Home Blog

Best home security systems of 2019 (plus DIY kits, video doorbells and more) – CNET

ring-security-3
Chris Monroe/CNET

After a decade or so of app-enabled upheaval, the home security category is booming. Along with professional monitoring systems that have been around for decades, there’s a newly established bumper crop of less-expensive DIY systems that you can install yourself, along with cameras, smart locks and video doorbells that are also worth considering. Big names like Amazon and Google want a piece of the action, too.

It’s admittedly quite a lot to take in — and today’s home security providers don’t necessarily always make it easy to comparison shop, to say the least. 

That’s where we come in, though — not only by putting these systems to the test at the CNET Smart Home but by evaluating the whole buying process and taking a close look at other important factors, too — including the privacy concerns that come with filling your house with cloud-connected cameras. 

Keep reading for our breakdown of the best home security systems that we’ve tested to date, including DIY kits you can install yourself, professionally installed systems that promise to automate your whole home, and standalone gadgets like video doorbells, too.

Read moreNest vs. Ring vs. Abode vs. SimpliSafe: The smart home security systems with the best privacy policies 

Best home security we’ve tested

Best DIY system SimpliSafe $230 upfront Monitoring starts at $15 per month, $25 per month to include mobile app controls and integration with Alexa. See it online
Best professional installation system Comcast Xfinity Home $99 upfront Monitoring costs $40 per month during the first year, $50 per month after that; bundling discounts available with TV and internet. See it online
Best video doorbell Nest Hello $230 upfront Continuous recording starting at $5 per month. See it online
Best for part-time monitoring Abode $299 upfront Monitoring available for $20 per month. See it online

Disclosure: CNET may get a share of revenue from purchases made through the links on this page. The products chosen and tested are picked independently by CNET editors.

Install-it-yourself systems

If a professionally installed system sounds like overkill, then you can save a lot of money by buying a system that you install yourself. For my money, systems like these offer some of the best value for your home security dollar.

You’re not missing out on much in terms of functionality. Though professionally installed systems might offer a fancier touchscreen control panel to work the security cameras, sensors, alarm system and monitors, the rest of the hardware is largely the same as what you’ll get if you go the DIY route, relying mostly on wireless, battery-powered sensors that you stick up around your house.

Read more: The best DIY security systems of 2019

When DIY systems first started popping up as a low-cost alternative to going with the pros, few, if any, came with an option for professional monitoring or customer service. That’s no longer the case. Most DIY systems now offer the option of professional monitoring — and most of them charge less for professional monitoring than the professional installation security providers do, too. Automation and smart home devices have helped lower the overhead cost for third-party professional monitoring, which results in savings passed on to you. And the fact that most DIY systems don’t require any sort of service contract or monthly fee is another nice part of the pitch.

Chris Monroe/CNET

SimpliSafe’s easy-to-install, easy-to-use system is well-positioned as one of the best values in home security. It offers a comprehensive set of features, security cameras, and a very good mix of battery-powered sensors, all of which performed reliably well in our tests. Starter kits begin at about $230, or you can build your own custom system with the exact mix of devices you’re interested in.

Professional monitoring starts at $15 per month, but you’ll almost certainly want to spring for the $25-per-month plan, which adds in things like mobile app controls and voice support via Alexa and the Google Assistant. That also means that you should go with another pick like Abode or Ring if you don’t want professional monitoring but still want to control your system from a smartphone app. Overall CNET score: 8.5

Something else to keep an eye out for: All-in-one DIY security devices designed for smaller homes and living spaces. Basically, just single-point, tabletop cameras packed with extra motion detectors and sensors for things like temperature and ambient light, these devices can be a good fit for something like a studio apartment that doesn’t have a garage door or many street windows to protect.

Names to look at include Canary, Honeywell, and the Abode Iota — though our favorite of the bunch, Piper, is no longer on the market after Alarm.com purchased its parent company in 2016. If we find another alternative that we like as much as we liked that one, I’ll update this space.

Abode’s excellent DIY system is well-worth consideration.

Chris Monroe/CNET

Other options we’ve tested

Our top SimpliSafe alternative, Abode’s well-thought-out system supports both Zigbee and Z-Wave, it works with Alexa, IFTTT and Nest, and it recently spruced up its integration with the Google Assistant, too. The real point of appeal, though, is that Abode offers lots of flexibility with regard to professional monitoring — including the option of only paying for temporary monitoring during the times when you’re actually out of town. Overall CNET score: 8.3

This DIY option from Google-owned Nest works great, but the upfront cost of $399 is much higher than the competition. It’s a decent system, but really only worth it if you’re looking to lock yourself into a Google smart home ecosystem. Overall CNET score: 7.2

A subsidiary of Amazon, Ring’s Alarm security kit is quick to install and easy to use. Aside from a new “Works with Ring” program to bring compatible smart locks and other third-party gadgets into the fold, there’s nothing all that innovative about it, though Alexa users will appreciate that they can arm and disarm the system using voice commands and that they can use Ring’s sensors to trigger Alexa routines. With a buy-in cost of $199 and professional monitoring available for just $10 per month, Ring Alarm stands out as a value pick. Overall CNET score: 7.5

Professionally installed systems

These are the mainstays of home security — security company names like ADT and Brinks that you’ve probably been familiar with for years, along with home security systems offered by major telecom providers like Comcast and AT&T.

The pitch is pretty similar across the board. In addition to basics like motion sensors, window sensors, and door sensors, these kinds of professional installations will also promise to cut back on false alarms and seamlessly integrate things like door locks, cameras, keypads, thermostats, and touchscreens, and they’ll often support voice controls via Alexa and the Google Assistant, too. Most charge an upfront equipment or installation fee and most require multiyear service contracts. As for the monthly fee for professional monitoring, those are mandatory, and will typically range from $30 to $50 per month.

Joshua Goldman/CNET

It isn’t available in all regions (check for local availability), but Comcast Xfinity Home left us impressed when CNET Senior Editor Josh Goldman tested the system out at his home in northern New Jersey. It’s a robust, well-thought-out system that plays nicely with your smart home gear, including longtime favorites like Lutron Caseta light switches and the Nest thermostat. “What Xfinity Home showed me,” Josh wrote, “was how smart home devices make much more sense when fully integrated with the sensors and cameras of a home security system.”

You’ll get the best value if you’re willing to bundle Xfinity Home with Comcast’s internet and TV service, but you can use it as a standalone service, too. I also appreciated that the sales approach was less pushy and more helpful than the competition when I gave them a test call (I was able to get a quote for my home in about 10 minutes, and the only piece of personal info I gave was a zip code). Overall CNET score: 8.5

High-end systems like these will sometimes make it tough to comparison shop between companies. For instance, head to ADT’s website and you’ll find plenty of marketing copy touting the value of the security company’s various home security offerings and customer service — but you won’t find much by way of pricing specifics. Instead, the site directs you to request a “free quote,” either by calling the security company’s sales team or by submitting your name, zip code, phone number and email address. Doing the latter ensures that an ADT customer service specialist “will call you, from time to time, about ADT offers.” Read the fine print, and you’ll see that these calls are “provided” using “automated dialing technology.”

Mind you, ADT is hardly alone here. Some are less egregious about it than others, but you’ll find similar tactics — and similar fine print — on just about every website for professionally installed alarm systems like these. If the website is unclear about what a system built for your home would cost you, then your best bet is just to call the security company directly, tell them what kind of setup you’d like, and ask for a quote.

Your experience might vary based on the salesperson you’re speaking with. For instance, when I first tried calling ADT, the salesperson told me that he couldn’t give me a quote without running a credit check first. I politely ended the conversation and called back another day, and had a much better experience with a salesperson who priced a core system for me within 10 minutes, no credit check or other exchange of personal info needed.

Shopping for a pro system

Base upfront cost Monthly cost Contract length How long it took me to get that info when I called What personal data I had to give to get it
ADT $129 ($229 for a system with a doorbell camera) $47 ($67 for a system with a doorbell camera) 3-year First attempt wouldn’t give a quote without a credit check, second attempt took 10 minutes None
AT&T Digital Life $550 installation fee $40 2-year Easily available on the website None
Brinks $399 installation fee $29 3-year Easily available on the website None
Comcast Xfinity Home $99 installation fee (waived if bundled with TV and internet) $40 for first year, then $50 ($175 if bundled with TV and internet) 2-year 10 minutes Zipcode
Vivint $99 installation fee $40 plus financed cost of devices (for a bare-bones setup, about $10 per month for 60 months) None 17 minutes None

Whoever you end up calling, don’t be afraid to put your foot down over your own privacy. Companies that use robocalls and junk mail as a sales tactic don’t have a right to your address or other personal info until they’ve earned your business, full stop.

That caveat aside, the advantage with alarm systems like these is that professionals will come to your place to install everything for you, and you can typically expect a higher level of hands-on tech support and customer service if you ever want to make changes to your setup, too. Pick a professional system from a telecom provider, and you’ll likely be able to bundle your home security with your TV or internet service. That’s a convenience that can also help you score a discount.

vivint-smart-home-2vivint-smart-home-2

Vivint’s system works well, but the equipment doesn’t come cheap.

Chris Monroe/CNET

Other options we’ve tested

Vivint is a solid system that worked well when we tested it out, but the equipment is a bit expensive. A basic starter kit with the mandatory touchscreen control panel, a motion sensor, and two entry sensors retails for $599, which you can pay upfront or spread out over 60 months. Want to add cameras to help eliminate false alarms? Each one will add an extra $5 to your bill each month, in addition to the extra equipment cost. One nice thing with Vivint: No contracts. Overall CNET score: 7.6

It isn’t cheap, but we liked this sleek system and the fact that straightforward pricing specifics were available online. Our service professionals made sure to optimize the strength of signal for each device in our setup during the installation — a nice touch that helped make the pro approach feel worthwhile. Overall CNET score: 8.3

Video doorbells

If you don’t need an entire security system, and instead just want to keep an eye on activity at your front door, then you might consider installing a video doorbell to keep watch.

Read more: The best video doorbells of 2019

You’ve got lots of options right now, and thanks to automation, all will send an alert to your cellular phone or smart device whenever someone rings to show you who’s at the door. Some also track for unexpected motion or allow for two-way audio — and we’re seeing lots of new options that are capable of recognizing faces, too. That includes our top pick:

Tyler Lizenby/CNET

Nest’s stylish video doorbell is a smart, sleek pick that aced our tests. Features like person detection and geofencing are helpful and easy-to-use, and you can also upgrade to the Nest Aware cloud subscription service to enable facial recognition and access to saved recordings.

It’s obviously best for households that have already committed to Google and Nest’s smart home ecosystem, but Nest’s doorbell also works with both Alexa and IFTTT, which helps make it a very solid choice for just about anyone. Overall CNET score: 8.5

Prices for doorbells like these typically range from about $100 to $250 and most also charge an optional fee for viewing saved video clips. To pick one, first, figure out if your front door has a hardwired doorbell connection or if you’ll need something battery-powered. Then, consider features — for instance, do you keep a porch light on at night, or will you need something with night vision?

From there, think about which smart home platforms you want your doorbell to work with. On that front, you’ll find lots of options that work with Alexa and plenty that work with IFTTT, and with Google and/or Nest, too. Siri is still playing catch-up, though — the only HomeKit-compatible video doorbell we’ve gotten our fingers on thus far is the Netatmo Welcome, which debuted at CES this past January.

Comparing smart doorbells

August View Doorbell Camera Ring Video Doorbell 2 Ring Video Doorbell Pro Nest Hello Video Doorbell
Price $230 $199 $249 $229
Color finish Black, red, white, blue, brass, satin nickel, midnight gray, bronze Satin nickel, venetian (both finishes included with purchase) Satin nickel, venetian, satin black, pearl white White and black
Power source Removable, rechargeable battery Hardwired or removable, rechargeable battery Hardwired Hardwired
Resolution 1,920×1,440p HD 1,920x1080p HD 1,920x1080p HD 1,600×1,200p HD
Field of view No information 160 degrees 160 degrees 160 degrees
Live streaming Yes Yes Yes Yes
Cloud storage Yes, free basic plan, plus 15-day storage for $3 per month and 30-day storage for $5 per month Yes, 60-day storage for $3 per month Yes, 60-day storage for $3 per month Yes, free 3-hour image history; continuous recording starting at $5 per month
Local storage No No No No
Mobile app Android and iPhone Android and iPhone Android and iPhone Android and iPhone
Web app No Yes Yes Yes
Night vision Yes Yes Yes Yes
Alerts Motion Motion Motion Motion, person, facial recognition (with Nest Aware)
Activity zones No Yes Yes Yes (with Nest Aware)
Dimensions (HxWxD) 5.2 x 1.8 x 1.3 inches 5.1 x 2.5 x 1.1 inches 4.5 x 1.9 x 0.8 inches 4.6 x 1.7 x 1.0 inches
Third-party integrations Alexa; Google Assistant; Nest Alexa; IFTTT; Wink Alexa; IFTTT; Wink Alexa; Google Assistant; Nest
Operating temperature range -4 to 122 degrees F -5 to 120 degrees F -5 to 120 degrees F 14 to 104 degrees F

Many of the major home security systems now offer video doorbells of their own, and some offer compatibility with standalone video doorbells and keypads like these, too. Keep that in mind if you think you might want to expand to a full system later on down the line.

Oh, and want more tips on picking out the right video doorbell? CNET’s Megan Wollerton has you covered.

ring-video-doorbell-two-2ring-video-doorbell-two-2

Ring makes a variety of popular video doorbells that are worth a look.

Chris Monroe/CNET

Other options we’ve tested

One of your newest options, the August View looks great and the DIY installation was wonderfully easy, but the mobile app was annoyingly laggy whenever we’d try to view the live feed. That’s the last thing you want if someone’s in the process of nabbing a package off of your porch. Overall CNET score: 7.1

We’re big fans of the removable, rechargeable battery in this version of the popular Ring Video Doorbell — though it also makes the thing a little bit bulkier than average. If it’ll fit on your door frame, it’s a great pick that plays nicely with Alexa and IFTTT. Overall CNET score: 7.4

Smart outdoor lighting

Lots of us use motion-activated lights on our porch or outside our garage door — and though there’s plenty of debate as to whether or not exterior lighting can actually help deter a burglary, most experts agree that it can help play a role when used correctly. If you’re thinking about upgrading to something a little smarter than that cheap porch light, you’ve got a couple of options worth considering.

Tyler Lizenby/CNET

Ring’s mix of motion-activated outdoor smart lights offers a lot of versatility for the outside of your home. The collection includes both hard-wired and battery-powered outdoor spotlights and floodlights, plus pathlights, steplights and a conversion kit that’ll let you smarten up your existing landscape lighting to sync it up with everything else.

What’s great about Ring’s outdoor smart lights is that they each feature their own built-in motion sensor that can trigger one of your lights, some of your lights or all of your lights to turn on. They can also trigger any Ring outdoor cameras in your setup to start recording.

Some of the lights look a little cheap for my tastes, but I really liked the battery-powered Ring Pathlights, which you can stake anywhere on your property that might benefit from a watchful eye. A starter kit with two Pathlights and the Ring Bridge retails for $80, so it isn’t too expensive to buy in, see if you like it, and build your setup from there. Ring says that solar-powered versions are in the works, too, but I don’t expect we’ll see those until 2020.

Other options we’ve tested

Chris Monroe/CNET

For the most part, I think that Philips Hue’s outdoor lights are overpriced and really only worth it if you’re willing to splurge. That said, I really liked the Philips Hue Outdoor Sensor, which you can get for less than $50. Stick it up anywhere you like outside, and it’ll track motion, temperature and ambient light conditions. You can use that info to trigger your Hue lights, and also to trigger any Apple HomeKit gadgets under your roof. 

I wish that the Hue team offered a better variety of practical outdoor lights that don’t break the bank, as well as lights with motion sensors of their own — but if you’ve already bought in, or if you’re using Apple HomeKit-compatible lights, then the Hue Outdoor Sensor is definitely worth a look.

Ry Crist/CNET

If you use Alexa to control the smart lights in your home, then you should consider trying out Alexa Guard, a relatively new home security mode with a couple of neat tricks. After turning Guard Mode on in the Alexa app’s settings, just say, “Alexa, I’m leaving” as you walk out the door to activate it. From there, Alexa will cycle your lights on and off to make it look like you’re home — and you’ll also get a notification if your Echo speakers hear the sound of an alarm, or broken glass.

Don’t have an Alexa smart lighting setup yet? Right now, you can get a third-gen Echo Dot bundled with a two-bulb Sengled starter kit for just $50, which is a heck of a deal.

Originally published April 17 and updated frequently.

CNET Smart Home

Learn The Basics With Lego Compatible Crazy Circuits

[embedded content]

In this week’s Make Workshop video, I get a chance to check out a basic electronics learning system from Crazy Circuits. This is the deluxe set, which retails for $200. It comes with a whole pile of switches, LEDs, sensors, a few pre-programmed chips, and even a Teensy microcontroller.

What makes this system stand out is that the PCBs are spaced perfectly to snap onto Lego bricks. You can use the Lego as a platform, or if you’re clever you can even work the designs into 3d structures. All the traces between components are made with a woven flexible conductive tape and it works surprisingly well.

How to watch Cubs vs. Cardinals 2019 MLB pennant race today without cable – CNET

Chicago Cubs v St Louis Cardinals

The NL Central race could come down to the final game of the regular season between the Cubs and Cardinals.

Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images

The NL Central is still up for grabs. The Chicago Cubs and St. Louis Cardinals are battling for the division crown, with the Milwaukee Brewers still hanging on in the race, despite losing reigning NL MVP Christian Yelich for the season. The NL Central pennant race could very well come down to the final day of the regular season. The Cubs and Cards have seven games remaining against one another, starting with a four-game series in Chicago followed by three games next weekend in St. Louis to wrap up the regular season. 

Cubs and Cards fans who also happen to be cable TV cord cutters have a number of ways to watch the two teams battle down the stretch.

Now playing: Watch this: Top 5 streaming services for live TV


3:15

Stream the Cubs or Cards locally

Cubs games are shown on NBC Sports Chicago, WGN-TV and ABC 7 in the Chicago market. Cards games are shown on Fox Sports Midwest in the St. Louis market. Two of the seven games left between the two clubs will be broadcast nationally on Fox.

Here’s the schedule of the two remaining series between the Cubs and Cards:

  • Friday, Sept. 20: Cards at Cubs, 1:20 p.m. CT on ABC7/FSMW
  • Saturday, Sept. 21: Cards at Cubs, 1:20 p.m. CT on WGN/FSMW
  • Sunday, Sept. 22: Cards at Cubs, 1:20 p.m. CT on NBC Sports Chicago/FSMW
  • Friday, Sept. 27: Cubs at Cards, 7:15 p.m. CT on WGN/FSMW
  • Saturday, Sept. 28: Cubs at Cards, 6:15 p.m. CT on Fox
  • Sunday, Sept. 29: Cubs at Cards, 2:15 p.m. CT on ABC7/FSMW

All of the major live TV streaming services, starting with Sling TV for just $25 per month, offer NBC Sports Chicago, but only some offer ABC 7 and none offer WGN-TV. All of the major streaming services offer FSMW.

Note CNET may get a share of revenue from the sale of the services featured on this page.

NBC Sports Chicago and Fox Sports Midwest is included in Sling TV’s $25-a-month Blue package, but no Sling package offers ABC 7. (The plan is currently discounted to $15 a month for the first month.) You can check to see if you live in the right market for your local baseball broadcasts here

For baseball national broadcasts, Sling TV’s Orange plan includes ESPN and ESPN2, and the Blue plan includes Fox and FS1. Both plans offer TBS. The MLB Network is available as part of the Sports Extra add-on, which costs $5 a month for Sling Orange customers or $10 a month for Sling Blue customers.

Hulu with Live TV costs $45 a month and includes NBC Sports Chicago and ABC 7 for the Chicago market and Fox Sport Midwest in St. Louis. Click the “View all channels in your area” link on its welcome page to see what local channels are offered in your zip code. For national broadcasts, Hulu with Live TV offers ESPN, ESPN2, Fox, FS1 and TBS but not MLB Network. 

YouTube TV costs $50 a month and includes NBC Sports Chicago and ABC 7 for local Cubs fans and Fox Sports Midwest for local Cards fans. It also includes the channels that carry national baseball broadcasts: ESPN, ESPN2, Fox, FS1, MLB Network and TBS. Plug in your zip code on its welcome page to see if NBC Sports Chicago, ABC 7 and Fox Sports Midwest are available in your area.

AT&T TV Now’s $50-a-month Plus package includes NBC Sports Chicago, ABC 7 and Fox Sports Midwest. It also includes ESPN, ESPN2, Fox, FS1 and TBS for national broadcasts, but not the MLB Network. You can use its channel lookup tool to see which local channels are available where you live.

PlayStation Vue’s $55-a-month Core plan includes NBC Sports Chicago, ABC 7 and Fox Sports Midwest. The Core plan also includes ESPN, ESPN2, Fox, FS1, MLB Network and TBS for national broadcasts. You can see if NBC Sports Chicago, ABC 7 and Fox Sports Midwest are available in your area here.

FuboTV costs $55 per month and includes NBC Sports Chicago for the local Chicago market, but it doesn’t have ABC 7. It also offers Fox, FS1 and TBS for national broadcasts, but not ESPN, ESPN2 or MLB Network. 

All of the live TV streaming services above offer free trials, allow you to cancel anytime and require a solid internet connection. Looking for more information? Check out our massive streaming services guide.

Out-of-market streaming

If you’re a Cubs fan living outside of the Chicago area or a Cards fan no longer living in St. Loius, then you can’t watch the Cubbies on one of the local Chicago channels or the Cards on FSMW. You can, however, stream their games live with an MLB.TV subscription.

You’ve got two options:

  • Pay $27 for the rest of the season to watch every out-of-market game live or on-demand, and the in-market (home) team with a 90-minute delay from the end of the game.
  • Pay $16 for the rest of the season to watch a single, out-of-market team. In this case, your Chicago Cubs or your St. Louis Cardinals and nobody else.

Both MLB.TV plans also include streams of home and away radio broadcasts. The radio broadcasts aren’t subject to the blackout rule, so you can listen to home team games live.

Read more: How to watch baseball without cable for the 2019 MLB season

Hulu With Live TV

Maker Business Profile: Crické, Insect Based Snacks

This maker business profile was brought to us through Maker Faire Rome.  You’ll be able to find them and many more creative and exciting makers at Maker Faire Rome: The European Edition on October 18-20. Get your tickets now!


Who are you?

I am Francesco Majno, co-founder and CMO of Crické—a new-food brand specializing in insect-based savory snacks. We use cricket powder to create healthy snacks, high-in-sustainable-protein and incredibly delicious. Insect-based nutrition combined with the familiar shape of Crické snacks aims at helping people overcoming the taboo of eating insects. I have a MA in Communication Design, and worked for 5 years as Information Designer and Project Manager in business consultancy and international design firms. In 2017, I decided to co-found Crické to disrupt the EU’s healthy food market with insect-based products.

Where are you located?

London is where Crické and our snack production is based. Market Data are particularly tempting in the UK which has the largest and fastest-growing savoury snack market in Western Europe—it is worth £2.8 Billion. Snacking is extremely popular here –96% of Brits eat between mealtimes— and millennials are shifting towards more nutritionally balanced and sustainable snacks.

What is your day job?

My role involves working on the brand’s marketing and communication strategy.

What kinds of stuff do you make?

We create savoury snacks made with cricket powder and all-natural ingredients. These nutrient-dense crackers have more than 22% of protein, a great crunchy texture and are outrageously tasty! They are: high in protein, high in vitamin B12, dairy free, with no added sugar, made with extra virgin olive oil and, of course, crickets.

Instagram | Facebook | Newsletter

We deliver insect-based nutrition in a very discreet form. Our food choices have a profound impact on the planet and, at Crické, we believe that insects as an alternative source of sustainable protein can help in reducing our ecological footprint.

How did you get started?

We’re four friends who decided to give real shape to the idea of edible insects as tasty snacks. We believe that the best way to achieve it is to incorporate insects into a familiar and reliable form, like everyday snacks. At the beginning of this adventure, one of our main sources of motivation and inspiration have been the FAO’s paper ‘Edible insects – Future prospects for food and feed security’.

The Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations estimates that at least 2 billion people around the world consider edible insects part of their diet. Insects are a great source of high-quality protein, fats, minerals and micronutrients, such as vitamin B12. With over 2,000 different edible insects species listed worldwide, there is an unbelievable variety overall. Mopane, sago and bamboo worms, termites, grasshoppers, and ants, just to mention a few of them.

Among insects, crickets are playing the leading role. They have a high content of protein and they are a complete protein source, containing all the essential amino acids. Crickets farming is highly sustainable compared to traditional source of protein such as beef.

Livestock farming contributes to 18 per cent of human-produced greenhouse gas emissions worldwide. This is more than the combined emissions produced from all transportation systems globally. Crickets have a low environmental footprint requiring substantially less land and water for production. They multiply very fast having a high reproduction, don’t need much feed and are extremely efficient in converting waste to high-quality protein. As a direct comparison, to produce 1kg of cricket protein requires 1.7kg of feed, to produce the same amount of cattle protein requires 10kg of feed. Crickets require 0,05% of the water that cows do to produce the same amount of proteins. The estimated amount of water needed to produce 100 g of beef is about 2,200 lt, taking into account the huge amount of water needed for forage crops. The amount of water needed to produce the same amount of cricket powder would be around 2000x times less. One-third of emerged lands are already being used for meat production. On average, 200sqm of land are used to produce 1kg of beef. For insects, 15sqm are enough. Have a look at our infographic on Why eating edible insects is important?

The question emerged: how to incorporate their nutritional and environmental benefits into new foods without having people noticing it? That’s when we started to vision our insect-based snacks.

What is something you’ve made that really stands out, that you’re proud of.

We have launched Cricke’s new product line in March 2019, we have clients like Trivago, we’re selling in more than 20 online and offline retailers, and discussing with multiple retailers and distributors. What we are the most proud of is that Borough Market showcased Crické as a forward-thinking food brand tackling one of the world’s most compelling challenges. The Food Futures Market has been a great occasion to have hundreds of people discussing on edible insects as a promising food source and trying our products.

What do you have on your horizon?

We believe insect-based snacks will gain popularity in the next few years as a healthy snack option. Since the launch of our product line, we have been focused on expanding our online and offline channels. We’re planning on extending the line with new products. To make our plan and route to market real and position Crické in the EU market, we are raising £250K to boost marketing, sales and new product development activities. The plan foresees a future round in 2020 to consolidate the business in UK and start selling our delicious products in other European countries (Germany, France, Netherlands, Spain, Sweden, Italy, etc.).

What is something you’d like to work with but haven’t yet?

Future is exciting! We aim to explore new formats to make insect-based nutrition more and more accessible for everyone. The opportunities and the flavour combinations are endless: crackers and crispbreads, chips and crisps, cookies and pasta. We foresee the stigma towards insects as food will be erased from our minds. We want to make it happen thanks to our healthy snacks.

Any advice for people reading this?

When we think of food, we know for certain what is edible and what is not; what we like and what we don’t like. We create our map of food and the extent of its boundaries is determined by our life experience. Categories are crystal clear when closely connected with our direct experience. But when they’re not, we might doubt and seek to redefine them.

We know now that our eating habits have a profound environmental impact and the time has come to reshape our map of food: Eat Insects, Change the world!

Where to find us

www.crickefood.com

Instagram (www.instagram.com/crickefood/)
Facebook (www.facebook.com/crickefood/)

Monthly newsletter (http://eepurl.com/duQelP)

Maker Spotlight: Tino Werner

This maker spotlight was brought to us through Maker Faire Rome.  You’ll be able to find them and many more creative and exciting makers at Maker Faire Rome: The European Edition on October 18-20. Get your tickets now!


Who are you?

My name is Tino Werner. I’m from Graz/Austria, where I studied Telematics.

Where are you located?

After college, I moved to Germany and worked at KIT for nine years. I’m currently located in Leopoldshafen near Karlsruhe.

What is your day job?

Six years ago I decided to turn my hobby into a profession and started developing my own robot kits. So I’m an inventor and entrepreneur. I’m doing a lot of workshops for children, mainly at Maker Faires throughout Germany. If possible, my wife and my two children come with me. This year I’ll be at the Maker Faire in Rome – the biggest Maker Faire in Europe – for the first time.

What kinds of stuff do you make?

I make small analog robots. They’re designed as kits, so that children can use them to understand the world of electronics. The robots respond particularly perceptive to their surroundings, dodging objects, circling under light or shadows, and much more. This means learning about electronics becomes fun to explore! Even adults enjoy them.

How did you get started making stuff?

I loved creating autonomous machines as a child, using construction toys!

As a teenager I combined and replaced the toy parts with more robust materials.

What is something you’ve made that really stands out, that you’re proud of?

At the age of 18 I build a walking spider robot that moved, acted, and looked like a tarantula. The spider only had two motors for walking and three others to move the feelers and abdomen. Much later I constructed a miniaturized model and designed it as a soldering kit. Since I love making things as simple as possible, I used an analog yet variable control circuit.


What do you have on your horizon?
Years ago I patented the sensor system and the drive mechanism of my spider robot, but because of the extensive work time needed, I never finished the kit in order to sell it.

Currently, I’m working on a new prototype for a six-legged walking robot. It will be a kit where no soldering is necessary, yet it’ll be able to be digitally controlled as well as analog.

I’m also working on prototypes of a new kind of wheels that have no center and am hoping to bring these onto the market soon too.

What links would you like included? 

My homepage, which has more detailed information about my robot kits and the possibility to order them.

iOS 13 arrives today. Get your iPhone ready before installing it – CNET

10-ios-13-beta

iOS 13 adds a dark mode to your iPhone, and much more. 

The iPhone 11 may not launch until Friday, but our review is already out and according to CNET’s Scott Stein, it’s the best midtier phone Apple has ever made. New iPhones aren’t the only thing Apple is launching this week — Apple will release iOS 13 for iPhone and iPod Touch owners today. The software update brings with it plenty of new features, including a dedicated dark mode, a new swipe keyboard and a revamped Photos app (complete with video editing tools). But before you anxiously begin tapping that update button, there are a few things you should do on your iPhone to ensure everything goes as smoothly as possible. 

You don’t want to be one of those people posting on Facebook that iOS 13 lost your contacts and you need phone numbers — there’s no reason for that to happen in 2019. 

Take a few minutes right now and do some fall cleaning, then create a backup of your iPhone; just in case. Then after you’ve done all of that, install iOS 13

Now playing: Watch this: Hands-on with the iPhone 11’s ultra-wide-angle camera


4:56

When will iOS 13 and iPadOS 13 be available?

  • iOS 13 launches for iPhones on Thursday, Sept. 19.
  • iPadOS 13 launches for iPad on Monday, Sept. 30.

Devices that will support iOS 13, iPadOS 13

iPhone XS 12.9-inch iPad Pro
iPhone XS Max 11-inch iPad Pro
iPhone XR 10.5-inch iPad Pro
iPhone X 9.7-inch iPad Pro
iPhone 8 iPad (6th generation)
iPhone 8 Plus iPad (5th generation)
iPhone 7 iPad Mini (5th generation)
iPhone 7 Plus iPad Mini 4
iPhone 6S iPad Air (3rd generation)
iPhone 6S Plus iPad Air 2
iPhone SE iPod Touch (7th generation)

Get rid of old apps and photos

I recommend using major OS updates as a yearly reminder it’s time to go through all of the apps you have installed on your iPhone or iPad and delete those random face swap apps or games you used for a few minutes, then forgot all about. It’s also a good time to go through the Photos app and delete all those random screenshots, photos and videos you no longer need. 

Removing unused apps will trim down the amount of storage you’re using, and also speed up the backup process since there’s less for iTunes or iCloud to backup. 

Back up your iPhone or iPad

There are two methods for backing up your iOS device. You can use Apple’s iCloud service, or use iTunes on a Mac or PC. Backing up through iCloud is arguably the easiest method. It’s a good idea to back up your device right before you update, that way if something goes wrong you’re not restoring to a backup created a few days ago, and all of your current information will be restored. 

Screenshots by Jason Cipriani/CNET

iCloud

Using Apple’s iCloud service to back up your iOS device is the easier method. Each iCloud account is given 5GB of free storage for things like backups, so why not use it? To force a backup of your iOS device using Apple’s iCloud service, go to Settings > tap on your name > iCloud > iCloud Backup > Back up now.

Make sure you’re connected to a Wi-Fi network and have a charger handy. You don’t want to burn through your wireless data plan, and the backup process can chew through a lot of your battery in a short time.

Use iTunes

Another way to back up your iOS device is to use iTunes. You’ll need a computer with the latest version of iTunes installed and an Apple Lightning cable. Connect your iOS device to the computer and unlock it. Enter your PIN code if prompted to approve a connection between the computer and device.

itunes-device-iconitunes-device-icon
Screenshot by Jason Cipriani/CNET

In iTunes, click on the small thumbnail of your device next to the Music/Movies drop-down menu.

With the Summary option selected on the left, you should see a screen full of details about your device. On that screen is also a Backups section. Leave iCloud selected, but check the Encrypt iPhone backup box. 

You’ll be asked for a password that will be used to encrypt the backup. Whatever you do, do not lose or forget the password you enter — without it, you can’t restore your iOS device’s backup should you need to.

Screenshot by Jason Cipriani/CNET

With a password entered, click Back Up Now and let iTunes work. A few minutes later, you’ll have an encrypted backup stored on your computer. An encrypted backup will prevent you from having to enter account passwords for apps like email or Facebook when restoring a device, as opposed to iCloud backups that can be hit or miss.

Once you have a backup, install iOS 13, then check out our complete guide to all of the hidden — and announced — features so you can get the most out of the update. 

Originally publish last week. Updated to reflect launch date.

How to connect and pair AirPods with a Mac – CNET

09-airpods-2nd-generation

Thanks to iCloud, connecting your AirPods to a Mac couldn’t be easier.

Sarah Tew/CNET

Perhaps you have a pair of AirPods ($145 at Amazon) from Apple and you’ve mastered using them with your iPhone ($1,000 at Amazon). But now you want to expand your wireless audio reach, so to speak, and use them with your Mac. Before you do a single thing, here’s where Apple has your back.

If you’ve already set up your AirPods with your iPhone and your Mac is signed in to iCloud with the same Apple ID, then you should be good to go. To check, place your AirPods in your ears and check either the Bluetooth or volume drop-down menu from the menu bar on your Mac. Then choose AirPods from the list.

If you’d like to follow along or see us connect a pair of AirPods step-by-step, watch the video below: How to connect AirPods to your Mac.

To quote Guns N’ Roses, “it’s so easy.”

But if you don’t see your AirPods listed, there are a few things you need to do. 

1. Charge your AirPods. Make sure those little guys have all the power they need.

2. Open Bluetooth preferences on your Mac. You can either go to the Bluetooth drop-down menu from your menu bar and select Open Bluetooth Preferences… or go to the Apple menu, select System Preferences and click Bluetooth.

3. Double-check that Bluetooth is actually on. Because you never know — things happen!

4. Put both AirPods in their charging case and open the lid.

5. Press and hold the setup button on the back of the case until the status light flashes white.

6. Go back to the Bluetooth preferences window on your Mac and select AirPods from the Devices list.

7. Finally, click Connect.

screen-shot-2019-09-06-at-4-27-30-pm.pngscreen-shot-2019-09-06-at-4-27-30-pm.png

Sometimes your AirPods might be paired to your Mac, but not actively connected. Go into the Bluetooth drop-down menu and connect your AirPods.

Patrick Holland/CNET

If sound still plays from your Mac speakers, check either the Bluetooth or volume drop-down menu in the menu bar and make sure your AirPods are selected as the output.

Now you can listen to music from your phone or from your Mac without changing headphones. And that’s how the world is meant to work.

If you still want more nuance and control while using your AirPods on your Mac there are a couple of third-party apps that can assist you. Read Better Bluetooth: 2 apps for using AirPods with a Mac.

Now playing: Watch this: AirPods 2 or Sony WF-1000XM3: Wireless earbud battle


9:40

$144

CNET may get a commission from retail offers.

Apple AirPods 2019

Cool Crowdfunding: Touch Sensing, Motion Control, And Tiny Sensors

We receive so many pitches for crowdfunding projects. They pour into our inbox daily. Since crowdfunding is a bit of a gamble, it is always kind of hard to determine just how to write about these projects, considering that many of them may not ever deliver. Cool Crowdfunding is our way of sharing some of the ones that catch our eye. 

Remember, some of the crowdfunding projects from our previous Cool Crowdfunding collections may still be active! Go back and check them out to see if there’s anything you shouldn’t miss.


Trill Touch sensing

Easily add touch sensing interfaces to your projects. There are 3 different variations to choose from to allow you to add touch to your projects in a huge number of ways.

find it on Kickstarter


a

Smoothieboard V2

If you’re thinking of designing something like a 3d printer, the smoothieboard is the central management system that can control it. That means it is the brains AND the motor controllers, and this version comes with a whole list of new improvements and upgrades.

Find it on Kickstarter


Whiskers

Itty bitty teeny tiny boards that work with the TinyCircuits platform. They were already small, but now you can add super tiny sensors and actuators.

find it on Kickstarter

iOS 13 is coming to your iPhone this week. Here’s how to get ready – CNET

10-ios-13-beta

iOS 13 adds a dark mode to your iPhone, and much more. 

You don’t have to have one of Apple’s new iPhone 11s to get iOS 13. On Thursday, Apple will release iOS 13 for iPhone and iPod Touch owners. The software update brings with it plenty of new features, including a dedicated dark mode, a new swipe keyboard and a revamped Photos app (complete with video editing tools). But before you anxiously begin tapping that update button, there are a few things you should do on your iPhone to ensure everything goes as smoothly as possible. 

You don’t want to be one of those people posting on Facebook that iOS 13 lost your contacts and you need phone numbers — there’s no reason for that to happen in 2019. 

Take a few minutes right now and do some fall cleaning, then create a backup of your iPhone; just in case. Then after you’ve done all of that, install iOS 13

Now playing: Watch this: Hands-on with the iPhone 11’s ultra-wide-angle camera


4:56

When will iOS 13 and iPadOS 13 be available?

  • iOS 13 launches for iPhones on Thursday, Sept. 19.
  • iPadOS 13 launches for iPad on Monday, Sept. 30.

Devices that will support iOS 13, iPadOS 13

iPhone XS 12.9-inch iPad Pro
iPhone XS Max 11-inch iPad Pro
iPhone XR 10.5-inch iPad Pro
iPhone X 9.7-inch iPad Pro
iPhone 8 iPad (6th generation)
iPhone 8 Plus iPad (5th generation)
iPhone 7 iPad Mini (5th generation)
iPhone 7 Plus iPad Mini 4
iPhone 6S iPad Air (3rd generation)
iPhone 6S Plus iPad Air 2
iPhone SE iPod Touch (7th generation)

Get rid of old apps and photos

I recommend using major OS updates as a yearly reminder it’s time to go through all of the apps you have installed on your iPhone or iPad and delete those random face swap apps or games you used for a few minutes, then forgot all about. It’s also a good time to go through the Photos app and delete all those random screenshots, photos and videos you no longer need. 

Removing unused apps will trim down the amount of storage you’re using, and also speed up the backup process since there’s less for iTunes or iCloud to backup. 

Back up your iPhone or iPad

There are two methods for backing up your iOS device. You can use Apple’s iCloud service, or use iTunes on a Mac or PC. Backing up through iCloud is arguably the easiest method. It’s a good idea to back up your device right before you update, that way if something goes wrong you’re not restoring to a backup created a few days ago, and all of your current information will be restored. 

Screenshots by Jason Cipriani/CNET

iCloud

Using Apple’s iCloud service to back up your iOS device is the easier method. Each iCloud account is given 5GB of free storage for things like backups, so why not use it? To force a backup of your iOS device using Apple’s iCloud service, go to Settings > tap on your name > iCloud > iCloud Backup > Back up now.

Make sure you’re connected to a Wi-Fi network and have a charger handy. You don’t want to burn through your wireless data plan, and the backup process can chew through a lot of your battery in a short time.

Use iTunes

Another way to back up your iOS device is to use iTunes. You’ll need a computer with the latest version of iTunes installed and an Apple Lightning cable. Connect your iOS device to the computer and unlock it. Enter your PIN code if prompted to approve a connection between the computer and device.

itunes-device-iconitunes-device-icon
Screenshot by Jason Cipriani/CNET

In iTunes, click on the small thumbnail of your device next to the Music/Movies drop-down menu.

With the Summary option selected on the left, you should see a screen full of details about your device. On that screen is also a Backups section. Leave iCloud selected, but check the Encrypt iPhone backup box. 

You’ll be asked for a password that will be used to encrypt the backup. Whatever you do, do not lose or forget the password you enter — without it, you can’t restore your iOS device’s backup should you need to.

Screenshot by Jason Cipriani/CNET

With a password entered, click Back Up Now and let iTunes work. A few minutes later, you’ll have an encrypted backup stored on your computer. An encrypted backup will prevent you from having to enter account passwords for apps like email or Facebook when restoring a device, as opposed to iCloud backups that can be hit or miss.

Once you have a backup, install iOS 13, then check out our complete guide to all of the hidden — and announced — features so you can get the most out of the update. 

Originally publish last week. Updated to reflect launch date.

Maker Spotlight: Manolis Kiagias

This maker spotlight was brought to us through Maker Faire Rome.  You’ll be able to find them and many more creative and exciting makers at Maker Faire Rome: The European Edition on October 18-20. Get your tickets now!


who are you?

My name is Manolis Kiagias, I am an electronic engineer and computer scientist, I have been playing around with computers and electronics since the early 80s and have always been fascinated by both hardware and programming. I’m the kind of split personality that spends hours designing and debugging analog and digital circuits on the scope and then the best parts of many afternoons writing code for our projects!

 

where are you located?

I live in Greece, in Chania, Crete. I’ve lived here for most of my life although I spent about a year and a half as a student in the University of Sheffield, UK. Chania is a lovely city and a tourist attraction but obviously – at least in the past – left a lot to be desired for aspiring electronic engineers. It does however have a higher (technological) education institute for electronic engineering where I was a student many years ago!


what is your day job?

I have been working as a high school teacher for many years. I taught computing related subjects, which actually included some real programming in languages like Pascal(!) and Python. I’ve also taught other technical subjects like computer networking and hardware basics. It is sad that the current curriculum of technical high schools here actually fails to inspire students. I’ve always thought of programming as a fun and creative experience but for the most part the students fail to engage. It is actually quite difficult to write an interesting program (one that uses graphics, sound etc) in a modern language / operating environment. Text based programs look dated and quite unimpressive to kids who are accustomed to colorful screens for ages.

what makerspace/hackerspace/fablab do you attend if any?

A few years ago, some colleagues and me decided that we can actually do something more interesting in our spare time. We started exploring the idea of forming a hackerspace as a school project, that would use the facilities of a school outside normal teaching hours. It would allow us a lot of freedom in what we teach and experiment with and would be free for any student wishing to attend. We called it SchoolSpace, the school hackerspace and is currently kindly hosted in the 2nd Junior High School of Chania. We meet once a week for a few hours and have tutorial sessions for beginners as well as more advanced projects for our senior members. These advanced projects are most of the time used in local exhibitions and also in Makerfaires. We are attending Makerfaire Rome for the fourth consecutive year!  

What kinds of stuff do you make?

We are making mostly electronic stuff that combine microcontrollers (Arduino, MSP430) and analog electronics. Sometimes we go wild and design everything from scratch: One of our advanced projects, the Rainbow Project is a reconstruction of an 80s computer using components from that era: we are designing, building, and programming (in assembly, no less) a Z80 based machine from scratch. You’ll have a chance to see it running in all its glory in Makerfaire Rome this year (please pay us a visit!)

How did you get started making stuff?

As a kid I was always very interested in how things worked. Most of my toys had very short life spans as I would tear them apart and use the parts to create other stuff. As a teenager I found out about early computing through magazines and bought my first computer, a TI-99/4A, in 1984. I taught myself programming and would literally spend days on end creating games and interesting programs in BASIC. Soon enough I combined both electronics and programming (my knowledge of electronics advanced greatly as a student, at these early days with no Internet, the sources of information were very limited) and started designing more complex stuff. Creating stuff gives me a lot of joy and I try to pass this enthusiasm to my SchoolSpace students.

What is something you’ve made that really stands out, that you’re proud of?

We’ve made a lot of stuff that I’m really proud of. Some of our most complex projects are:

  • The Aiolos Project, a FreeBSD based beowulf (compute) cluster that was exhibited locally.
  • The Enigma Project, an electronic recreation of the Enigma cipher machine used by the Germans in the second world war
  • The Rainbow Project, a Z80 based educational computer designed and built from scratch.
  • The Relativity Project, using electronics to teach Einstein’s special theory of relativity.

Some of my personal projects also include two books, one on Python Game Programming, in the spirit of the good old home computer programming but using a modern language, and a networking guide that is used as a substitute textbook for entry exams by thousands of students in Greece. Both are distributed as PDF files free of charge.  (You can check them out along with other projects in my github, https://github.com/sonic2000gr/

What do you have on your horizon?

We’d like to expand our hackerspace to cover topics that we haven’t touched yet and also if possible to run for more hours during the week, although this will prove difficult. We are always trying to inspire young people (and we also get inspired by them) and look for even more interesting projects in the future!

what is something you’d like to work with but haven’t yet?

We haven’t yet touched real robotics or IoT stuff and we’d definitely like to get into these. Some Android programming also. 

Any advice for people reading this?

For anyone reading this: If you are programming and creating stuff, do it for the fun of it.  It is not some kind of chore that you want to get over with quickly. The difficult parts, the problems that will keep you awake at night, that will force you to think outside of the box, is what makes all this worth it. It’s the rush of adrenaline when you get to the solution, when you see you circuit working, your program running. Computing is not about using ready made applications, spending your time on social networks or typing documents into a word processor. Explore programming, explore electronics, you’ll be amazed at the possibilities!

Recent Articles

Trending Now