Category Archives: Home Automation

baby boomer generation homes

Aging in Place: Looking at Baby Boomer Generation Homes Today

Aging in Place 

Guest blog post by Amanda Kaestner of G/O Digital, a Gannett Company


More baby boomers reach retirement age every day, but fewer are choosing to live in retirement communities. Instead, they’re “aging in place” and would rather renovate their current homes in order to transition into their golden years in comfort and safety.

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home remodeling in barrington il

Motorized Shades and Blinds when Home Remodeling in Barrington IL

Remember when suitcases didn’t have wheels? Now, nearly every piece of luggage or large carry-on bag has wheels so we don’t break our backs when traveling. Well, soon enough, we’ll be saying, “Remember when we had to physically walk to each window treatment in our house and adjust them with our hands? Oh, the time and energy we wasted!” It’s true. Home Automation is becoming increasingly popular, and one day the time will come when very few shades in our homes are NOT motorized. In this blog post, I’m going to offer you a brief introduction to motorized shades and blinds, and why this feature should be considered when home remodeling in Barrington IL or anywhere in the Chicagoland area.

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home automation in highland park

Home automation in Highland Park IL: Lighting Control Systems

If you had the ability to control your home’s lighting functions with a touch of a button or voice command, would you? Of course you would. Does the thought of monitoring your home through your smartphone when you’re away appeal to you? Of course it does. So maybe now is the time to act on that “tech-y” side of you, don’t you think? Home automation in Highland Park IL can begin with lighting control systems if you’re looking for a good first experience.

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home automation

Introduction to Home Automation

In some of my recent blogs, I’ve touched on various aspects of home automation. The topic doesn’t always start out as my focus but ends up being so, mainly because home automation is one of those tangibles that my clients increasingly ask about and want in their new homes or remodeled homes (example: see my blogs about contemporary home lighting and building for the Millennial generation). When speaking of home automation, the first two questions I often get from clients are: What are the different types of home automation options on the market today, and which of these should I incorporate into my home? Let me take a stab at answering both of these questions.

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modern home lighting

Modern Home Lighting Plans

“Back in the day” as they say, a home’s lighting needs consisted of making sure bulbs were bright enough and centered in every room so our eyes wouldn’t strain as we entered a space. And if you had a few extra bucks, you might splurge on an eye-catching chandelier for your entryway or dining room, and maybe accent the room with a pair of table lamps.

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home remodeling trends

8 Leading Home Remodeling Trends of 2013

Every so often, associations for home builders, architects and interior designers issue interesting lists outlining which home remodeling trends are the most popular in the industry. In fact, a recent Builder magazine post lists 15 leading design trends in single-family living for 2013. Why are we all curious to read these round-up style lists? The answer is simple: We want to feel like we’re on the right track and making the proper investment in our homes. We also want to feel relevant – it’s part of human nature.

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Changing the product key for Microsoft Office applications without reinstalling

The notebook PC that I use for work has Microsoft Office Enterprise 2007 installed. Office Enterprise includes most of the applications that I need but not Visio, so I also have Microsoft Office Visio 2007.

The 2007 office products can be used a certain number of times before activation is required and, unfortunately, when I tried to activate my copy of Visio I found that the product key had been used too many times and activation failed (the Office Enterprise key was fine). After watching the number of trial uses of the product slowly decrement, I needed to change the product key, but didn’t want to have to re-install Visio.

Microsoft knowledge base article 895456 provides details for changing the product key for the 2007 Office system (as well as other releases).

It’s important to note that:

  • For a 64-bit version of Windows, the registry location to edit will be HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Wow6432Node\Microsoft\Office\version\Registration rather than HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Office\version\Registration.
  • If multiple Office products are installed, multiple GUIDs will appear in the registry – the important entry to look at will be the ProductName – in my case one GUID had a ProductName of Microsoft Office Visio Professional 2007 and the other had a ProductName of Microsoft Office Enterprise 2007.

Once the correct GUID had been tracked down and the associated DigitalProductID and ProductID entries removed, I fired up Visio, entered a different product key and successfully activated the software.

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