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By Roz Rogoff

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About this blog: In January 2002 I started writing my own online "newspaper" titled "The San Ramon Observer." I reported on City Council meetings and other happenings in San Ramon. I tried to be objective in my coverage of meetings and events, and...  (More)

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Digital Life

Uploaded: Aug 16, 2013
Digital Life sounds like a new movie about a computer nerd who digitizes himself and enters into a digital fantasy world like Second Life and winds up saving the planet. It doesn't sound like a new home security system from AT&T, but that's what it is.

I don't know who thought up the name, "Digital Life" for a fairly traditional door and window alarm system, but it's a slick wireless system with 24/7 monitoring and remote control from a computer or cell phone anywhere with an Internet connection.

I had Digital Life installed in my house on Monday. Not that I have anything to steal or any reason for anyone to break in, but I thought it would be good to have the protection since I'm getting older and live alone.

When I lived in Culver City 30 years ago, someone broke into my house and stole two rifles and a shotgun and several Swatch watches. Not a big haul or even a big loss, but still disturbing at the thought of burglars in my house.

I had a security system installed after that. It was a wired system which required drilling holes in the window sills and going under the house. The installers were not the neatest or most efficient. I called them the Laurel and Hardy of security systems, except they weren't as funny. After they installed everything I felt better about leaving the windows open at night.

That was when the Night Stalker was creeping around Los Angeles breaking into homes and raping and murdering women. I was rather smug about my new alarm system. I thought if he tries to break into my house now, he'll be caught. Fortunately for me he did not try to break into my house and he was still caught, but I felt safer with the system even if it wasn't a perfect protection against someone really dangerous like Richard Ramirez.

You might wonder why I said I felt safe leaving the windows open at night. I could leave my windows open because I had the screens wired. If a screen was cut or removed, it would set off the alarm. The alarm seemed to be set off pretty frequently without anyone trying to break in. There were a lot of false alarms unfortunately.

The system came with an "EEE-O-EEE-O" horn on the western side of my house. My neighbor to the west was very tolerant of the false alarms but the Culver City Police were not. I don't remember what was causing the false alarms, but it was fixed by the time I sold the house in 1993.

My new system uses contact points on doors and windows; so if they are opened it sets off the alarm. The alarm is inside the house and not horrendously loud. The system includes a smoke detector, CO2 detector, and a bypass feature to leave a window open for fresh air and still arm the other doors and windows.

I can check the house from anywhere there's an internet connection. So if I'm traveling or away from home, I can arm or disarm the system and see if any windows or doors are open and call a neighbor to close them if necessary. There are other packages for an additional charge that turn lights on or off, set the thermostat, and check for leaking water.

The system can be armed or disarmed from the keypad inside the house, or a key fob outside the house, or the Digital Life website anywhere there's an internet connection. It can also be managed from an iPhone or iPad or similar smart phone.

I have a prepaid Go Phone from AT&T. I can get to the login screen on it, but even if I login correctly it doesn't go to the next level. I can still use a laptop or netbook if I'm away from home. I'm hardly ever more than a few miles from home, except for my annual trip to Maine to visit my mother and brother.

Maine has four seasons: Snow and ice, Rain and slush, Bugs and humidity, and fall. So you can guess which one is my favorite. I almost always go to Maine in the fall, usually around my birthday on October 11th. One of my great niece's birthday is October 10th. We celebrated both together when she was a toddler, but she'll be 5 this October and more of a fuss is made over her birthdays now than mine.

I'll be 71 this October 11th, which is only worth celebrating because it means I'm still around to celebrate it. So I decided to go to Maine in September this year and celebrate my birthday in San Ramon.


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