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JR 137
Black Belt
Black Belt

Joined: 10 May 2015
Posts: 2442
Location: In the dojo
Styles: Seido Juku

PostPosted: Fri Jan 26, 2018 8:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Lupin1 wrote:
Also, the week before we got it I accidentally locked myself out of the house while he was on a business trip and I had to spend $80 on a locksmith to let me in. This removes that possibility entirely.


What if you locked yourself out and the phone is still in the house?

I know Iím late to the party here, but...

My mother-in-law gave us an echo dot for Christmas 2 years ago. Itís still in the box. Other than asking it what the weather is like or something like that, I donít have much use for it. Iíve got an old fashioned thermostat, light switches, etc. I even have a turntable that I listen to vinyl on. I guess Iím old school.

I wouldnít mind getting the nest thermostat, or whatever itís called. Using my phone to control the temperature in my house before I get there would be pretty cool. But not $200+ cool.

Telling a computerized whatever to turn lights off because my wife canít be bothered to turn a light off whenever she leaves a room would be great. Iíd go with motion sensor light switches, but where my overhead light switches currently are would be a nightmare. If I were to go the automated route, Iíd presumably have to install new switches that are capable of receiving a signal. Too much hassle and probably more money that Iíd care to spend. Iíll continue getting off my lazy rear end and turn off every light in the house while muttering things under my breath.

Controlling the tv would be great. Iím on day 4 of looking for the main tv remote. Iím using the DVD player remote to turn the tv on and off and control volume. Weíve got a Roku box and donít have cable, so itís not like I flip through channels. The Roku remote has been found. No idea how to get the echo dot to control a tv. I donít have a ďsmart tvĒ (talk about an oxymoron), so Iím assuming Iíd need to buy one. Not worth a few hundred bucks to me.

Then thereís the refrigerator my sister-in-law bought. Itís got an iPad looking thing on it that keeps track of a grocery list. She allegedly doesnít have to open the thing to know what she needs to buy. Yeah, talk about a great feature thatís going to change my life. Imagine the amount of time and energy saved by not having to open the refrigerator to figure out what you need. Sign me up. Maybe when I have severe short term memory loss.

Iíve got an easier way to figure out how the weatherís going to be than asking out loud - I take my phone out of my pocket and open an app with one touch. Done.

Iíve got 2 pretty much foolproof ways of playing music - 1. Get up, turn the stereo on, and open the app on my phone thatís connected to my music server; 2. Get up, turn the stereo on, and put an album on the turntable. If its too much work to do either of those two, I should really rethink things. Barring physical disability of course.

Iíd really like to yell ďwill you please turn of the kitchen light!Ē and have someone... err... something... actually listen to me and do it though.

Show me how to get it to clean the house, wash the dishes, cook, wash and fold and put away the laundry, and go grocery shopping, and Iím in. Until then, itís not going to save me any truly valuable time.

Maybe im too old and set in my ways. I am 41 after all. Maybe Iím too cheap. Maybe I donít want the hassle of installing stuff thatís going to aggravate me in different ways. Pretty sure itís a combination of all of those.

I can hear myself now... ďYou lazy snot-nosed kids with your fancy computers that do everything for you so you donít have to get up like we used to back in my day. You have no idea what hard work really is!Ē
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DWx
Member of the Month
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Joined: 17 Jan 2007
Posts: 6455
Location: UK
Styles: Tae Kwon Do & Yang family Tai Chi

PostPosted: Sat Jan 27, 2018 3:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

JR I get that. I think a lot of it can be a bit of a bit of a gimmick but if you set it up in the right way you can do some clever things. It's really best when it's less about voice control and more about automating tasks to make your life easier.

For example, I have my porch light turn on when it detects I've arrived home. As a female living on my own I don't want to be fumbling with my keys in the dark. I could do this with a standard motion sensor but I also don't want it going off when people just walk past the house. It's set up to only identify my key fob or phone before it triggers and when it does trigger it sets my status to "home" and activates or deactivates certain scenarios.

I also have things like my stairs and hall lights on motion sensors which also actively control the brightness of the light so if I walk throughout the house in the evening everything lights up, but if I get up in the middle of the night, it lights up with a softer light so I'm not blinded. When I leave the house, the system turns off any lights and wall sockets so I don't have to worry about whether I left my iron on.

The main thing for me is security. I have sensors on all the doors which tell me if they are opened and closed and these are paired up with my motion sensors for the lights to detect any unwanted activity when I'm not at home. If something opens or moves when it shouldn't, I get an alarm on my phone asking me to check things out. My next job is to pair this with a camera to auto record when this happens and that I can log into when I do get the alert. I also stay away from home a lot with work so when I'm not there, my lights will all turn on and off randomly to make it look like someone is in the house.
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Lupin1
Black Belt
Black Belt

Joined: 15 Dec 2009
Posts: 1637
Location: Naples, FL
Styles: Isshinryu

PostPosted: Sat Jan 27, 2018 6:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

JR 137 wrote:
What if you locked yourself out and the phone is still in the house?


I had an access code that unlocked the door. The lock had a numeric keypad over the deadbolt. I'd just type my code into the keypad and the door would unlock. No phone required.

Even if I didn't have a code, though, I could've gone to the neighbors house and used their phone to call my boyfriend. He would've been able to open the app on his phone and remotely unlock the door for me from Texas (where he was on his business trip).
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JR 137
Black Belt
Black Belt

Joined: 10 May 2015
Posts: 2442
Location: In the dojo
Styles: Seido Juku

PostPosted: Sat Jan 27, 2018 8:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

DWx wrote:
JR I get that. I think a lot of it can be a bit of a bit of a gimmick but if you set it up in the right way you can do some clever things. It's really best when it's less about voice control and more about automating tasks to make your life easier.

For example, I have my porch light turn on when it detects I've arrived home. As a female living on my own I don't want to be fumbling with my keys in the dark. I could do this with a standard motion sensor but I also don't want it going off when people just walk past the house. It's set up to only identify my key fob or phone before it triggers and when it does trigger it sets my status to "home" and activates or deactivates certain scenarios.

I also have things like my stairs and hall lights on motion sensors which also actively control the brightness of the light so if I walk throughout the house in the evening everything lights up, but if I get up in the middle of the night, it lights up with a softer light so I'm not blinded. When I leave the house, the system turns off any lights and wall sockets so I don't have to worry about whether I left my iron on.

The main thing for me is security. I have sensors on all the doors which tell me if they are opened and closed and these are paired up with my motion sensors for the lights to detect any unwanted activity when I'm not at home. If something opens or moves when it shouldn't, I get an alarm on my phone asking me to check things out. My next job is to pair this with a camera to auto record when this happens and that I can log into when I do get the alert. I also stay away from home a lot with work so when I'm not there, my lights will all turn on and off randomly to make it look like someone is in the house.


Thanks, Danielle. Now Iím starting to get it. Especially the security aspect. At our house, someoneís always around. Iím in a two-family house, and the people downstairs always have at least one person home. The neighbors next door both work from home, so thereís always multiple sets of eyes on the house.

I like the promimity lights on the porch idea though. Iíd like a proximity key like a lot of cars have too. It would be cool to walk up to the door and have it unlock, and have it lock on my way out without fumbling with keys. Iím always carrying far too much stuff like my daughtersí backpacks.
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Patrick
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Joined: 01 May 2001
Posts: 28596
Location: Los Angeles, California

PostPosted: Sun Feb 18, 2018 7:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think your post is one way to look at things, JR, and a reasonable way. And you definitely aren't alone in having a, perhaps, snarky take on it. It's really just a matter of what's convenient or cool to you, and what the worth of that is.

For example, I'm getting ready to move to a new apartment, and it has window shades (the building actually mandates that we use them). They look cool, so that's fine. And I don't necessarily mind raising and lowering them.

But I pretty much can't wait to get this: https://www.somasmarthome.com

Sure, it's a luxury, but I think it's pretty cool, and I'll love saying, "Alexa, lower the shade in the living room." And when I wake up in the morning, to ask it to raise the shade partially or something like that.

It's worth it to me. After all, there are a lot of things people spend money on that are worth it to them, that aren't worth it to me. Like I don't drink or gamble or go to the movies regularly or have a gym membership (I workout at home) or... you get the idea.

Now, if I was in a financial place where I had debt or I had kids to feed, of course, I would never choose to spend a couple hundred bucks on automatic shade converters. No doubt.

I don't really agree with the idea that "if I can't be bothered to do it, that means X is wrong," because that could be applied to a lot of simple conveniences in life.

In your case, I don't see any reason not to take Echo out of the box and play around with it, at least. For example, after I shower, I'll be shaving and getting dressed, and I'll ask Alexa for the weather. When I lay down to sleep, I ask Alexa to play rain sounds and set an alarm. It's small stuff and, of course, it's not a necessity of life. I can just use my phone to set an alarm. I can use it to play rain sounds, make it pair with a Bluetooth speaker, etc. etc. etc. But I like it.

Re: wanting to control lights. Depending on the type of light you mean, and what type of bulb it accepts, there are actually smart light bulbs that you can use. So, you wouldn't have to change out switches, fixtures, etc. Yes, they are definitely way more expensive than traditional bulbs, but none of this is going to be free, whether you are buying new bulbs or repaving your drive way.

Example here: https://www.amazon.com/Philips-Equivalent-Dimmable-Compatible-Assistant/dp/B01M1SXLD8/

There are also Alexa compatible switches and power outlets.

For the TV, you wouldn't need to buy a new TV, just a remote or hub that can connect to your TV. For example, you could buy a Harmony remote or hub, you can use the Dot to control it: https://support.myharmony.com/en-us/harmony-experience-with-amazon-alexa

Again, not free ($80-$120), but it's an option.

Patrick
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singularity6
Pre-Black Belt
Pre-Black Belt

Joined: 26 Jun 2017
Posts: 958
Location: Michigan
Styles: Jidokwan Taekwondo and Hapkido, Yoshokai Aikido, ZNIR Iaido, Kendo

PostPosted: Mon Feb 19, 2018 5:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I recall watching Sci Fi movies back in the day... video phones, voice-controlled everything... Hey, that future is here! The one thing they didn't include in many those movies was the "big brother" aspect of 1984. I'd be way more inclined to use this technology if it wasn't constantly phoning home to the corporate office.
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