Hometronics Hints

A blog about smart home living.

Hometronics Hints

Ōlloclip: A Pro Photo Lens for your iPhone (and Samsung Galaxy 5)

Straight From NYC’s CE Week, 2015

These days everyone fancies themselves to be an amateur photographer. It’s no wonder as everyone that has an iPhone in their pocket has instant access to a pretty impressive camera. In a short amount of time smartphones have made the mobile phone a contender for the “best mobile camera” award.

Well, when I was at the 2015 CE Week in New York, I saw the newest option in Galaxy and iPhone accessories that is going to clinch that title for smartphones with ease. The attachments offered by ōlloclip take mobile phone photography to the next level by giving their customers easy access to a variety of high-quality photo lenses. What really caught my interest were the ways it could help those in the A/V custom integration business. When marking wires in a room, the wide-angle lens makes it easier to view the entire room for identification and location purposes. With the fisheye or macro lenses, getting images in a tight spot without pulling the whole rack out is a great way to get serial or product numbers.

olloclip on phone

Read on to get a sense of what ōlloclip can provide for you:

The Versatile ōlloclip 4-in-1 Lens:

The ōlloclip 4-in-1 lens gives you the best bang for your buck. The 4 advanced-optic lenses work with both the front and rear-facing cameras on iPhones, allowing for altered views from any angle. They are pocket-sized and can be easily carried around either on the included keychain pendants or in the microfiber bag that doubles as a lens cleaner.

With the fisheye iPhone lens your camera view turns ultra-wide, almost like you’re looking at the world through a fishbowl. The wide-angle lens doubles the size of the image that you can capture with one click, which is great for large buildings or groups of people. Lastly, the 10x and 15x Macro lenses allow for intense magnification of objects, so you can capture the ridges in a fingerprint or the beads of dew on a blade of grass.

Specific to iPhones: Telephoto, CPL, and Ultra-Wide Lenses

If you have an iPhone, the 4-in-1 lens isn’t your only option. Ōlloclip has a variety of other lens combos that grant access to a wider array of camera views. The telephoto lens, for instance, utilizes a 2x optical zoom, which is perfect for capturing objects that are far away, or adding incredible detail to close-up subjects.

The ultra-wide lens is great for action shots, group selfies, and stunning panoramas. And the Circular Polarizing Lens (CPL) reduces glare when shooting reflective surfaces such as water or windows, and also accentuates your photos by making colorful scenes really pop.

Olloclip Montage alt2

Downsides: No Flash or Phone Cases

Unfortunately, ōlloclip lenses, for the time being, are not compatible with the flash function on your smartphone. This isn’t the biggest problem in the world, as it is often relatively easy to find a light source to add to dark scenes that will allow you to use your lenses anywhere and at any time.

Your phone also needs to be “naked,” unless you purchase ōlloclip’s new phone case. It is also highly unlikely that they’ll be adapting to specific case designs, such as Otterbox, as they would never be able to meet the demands of the rapidly expanding case market.

The bottom line is that ōlloclip is an affordable and highly functional accessory for your iPhone or Samsung Galaxy 5. The camera autofocuses with one tap of a finger and the lenses work with all of the best photo and video apps (Instagram, Vine, SnapChat, etc.). In sum, ōlloclip is a convenient and cool addition for your next adventure.

Picking the Right LED Color Temperature

It’s becoming common knowledge now that LED lights (light emitting diode) offer a much wider array of color temperatures, which make them great for setting moods in different environments. But what exactly is color temperature, and how is it measured? Plain and simple, the color of the light that your LED bulbs will emit depends on its CCT or “Color Correlated Temperature,” which is measured on the Kelvin (K) temperature scale.

Where it gets tricky is that the actual heat of the bulb doesn’t really match up with the descriptors that distributors often throw around. Because of a variety of factors that have to do with the science behind CCT, some descriptors of light can be a bit confusing. For instance, the lower the Kelvins, the “warmer” the light because it’s coloring is often redder or more orange in hue. So a bulb describe as “warm” is actually cooler in temperature than a “cool” bulb is.

That being said, a better way to go about buying LED lighting fixtures is to not to ask for a “blue LED,” since you could get something completely different than you expected, but instead to get a better sense of what Kelvin range you are looking for. Don’t worry; I’ve put together a quick list to do just that!

Color Temp

The Color Correlated Temperature Scale:

~1900K = Barry White Light – Coupled with a good slow-jam, you’ve just set the perfect romantic tone. This is closest to the warm orange glow of a candle.

2400-2700K = Comfy-Cozy – Good for dozing off, reading books, etc. A lighter orange than Barry White Light.

3000-3500K = Laid-Back Productive – most like your standard 100W halogen bulb. Still a yellow-ish hue, but much closer to your basic white. Good for homes and restaurants.

4000-5000K = Performance – An intense get-down-to-business-like quality closest to direct sunlight. Great for bookstores, brightening up closets, and keeping workers working in office spaces.

6000-10000K = From a cloudy blue to a bright blue sky, depending on how high up the scale you go. Think about the icy glow of jewelry shops, minimalist contemporary homes, and comforting hospitals.

Looking for the perfect LED bulb with the perfect color for your room? Check out our LED Lighting division: Ecotronics.


A few other things to consider:

1. Remember that it won’t make your space brighter to have a higher Kelvin rating, it’ll only change the color temperature. That being said, people perceive cooler temperatures to be brighter, so with a good light dimmer you could easily save on energy bills by using less amounts of “cooler” (higher Kelvin) light.

2. What is in your room? If your walls are anywhere between yellow and red, go for something between 2700K-3000K, in order to really highlight the paint or even your antique mahogany table. If your home has a more modern, metallic quality, then you’d be better suited with a bluer light.

3. One last pro-tip for shopping: When you are picking out your LED bulbs, check to see how high their CRI (color rendering index) rating is. What this measures is how well a light source can emit various colors. The closer to 100 the CRI of the LED, the better it will be at emitting the color that you crave.

CRI vs CCT

3 Tips for Planning Your Outdoor Music System

by Hometronics Lifestyles

As the snow is melting from winter and spring is trying it’s best to arrive, now is the time to start thinking about installing a new outdoor audio system for more enjoyable backyard cookouts, pool parties or just enjoying the evening under the stars. Here are three tips to help get you started in planning a music system.

Speaker Style

There are many different styles of outdoor speakers. Choosing the ones that compliment your home and garden is the hardest part. Rock, planter and in-ground speakers blend in with the surroundings. Wall mountable speakers work well under a home’s eaves. In-wall or in-ceiling speakers are perfect for covered patios or lanais. Each area around your yard might have a different type of speaker, but be sure to choose the type that will withstand the weather in your area.

Speaker placement

Outside sound can travel as far as the neighbor’s yard or not far enough, giving you sound in localized spots. Speaker placement is essential for the different areas of your yard. Don’t place speakers close to one area and farther from another. This would create too loud music in one area making a conversation difficult or too low music for a kid’s party.  A professional installer can help get the placement right in your speaker planning by spreading the sound evenly across your outdoor space. Low frequencies have large waves and will tend to dissipate quickly; a good option is to install a partially buried outdoor subwoofer.

Multiple zones

Do you have separate audio zones in your home? Why not consider that in your backyard. By creating independent zones around your yard, each area could benefit from having its own volume control as well as music source. As your family and friends venture off to the dining area, pool area, seating area, or patio, controlling the volume and music genres creates a different atmosphere for the activities.

Sonance image

Sonance Speakers

Sonance all-weather outdoor products are made for any traditional installation and designed to deliver excellent performance while looking great. The Landscape Series speaker system delivers even volume coverage and sound quality throughout any size space while staying hidden amongst plants and under foliage.

Rock speakers and subwoofers come in natural colors and textures and are designed to hide in garden beds. Mariner speakers are perfect for courtyards and patios. Extreme in-wall and in-ceiling speakers are perfect for outdoor rooms, under eaves and demanding marine applications.

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Ōlloclip: A Pro Photo Lens for your iPhone (and Samsung Galaxy 5)

Straight From NYC’s CE Week, 2015 These days everyone fancies themselves to be an amateur photographer. It’s no wonder as everyone that has an iPhone in their pocket has instant access to a pretty impressive camera. In a short amount of time smartphones have made the mobile phone a contender for the “best mobile camera”

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Picking the Right LED Color Temperature

It’s becoming common knowledge now that LED lights (light emitting diode) offer a much wider array of color temperatures, which make them great for setting moods in different environments. But what exactly is color temperature, and how is it measured? Plain and simple, the color of the light that your LED bulbs will emit depends

Read More

3 Tips for Planning Your Outdoor Music System

by Hometronics Lifestyles As the snow is melting from winter and spring is trying it’s best to arrive, now is the time to start thinking about installing a new outdoor audio system for more enjoyable backyard cookouts, pool parties or just enjoying the evening under the stars. Here are three tips to help get you

Read More