Showing posts with label Smart Home. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Smart Home. Show all posts

Friday, March 15, 2019

Thursday, February 28, 2019

Smart Circuit Breakers

But no Alexa support yet...

Thursday, February 21, 2019

GarageMate

I could see this GarageMate (Bluetooth garage door opener) being very handy for bike rides and things around the neighborhood. I wonder how frequently I would wish I could open the garage door remotely from work or somewhere. At $54 and an easy install, I may give it a whirl.

Via KK Cool Tools


Thursday, April 26, 2018

Home Assistant

Don't click if you don't have time to go down an awesome rabbit hole of home automation... Home Assistant. Doing cool things and saving myself time could be a full-time job.

Works with my Honeywell thermostats, Wemo lights and switches, and probably just about everything else via IFTTT.

Monday, March 5, 2018

Wyze Cam v2 - Update

A couple of updates on my Wyze Cam v2 order...

1. Wyze experienced a manufacturing problem and had to delay lots of shipments. They sent a very nice note with a lot of detail explaining the issue and the actions they were taking. They included a link to easily cancel your order if that's what you wanted to do. If you were willing to wait, they said they would include a 5 foot long USB extension cable. I thought it was a great job of recovering from a problem.

2. An anonymous commentor pointed out that the cameras are sending data to services besides AWS. I was planning on placing this in my garage pointing outside, so I'm not super concerned, but I will be curious to follow Wyze's response and actions to address the concerns.

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Creating More Work

I enjoy my smart home things and keep adding to the list. I'm not sure they save me time, but I love the convenience of them - especially the voice control for muting the TV while my hands are wet from washing dishes or telling the HVAC unit to turn the air on while I'm in the middle of working out.

The only downside is I keep coming up with new problems to solve - some of which didn't exist prior to buying all these smart devices. For example, I don't have a good place for my Eufy Genie (Amazon Echo Dot clone) in my bathroom. I don't have a spot to put it and we don't have enough plugs to power it.

The solution... $40 to get this outlet shelf and an outlet with USB ports.



Thursday, February 22, 2018

Home Network - Part 2

So that change didn't go as smoothly as I had hoped... turns out the latest firmware for the ASUS RT-AC3200 has a 2.4 GHz bug. It took me a long time to figure out that was the problem.

I noticed the issue on some of my IoT devices and my wife's hand-me-down laptop. I assumed it was a problem with the devices. Basically, I kept getting a bad password error. I ended up trying a lot of different things - laptop driver update, deleting all the network settings, resetting the IoT devices to their default config, changing the SSID, etc.

It wasn't until I realized I was having the problem on my laptop and my iPhone 8 that I started thinking the router was the issue. Originally I had those devices configured to use 5 GHz only, so they never experienced the problem. After a short search, I found this thread: 2.4GHz band issues with RT-AC3200 firmware 3.0.0.4.382_50010. Bingo! That was exactly my problem. I rolled back to an older firmware version and everything has been working like a champ.

On a happier note, I returned my Comcast cable modem, since I had purchased the NETGEAR CM500-1AZNAS. I walked in the retail store, they scanned the label on the modem, and printed a receipt. It took less than 30 seconds. Perfect!

For an upcoming post, I may list all the devices I have connected and note which ones were easy to migrate to the new SSID. (Spoiler Alert - the inexpensive Smart Plugs I bought have some horribly written instructions.)

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Wyze Cam v2

I've been looking for a camera solution for the house. At $20 (plus shipping), I figure the Wyze Cam is worth a try.


CPU
1.0GHz

Memory
128MB

Resolution
1920 X 1080 (1080p)

Camera
Lens: F2.0 aperture, 2.8mm focal length
Image sensor: 1/2.7" CMOS
Digital zoom: 8x

Field of View
110° lens

Night Vision
4 Infrared LEDs (850nm) with IR cut filter
Illuminates up to 29.6 feet (9m)

Video
H.264 encoding
10 FPS (both HD & SD video modes)

Audio
Built-in speaker and microphone
Class-K power amplifier

Alerts
Push notifications

Cloud Storage
Free rolling 14 days of alert videos stored in the AWS Cloud

Local Storage
Supports 8GB, 16GB and 32GB microSD cards in FAT32 format

Data Usage
1-2MB per minute in SD, or 4-7MB per minute in HD

WiFi
802.11 b/g/n 2.4GHz

Connectivity Requirements
Upload speed 1.0 Mbps for SD and 1.5 Mbps for HD

Operating Systems
Supports iOS 8.0 and Android 5.0 or later

Operation Temperature
32℉ – 104℉ / 0°C – 40 °C

Operation Humidity
< 90% at 104℉ / 40°C

Weather Resistance
Indoor use only

Friday, February 9, 2018

The House That Spied on Me

The House That Spied on Me:
"Thanks to the Internet of Things, I could live in my very own tech-mediated Downton Abbey. That’s the appeal of smart homes for most people, and why they are supposed to be a $27 billion market by 2021. But that wasn’t my primary motivation. The reason I smartened up my house was to find out whether it would betray me."
And, oh, Certified Refurbished Amazon Echo Dots (and devices) are on-sale.

Monday, January 29, 2018

Smart Dumbbells

Of course they are... Bowflex SelectTech 560 Dumbbell (Pair), 5 lb - 60 lb:
"Integrated Bluetooth Smart technology syncs and records sets, reps, and weight
Free app with over 70 exercises, 6 week Challenge, journal, and more"
Unfortunately they aren't Alexa compatible, so you can't ask her to do your overhead presses.




Friday, January 26, 2018

Outdoor Wi-Fi Outlet, Smart Plug

No surprise, I've done it again... I bought another Alexa controllable smart plug. But wait! This one is totally different. It's an outdoor plug - Oittm Outdoor Wi-Fi Outlet, Smart Plug Socket! I've got a string of lights around the porch on the back of my house. They aren't on a switch, so we have to plug them in every time we want to use them. It is fairly common to turn them on to get a little more light when we are grilling. Usually this means having our hands full when we go out there, so the voice control will be great. (I know first world problem - but first world solutions, too!)


Friday, January 19, 2018

Power Strip with Four Alexa Controllable Outlets

WiFi Smart Power Strip, Conico Smart Surge Protector with 4 USB Charging Ports and 4 Smart AC Plugs for Multi Outlets Power Socket Extension Cord, Compatible with Alexa, Voice Controlled by Echo for $28.

I'm not sure where I would use this, but having four separate outlets (plus the USB ports), is cool.



I don't think plugging my dish washer, coffee machine, and TV in to it would match my use case.


Friday, January 5, 2018

PSA: Wi-Fi

Seeing another deal on an Alexa enabled plug - $12 with code 7FRQNW4M. This is one is a little different in that it includes energy monitoring/tracking.
Which leads to my public service announcement for the day...

I've been snagging all these Alexa enabled devices and one thing they seem to have in common is that they only use 2.4 GHz. This is the crappy, crowded, interference ridden, only 3 non-overlapping channels band. That's bad, but workable (generally the range is better), so not the end of the world. But, as a general rule, make sure all your important devices (Smart TV, streaming devices, laptops, etc.) are using 5 GHz.

Deal via Kinja Deals.

Thursday, January 4, 2018

Eufy Smart Bulb

So, I'm all in on the Alexa/Google enabled home as you can tell. I'm enjoying playing with the various plugs, switches, etc. I even got one of the Eufy Smart Bulbs ($12) for Christmas despite my uncertainty about the benefit of going the smart bulb route.

It works just fine from the app or using Alexa voice-control, but:

1. Bulbs eventually go bad.
2. There is no button on it, so I can't turn it on if the internet is down.

Still, $12 isn't a lot for a little experimentation.

Eufy Genie (Amazon Echo Dot Clone) - Follow-up

I bought a couple of the Eufy Genie devices - one for $29 and one for $19. They are basically clones of the Amazon Echo Dot. They seemed like a good deal at $29, but then the Dot was reduced to $29. If I had know that was coming, I would have stuck with the official product for the same price.

My decision seemed to be really bad when I got them out of the box and started using them. I felt like I could time the responses from Alexa with a calendar. The good news is that, after some automatic firmware updates, I can say its performance is on par with the Echo Dot. If you can catch one for $19, it's definitely the way to go.




Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Eufy Genie (Amazon Echo Dot Clone)

I've been thinking about getting another Amazon Echo Dot for a while now. I was especially tempted when they were available as refurbs for $40.

So, it should be no surprise, that I bought the Eufy Genie for $29. Eufy is a division of Anker - which has a good reputation for the quality of all their phone accessories.

The Eufy Genie is very similar to the Echo Dot, but is missing a few features like Bluetooth and the ability to complete calls between Alexa devices. I've never used the Bluetooth, so that's a non-issue for me and Eufy says additional features will be added via firmware updates. I read a few reviews and folks were split on saving a few dollars vs. getting the actual Echo Dot. For me, I think I'll be happy with it even if it isn't perfect. We have one Echo Dot today and I wouldn't mind having several more. If this works well then I can save some money, but otherwise it might go in a less used location.