noun: skills in many areas. a little of this and that.

PSA Newsletter 05: Privacy, Security, Automation!

Cyber Trust Mark Opinion, HomeKit Advice, MagSafe Mounts, and more...


The White House "…announced a cybersecurity certification and labeling program to help Americans more easily choose smart devices that are safer and less vulnerable to cyberattacks." I would absolutely not trust anything bearing this mark unless it was also independently audited, and even then segment your network and take other appropriate steps to sequester them. This screams "approving companies who have built backdoors into their products and thus into your home" to me.[1]


To the extent that you can, every smart camera should also be paired with a smart outlet or power switch that kills power to it at the outlet. I use Eve Energy (for now, see Newsletter 03) outlets to shut off HomeKit cameras at appropriate times.[2]


This week's automation tip isn't so much an automation as it is a massive life upgrade. If you have an iPhone 12 or newer with MagSafe, the Gym Mate magnetic phone mount comes in awfully handy. Some places I use mine are the kitchen and the bathroom (attached to the light switch plate). Another indispensable accessory is the Belkin Fitness Mount, strapped to the shower bar, showing a HomeKit or other security camera of choice. Perfect for when you don't want to miss the door, guests, a screaming baby, etc.[3] [4]

Heads Up!

As much as I hesitate to link to anything on YouTube, this video has a particularly important message. I can't stress enough how important it is that you DO NOT post pictures or videos of your children on any social media apps or websites. This has always been my stance, but it's even more important now in the age of artifical intelligence and deepfakes. [5]


Q: What's a good wifi router?

A: I've had success with Ubiquiti Amplifi HD mesh systems and standalone Linksys (before and after the Belkin acquisition) routers. If you're in the market, look for these features:

  • MIMO or multiple antenna technology
  • WiFi 6 or later
  • Guest network or other network segmentation
  • ABSOLUTELY NO SUBSCRIPTIONS FOR FEATURES. You want a device that does its job silently with minimal fuss. Maintaining a subscription is not minimally fussy
  • For More information on decoding what those router numbers mean when shopping, check out this PCMag article: [6]