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Ultimate tech tools for the household CTO

Jasmine France | May 16, 2013
Running a household is tough work, but employing the right tech can make all the difference. These apps can streamline your operation.

Say it in writing
There are few better ways to show you care than an old-fashioned greeting card, and now you don't have to leave the house to send one. Ink Cards is a cute and somewhat cheeky app for Android and iOS. You can browse by category, and customize cards with your own photos and text. Then, you can share the cards digitally (via text, email, or Facebook), or print and mail them in postcard format for $2 each (you must purchase credits). Greeting Cards for Windows Phone also offers customization and a decent selection, though no option to print. Shutterfly, on the other hand, lets you craft and send bound photo books along with personalized cards and stationery.

Tech techniques

Protect your home
Thanks to advances in home automation, home security is easier than ever. One of the best options is Vivint Home Automation (one of PCWorld's Best Products of 2012). For about $69 per month, the package includes a video camera, an electronic lock, a smart thermostat (energy savings!), and a motion detector. An app allows you to monitor everything remotely. Personalized codes let you see who comes home and when. For simple security without the home automation, Xfinity Home provides an option for $40 per month.

Access your computer remotely
A remote-access tool is invaluable for working from home or accessing something on a home PC from the office. LogMeIn lets you access your Mac or Windows machine from nearly any browser. The basic service is free, while the $70-per-month Pro plan adds features such as remote printing and file sharing. SugarSync is another nifty service that's part file sharing and part remote access. You can use it to create a mirror of your desktop in the cloud.

Get entertainment for all
All work and no play will make anyone dull (and maybe a little crazy), so it's important to have entertainment on tap. Consider cutting the cable cord and picking up a Roku box, which lets you stream TV and movies directly from the Internet. You'll want to pair it with Netflix and Hulu Plus subscriptions (each is $8 per month). Sure beats a $50-plus monthly cable bill, no?

 

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