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#188: Best in Showroom | April 2015, Celebrating 20 Years!
I never imagined back in 1995 when I started Small Dog Electronics in my garage on Prickly Mountain that 20 years later we would have four retail stores and well, a 20-year old business! Back then it was a one-man show and buying and selling Macs was a bit more than a hobby but I still bump into some of you that bought your first Mac from me in my living room. Hapy used to come over on Sundays and help me with the books and soon I twisted his arm into joining me at Small Dog Electronics. When Grace tossed us out of the house we ripped up my strawberry patch and built an office space next to the house. We soon outgrew that and eventually moved our headquarters to Waitsfield. I still remember those stalwart UPS drivers carrying huge loads of Macs up my icy or muddy driveway, though.
We never really wanted to do retail, however, customers came to visit us regardless and one day as I was processing payroll with a family on the couch in my office and others wandering around the warehouse, it was clear we needed to do something to serve our live customers, so our first retail store was opened in Waitsfield. So many people were driving from Chittenden county to Waitsfield and the sort of perfect storm of opportunity led us to open the South Burlington store which quickly became our flagship.
Our experiment with another large store over in New Hampshire was not a success and we reluctantly closed that location but opened smaller stores in Rutland and acquired another Apple Specialist in Key West, Florida. Now with four retail stores and 20 years of history, we are ready to celebrate our anniversary this month and all year long.
The most common question that I am asked is: “Where did the name Small Dog Electronics come from?” It was at another company when we were searching for a name and my friend and employee Wendy Cohen suggested Small Dog Electronics. Of course, I pooh-poohed that idea. Fast forward a few years and I am again thinking of a name and watching my small dogs play. I didn’t want to name the company “Mac-this” or “Data-that” so I decided Small Dog Electronics was perfect, and I still think it is!
Please join us in celebrating our 20th anniversary by coming into one of our retail stores, talking to our team and perhaps taking advantage of some of the 20th Anniversary specials we are running all month!
Kevo Smart Lock
This week our Key West team went over to Don’s house to check out the home automation he has going on, which is very impressive. I felt like I was in Back to the Future between his Sonos equipment, remote cameras, his Nest thermostat controller and his new Kevo entry system.
If you have ever arrived at home juggling an armload of groceries you know how difficult it can be to get into the house without having to drop everything to unlock the door. With Kwikset’s Kevo lock, available here at Small Dog Electronics, you can gain entry to your home or office without the need for a key. Using Bluetooth wireless technology, the Kevo lock reads an eKey code stored on your iOS device and lets you unlock the door with a touch of your finger. It also creates a log of door openings and closings. The lock is fairly easy to install and does exactly what it is supposed to do. If you are ready to lose your traditional keys, it is worth checking out.
The Kevo Bluetooth lock comes with a single cylinder deadbolt locking assembly, an interior housing, two traditional keys, a keychain fob (pre-enrolled for the lock), two eKeys, four AA batteries, and all the mounting hardware you’ll need to install the lock. You also get installation instructions, a user guide, and a drilling/boring template if your door is not already prepared for a deadbolt.
At first glance the Kevo looks like an ordinary deadbolt lock. In fact, you won’t notice anything different about it until you get up close and actually touch it, at which point a ring around the cylinder displays a spinning blue light. That means the lock is looking for an iOS device with an authorized encrypted electronic key (eKey) or an enrolled keychain fob. If it finds one, the light will turn green, flash twice, and the lock will open. If not, it goes dark. When locking the door from the outside with a fob or smartphone, the blue spinning light will change to amber, flash once, and the lock will engage. The light ring uses different colors and flashing codes to let you know things like when the batteries need changing, if the smart device or fob is out of range, an unauthorized device is trying to gain access, or the lock is jammed.
If you know how to install a door lock, the Kevo installation process is fairly simple and should only take ten minutes or so. Even if you have no prior experience the installation guide is very straightforward and easy to follow. Don said replacing his single cylinder deadbolt lock was a snap. Once the old lock was removed he installed the Kevo cylinder and deadbolt mechanism using the existing mounting holes in my door. He then attached the Bluetooth and power/data cable from the cylinder to the internal housing and secured the housing and the cylinder to the door using the supplied bolts. Don manually engaged the deadbolt to see if it extended and retracted smoothly, made a quick adjustment to the bolt housing, and was ready to program the lock.
Once the free app is downloaded from the Apple App Store, it walks you through the setup and registration process. First, you have to enable Bluetooth, location services, and notifications on your iOS device. Once you create an account using your email address and three security questions, you are ready to enroll your device as the Owner, which gives you full rights. The included fob is already paired to the lock. At this point you have to remove the battery cover from the lock’s interior housing, press and release the program button, and hold your device against the back panel. After ten seconds or so the lock beeps and the app asks you to name the lock. You can then calibrate the iOS device to enable the lock’s inside/outside security feature, which uses a sensor to prevent unauthorized entry while your fob or smart device is inside your home. Once calibration is complete (it took Don less than a minute), the Kevo lock is ready to go.
Prior to starting with Small Dog, I was in the market for a new pair of speakers. My main criterion was audio quality without emptying the wallet, and the AudioEngine brand kept showing up. Extremely well reviewed and with a great price point they were on my short list. Once I got to hear them in the store, my decision was made. I went with the A5+ and could not be happier. Crisp and clear at all volumes and with a great low end, they have no problem shaking the living room when cranked up. I’ve also tied in a subwoofer for a solid 2.1 home theater. Add in a USB port for charging and aux/RCA ports for connections and they can’t be beat! Looking for a smaller desktop pair? The A2 does the job and can handle all but the largest spaces. Want wireless? The B2 Bluetooth speaker gives you portability and access from all your devices! With great products and even better customer service, you can not go wrong with anything in the AudioEngine lineup.
This year, we’ve started carrying a selection of Osprey’s tech-friendly backpacks and shoulder bags. The first thing that struck me about this brand, and excited our team to carry their product was the similarities between Osprey and Small Dog. Just like our company, Osprey was founded a couple of good people with a dedication to quality work. Founded in 1974, the Osprey brand has primarily focused on hiking packs, with materials designed for extreme conditions. Recently, they have developed the Portal Series, designed for modern organization, with the mobile Apple user in mind.
My favorite model in this series is the “Cyber” panel-style daypack. The Cyber boasts a 26 liter capacity, yet somehow maintains a sleek and slim profile. Unlike a lot of Osprey packs, the compartments include document sleeves with organizer pockets and zippered back compartment that fits a laptop up to 15 inches. Due to the Polyester construction, the pack weighs 1 lb. 15oz. My favorite thing about this series is their consideration for accessory transportation. They have included a bottom compartment, with a dedicated pouch designed for your MagSafe Adapter, External Hard Drive, and any other cables you may need. With a 15” MacBook Pro, and iPad Air 2, the pack is just about at full capacity. I would recumbent this bag for anyone who needs to commute with multiple Apple products, but if all you are commuting with is a single iPad, the Cyber offers you a neat and stylish package to get from point A to B, with extra space for much more.
If you are looking for a new bag for spring, stop by the South Burlington store to check out the Osprey selection. All month long these packs will be 50% off while supplies last. We also carry the Beta Port Courier pack, which offers a unique, see-through compartment to store your iPad. This allows you to access your iPad’s touch screen without taking it out of the bag. It may seem like an unnecessary feature, but I would suggest trying it out in the store and see how you like it. All three of the main designs we carry come in the Canyon Orange color, in addition to Black Pepper, Grey Herringbone, and a “Tenacious Teal” you’ve gotta see! Come see us at Small Dog if you have any Osprey questions!
The Best of Both Worlds
Whether you’re an indoor kid or an outdoor kid Outdoor Tech is where it’s at! These products are specifically built to be used in any number of outdoor activities. Are you into biking but don’t want a lot of headphone wires bogging you down? Well we’ve got just the thing for you…try a handy, element-proof, Turtle Shell with a Bike Mount attachment or even Outdoor Tech’s Buckshot with a built in handlebar mount included. Don’t worry, if you like the feel of having headphones or earbuds then we have an option for you, too. Just be careful if you are biking with headphones on. The Privates are on ear headphones specifically designed to be worn indoors or outdoors in almost any condition. Come rain, sleet, snow, or even the sunniest of days Outdoor Tech is definitely the choice for the hiker, biker, runner, or the most stationary of you! So stop on by your local Small Dog Electronics store and we will set you up with your indoor or outdoor listening needs. Because we love these products so much we have put them on sale all month long just for you, so come in and celebrate 20 years with us! Save $20 on Outdoor Tech Private (on-ear), Orcas (wireless earbuds), Tuis (over-ear) headphones, as well as the Turtle Shell and Big Turtle Shell Rugged Wireless Boomboxes.
Tech Talk 101 Series: Cyber Security
Join us Wednesday, April 22nd from 7 to 8pm for “Cyber Security” the next installment in our free Tech Talk 101 Series. Held in our South Burlington, VT store, these easy-to-follow courses will cover a variety of topics and are designed to help you make the most of your Mac and other devices!
Michael Duplessis (Macintosh Consultant, Apple Certified Support Professional, and Apple Certified Technical Coordinator) will present an overview during the hour-long session of how to protect your devices, your identity, and in general keep yourself safe online with ample time for questions at the end.
Click on the link below for a full overview and to register. Registration will open Thursday 16th at 7pm. Please note that there are limited tickets available and have been selling out very quickly.
Contact us with any questions via the Eventbrite page.
Editing 101: iMovie Essentials for Making Great Videos on Your Computer
Small Dog is pleased to be partnering with RETN to offer specific niche classes. Join them Wednesday, April 22nd from 5 to 7pm for “Editing 101: iMovie Essentials for Making Great Videos on Your Computer”. Held at the RETN offices in Burlington, this hands-on workshop is designed to help you turn your photos and videos into finished movies.
RETN instructors Ross Ransom and Doug Dunbebin will guide you through the essential features of iMovie 10 for Mac, with ample time for practice and questions.
Workshop Fee: $25
Click on the link below for a full overview and to register. Registration is open NOW. Please note that there are limited tickets available and have been selling out very quickly.
We’re celebrating 20 years! Woohoo! We will be offering YOU some pretty big deals, including 20% off all Beats by Dr. Dre headphones and speakers, $20 off Otterbox cases, a Mac mini bundle that is hard to resist, and much more both in-store and online!
Stop in during the month of April and wish us a very Happy Birthday!
Hammerhead Charging Bundle
Powercurl Bundle Organize Cords
Outdoor Tech Headphones
HP Laserwriter With AirPrint
New Product: Seagate Wireless Mobile Storage 500GB
Outdoor Tech Rugged Wireless Boombox
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