Upgrading to the August Wifi Smart Lock

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Our new house came with an August Smart Lock Pro already installed. 

We've written about it in this space quite a few times. 

Now, we've upgraded to its successor - the 4th Generation August Wifi Smart Lock. 

It's a worthy upgrade, and Pro owners should consider making the switch. 

Review - EGO Steel-Deck Self-Propelled Electric Lawn Mower

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I'll get the "review" part out of the way immediately - the EGO steel-deck mower is the best lawn mower I've ever owned, by a long shot. 

There isn't any competition, really. Certainly not from gas-powered mowers, not from EGO's electrified competition, and not from EGO's plastic-deck mowers, either. 

August Smart Keypad - An Almost Mandatory Accessory

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When we moved into our new house, we inherited an August Lock Pro. 

It's generally worked out as advertised, but a few issues have sprung up from time to time. 

First off - as we discussed in the earlier article, the lock occasionally spins without turning the deadbolt... and the only way to open the door is to remove the August Lock entirely. 

This may be specific to our door. It only happens when the door isn't completely closed, so the deadbolt is a little bit misaligned, and there's too much friction. 

Still, it's embarrassing when your friends and family can't open the door from the inside. A door should be open-able! 

I'm ASSUMING that the fix here is to replace the deadbolt adapter, which is a little worn. They're $10 from August - I'll report back.

The second issue is more of a "pet peeve" than an actual issue... You need to use your phone to unlock the August Lock Pro. 

And by the time you've pulled your phone out of your pocket, you may as well be using your keys! 

Enter - the August Smart Keypad. 

This is a $60 August Smart Lock accessory that is often bundled with the lock, and after adding one, I can see why. 

Here's the review: Everyone with an August Smart Lock should get a Smart Keypad. 

The Smart Keypad removes your phone, and the August App, from the equation. It allows guests to open your door with a keycode - which can be time-limited and specific to each guest! 

The Smart Keypad makes it possible for your kids to lock and unlock the door, without a smartphone. 

This is the sort of functionality that you don't even realize is "missing", until you have it. At that point, you realize that it should be mandatory. 

Some notes - 

The keypad runs on two AAA batteries. (Frankly, it's not much bigger than 2 AAA batteries.) And just like the Smart Lock Pro, they're going to run out from time to time, and it will ALWAYS seem to be the worst possible time. 

Be especially aware of battery drain if the Keypad is exposed to extreme cold where you live. (We live in a Chicago-ish suburb, it's currently extremely cold, and our Keypad is currently dead.)

The Keypad numbers light up - which is absolutely necessary at night if your porch lights aren't automated - but which also adds to the battery drain. 

The Keypad is surprisingly "deep" - especially considering its small size. It's not going to mount flush with your door frame. 

I recommend that you just consider it to be a bold design choice, live with it and move on. 

Next Steps

In the next few weeks, I'll be replacing the deadbolt adapter... and if that doesn't resolve the "sometimes spins without turning the deadbolt" issue, I'll be replacing the entire Smart Lock Pro with the brand new Smart Lock Wifi, which is quite a bit smaller and which can be opened and closed from anywhere. 

Some other Smart Home projects in the queue:

  • Converting an ADT Pulse security system to Ring with their Ring Retrofit Alarm Kit
  • Connecting the entire Ring ecosystem to HomeKit using HOOBS
  • Extending Eero wifi to our detached garage with a Powerline Wifi Adapter

Replacing an iMac Hard Drive with an SSD

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Back in the early days of AAAD, our late-2009 iMac was the center of our connected home. It held all of our photos, our iTunes library, and our documents. 

We replaced the late-2009 iMac with a 27" retina iMac a few years ago. My dad took the old iMac and used it in his office. 

Last week, he let me know that the iMac was having issues, and that he'd bring it to me to check it out.

It would only boot to the White Screen of Death.

No Apple logo, no cursor, no pinwheel... not even a bomb icon. 

I'd never repaired an iMac before. Was it worth trying to fix this one?

Six Months with the August Lock Pro (Review)

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Image result for august lock pro black"We've been in our new house for six months, and in some ways, it feels as though we just moved in.

In terms of AAAD projects.... it's been even slower going.

The house came fitted with an August Lock Pro, which has been a bit of a godsend in some ways... and has been a source of conflict in others.

New house - let's start this all over again.

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We recently moved into a new house in the same Chicago suburb.

This means starting all over again with HomeKit - and it also means trying to retroactively figure out the existing tech systems in the new place.

August Door Lock? Up and working.

Ring Video Doorbell? Seems to be dead.

Ethernet? ...Maybe? There's an "Open House" box in the basement with a lot of CAT-5 coming together at a switch.

We're still trying to unpack, and most of the remaining items on the to-do list are my tech items. I'll try to post any insights we may gain here as we move forward.