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The August keyless entry system for the home.

Next Generation of Keyless Entry Systems

Keyless entry may not be futuristic, but the next generation of systems is taking convenience to another level.

Meet August, a newcomer on the scene. Designed by the same genius who brought us the Bluetooth-connected Jawbone systems, August is a wireless, keyless locking system for your door that opens through your cellphone. The locking mechanism itself is battery operated, so if your power or wireless go down, the August is still up and running.

With the August in place and the App running on your smartphone, the system can "sense" your presence and will auto-unlock. You can create temporary or permanent access for friends, family and visitors by simply extending them an invitation using the App -- the duration of their access is entirely up to you. So whether you have a contractor coming for the day or an in-law for the weekend, you can grant access over the phone and not have to worry about being there to open the door.

August will also log all events and send push notifications to your phone in real time so you can keep track of the comings and goings of those you've given access to.

Maybe best of all, August allows you to use a traditional key to unlock the mechanism, too -- just for those who want that added peace of mind.

August will go on sale later this year and will retail for $199.

What are your thoughts on August?

Tommy suggests constructing a simpler version of this, his Blanket Chest.

Tuesdays With Tommy: Storage Bench

It's a fact in many homes that the entryway space accumulates the everyday items, clothes and footwear used by family members. Over time this stuff builds up and spills into everyone's path, tripping guests and creating a mess. The entryway storage bench is a perfect solution for this area of the home. It can provide comfortable seating for the putting on of footwear and can keep the clutter contained.

In this week's Tuesdays with Tommy, woodworker and TV host Tommy Mac shares some tips on how to build a better storage bench.

The Problem

Jack from Minnesota: I want to build a storage bench for my entryway. Any advice on type of wood to use? I want to make sure it's strong enough to sit on, so what thickness should I be looking at? Also, if I plan to store shoes and boots inside, should I lay anything down on the inside floor of the bench to protect it from mud and moisture?

The Answer

Tommy: My advice would be to go with a simpler version of my Blanket Chest project. So for wood, you've got a few options. Go with oak -- like white oak -- or maple or cherry. Even pine would take a good beating.

If you are really concerned about the inside, you can put a cedar bottom on it. But if you build a decent box with a half-decent finish, you should have to worry about it.

To make sure it's strong, obviously you'll want it well-built. Make sue the lid overlaps the sides. Consider using mortise and tenons. And for stock, you could do fine with a 3/4", 7/8" or 1-inch.

The Schlage electronic keypad motto: "Won't Fail Til Your Memory Does."

Throw Out The Key

The announcement out of Schlage that their BE365 electronic keypad deadbolt just earned the notable "Best Buy" rating from Consumers Digest comes at a good time, as I am fresh off a visit to the Schlage booth at the International Builders' Show in Las Vegas.

Retailing at $119, the BE365 is a solid investment in home security and convenience. I have an older Schlage electronic keypad deadbolt on my front door and I must say I love having it. It means one less key on the keychain. It also means one more number sequence I have to remember (in this case, only four numbers), which hasn't been an issue, yet. Unless I am afflicted by early onset Alzheimer's, I'll enjoy keyless entry and locking of my front door for years to come. I can't speak for the BE365, but I can say that this technology is a worthwhile addition to any home.

What I WON'T yet endorse is Schlage's new "SecureKey" cylinder and re-keying technology. During a visit to the Schlage booth at IBS 2010, my co-workers and I were treated to a demonstration of the SecureKey features and function. I consider myself a pretty smart guy, and I know my co-workers are as sharp as any, but we couldn't, even after multiple explanations, understand exactly how the SecureKey was meant to work. (Side note: after reading the explanation of the SecureKey on the Schlage website, I am pretty sure I now get it. Perhaps my brain was too high on sugar from all the free cookies at the Sears booth that day.)

Take a look at the BE365 and the SecureKey and let us know if you think either product are something you would invest in for your home.

Dr. Doormat Dr. Doormat

Foul Feet Foiled Again

For those of us who might actually consider eating off the floor, here’s the ultimate germ protection—Dr. Doormat, the anti-microbial doormat to keep germs out on the mat where they belong. Inventor Debbie Greenspan came up with the sanitary solution after years of hotel work taught her just how widespread fouled feet can be. This 2-by-3 foot antimicrobial mat kills germs where they land so they won’t be shared. Granted, we could wash the floor instead, but hey—I’m all for a reduction in housework! For $59 a pop these mats may be just what my neurotic neighbors need. Then I can eat off their floors!

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