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Hue Motion Sensor – Guest Post by Denise Crown

HueThis is Denise Crown, and I have a confession. I’m obsessed with Hue Lights. I started with the Hue White and Color Ambiance Starter Kit and quickly fell in love. Before I knew what I was even doing, I had purchased flood lights for the kitchen, added bulbs to the bedroom, and purchased a Bloom and a Go Portable. I normally control them with either the Hue app on my iphone, or Amazon’s Echo Dot. The Echo Dot works well to control them, and has become my home automation integration tool of choice. It just works, and it works with everything I have.

What problems do the Hue Lights solve? Well, they are fun and a lack of fun is a big problem.

Continue reading “Hue Motion Sensor – Guest Post by Denise Crown”

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CCATP #486 – Joe Dugandzic on New Amazon Echo Devices

Smarter home life logoThis week I’m joined by the awesome Joe Dugandzic from Smarter Home Life (smarterhomelife.com) to talk about the huge set of product and capability announcements from Amazon about their Echo line of devices. We talk Echo Show, Echo Look, ecobee4, and the new voice calling in the Alexa app for your existing Echo devices. Joe is really into home automation with a fabulous YouTube channel so he really knows his stuff. Plus he’s fun and entertaining. Links to everything we talked about after the “continue reading” button!

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CCATP #473 Joe Dugandzic on The Smarter Home

Smarterhomelife logoSteve and I had the great pleasure of meeting Joe Dugandzic in the Home Automation pavilion at CES and I was lucky enough to get him on as a guest for Chit Chat Across the Pond. Joe runs the website and YouTube channel Smarter Home Life at smarterhomelife.com and youtube.com/smarterhomelife, We talked about the complexities of Home Automation today, predictions about who the winners might be as the industry consolidates, and some of the coolest Home Automation ideas he saw at CES. Joe is definitely our people – he’s enthusiastic, loves tech, and has a gift for simplifying tech for average consumers. His videos are amazing so go check them out (when you’re done listening to Chit Chat Across the Pond of course!)

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CCATP #471 Mikah Sargent on Siri and Alexa and Home Automation

Mikah sargent steve alMikah Sargent, senior editor at Mobile Nations and podcaster at RelayFM joins us to compare and contrast how Siri from Apple and Alexa from Amazon help with home automation and other tasks around the house. He has a vast array of Home Automation devices from Hue lights to Eve sensors to an Ecobee thermostat to an August smart lock so he’s got the experience. I found Mikah’s intelligent commentary combined with his light humor to be a delightful combination.

If you want to connect with Mikah, look him up on Twitter @mikahsargent. You can read his excellent articles on iMore at imore.com/… and see pictures of chihuahuas at chihuahua.coffee/….

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Simultaneous Onsite-Offsite Backups with Amazon Duet from Seagate

Seagate for amazon driveWith Time Machine on the Mac and File History for Windows, it’s pretty easy to just plug in a drive and the OS does the rest to keep you backed up locally. They’ve pretty much gotten rid of all the excuses not to do a local backup. We’ve also got offsite backup services like CrashPlan and Backblaze that work without us thinking about them.

For nerdballs like us, we could leave it at that, but we go out of our way to complicate things. If you’re like me, you have stuff stashed away on Dropbox, Google Drive, iCloud Drive, OneDrive … the list seems endless. I can’t tell you how much time I waste poking around in the different services trying to remember where I put something.

We can also talk about your Uncle Elroy. He knows he should do backups, but he hasn’t quite gotten around to it. You hesitate to even suggest that he should do offsite backups; that would blow his head off. But you also know he’s the one with the family archives on his computer. Continue reading “Simultaneous Onsite-Offsite Backups with Amazon Duet from Seagate”

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NC #604 Amazon Marketing, OWC Thunderbolt Dock, Stocking Stuffers, SCO Member App, All Smart Life Adapter

Amazon tricks me into buying stuff with the Echo Dot, OWC Thunderbolt 2 Dock review by Trevor Drover, tech stocking stuffers under $50, new SCO Member Tutorials iOS app for ScreenCasts Online, $22 AllSmartLife USB-C adapter to make your DisplayPort monitor work with a new MacBook Pro.


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Amazon’s Brilliant Marketing

Amazon echo dotA little while back I bought an Amazon Echo Dot. For some reason, I haven’t really taken the time to learn what it can do yet. Sure I can ask it the weather and to play a song, but not much more. This is not for lack of Amazon trying to motivate me, though. I get emails every few days suggesting I teach Alexa some new skills. If I would just open the Alexa app on my iPhone, surely I would find happiness there.

Nobody does marketing better than Amazon. This week on Cyber Monday, Amazon sent out an email specifically for Echo owners. The deal was pretty cool. If you used your Amazon Echo to order one of the things on their list using your voice, you’d get 25% off the purchase price and a $10 Amazon gift card.
This was too good to pass up. I went to the kitchen where I have the Echo Dot, and called out her name. The little blue / turquoise ring floated around the top to let me know she was listening. I said, “Order a Fire Stick.” She said, “it’s not in stock right now, but will ship on Thursday. The price will be $29.99 plus tax. Do you want to order it?” I said, “yes”.

It was the most frictionless purchase l’ve ever made. Now think about what Amazon accomplished here:

  • They got me to buy something
  • They taught me how to use what I’d already bought to buy more things
  • The thing they got me to buy was a device to help me buy and rent video content from them
  • They gave me a gift card… so I could buy more things from them
  • And they taught me to like it

NC #598 YouTube Takedown, Not Sad About Samsung, Reminders, Echo Dot, Dyn DNS DDoS Attack

I got to host Bart’s show, Let’s Talk Photography at lets-talk.ie/…. My RecoLive Tutorial is up at ScreenCasts Online, check it out at screencastsonline.com/…. I go on a bit of a rant about how the Live Show almost died because of a guy doing a takedown notice on YouTube of an interview we did with his company. That rant is followed by another one where I explain why I am neither sad nor surprised about the mess Samsung is in. If you get value out of the show, please consider pledging support at podfeet.com/patreon. I do a deep dive into the Reminders app for iOS and macOS. Then I walk you through my experience setting up the $50 Amazon Echo Dot. Bart Busschots jumps in for an out of band Security Medium where he explains what happened to the Internet this week. We talk about DNS and how the servers work, the role insecure IoT devices played in it and some suspicions about who was behind the attack.


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Echo Dot 2nd Gen is Clumsy on Initial Setup

DotEvery once in a while there’s a device comes out that everyone loves, and urges you to get, even if they can’t articulate to you why it’s so awesome. I remember a hundred years ago when my friend Eric told me to get a Palm Pilot. He explained to me that it was a small handheld device that would hold my contacts and calendar. I pointed to my 3 pound full-sized Franklin Planner notebook and said, “My planner already does that, why do I need this?” He was relentless. I took his advice and of course I was hooked.

This same kind of enthusiasm and zeal is happening around the Amazon Echo. People love their Echos. They don’t just like them, they loooooove them. You may remember when I had Mike Elgan on the show, he said one of the few things worthy of being carried around the world in his nomadic life is an Amazon Echo. He said all the usual things I’d heard before, play music, ask the weather, set a timer or listen to podcasts. I pressed him that I could do all of those things with Siri. He said it was different but hard to articulate, so I should just get one. Continue reading “Echo Dot 2nd Gen is Clumsy on Initial Setup”

CCATP #460 Shelly Brisbin on Self-Publishing

We’re joined by Shelly Brisbin, author of the book iOS Access for All and host of The Parallel Podcast. As she’s written more than a dozen tech books, I asked her to come on the show to explain how she creates her books, what tools she uses, and how she migrated from using an agent and a big publishing house to doing self publishing. It’s a really fun episode because while you’d think creating a book is all about writing, Shelly gets into how she uses TextWrangler and writes her own Cascading Style Sheets to create her books.

You can find Shelly on Twitter @shelly and you can find her book at iosaccessbook.com/…, and The Parallels Podcast at parallelpodcast.com/….


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Links to things Shelly mentioned in the show:

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