Limitless LED Bulbs First Impressions

, posted: 20-May-2013 20:39

If you don't know what LimitlessLED bulbs are, they're basically LED light bulbs (exactly light your old light bulbs) but they are LED (so energy efficient) and they have Wi-Fi built in (everything is better with Wi-Fi).

With the Wi-Fi you're able to turn the lights on/off, adjust the brightness and change the colour. Also if you buy the Wi-Fi bridge you can connect them to your home network and control the lights using an Android or iPhone app (or programmatically via basic UDP commands).

Pretty cool aye?

So I just got my bulbs and here's my initial impressions.

Sadly the starter kit I recieved had the wrong bulbs in the box, bayonet instead of screw in, box was right on outside just a packaging error. These things happen, not a biggie, assuming I get free replacements.

The bulbs are very bright in my opinion, I was concerned they would be too dark. They are even brighter than the bulbs I was using, so I'm very happy with that. When I first plugged them in, two were yellow and one was white. At first I wasn't sure why they were different colours, then I remembered you could change colours and I just had to change them all to white and I was away laughing. With the white bulbs they can be either yellow or white (or somewhere in between) the colour bulbs can be any colour you want.

Wi-Fi was easy to setup, but I have a few issues with it:
  • When connecting the Wi-Fi bridge to your home Wi-Fi network, your Wi-Fi network password can NOT contain any special characters or spaces. So I had to change my home network and every device on my network to use a basic password to get this to work. Really not impressed with that. The developers should have tested this, who doesn't have spaces or special characters in their Wi-Fi password?
  • The password for the admin user when logging into the bridge is limited to 6 characters. Security doesn't seem high on their priority list...
However, my biggest issue is how many zones you can create. You are limited to 4 zones. So you can only control 4 zones against the Wi-Fi bridge. Sure the remote is limited to 4, but if you're like me you're probably going to be using these in a home automation setup where you won't be using the supplied remote or the Android/iPhone app. I need about 12 zones, 4 just doesn't cut it. 

Hopefully this can be updated with a firmware update rather quickly.

If the security issues and the zone limit could be fixed they would be perfect. But as they stand today, I'll give them 7 out of 10.

Please please LimitlessLED fix these issues quickly!

UPDATE: You can use multiple bridges to control more zones, so for 12 zones I would need 3 bridges.  Great they work on same network, but would be better if only one bridge was required.



How to use Netflix/Hulu+ in NZ

, posted: 4-Apr-2012 16:06

So with quickflix coming to NZ, there has been a lot of discussions around netflix/hulu and how to use them.

I really want quickflix to succeed and become a service as good as netflix, so please support it.  It's only $9.99 a month, its cheap.

Setting up your Connection

There are basically two options

1. Using a VPN


A VPN is a Virtual Private Network, basically its a secure connection between your computer and another computer, and all your internet traffic will be request/sent via the other computer and then passed onto you.  So the internet traffic from Netflix/Hulu perspective is coming from the US etc
Pros
  • Works on any ISP
  • Pretty easy to setup
Cons
  • Not as fast as a DNS solution, HD doesn't always work
  • Routes all your traffic through the private network, so stuff from NZ will go to the US first then back to you in NZ etc.
  • Have to switch VPN locations to access content from different countries (eg US VPN for netflix/hulu and UK vpn for BBC iPlayer)
Popular VPNs include
Most VPNs have their own client you can install on Windows or OSX or have guides how to setup a VPN in various Operating Systems.

You can also setup a VPN on some routers, a popular router firmware to do this is the dd-wrt firmware, with this firmware you can setup a VPN connection on your router so all your devices/clients access the internet via this connection.  You should be able to find a dd-wrt router on trademe or can buy a preconfigured one from various VPNs directly.

Note: setting up a VPN on your router means every machine on that network will tunnel all their traffic to that server, so internet banking will go to another server.  I recommend you setup a second network that uses a VPN so only your HTPCs/ATV etc use the VPN.

2. Use unblock-us which is a DNS service


DNS stands for Domain Name Service, and its basically how you resolve an address on the internet.  So when you type google.com into your browser it makes a request to your DNS server to find the IP Address for goolge.com and then connects to that IP Address.
Pros
  • Cheap
  • Easy to setup, just change your DNS settings on your client or router
  • Since its a DNS service and not a private network you get full speed, so its fast.
  • Steams HD easily.
Cons 
  • Doesn't work with all ISPs (TCL)
Unblock-us offers a 7 day free trial, so I suggest you try unblock-us out first.

Using a DNS can suffer from the similar security issues as a VPN, e.g. your DNS server might say mybank.co.nz IP address is 1.2.3.4 where in fact its 9.8.7.6 and you are unknowingly taken to a different website and then you may provide the fake website with your banking information.  So I recommend setting the DNS settings on a each client rather than your router, or on a separate network.

Testing Connection

Once you have setup your connection you should be able to go to hulu.com and watch a video or two to test it works

 

Signing Up to Netflix

Netflix works with Paypal or Credit Cards, you should be able to use a NZ credit card to sign up (correct me if this has changed, when I signed up it worked).  Just select any address for address and make sure you only signup for the streaming service (otherwise they might send DVDs to your fake address :))

 

Signing Up to Hulu+

Hulu Plus is a little trickier, you need an US Credit Card to signup.

From the discussion on geekzone.
  1. Sign up for a prepay Credit Card from http://www.buyfrompowerseller.com/hulu-plus-account-outside-us-25-prepaid-cards/
  2. Wait for them to email your credit card details, usually a few hours.
  3. Follow the email instructions to setup the card
  4. Go to Netflix and sign up for Hulu Plus
  5. IMPORTANT: Choose Oregon as your state for you address, this way you avoid sales tax, otherwise the 3 months of Hulu plus CC won't be enough for 3 months.  Just search for houses for sale in Oregon and select an address from one listed
  6. Done

 

Other Services

Other services you might want to checkout

Vudu

Streaming movies similar to netflix, but you pay per movie. They offer SD, HD(720p) and HDX(1080p) and they also have 3D titles. Vudu also let your rent TV shows the next day after they air in the US, so for $1.99USD you can watch the latest episodes of the walking dead. You can also buy movies from Vudu, but this just means you can stream it as many times as you want for free, you cannot download a copy.

Free Cable addon for XBMC

This is basically just an addon/plugin for XBMC which allows you to watch videos from TV studio websites, it skips the ads too. So instead of going to CBS.com for the latest episode of the Big Bang Theory, you can watch it from XBMC and it will skip the ads. Really nice addon

BBC iPlayer

Haven't used this much myself, but allows you to watch content from the UK.


I'll do some follow up posts on how to setup Xbox 360 and PS3 clients.



reven's profile

John Andrews
Auckland
New Zealand