's on flat panel tv's and move black boxes.

Chances are, Liberty Bell Alarm & Home Theater even pre wired your home.  We've been partnering with homebuilders since 1981.

We look forward to working with you on your project!

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Builders Offering New Technology

Its taken a while, but our builder partners are starting to see the benefits of offering new technology solutions to home-buyers.

Before, even the mention of an integrated system was sure cause for an anxiety attack and immediate rejection.  

But now, in a world saturated with new technology and ubiquitous mobile devices, not to mention, a freakin' app for everything.... ears start to perk up when I mention an app for home control.

Not only are the systems available today feature rich and easy to use, they are more affordable then ever!

Elliott Homes, a quality builder partner of ours, is proudly offering home automation systems to their new home-buyers.  Here's a display we recently completed at the new Innovations models in Folsom

JMC Homes, another builder partner sends interested home-buyers our way for custom showroom consultations.  The systems we put together range from simple one room home theater systems all they way up to fully automated homes including climate control, lighting control, multi-room audio/video, security/surveillance camera integration etc...  Here's a picture of JMC clients receiving their free iPad for a qualifying home automation package

The New Home Company is another area builder we collaborate with on custom projects.  Every home they built at the Granite Bay Collection features a system designed specifically for each client.  You can take a peek at the model home system we installed here:

We're scheduled to pre-wire a new model home for them in Larkspur next week.  This model home will also receive a custom system featuring the latest in home automation technology.

A recent land deal opening up the foothill area south of highway 50 for development ensures more fun projects ahead!  At this very moment I'm setting up a showroom presentation meeting with another quality home builder in our area.  

Its great to see builders excited about offering new technology in their homes.  And its even better to be in a position allowing us to offer them innovative solutions at competitive pricing!

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Presentation is Everything

So I'm sitting here in Starbucks using their WiFi as I often do in between appointments to catch up on email, write up proposals etc...

A nice young lady with a green apron walks up to me holding a tray full of little cups, expresso samples I presume... Mango, passion something or rather.

She says, "Excuse me sir, would you like to try a sample?"  I replied, "no thanks."

She proceeds to ask about 10 other people the same question in the exact same manner. "Excuse me ma'am, excuse me sir."  Each time, denied.

It got me thinking, as I'm sitting here trying to make my proposals and communications appealing to prospective buyers of my product/service:

Now if that same Starbucks lady walked up to me enthusiastic, with a smile and said something to the effect of "Excuse me, you look pretty busy and I don't mean to bother you but you haaaaave to try this new passion expresso blend.  I'm really excited about it and think you'll agree once you try it!"  

I would have totally tried it.  I bet everybody else would have as well.

Thursday, May 10, 2012



  [kon-truh-vur-shuhl]  Show IPA
of, pertaining to, or characteristic of controversy; polemical: a controversial book.
subject to controversy debatable: a controversial decision.
given to controversy disputatious.

There are many types of people on the planet.  I'm glad people are passionate about what they do... that's what makes the world go round.

Love em' or hate em', "controversial" people know what they stand for.

Here at Liberty Bell, we know what we stand for.  We offer 1000% more than the competition.

If you're looking for the cheapest system, we're not the one for you...

In life, we all have choices;

When you buy allergy medicine for your kid... do you by the Walgreens brand or do you by the name brand Claritin?

You pay a bit more for the better stuff because your kid's freakin' worth it right?

That's how we are.  Some people don't get it... but that's fine.

Is your home worth a quality system that will give you peace of mind?

Or... Do you want....

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Act of Valor - Words to Live By

I saw the movie Act of Valor the other night with one of my friends.  It was the best movie I've seen in quite a while.  There were several quotes from Tecumseh in the movie that really struck a chord with me. 

strike a chord - create an emotional response

Its a special thing when a movie affects you emotionally in a profound way (getting more and more rare these days).  Several movies come to mind when I think about ones that have produced a profound affect; Braveheart, Gladiator, Shawshank Redemption... I'm adding Act of Valor to the list.  

I guess the main take away from the movie for me was that I don't want to live my life half ass.  I want my life to matter.  I want to live - fully alive.

Apparently all the Tecumseh quotes come from the same speech, here is the full version:

"So live your life that the fear of death can never enter your heart. Trouble no one about their religion; respect others in their view, and demand that they respect yours. Love your life, perfect your life, beautify all things in your life. Seek to make your life long and its purpose in the service of your people. Prepare a noble death song for the day when you go over the great divide.
Always give a word or a sign of salute when meeting or passing a friend, even a stranger, when in a lonely place. Show respect to all people and grovel to none.
When you arise in the morning give thanks for the food and for the joy of living. If you see no reason for giving thanks, the fault lies only in yourself. Abuse no one and no thing, for abuse turns the wise ones to fools and robs the spirit of its vision.
When it comes your time to die, be not like those whose hearts are filled with the fear of death, so that when their time comes they weep and pray for a little more time to live their lives over again in a different way. Sing your death song and die like a hero going home."

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Nifty New TV Features You Should Be Aware Of

I brought home the brand new Samsung 8000 series LED TV so I could bench test and learn more about it.  Later this week we'll be installing one and, well... that's what we do, test things out first to make sure they work!  Especially when its a brand new product!

It took a while for all the firmware updates to go through and a bit of trial and error to get the voice, camera and gesture control set up (voice, camera, gesture...wha??) but once I was done with the updates and configuration, I was pleasantly surprised.

Here are a few new features I felt were worth sharing:

Built-in Camera/Facial Recognition - great for Skype video calls.  Great for loading and recognizing your own individual customized settings and favorites.

Gesture Control - at first I thought this feature was extra cheesy.  Who the heck would want to wave their hand in front of the tv to select a show or app?  A remote is much more user friendly in my opinion.  I started thinking about my son though and how this just might be my favorite feature of the TV if he ends up learning how to use it.

My son Brody has autism which makes it difficult for him to communicate.  One of his favorite things to do after pre-school and therapy is to cruise through his Netflix shows we have in the instant queue and choose one to watch.  Often times he gets frustrated because we cant tell which one he wants to watch.  He usually ends up standing on a chair, waving his hands back and forth until we get to the right one and he has a special move he does when we get to the show he wants to watch.  He is very visual.  Lately its all about the "Fireman Sam", next week I know it will be something totally different.  I think this could be an awesome feature for him and other children with autism/special needs.  Not sure if Samsung even realizes that??  

Voice Control - this is another feature I don't think I'd use but could come in quite handy for disabled, injured or other individuals with special needs.

Here's a demo which goes into more details about some of these new features:

The rest of the features are similar to what you may already be used to: tons of apps, pandora, netflix streaming, 1080p, 3d (includes glasses), 1.2" thin, extra slim bezel, 960 clear motion rate, 30,000,000:1 contrast ratio, built-in WiFi etc...

All in all, the finest LED I've seen or tested thus far.