The lights are on and no one is home! When I first embraced the life of a frequent (well, okay, fairly regular) traveller, I tested dozens of travel gadgets that would make my life easier. In the spate of six months, I believe I tested every gizmo known to humankind, and some of them worked. I found international adapters that worked in 150 countries. I discovered carry-on knapsacks that would slide easily into the overhead-bin on airplanes and still fit everything I needed for a week's travel. I delighted in eco-friendly toilet paper that fit into the pocket of my shaving kit. But I hit a snag when it came to sourcing automated (and reliable) dimmer switches that would enable me to control the lighting of my home while I was away. Nothing I purchased seemed to work properly. I'd leave my home bursting with confidence that I'd successfully programmed the gizmo to turn the porch light on at 8 pm, swap the kitchen light for the back bedroom light to thwart off potential burglars, and make it look like someone was home. What happened in reality: the accessories were difficult to program, awkward to place around the house, and a few were super sensitive. The mere brush of my cat's nose dislodged one system from the socket so the lighting-switch didn't work the entire time I was away. (I reckon my cat slept quite peacefully, thank-you very much.) I found I was limited by the number of rooms I could light up. Controlling the light in three different rooms meant I had to purchase three different (identical) systems. Natch. Several weeks ago I received the Connected by TCP Smart home-lighting kit. Not only does it allow me to program lighting throughout the entire house (rather than just a few rooms) using the app locally while outside the house, but it saves me money in the long run with its energy-efficient LED bulbs (and who doesn't want to cut down on energy costs?). How it worked for me: 1. I found the TCP system fairly easy to install and program, and I'm techno-phobic at the best of times. 2. It's aimed at Android users and anyone on iOS support (that'd be me). 3. You can set up a remote control that allows you to change up your home lighting system while sitting at your local airport – before taking off, of course – or at the office.) 4. Basically, you can oversee and activate your home lighting simply by using your smartphone, and set up schedules (porch light on, porch light off, dim lighting in livingroom, brighter in kitchen...) 5. The TCP kit includes three dimmable A-Lamp LED bulbs and everything you need to connect the bulbs to your home network and the Internet. (Apparently the bulbs use up to 80 per cent less energy, which is no small factor when Canadians start getting their winter hydro bills!). 6. You can program up to 250 bulbs throughout your house with just one kit. Do you use any kind of programmable lighting system when you're away from home on holiday?