Stories by Michael Brown

Myfox Home Security review: Reality fails to live up to the promise of the demo

As is too often the case, my enthusiasm for the Myfox Home Security System--engendered by a 30-minute pre-launch demo--has waned following real-world testing in my home. Quality-control concerns let some air out of the balloon; discovering the system's limitations lowered my opinion a bit more. Myfox's innovative IntelliTag door/window sensor mostly lives up to the hype, but I quickly discovered that it has at least one major shortcoming.

Michael Brown | 05 Aug | Read more

Myfox brings its innovative security camera, home alarm, and French fashion sense to U.S. markets

One of Europe's leading home-security providers is coming across the pond in a big way. The 10-year-old French manufacturer Myfox today announced the availability of its Myfox Home Security System and Myfox Security Camera at Amazon, Home Depot, and other online and brick-and-mortar retailers. From what I saw during a hands-on demo last week, I'm comfortable saying Myfox's offerings are innovative and very different from what's on the market today.

Michael Brown | 26 Jun | Read more

Vivint expands its connected-home system with a sophisticated doorbell camera

There are pluses and minuses to contracting with a connected-home/home-security provider such as Vivint. On the bright side, you get professional installation as part of the package; and if anything goes awry, you simply call customer service and they'll help you resolve the problem or dispatch a tech to handle it. On the downside, you're limited to the products and services the company deigns to offer.

Michael Brown | 20 May | Read more

Bitdefender Box review: Trying hard to be antivirus for the Internet of Things

You probably have antivirus and anti-malware software protecting your Mac or PC. And you probably curse every time you're prompted to download and install the latest updates, or are reminded to scan your hard drive--especially if you have more than one computer on your network. What about your household's smartphones and tablets? Have you installed similar protection on them? What's protecting your home-security cameras from online attack? Your smart TV? Your connected thermostat?

Michael Brown | 17 Apr | Read more

The versatile Flir FX home security camera delivers a slick forensic feature

Mention Flir Systems to a security aficionado or a defense-industry watcher, and they'll probably mention thermal imaging, the technology that lets you see where the bad guys are--or where they've been--based on their body heat. Today Flir announced its entry into the increasingly crowded home security camera business with the Flir FX. While we're disappointed to report that the Flir FX isn't capable of thermal imaging, Flir has come up with a trick that could be even more useful when you're looking for evidence of a crime.

Michael Brown | 08 Apr | Read more

EnGenius launches new outdoor networking and video surveillance systems

EngGenius Technologies took the wraps off several new outdoor networking products on Monday, including two long-range 802.11ac access points and two inexpensive, high-definition Wi-Fi surveillance systems. The latter bundle a night-vision camera with a wireless access point that delivers exceptionally long range: up to five miles with clear line of sight.

Michael Brown | 24 Feb | Read more

'Works with Nest' program gains traction with 15 new smart device integrations

Who'd have guessed there were so many ways to interact with a thermostat and a smoke detector? Nest Labs, the Google division responsible for developing the Nest Learning Thermostat and the Nest Protect smoke and carbon-monoxide detector, announced more than 15 new "Works with Nest" integrations at CES today. The devices range from smart door locks, to lighting controls, sleep monitors, and even IP telephones.

Michael Brown | 05 Jan | Read more