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  1. Our regular home security system reports to the monitoring station with a cellular phone unit. It's not a typical cell phone as it has no cell phone capabilities; it just dials the station if an alarm is triggered and the alarm company checks it daily from their end to see if it is working properly. When we cut the land line, we had to have this alarm unit installed since it needs a dedicated line and won't work on a MagicJack. The cost (about $100) was paid for with savings from not having a monthly phone bill. Our MagicJack plugs into our computer via USB port which accesses the web through a wireless router from our internet provider which is totally wireless in our area. We get TV through DirecTV sat dish. We see that Costco has an 8 camera system from Q-See for $$399.99 after $300 off and they have free access to their website to view the cameras. That may be the way we will go. We like the MagicJack, by the way. Some areas have the ability to keep your old number. Otherwise you choose a prefix from your city (or the closest one without making your incoming calls long-distance) and they assign you the last 4 digits. With a 4 to 6 phone cordless phone system, you plug the base unit into the MagicJack, then you only need an AC outlet for the other handsets and you have phones all over the house. You sign up with your physical location with the MagicJack registration and then your 911 service knows where you are in an emergency. You get free caller ID, free long distance with no limits on minutes, and voice-mail for the $20 a year (after the first $20 to buy the jack--Radio Shack and Best Buy sells them as well as the MJ website) which saves us $38 a month over the land line (which had NO long distance) with it's disgusting taxes and fees that accounted for over half the bill! And if you have a cell phone for a backup, a temporary internet outage is not a concern. We don't see any problem with clarity, either. Someday, the fed/local governments may start taxing these phone over internet systems, but for now it is a real money saver. You can even take the MagicJack with you when traveling and plug it into a laptop and take your phone with you! 911 will also work correctly if you update the location when traveling. All your local friends and family can call you just like you are home! Thanks for the response. Hope this clarified things. Ed & Martha
  2. Thank you for the comprehensive comment, Dallas. It was so interesting, I sent it to my brother who actually lives near Dallas, TX, and is something of a tech geek! His comment? "Way cool, I want one!" I don't think we will go all out like you have done, but it sure gives us some info to work on. We're leaning toward the Lorex 8 camera set-up at $600 after $400 off (thru 5/31) from Costco. It is wired, but the wireless ones are pretty limited, plus expensive per camera. Thank you, everyone, who have responded with your ideas to consider. Ed & Martha in Central Oregn
  3. Here in Central Oregon, the available monitoring companies don't have temp alarm sensors yet (I asked). Also, our homeowners won't discount without a licensed monitoring company. But we'll check the unit you recommended...sounds interesting. Evidently it works via telephone line? We no longer have a land line...we have cell phones and MagicJack. Our security monitor has a cellular unit which we liked better than a land line connection...no way it can be tampered with. Thanks for your reply.
  4. If you have a laptop computer with web access, add the National Weather Service to your "favorites". Here is the weather service link for the whole country and you can fine-tune it to the area you will be in from this site http://www.nws.noaa.gov/ You can go to the area in which you are traveling and look at the satellite images and warnings. If you put the images into motion, you can tell the direction of the storms and see if heading in your direction. Another good one is the "weather underground" which is private weather stations (millions and millions!) all around the country (and the world) with NWS forecasts and radar images, plus real-time weather by city, state or zip code. A nice way to keep in touch with your weather "back home", incidentally. Here is the link: http://www.wunderground.com. (If you pay $10 a year, you can get that site with no ads.) Also, get a weather radio which will alert you (even in the middle of the night) if you have a sudden warning. Keep your kitty cage assembled and carry plenty of gas so you are ready to go any time. Information is your best asset! Stay safe!
  5. We are interested in installing a home monitoring system to check our premises while away via internet. We haven't seen any discussions on this. Costco and Amazon (among others) sell several [electronics/security & monitoring/security monitors] with multiple cameras that record to a DVR attached to a PC. Using this system you could, for example, point one camera to a readout of a thermometer and know there is/has been no power failure and your home is warm and safe. Using a UPS (battery backup) for the PC and DVR would assure access in the event of a power failure. Has anyone found a system they like? Don't like? We already have a monitored security system for intrusion and fire/smoke, but we just want to be sure things are OK otherwise since we live in the Northwest where temps can fall below zero in the winter...and we want to be elsewhere when that happens! Any suggestions will be appreciated.
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