A Canary to Tweet About

Canary blends  in with almost any environment

Canary blends in with almost any environment

A few weeks ago Verizon sent me a Canary. Not the type that eats birdseed, but a handsomely designed home security system that you control from your smart phone.

The first time I set it up at our house, it was a snap and took fewer than 10 minutes—a very different Canary appexperience from the Belkin Netcam HD Camera  we’ve been using at our store, Alki Surf Shop  in West Seattle. By simply connecting a cable between the Canary and the headphone jack of my iPhone, then following the prompts on the Canary app, it was super easy to get it up and running.

When I moved the Canary to our store, it was a different story. I was unable to get it to work because of the Comcast firewall in place there. It was disappointing because the Canary has so many great features that our Belkin is missing. The Canary support team tried to help, but at the end of the day said there was nothing they could do.

The Canary says it’s smart home security for families, renters, homeowners and travelers, grandparents, dog lovers, workaholics, and everyone in between.

But they don’t list “businesses,” and I can see why. The set up could require troubleshooting with service providers, and I didn’t have a clear indication that it could easily be resolved. It’s too bad because I could see small businesses as potentially a terrific market for them.

Both the Canary and Belkin offer:Canary in box SM 20150531_223005

  • HD Camera
  • Microphone
  • Motion detection
  • Night vision
  • Wi-fi enabled
  • Ability to record video
  • Ability to send notifications of movement

The Canary also boasts a 90+ dB siren and the ability to measure

  • Temperature
  • Humidity
  • Air quality

The Canary has a wide-angle lens that will capture a span of about 147 degrees, which is great. Also, the quality of the video is excellent. One disadvantage is, there is no way to rotate the angle of the camera, so it needs to be located on a plane that looks out into the environment from a fixed point-of-view.  We like placing our cameras up high (above eye level and out view), and it’s not possible to do that with the Canary.

Canary packaging SM 20150531_223108

Spot UV on a dull suede-like stock

That being said, the industrial design is sleek, and speaking as a graphic designer, the packaging is sturdy and attractive. There is one superfluous layer of packaging—a clear plastic surround that I think was meant to protect the box, but isn’t always successful.

Canary is beautiful device that can seamlessly blend in on a book shelf or table. It offers users peace of mind, allowing them to see and hear what is going on in their homes/environments when they are not there. And it can be set up to alert you when there is activity.

If you’re looking for mid-range priced solution for your home, the Canary is worth a look!

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Alki Surf Shop: The Store Verizon Helped Build

A mini Statue of Liberty near the birthplace of Seattle

A mini Statue of Liberty near the birthplace of Seattle

Many people think of Verizon simply as a telecommunications company. But it’s much more. Because of its unique lens on its customer’s needs, it enables people to create, build, communicate and connect in ways you might not imagine.

After months of planning and renovation, in July we opened the legendary Alki Surf Shop in Seattle, home of original Alki-branded clothing and accessories.

Alki Surf Shop is a dream come true for both my husband and me. We’ve created a unique, fun and inviting experience in the Alki Beach neighborhood of West Seattle.

Beside the great “Genuine Alki”-branded clothing we’ve designed and produced locally, we identified and filled a need: There wasn’t a resource on the beach that offered essential things like towels, mats, sunscreen and other “oops, we forgot” items.  And we realized there isn’t a central source providing information on local businesses and services, so we started a bulletin board featuring business cards, menus and schedules to help support our neighbors, while at the same time helping visitors to the beach..

Tees, tanks and hoodies with the Alki Genuine brand.

Tees, tanks and hoodies with the Alki Genuine brand.

Colorful beach towels, sunscreen, sunglasses, beach mats, flip flops and more are available to beach visitors.

Colorful beach towels, sunscreen, sunglasses, beach mats, flip flops and more are available to beach visitors.

Also, there wasn’t a place on the beach that focused on Alki souvenirs, which is crazy since Alki is a “must see” destination in Seattle. People frequently tell us it feels more like southern California or Hawaii than a metropolitan city. In addition to the wonderful people we’ve met in our neighborhood, just this past week we had visitors from France, Germany, Finland, Denmark, Japan, Hong Kong, Canada, Mexico, The Dominican Republic, and states from all across the country.

Our first visitors from Germany and Arkansas

Our first visitors from Germany and Arkansas

Alki Surf Shop offers a clean, beautiful and inviting shopping experience with a friendly “island vibe.” We receive a lot of great comments in our guest book, and love the suggestions we receive from customers who help guide us as we add new products to our shelves. When a customer makes a purchase, they are treated like “Hawaiian royalty” by David, who blows a conch shell with a shout out to thank them. It makes for lots of laughter and applause.

From early in our journey, the Nokia Lumia Icon smartphone, and Nokia Lumia 2520 tablet played important roles. They allowed us to connect with, and stay on top of, correspondence with suppliers, manage our inventory, and source, as well as coordinate the procurement of important building materials. They were literally lifelines for us!

© Terri Nakamura Sweet! Nokia Lumia Icon and 2520

Verizon’s Nokia Lumia Icon smartphone and the Nokia Lumia 2520 tablet.

By storing important documents in the cloud, everyone with authority to share the files is able to access and update them using the 2520. The tablet is housed in a durable case with a built-in keyboard and touchpad—both beautifully designed for aesthetics and functionality. And it folds compactly for storage. And we often use the Icon to power the music in the store, or to take photos and videos of our visitors.

In addition to the Icon and 2520, we have Verizon cell-phone signal booster, and a Belkin HD Net Cam — essentials needed for staying connected.

© Terri Nakamura  Belkin Netcam HD for Alki Surf Shop Seattle

The awesome Belkin Netcam HD plus helps us monitor activity in the store, day and night.

The Belkin HD Net Cam offers amazing peace of mind. There are five sensitivity ranges for motion detection from “lowest” to “highest,” and depending on the setting chosen, we are sent alerts of movement in a given area, allowing us to immediately see and hear what is happening. There is also an option to store recorded video on a subscription cloud service. The night vision feature let’s us look in on the store at any time, which is amazing and cool.

Two other great add-on tools from Verizon include the Jawbone Era, a very small, light and comfortable headset, which makes it possible to talk, hands-free, while performing other work.

The second is the Jawbone Up Activity Tracker, which is basically a bracelet that monitors your movement. Since we began the process of building the store, it’s required so much in the way of physical exertion (demolition, stripping surfaces, scraping, speckling, sanding, painting, finishing, etc.), that I’ve lost 12 pounds! It’s been great to have the Jawbone Tracker as a positive reinforcer!

© Terri Nakamura  Jawbone ERA and Jawbone UP cropped

Terrific gadgets including the Jawbone UP and Jawbone ERA have enhanced the process.

It may take a village to raise a child, but it took Verizon to help our business get up and running. Thank you to @theonlinemom and #vzwbuzz for helping make our dream come true.


Follow us on Twitter: @alkisurfshop; Friend us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/alkisurfshop or visit us at the store in Seattle, located at 2622 Alki Avenue SW, Seattle, WA 98116 near 59th and Alki Avenue SW. (206) 403.1901.

© Terri Nakamura Dashboard hula girl Alki Surf Shop Seattle

One of three dashboard hula girls you can find at Alki Surf Shop in Seattle.