This 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.
I asked the fabulous Joe Dugandzic to come back on the show to talk us through the comprehensive HomeKit compatible product guide he created. For a long time there weren’t a lot of HomeKit devices to enjoy but now that the market is filling up, having a really well organized page with all of the options is very valuable.
Joe has organized the page into categories rather than by vendor. He’s got lighting, outlets and sockets, wall dimmers & switches, security devices like locks and cameras, thermostats, ceiling fans and shades, fire and smoke detectors, specialized sensors like for air quality and water leaks, sand even smart buttons (which I think are dumb actually).
If you’re not of the HomeKit persuasion, every device on his site has a code for whether it’s also compatible with Google Assistant or Amazon Alexa, and he designates if it works in countries with 240 volt power or just 120. He also links to any video reviews he’s done on his YouTube channel at YouTube.com/smarterhomelife. With all this to go through, it’s a long show because I asked so many questions of Joe!
In my previous article I tried to give you the flavor of how to install the ecobee3 Smart Thermostat, and now let’s talk about how it actually works. But if after hearing more about it you feel tempted to buy one, don’t do it. My timing couldn’t be worse on this, because I just found out from Mark Pouley that ecobee will be revealing the ecobee4 next week!
From what I’ve been reading, it appears the new version will not just be a thermostat but will also be an Amazon Echo inside. In Mikah Sargent’s article on iMore, he explains that it’s not just going to have Alexa/Echo support, it will be one. Even if having Alexa (or another Alexa) in your house sounds cool, definitely hold off till the official announcement, and even if you don’t want that the price on the ecobee3 has dropped as a result so that’s cool too.
I think it’s a reasonable assumption that the functionality I like about the ecobee3 will be in the ecobee4, so let’s jump in and talk about it. I asked Steven Goetz to collaborate with me on this since he bought one just now too, and he’s done a lot more playing with his than I have.
We’ll have one more NosillaCast before we go off on our grand adventure to the Galapagos Islands and Machu Picchu, and while we’re gone please send in some audio reviews for Allister and Bart (email addresses in the show notes. I brag shamelessly about an article in the Atlantic about me and other people with specific musical anhedonia. I was on the Daily Tech News Show at a href=”http://www.dailytechnewsshow.com/dtns-2984-fintech-fish/” target=”_blank” rel=”no opener”>DTNS #2984 entitled “Fintech != fish” talking about what it was like to be a woman in engineering and tech for 35 years. I’ll tell a tale of how Bart and I cracked the code on my jerk of a printer using our knowledge of subnets and such, then I’ll tell you about the first HomeKit compatible indoor security camera, the D-Link OmnaHD. Then we’ll hear about a prosthetic implant that allows people with retinal degradation to see crude shapes, the Argus from Second Sight.
You’ve heard me complain about the setup process for virtually every device from the Amazon Echo to the Hue Lightbulbs, but this time it’s another story. D-Link just started shipping the Omna 180 Cam HD, the very first HomeKit-compatible indoor security camera and it’s fabulous.
Steve has been wanting an indoor security camera for a long time, but he wouldn’t go with one that wasn’t HomeKit compatible for security reasons. When the Omna was announced, I pre-ordered it directly from Apple, with the plan to give it to him on his birthday in April.
But then I realized two things. A) I couldn’t wait to give it to him, and B) having this installed before we go on a 2 week vacation makes more sense. We have a TSA Agent who lives in our house while we’re gone, but for when she’s not around this would be really useful. The other thing that helped my decision to give it to him early was that it arrived more than a week early!
Steve 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!)
Allison interviews Christopher Neal from Elgato about their Eve series of wireless indoor and outdoor sensors and controllers. These devices include window/door sensing, motion sensing, indoor and outdoor environmental sensing/control and irrigation sensing/control. All Eve devices can be monitored and controlled though the iOS Eve app. Elgato Eve devices are HomeKit enabled and they interoperate with hubs and products from other companies. The setting is the CES Conference show floor.
Mikah 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.
Allison interviews Ashton Good from Kwikset about their new Premis line of smart locks for home use. Premis smart locks have a capacitive touchscreen and allow you to control and monitor lock status from anywhere using the Premis iOS app and an Apple TV. Premis locks are HomeKit compatible and use Apple’s approved end-to-end encryption to ensure security. The setting is the CES Conference show floor.
There will be no live show next week as we’re going to hear Shai Yammanee (good friend of the show) perform in Mamma Mia! If you’re in the LA area and can join us, check out scfta.org for matinée tickets. I was on the Clockwise #163 The Ultimate Dongle and Let’s Talk Photography at lets-talk.ie/… this week. Chit Chat Across the Pond was actually a Taming the Terminal episode and you can see the shownotes at bartbusschots.ie/…. I give a rant on the show first about how HomeKit isn’t making home automation any easier, and then I’ll complain about how I just can’t win on delivery of Apple products. Then I’ll finish up my two part series on how different apps implement 3D Touch on the iPhones 6s and above. Finally I’ll give you my first look review of the 15″ MacBook Pro with Touch Bar.