July 24, 2016

Garage Door App

Disclosure: As a member of the Verizon Insider team, I am sharing my experience with the Chamberlain MyQ Garage Door Opener and how it helps me with home automation.

These days home automation seems to be getting easier and easier as new apps and connected products are released. I have a few home automation solutions in my house. I have WeMo light controllers, a Belkin Netcam, and a Canary Home Security System. I love them all. They make managing important parts of my home very easy.

One home automation product I’ve had my eye on for quite some time is the connected garage door opener. There are a few out there, but when I was at my Verizon store recently swapping out devices I saw the MyQ Garage Door Opener. Part of me was just passing time as I waited for my turn, but I’ve always wanted a connected garage door.

It seems weird since it’s just a garage door opener, but my old school touchpad died awhile back and since I have an older model they don’t make replacements for it. So that touchpad mounted just outside my garage mocks me every time I pulled in the garage. Even more so, it would just stare at me the several times I was dropped off by a friend and had to text CycleGuy because he was out and I didn’t have my keys.

That all changed in June when Verizon sent me the MyQ Garage Door Opener to add on to my existing opener so I could now operate my garage from my smartphone and get notifications. It took less than an hour to install once I actually followed the instructions and mounted the sensor instead of having it on the stepstool next to me. Learn from me, read the directions and follow them step by step and you’ll be up and running in no time.

MyQ Garage Door Opener

MyQ WiFi Hub

MyQ Door Sensor

CycleGuy and I worked together because you have to press the training button on the unit mounted to the ceiling and then follow the directions on your smartphone at the same time. You can install it yourself, but make sure you’re not putting yourself at risk when you’re up on the ladder.

So why do I love this so much? Seriously, it just opens and closes the garage door with your smartphone and provides notifications. If you’re in the car you likely have an opener, so you wouldn’t really need your smartphone. If you’re dropped off, you probably have a key (unless you’re like me and thought you had the key in your purse but didn’t). So why automate something as mundane as a garage door opener?

  1. If you lose your opener or have a rental/loaner car you can still get in your garage.
  2. When you head out to run, bike, walk, do exercise, or just visit the neighbor you don’t need to take anything extra besides your phone.
  3. If you’re half way to work and can’t remember if you closed the garage door, in about 30 seconds you can find out. And if you didn’t close the garage door, with a push of a button you can close the garage door. No being late for work. No driving back only to see it closed.
  4. If you have kids who walk to/from school, if they have a smartphone you don’t need to give them a key they may lose. For me, this wouldn’t work because we lock the door from the garage into the house. Then again that would be the perfect reason to buy a biometric door lock or some type of automated door lock.

In my neighborhood, if your garage door is accidentally left open and the police come by they’ll come to your door and let you know. If you’re not home they’ll close it (doing that whole “run and jump over the beam” move) and send you a letter, which may include a fine.

Accidentally leaving your garage door opener is a common reason people report when they file claims for stolen items. Criminals don’t need to do anything to get to your stuff if you accidentally leave the garage door open.

I’ve been using the MyQ Garage Door Opener for about two months and here are my key takeaways.

      • Easy to install. It’s compatible with most garage door openers made since 1993.
      • Alerts you if the garage door is accidentally left open. Or you can go into the app and check so you don’t make a trip home to find it closed.
      • Remote open/close the garage door. Lots of reasons this is great.

        myQ App


      • Alerts you when the garage door is open. This is great for me because sometimes I’m in a zone when I work at home so I don’t freak out when CycleGuy is all of a sudden in my office.

MyQ App Alerts

MyQ App New Alert Setup

MyQ App Notification

One of the drawbacks of the app is that it’s not unique to the smartphone. I love everything about the opener and most features of the app, don’t get me wrong. But it would be great if the app allowed each user of the opener to set up their own account and profile. Just like with a home security system, knowing who activated the system gives you important information.

If you want to get one of the MyQ Garage Door accessories, they’re available at your nearest Verizon Store for just $129.99. While it may seem like a nice ‘toy’ to have, it really is a quick and easy way to automate your home and put an important part of your property on your smartphone. If you’re a renter, it’s a great way to add home automation and still be able to take it with you when you move.

Pin MyQ Garage Door - Saving For Someday

Image Credit: Garage photo used courtesy of Kevin Wolf



June 17, 2016

Finding Dory Review

I attended a press screening of Finding Dory prior to the movie’s public opening.

Finding Dory, the long-awaited sequel to the blockbuster hit Finding Nemo, takes us on a journey with the friendly blue tang fish, Dory (Ellen DeGeneres), and her adopted clown fish family Marlin (Albert Brooks) and Nemo. This is a special journey to reunite Dory with her parents. After over a decade of being separated, Dory begins to gain some of her childhood memory and decides it’s times to make that transoceanic journey back home, hoping her parents still remember her.

Unlike in Finding Nemo where Dory’s forgetfulness is played for jokes, it’s given a level of vulnerability and seriousness in Finding Dory. That’s important because it brings up in to her story, her desire to find her parents, her tenacity to ‘just keep swimming’, and her attention to details she needs to make the reunion happen. Rest assured there are plenty of funny moments.

Personally, I think Hank (voiced by Ed O’Neill) steals the show. An octopus with only seven tentacles, a septapus as Dory tells him, has many of the best lines. We meet up with him about halfway through the movie when Dory arrives at the Marine Life Institute in Morro Bay, California. Hank has ulterior motives in befriending Dory, but he signs on to help her find her parents.

Dory is reunited with her friend Destiny, a shark with vision problems who has a number of hilarious lines. Destiny and Dory were friends when they were younger, communicating through the pipes at MLI. This friendship explains how Dory ‘speaks shark’, as we discovered in Finding Nemo. Together with Hank, Destiny helps direct Dory to her parents. Of course there are side adventures along the way for everyone, it is a Disney/Pixar film.

Overall, it’s a great family film and will be a hit with kids and adults alike. There is enough adult-level humor to keep you engaged while the kids enjoy the colorful sealife, the friendships, and the interwoven messages of keep working toward your goal, you can count on your friends to help, and a parent’s love is everlasting.

In theaters beginning June 17, 2016, Finding Dory runs about 100 minutes. The 3D effects are done well and blend into the movie seamlessly. It’s nice to have that dimension and life-like feeling that brings familiar friends back to us after we met them for the first time 13 years ago. It’s a similar story told with slight differences. Only this time, Dory’s memory disability isn’t the punchline of every joke. To be sure, her memory loss is used a both funny and poignant. But in the end, we’re very much in 2016 where differently-abled individuals are finding how to use what could be their deficit as something that gives them strength.

Check it out and enjoy it for the entertaining movie it was intended. Don’t set your expectations too high and you won’t be disappointed. Finding Dory is charming and entertaining, but it is not the blockbuster spectacular that was Finding Nemo.

Like FINDING DORY on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/PixarFindingDory

Follow FINDING DORY on Twitter: https://twitter.com/FindingDory

Follow Disney/Pixar on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/PixarFindingDory/

Follow Disney Studios on Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/disneystudios/finding-dory/

Visit Disney/Pixar on Tumblr: http://disneypixar.tumblr.com

Visit the official FINDING DORY website for games, coloring pages, and other printables: https://disney.com/findingdory



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