Safety in your Attic!

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I know I talk to you about a lot of new technology, but I also want to use this blog to educate you about installing your own technology and also safety.  So today I’m going to talk to you a little bit about attic safety.  These tips are ones that you can use if you are retro-fitting technology in your existing home, or even if you are just doing any type of work in your attic space.

IMG_8040You might need to go into the attic to run wires IMG_6354for things like cameras, an over-the-air antenna, speakers, or a wireless access point.  Or maybe you need to get up there for other things like maintenance, adding some additional insulation or maybe even to fend off some sort of critter that is trying to establish occupancy up there.  These tips should help you to be safe and assist you in making things easier while you are working in your attic.

  1. Have a plan.  If you are going into your attic space, it’s always best to know exactly what you will be doing up there and what tools you might need.  Having a plan for what you are going to be doing and taking the time to amass all of the tools you’ll need in one space will help save time and hopefully decrease the number of trips that you might need to make up there.
  2. Know your entrance and exit.  When you are going Attic_Pic3into your attic, some attic accesses have stairs built into them that will slide out and other times you will need to get a ladder set up under the attic access to climb up in.  If you need to set up a ladder, it’s important that you make sure that you have a ladder that is tall enough for you to safely enter the attic access and that it’s tall enough for you to step safely down onto it as you exit.  It’s amazing how far down that first step can feel as you are coming out of the attic and you get over the edge of the attic access.
  3. Know where you can step.  In an attic space its VERY important that you know where you can step…no one wants to come Unknownthrough the ceiling!  The best places to step is along the bottom chord of the attic truss or if possible Screen Shot 2018-11-02 at 11.13.23 PMand there is enough space, I like to try to walk on the gusset plates as that spot can be very secure and stable in the attic. When you are walking through the attic its always important to make sure that you are maintaining 3 touch points for safety.  That means that you should have your feet and one hand solidly placed while moving your other hand and securing it before you move one of your feet.   (See the video to watch 3 touch point walking through an open attic on my Instagram TV or Facebook Page.). You can also look at the 3 attic truss diagrams here that I created to help you navigate your way through the attic space.
  4. Know where things can go.  If you are wiring in Screen Shot 2018-11-02 at 11.01.59 PMyour attic, it’s important to know where you can put the wiring safely.  With wiring, you want to make sure that the wiring is placed in a way that you won’t step on it or get caught up in it later.  I like to try to run all of the wires close to the outer most edge of the roof whenever possible.  This way you are the least Screen Shot 2018-11-02 at 10.41.49 PMlikely to have any issues with it in the future.  There are also many ways that you are able to secure the wires up and out of the way, just make sure that you don’t secure it too close to the plywood sheathing.   This is because if you have the roof redone, the roofing nails won’t damage the wires.
  5. Hydrate.  Attic temperatures can reach 150-160 degrees Fahrenheit on a summer imagesday in Michigan when it’s only 95-97 degrees outside. So even on a cooler day, it’s easy to get overheated.  Make sure that you have plenty of water close at hand.  About 5 minutes in up there and I can already feel the sweat starting to bead down my brow.  Staying hydrated also helps to make sure that you have clarity while you are up in the attic as well.  When you get dehydrated, you can get light headed and make poor choices and may end up taking faulty steps.

I hope these tips help you as you tackle your project in IMG_9514the attic.  It really is important to take safety precautions while you are up there.  It isn’t often that you will need to go up in an attic, but when you do,  following these simple tips should make your time up there safer.  If you decide you’d rather hire someone to tackle your attic walking for a camera system or to build out your wireless network, feel free to give us a call at TruMedia.   You can visit us at www.TruMediaHome.com or visit our Facebook or Instagram pages.

Also, make sure you go there to check out a great video of my son learning how to attic walk using the three point touch method I spoke about in tip #3.

If you have any technology you’d like me to check out or have any questions about how we do things as Technology Designers, please feel free to shoot me a message.  I am happy to see what I can do to check it out.

Music…with a VIEW!

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What an AMAZING house with an equally impressive view!  Today I’m going to talk to you a little bit more about how we can bring entertainment with technology to ALL of the spaces in your home…including the ones that give you the best view!

I talked to you about distributed audio in my recent post, Gorgeous Master Bedroom Retreat! and I thought I’d expand a little bit on that today by talking about your outdoor entertaining spaces.  These are the spaces within your home thatIMG_8775 in my opinion that offer you one of the best places to unwind and relax…or maybe it’s that because I’m from Michigan and Mother Nature doesn’t always allow us the best opportunity to use these spaces that I cherish so much the time that I can use them that I love them so much!

Well this custom home by Miles Builders this year did NOT disappoint when it came to beautiful outdoor spaces to entertain!  When you first walk up the driveway, you are greeted by a large and welcoming covered porch that spans the entire front of the house and even wraps around the side.  This porch is large enough to have a swing or some comfy seating for the whole family!

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But the pièce de ré·sis·tance are the porches and patio on the rear of the house!  There is not 1, but 2 gorgeous decks overlooking the large patio with a dazzling pool, an impressive covered patio area with a fireplace and a wrap around driveway to a custom multi-level garage under a garage!  The top deck is a private deck off of the Master Suite I showed you previously and the lower deck is off of the Great Room.  Both show off phenomenal views of the property with their wall-to-wall windows and double sliders!

IMG_8778We couldn’t WAIT to add some technology to this area!  The first and most obvious way to do this was with the distributed audio system.  Both the front covered porch and the lower patio covered porch by the fireplace had in-ceiling speakers by RBH installed.  Since these areas are AO520_Both.jpgprotected by the elements and we really wanted a clean and seamless look, this was the best option.  On the open decks however, the speakers were going to have more exposure to the elements and therefore it was a better choice to offer the client exterior wall mounted speakers by RBH that could handle whatever Michigan weather could throw their way!  These speakers are available in either black or white and we chose to use black to compliment all of the black trim and fixtures on the exterior of this magnificent looking house.

By setting up this house with a control system by Universal Remote Control (URC) called Total Control, this also allows us to easily use all of the Screen Shot 2018-10-23 at 3.02.29 AMmusic Screen Shot 2018-10-31 at 11.23.19 AMin these areas with the touch of one app on our phones.  While we used a Sonos Connect as the streaming music source, Total Control allows us to flawlessly sync these areas together when we are entertaining for the optimal listening experience while entertaining!  There are no volume controls again….because if you’ve been reading along on any of my previous blogs, you already know my thoughts on those….just great music and AMAZING views!

IMG_8776If you need to make your spaces with a view just a little bit better with music or any of the products listed here, let me know.  Feel free to check out my video about this outdoor entertaining space on Facebook or Instagram to learn more and to see an even better view of the property!

As always, you can visit our TruMedia website at www.TruMediaHome.com as well.  If you have any thoughts on this or other technology you’d like to see me feature, feel free to ask me a question or send me a message…until then friends, stay curious!

Alexa…she’ll be your FAVORITE guest in the kitchen!

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People always ask me what I think are going to be the “game-changers” in technology in the home, so today I wanted to talk with you about one of the biggest changes that I see coming for your kitchen space.  Screen Shot 2018-10-24 at 9.18.01 PMThat game-changer goes by the name “Alexa”.  OK, OK…I know I’m about to get some static from you all out there Screen Shot 2018-10-24 at 9.19.00 PMin internet world….”What about Josh?” or “What about Google?” or any of the ever growing group of “Voice-First” concierge devices.  You can talk about any of them here.   I’m happy to have you substitute the name of your favorite one any time you see me mention Alexa.  I am just going to be speaking about her from a pretty broad view here and any of these platforms should kisspng-amazon-echo-google-home-chromebook-google-assistan-home-logo-5adb262edd7cd6.4579229015243115989072easily be able to accommodate these basics.  In future blogs perhaps we’ll set up a side-by-side comparison of them.  For today, I’m just using Alexa, because she’s pretty commonly used out there and she has a name that reminds me of a pleasant house guest.

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In my kitchen, I always feel like I’m in the “heart-beat” of my house….it’s the gathering space by which everything passes through….it provides the energy and the “life-blood” to my household.  Daily it’s where I prep for the day and I catch up with my kids about their school day.  It’s where we prepare the meals, often telling stories or sharing jokes.  More often than not, the kitchen is a place where those moments occur that, while at the time you might not even realize it, later in life you’ll reflect upon as being the “little things” that meant the most.

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So one of my favorite things to do in the kitchen is to have music playing.  It’s amazing how music can seemingly make everything a little bit better.  If you’re cooking dinner it just makes it a little more fun.  If you’re like me, a lot of cooking gets done during celebrations or the holidays and it’s always great fun when you can break out into an impromptu dance party in the kitchen.  The only issue is, inevitably your FAVORITE song comes on when you are elbow deep in dish soap or you are carefully stirring a pot trying to avoid a bubbling over.  THIS my friends is why Alexa will be your best house guest!

Want to turn up your ‘jam’?  No problem…ask Alexa.  Need to find a out a substitute for eggs since you’re IMG_8745fresh out? Alexa can help with that.  Did your phone ring and you need to hear what the other person is saying?  Ask Alexa to pause the music…and it’s done!  Need to set a timer for the oven?  Alexa can let you know when the cookies are just right.
Do you LOVE that song but can’t remember who the artist is?  No worries, Alexa knows everyone from Barry White to Bruno Mars.  Now if only I could figure out how to make my kids this responsive by only saying their name!  Amazon or any other voice products, if you figure THAT out, I’ll be your BFFL! (Biggest Fan For Life!)

So that’s all great and everything you say, but how do I get started?  Easy, just choose the voice-enabled device that works best for you and play around with it.  I promise, it’s not that scary….just make sure that when you connect it you have set up the basics so your child isn’t able to order Barbie’s Dream House or a ton of cookies or something crazy…you laugh, but you can read about how that happened to one family HERE.

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If you’re like me though, in addition to arming your kitchen with your newest gal-pal Alexa, you’re going to want to get a few additional accessories.  I have in-ceiling speakers in my kitchen that are about 100 times better than that crazy little speaker on the Amazon Dot, Alexa’s home, so I want to be able to have my music rock out through those.  With a few extra steps, that can happen.

I also am a HUGE fan of not having Screen Shot 2018-10-24 at 9.23.00 PMdevices that clutter up my counter top, so I went on a search for a solution for that and boy was I stoked when I found the NEW Vail Amp by The DaVinci Group.  This sweet little gadget allows you to flush mount your Dot right into the wall and even replace those nasty volume control knobs you might still have in an existing house. It’s a 60-watt digital high performance amplifier that will secure your Dot and allow you to have a volume control keypad, voice control capabilities and even beUnknown6 your streaming music source!  All that for only $299 MSRP and you are in business!  There is even another great piece out there
called the Spot for Dot by Vanco. This piece functions in a similar fashion to the Vail Amp and I’m sure that in short time there will be MANY more devices filling this space in the market.

So whether you’reIMG_8747 looking to upgrade an outdated volume control knob ladened system in your existing house or you are building a new technology rich smart home, make sure that you invite Alexa to be a guest…I promise in short time she’ll be one of your FAVORITE house guests!  If you’d like to learn more about getting Alexa set up or speakers installed or any of the accessories for these voice-enabled devices, feel free to visit our website or check us out on Facebook or Instagram.