Category Archives: Commercial

Outdoor speakers

As the weather starts to warm up, we will be spending more time outdoors. Sitting back and listening to some tunes is relaxing as well as fun. Take a look at some of your options.

Mounted speakers: There are a variety of speakers that can be attached to the house or porch. These speakers are weatherproof and come on a swivel mount to direct the sound down. Our preference on the high end is Bose 251 Wall Mount Outdoor Environmental Speakers and for a mid-range speaker the Polk Atrium 5 series.

Rock speakers: For those who want to hide their sound in the garden, rock speakers or environmental speakers are very popular. The Niles Audio rock speaker delivers years of worry free use in all types of weather conditions and sounds fabulous. Another style of garden speaker (and Lew’s personal favorite) is the Bose Free Space Environmental Speaker. This speaker is buried about 2/3 of its height into the garden and provides a rich warm sound to any patio, pool or garden setting.

Planter speakers: The only planter style speaker that is worth purchasing is the Niles Audio speaker in either terracotta or weathered concrete. Niles knows what they are doing to ensure this is a quality speaker that looks good and will last.

Other speakers: In addition to the above, there isn’t much you can’t do with outdoor speakers. Several manufacturers make an in ground speaker system that is scalable and designed for flower beds and around the yard.

Sophisticated, elegant and powerful, today’s outdoor audio is capable of delivering state-of-the-art performance.

*Product recommendations are solely the view of H&ONS. We are not receiving compensation from any manufacturer when we mention product types in this article.

Expect Delays on new Electronics

The coronavirus is sparking anxieties among electronics manufacturers. Not only do issues with retailers reducing hours and potential shipping bottlenecks cause delays, but manufacturing plants worldwide have or may be closing due to the virus. This will impact when new electronics get into the market.

Many of the electronics manufacturers work across different industries and domains. These firms typically operate by acquiring necessary electronics components from different suppliers. Suppliers receive orders and ship the requested parts to the manufacturers. The components are assembled, and then the finished product is shipped on to the ultimate client, often a consumer-facing brand.

It’s crucial that these manufacturers receive all the elements necessary to assemble a product at the same time, so that production can begin and the company can avoid a buildup of inventory.
But this pandemic is throwing off the final assembly, when even one part can’t get to the manufacturing plant.

Our suggestion is to be patient, use what you have for the time being or buy existing inventory from brick & mortar & online retailers. We do recommend if an electronic product breaks, that you look to have your product delivered vs. going out to a Best Buy or Wal Mart. All these stores offer delivery.

As for installation services by H&ONS, we will continue to serve the Northern Virginia market by taking precautions against contamination as suggested by the CDC; including hand washing, using antibacterial wipes, staying a distance away from people and of course, cancelling service and installs if any symptoms of the Coronavirus occur.

Teleworking?

If you are temporarily teleworking due to the Coronavirus, here are some suggestions to help make your life easier.

Set up a place to work that has strong Internet access. If you have a home office, your office should have the ability to hardwire your laptop vs. using wireless technology. If you don’t have a home office, try to find any other room that allows you to hardwire it and set up your temporary office there. If you don’t have hardwiring, then look for the strongest WiFi access for your temporary office.

Limit other usage of the Internet if possible. If you have kids home due to school closings, they are going to want to stream movies & play video games. This is going to put a lot of pressure on your home’s internal broadband. You may need to limit their access to the Internet during certain hours of the day that you need to be on the Internet for work.

Utilize Skype, Zoom, Facetime and other camera based tools to communicate with your supervisor & co-workers. Zoom gives you 40 minutes of time with their Basic plan to connect to up to 100 people. It isn’t a lot of time, but can work for short interactions similar to dropping in on a co-worker. If you have a regular meeting, your company should get a subscription and utilize it to connect visually, if not for any other reason than to foster unity among your team. Be sure that whatever is behind you if acceptable to you as it will be seen by the camera.

Security: Now may be the time to ensure you have a strong password set up or change your WiFi password. You don’t need the kids or the neighborhood logging into your company information. If you work for a highly secure company, be sure to address what can be transmitted from your home to the office to ensure no security breaches.

Remove stressors. If you’ve never teleworked, it could seem overwhelming. Set up break times and lunch. Don’t be afraid to get up and move around to stretch. Have everything you need around you so you aren’t scrambling for paper, pens, folders, etc. If you and your spouse are both working from home, plan for who is going to take care of the kids, whether shifts between you two or bringing in a college student from the neighborhood (if you are comfortable with doing this). And, keep the TV off and stay off news channels. Avoid the distractions that will add stress during working hours. If you have pets and they normally go to Doggie Daycare, they too will be discombobulated being home with you. Plan for who will take them out, play with them and how to handle barking & such that will most likely occur during the day.

From someone that works from home every day, I can tell you that it is an adjustment. While my trick was to get out at least a couple times a week to be with people, that is not an option right now, so this will be especially hard. Virtual communications are going to be more important now than ever.

Service Calls on Electronics

We perform quite a bit of in-home service calls. Did you know that you have several options before scheduling an in-home service call?

1) DIY first: We always recommend you troubleshoot the problem yourself first. Standard troubleshooting is to perform a re-set. Resetting means physically unplugging, waiting & restarting your equipment. You are not going to mess anything up doing this. You may have had a power surge or an update to one of the devices messed up the communications between your components. Look at this as the same as performing a computer reboot.

If that doesn’t work and something is still not working, it could be a bad component. It’s easy to figure that out too. Just unplug it from the system & try it independently. If your TV is working right, detach it from the cable, internet, CD player, etc. Just plug it directly into the wall & see if it works.

Same goes for a DVR. These go bad often. Remove it from the system and if you have more than one in the house switch them to see if the other works with your system. If it does, plug in the other DVR to see if that functions with the other TV.

2) Telephone/Video Service call: We do perform telephone/video service calls for some situations. Generally we have had to work on your system within the past 6 months to a year. This type of call involves the tech working to help you find & correct the problem. If you call or email us about the problem we can determine if a telephone service call is appropriate. We do schedule these calls and the charge is the same as our hourly in-home rate, except we bill in 15 minute increments and there is no travel fee, so the savings are substantial.

3) Email: Lew is more than happy to respond to an email with a potential solution. Please keep in mind that he may not get to your email for several days due to his busy schedule. Also if his suggestion doesn’t work, he won’t be able to continue to offer up solutions by email, so it may have to turn into a phone/video or in-person service call. Since we do not bill for email responses, we do have to limit the responses.

4) Wait and see: This approach, believe it or not, does work. We cancel service calls quite a bit because the problem just goes away. Why? No one really knows. User error, an update that didn’t take right away but reconnected later. Who knows. That said, waiting a few days may be all you need to do to avoid a service call. I would probably suggest #1 be done as it won’t hurt anything to do a power reset anyway.

Last resort, and unfortunately due to the complexity of today’s technology and system’s infrastructure, call us for a service call. We generally schedule service calls on Mondays and Fridays, but if the schedule allows, we can schedule them mid-week too. Time slots fill up fast so unfortunately there may be a wait.

CES 2020

While we didn’t attend CES this year, we did keep abreast of what was going on there & what the “big” takeaways were this year. Of course the biggest “news” was the future launch of 5G cell service. The CES show floor was chock full of devices boasting 5G capability, from super fast gaming routers to all kinds of modems, laptops, and smartphones. But since 5G networks haven’t yet been set up in much of the US, this tech will likely stay within the walls of the manufacturers for awhile.

Health and Wellness became a large segment of CES this year. From monitoring devices to products to track and help you sleep. We will start seeing more technology that allows consumers to interact with their doctors, sending them vital information about their health, without going into a doctor’s office.

Due to the increased awareness and even hacking problems that have come to light over the years as we utilize voice command devices & camera systems, privacy protection products were quite prevalent on the floor. Companies are leaping onto the privacy wagon, and their products promise to protect our data at every level.

While we are concerned about privacy, it hasn’t stopped manufacturers from making more & better cameras & Sensors for a variety of purposes. From homes whose appliances can book their own maintenance appointments to underwear that tracks your vitals, signs point to a future in which machines know everything about us.

As always, there is a lot of unusual tech at CES, tech that captures a niche audience but hopes to go mainstream. Companies are pouring millions of dollars into toilets, pet technology, mood elevating robots and even a digital nose.

Lastly, there are always the really cool things at CES to see, like the helicopter taxi and more advanced self driving vehicles.