Smart Homes, Or Invaders?

Source: 123rf
Image ID : 106747142
Copyright : Daniil Peshkov

 

How many of you have jumped on board the smart home wagon?  I have to admit that I have tiptoed through setting up my home with smart home devices, starting with two Roku Ultra units I purchased last fall after breaking up with Spectrum Cable.  It hasn’t been completely seamless, and I already had a Roku remote stop working after only 5 months, but overall, I have gotten accustomed to watching shows on Amazon Prime Video and Netflix.

My next step was setting up a Wyze Camera which I had received as a Christmas gift.  I figured it would be a good way to watch my cats while I was away, and also ensure that no unwelcome guests were lurking in my bedroom. What I did not expect was that the camera would randomly scan the room when I wasn’t using the app, and after a couple of unnerving scans, I unplugged the thing and haven’t used it since.

Then I really took the plunge this past July, when I set up two Google Nests and several TP-Link Smart Plugs.  I decided to plug in certain key lamps and three humidifiers, and programmed some of them to turn on and off at specified times.  I have to admit that I love the convenience, and if I need to override the automated settings, I am able to do so easily simply by telling Google to perform a certain action.

If you are considering setting up your home with smart devices, make sure that you have a strong internet connection and a high quality internet router, or you will not be able to successfully connect your devices.  The possibilities are almost endless when it comes to setting up devices in your home, and it can get pretty expensive.  But the automation which you can establish in your home is pretty impressive.

Source: 123rf
Image ID : 132883048
Copyright : Lacey Barton

 

I honestly dig the convenience of asking Google for the current weather, and I also love being able to start Spotify or SiriusXM on the Google Nest, so that I can have music playing in the background throughout the day.  But there is a part of me which still thinks it is rather bizarre to speak to Alexa, Google, and Siri while we are in the comfort of our own homes. I am also concerned about the collection of information which I am sure is occurring every time we use these devices.  It is already pretty unnerving to have a conversation with a friend and mention something like pizza, only to have supposedly random ads pop up in an email browser which feature pizza from Numero Uno.  Coincidence?  I think not.

At any rate, the convenience of having lights and humidifiers turn on and off automatically is worth it to me.  For example, I had set up a series of lights behind my sofa when I moved in over 2 years ago so that I could have cool mood lighting, but I rarely turned them on because I had to do so via a power strip which was wedged behind the sofa.  Now that I have the power strip plugged into a TP-Link Smart Plug and have it connected to Kasa and Google Home, I can just tell Google to turn the “uplights” on and off whenever I choose. Consequently, I use these mood lights almost nightly.

What do you have set up in your smart home?

A Spoonful of Laughter

Copyright : Jacek Dudzinski (courtesy of 123RF.com

The curative effects of laughter are now widely known, and many people (myself included) thrive on humorous social media posts. From the time I was a small child, I gravitated towards comedy, watching Carol Burnett, Monty Python’s Flying Circus, Dave Allen (does anyone remember this fella?) and Benny Hill faithfully, all the while leaving my mother puzzled by my intense interest in the funny television variety shows which were the order of the day back in the 1960’s and 1970’s. She became even more concerned when I picked up a copy of Eddie Murphy: Comedian in 1982 and laughed my ass off while listening to the album repeatedly. Eddie’s stand-up style was so off-color for my mother that she bitched and moaned about me listening to him, but I found him hilarious and kept on listening. I have the record album (yes, a vinyl LP) in my collection to this day.

My love of comedy has never waned, and though I don’t watch enough television to get drawn into current sitcoms or other comedic shows, I am in my car often enough that I have developed a habit of listening to comedy while I drive. I find it much more enjoyable to listen to comedy than music while I am in the car, and since SiriusXM has a number of comedy stations, I have them loaded as presets on my radio and rotate through them. I would much rather listen to a comedy bit by a talented stand-up comedian than to toggle through radio stations which often play the same tunes over and over. The fact that I can laugh while driving, especially in Los Angeles, is a godsend. It’s a great way to arrive at my destination in a relatively good mood, even if I have to sit through hellish traffic.

Even if you don’t have SiriusXM, you can catch some pretty amusing morning radio shows. In L.A., I like listening to Frosty, Heidi and Frank. Most large metropolitan areas host morning radio shows which are worth a listen.

Copyright : yuriz (courtesy of 123RF.com)