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Interesting Times! – All the latest from John Ross Smart Living

Interesting Times! – All the latest from John Ross Smart Living
20th April 2020 John Ross Smart Homes

Interesting Times

Well, where to start this month? These are difficult and concerning times for the whole world, and we hope with all our hearts that you and your loved ones are staying safe and staying home #ProtectOurNHS.

Many of us have been spending more time at home, some juggling jobs and childcare while others may have been stood down from their jobs, or ‘furloughed’ (seriously, had anyone ever heard this word a few months ago?). Finding new routines whilst making sure that our bodies and minds are stimulated has been a challenge that few of us expected this year. So what can we do to motivate ourselves? I’ve found that explosion of online conferencing – for both business and social purposes – has been amazing. I’ve spent more time in meetings, doing training and watching webinars than I’ve ever done before – and it’s been great. It’s convenient, it’s easy, you can do it in your pyjamas, you can do it while making the tea – in fact you can pretty much suit yourself and your situation.
It’s much more appealing to actually do something and not just sit and vegetate – which is the real danger at the moment. The proliferation of motivational posts and online exercise sessions (I’m becoming irrationally scared of Joe Wicks’ cheerful face) is welcome to many of us and encouraging in this time of uncertainty.

It’s also given us the opportunity to contemplate life, and think about how we can contribute something to society. So, what can we do to help you?

Well, we are proud to be techy geeks, and we know from experience that there are lots of you out there who don’t like technology… so we are always happy to take a call when something goes wrong. We can talk you through various menus to retune your TV, or re-enable inputs for that new games console before the kids have a meltdown, or even just try and tell you which wire goes where.

There’s a limit to what we can do over the phone but with the aforementioned video conferencing there’s many new possibilities – we can connect with you via Zoom (or your video conferencing tool of choice) and ask you to show us the menu, and give you instructions as if we were there beside you. And let’s face it, it’s much more personal when you can see the other person instead of just hearing them! And for the more technical situations like Smart Tech, wifi or internet problems, we have added a feature to our website that allows you to click for a service connection and we can then connect directly to your computer or laptop and work on the issue remotely.

It’s life-reaffirming to see how everyone of all ages is adapting to this unique situation, and finding novel ways of helping each other through it. So please don’t hesitate to give us a call – or a video chat – when you need a bit of help – or even if you just want to see a friendly face!

Top Tech Tip

Did you know that most internet hubs, or routers as we call them (or even “rowwwter” if you’re American), have two bands of Wi-Fi? The original Wi-Fi band is on a frequency of 2.4Ghz and, although robust and able to travel reasonable distances, it has a limit to how much data it can throughput – in other words, it’s limited on how much information it can send and how fast it can send it. It’s not great for sending a 4K movie to a bedroom at the other end of the house. The ‘new’ Wi-Fi band is on 5Ghz and has much higher capacity so can send much more information at a much higher speed than the 2.4 band. It is a little more limited in range but for all our mobile devices like phones, tablets and laptops, it’s great for our ever increasing appetite for downloading, streaming and all the other stuff we now do as part of our normal day. On most hubs the two bands are named the same and it’s often hard to tell which one your device has connected to, so you never know if you are getting the best experience you can. When we set up systems for our clients we separate the bands and give them different names, meaning you can easily tell which one is which and make sure your device is always connected to the 5Ghz signal whenever possible. If you’re not sure which frequency you’re on, or suspect that you’re on the 2.4Ghz, get in touch and we can switch you remotely via the service connection I mentioned above.


What’s New

Well, this has been a tricky one this month, as we’ve temporarily closed our shop in line with government guidelines… BUT WE ARE STILL OPEN VIA PHONE, EMAIL AND VIDEO CALL.

However we did get some Rako Smart Lighting stuff to play with (sorry, I mean ‘evaluate’) at home, which keeps me from getting on Angie’s nerves! Mind you, she did raise her eyebrows when I introduced her to my “Barry White” low-level setting. It really is a great system for many reasons… but, for me, the most interesting is that it is perfect for retro-fit solutions – where the house is already built and running new cables can be difficult. Rako dimmers communicate wirelessly with each other and the main hub via a proprietary wireless technology that is very efficient and very robust – which is really important when it comes to this type of product. Most DIY Smart Lights work via Wi-Fi and are extremely susceptible to interference or loss of communication. There is nothing more frustrating than your lights not switching off when you want them to, or even worse, switching on in the middle of the night and waking the house! Rako has none of these problems and is a great solution to the problem of retrofitting Smart Lighting. And the best bit? The keypads are battery powered and completely wireless – no cables at all – so they can be fitted anywhere. It’s so simple to replace your existing light switches, as well as adding more where you need them.

The Reverse-Tardis Telly

So what did we do with the client’s Samsung One Box when we mounted his super-slim TV? We cleverly hid it inside the wall in a specially designed in-wall box. These boxes are designed for this very purpose, to locate and hide boxes like the Samsung One, or SkyQ mini boxes or even an Apple TV box. And they keep all the cables nice and tidy too – great if you or someone you live with is fussy about visible cables!

If you’d like to find out more about your options for wall-mounting TVs then get in touch.

My Sky picture is Frozen – we couldn’t Let It Go!

A recent client, who is disabled and is often confined to bed, was having a problem with her Sky -she’d had SkyQ installed last year with a main box in the lounge and a secondary mini box in her bedroom. Unfortunately the picture on her TV in her bedroom kept freezing and locking up, which was extremely upsetting for her as she is often stuck in bed with nothing to do. She explained that Sky had sent round engineers a few times to try and sort the problem and she said that at one time there were “four boys all trying to fix it”, but no joy – the issue remained. She called us in, and of course (why else would I be telling you this?) we managed to fix it. Bu how did we do it? You will have to read next month to see!

Business Spotlight: Trend Transformations

Seeing as we’re lucky enough to have your attention, we thought it would be cool to add a new section to our newsletter where I’ll turn the spotlight on a local business whom we know or have worked with.

We’re very proud to be members of the Perth “Fair City” BNI chapter, which allows us to meet weekly with other local businesses who have similar values and help each other out with recommendations and referrals. One of the businesses that we know well and would happily recommend is Trend Transformations, based at 9 High St in Perth (that’s the river end).

Trend Transformations specialise in renovating kitchens using a unique work surface that fits over the existing surface and can cover existing tiles on the splashbacks, plus they can also replace the doors and supply and fit Italian glass mosaics. What I like about them is that they don’t have to demolish your old kitchen in order to give you something shiny and new, as their work surfaces simply fit over the old ones… so much less mess and disruption as well as a much shorter fitting time. It’s also one of the most environmentally friendly ways of getting a new kitchen, as their materials have a high recycled content and they’re not filling landfills with your old kitchen bits!

If you’re thinking of a kitchen upgrade (and maybe adding some smart living tech to it too) then get in touch with Robert Campbell at [email protected] or check out their website Like us and many other local businesses, their showroom is currently closed during the lockdown but Robert can still help you remotely – if you measure up and send him some snaps of your current kitchen then he can create CAD design images of your future kitchen and quotations – after all, we all need something to look forward to for when this is all over!

All the best, stay safe,



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