Categories
Home Automation

Is this $5 Smart Bulb the Best bang for your buck??

So I was walking through Walmart the other day and on the end cap between Hardware and Electronic (a very fitting place for this) I found this little nugget of Gold!

For just $5 ($4.66 since it is Walmart) I was able to add this puppy to my collection. The Merkury Innovations Smart WI-Fi LED Bulb which appear to be made by Greeni.

You can purchase the same one on their website located here and the color one for $12 here.

Now I must admit that my expectations were really low considering the cheapest LED smart bulb I had ever encountered before was the IKEA TRADFRI which starts at $12 a bulb.

Upon first inspection the bulb itself felt like it should and is about the same weight as the TRADFRI. Upon plugging it in the light turns on like normal and then starts to blink… I assume this is a pairing mode. The instructions want you to install a smart controller app called Greeni App which looked oddly enough like the same screen that Smart Life or Tuya use.

Having a few products that work with Tuya I thought what the heck and opened my app. As soon as I did it found the smart bulb and asked if I wanted to add it to my managed devices which I did and because of that it was automatically added into my Google Home…. Bonus Point!!

From my app I was able to control the brightness and even turn it on and off which is awesome.

For now I am very happy with this decision and I think if you want to get into the smart home market this is a great way to start. All you need is the Device and WiFi. Now if you want to get fancy with automation and rules you can start to do that from the app, however there are limitations.

If you are interested in learning how to do more complex automation reach out to me using the Contact us form.

Categories
Home Automation WiFI

PSEG has a Market Place?!

So it has been brought to my attention by my lovely wife that PSE&G has a Market place. If you are not from NJ you might be asking what is PSEG? PSE&G or Public Service Energy Group is the local power supply company the services NJ and Long Island NY. Now you might be asking what are they selling on this market place. Well as it turns out, they are selling Smart Home Devices! Particularly Smart thermostats from all of the big players like Google Nest, Ecobee, and Honeywell. They even have some pretty good deals on there for people who may not have the capital to invest in one of the big names.

My Wife found an Emerson Sensi, which is a WiFi smart thermostat that will integrate with your Google Home, Amazon Alexa, and Smartthings hub for $0. All you have to do is pay tax and shipping which comes out to be $11.

Needless to say she ordered it, and I will be doing a review of it when I get it in.

Here is a link to the PSEG Market Place, check it out and see if there is something you would be interested in. If you need help, just drop me a line.

I hope you find this post helpful and if so please share it with your friend.

Categories
Google Wifi Network

Google WiFi Blocking FortiGate SSL VPN Connections

So back at the start of this whole Self-Isolation/Social Distancing thing started almost everyone was forced to work from home. During this time a lot of people started to notice issues that they never had before such as, being unable to connect to their Work VPN from their home WiFi. A few years ago I purchased a Google WiFi Wireless Mesh (I think it is now called Nest Wifi??) so my family would stop complaining about their wireless signal dropping as they walked throughout the house. I know I should have gone with something better like a Ubiquiti system, but I just didn’t have the infrastructure at the time. Anyway the Google WiFi had been working well for us, well with the exception of my Razer laptop which I posted about a while ago, but the rest of the family was fine with it. So my work uses Cisco AnyConnect SSL VPN which works like a champ. However I have a few clients that use Google Wifi in their homes, and also use Fortigate for their work VPN. They started complaining that they were unable to connect to their VPN and that it would get to about 10 % and just fail.

I was asked to look at a few of them and I discovered that the issue only exists with the Wireless connection. When you hardwire your laptop via an ethernet cable it will connect just fine which is very strange. I did some google searching recently and I discovered that “we” were not the only ones having this issue.

It would appear via this Reddit thead that the issue is resolved with a newer version of Firmware. So just for context the thread says that they are running 12371.52.22 ( oddly enough the same version we are all running) and they are eventually able to get their firmware to 12871. 57.12 which appears to be a later version that what “we” have running.

If you are not aware about Google Wifi (or Nest Wifi) they are supposed to be a 0 Administration Wireless Mesh setup, meaning aside from their app that you can install on your phone or tablet there is not much you can do to administer these devices. I personally think that Google Mesh is great for non-techie people and the coverage area on one of these little access points are great! HOWEVER, I am a techie person and I found the product to be very limiting as Google manages everything and a techie person would like to tinker with, including firmware updates.

According to that Redditor (I guess that is what you call them) the firmware update was applied to his router and he is now up and running. Lord only know how he managed to get it applied and there does not appear to be a way to request it. At this point I am stumped but I will keep you posted of any updates as they come.

I hope you found this post helpful and if you did please tell your friends. We are on a new site now and could use all the help we can get!

Really Strange Wireless Issue

So I had a very strange wireless issue tonight. I have a Razer Blade 2018 Laptop and I use Google WiFi Access Points in the main floor of my house.
When connecting to my normal WiFi network I would get a notification saying I was not connected to the internet. I checked my IP address and a few times I would get nothing, another I would get an APIPA address, and other times I would get just the default Gateway.
I narrowed down the issue to being only with my laptop as all other devices worked fine. I rebooted the routers about 3 times after disabling and enabling IPv6.
I eventually looked at my clients that were connected and found my laptop on the list, even though it was saying it didn’t have an IP and could not get to the internet. It listed my laptop as having a wired connection, which makes no sense at all as this laptop does not have an Ethernet port.
I then set a Static IP and found that I could not get to the internet. I started digging through my WiFi Settings and found an option to present a different MAC address every time I connect to a WiFi access point. I then disconnected and reconnected and it Worked!!!
I do not understand why it worked or what the heck is going with my router that it is not accepting connections normally.
I will continue to work on this in the morning and will update when I have more information.
I think I am going to have to open a support case with Google… Ugh


UPDATE: I checked my laptop when I woke up, things were still working. I did a Windows Update and rebooted. Thing continued to work, Then I updated my Razer Software and rebooted, and things stopped working on my Primary WiFi. I can still use my Guest Wifi like a champ. 
I then opened a ticket with Google and after troubleshooting I am no longer able to connect to the guest network. 
I am going to try another Rollback to see if that resolves my issue.

UPDATE: So I am still waiting for Google Support to get back to me. But that does not mean that I am going to sit on my thumbs. So I installed the Razer Cortex App from the Synapse Store and it was able to generate a report of what is going on with my laptop. I discovered that my laptop had an invalid version of the Intel Wireless – AC 9260 Driver which was throwing issues in the Event log.

So I went on Intels Download site and performed an update on the driver installed, and after a reboot, things are working. I have shutdown the laptop 3 times so far and it is still working. Fingers Crossed that it stays this way.