Archives For Gadgets

google-fcc

File this one under pure speculation… Beyond showing up as a new FCC listing, we know next to nothing about this Google “Smart Device.” Some have concluded it’s a Google Glass update. However, I find that unlikely given the naming convention (CAP1 vs X1) and seeking approval for just a single band of low energy Bluetooth. It’s been a long while since we’re heard anything out of Google-owned Nest and Dropcam – not to mention those canceled Tabs. So a new “Smart Device,” with a touch-powered display, is particularly interesting. Of course, the type of gadget that runs solely BLE would be limited. In fact, in my household, the only thing similarly adorned is my Kevo smartlock. Curiouser and curiouser.

Whoa, Amazon Echo just got way more interesting.Thus far, it’s made for a relatively decent voice-controlled alarm clock and connected speaker. But we’ve found it more novelty than necessity. That may change today. As Amazon just sent a note indicating they’ve enabled linkages to my Philips Hue bulbs and Belkin’s WeMo products for the smart home. Looking forward to checking this out real soon (and, sadly, it seems I may have prematurely unloaded our second unit). Continue Reading…

jk76pl

I love tracking Amazon’s FCC filing patterns almost as much as I love their technology. Whereas most companies file under their own corporate entity, with the requisite confidentiality requests, or time filings with press or consumer announcements to prevent inadvertent discoveries, Amazon tends to create interestingly named and staffed LLCs around the country with VOIP numbers (that are never answered). So while I can’t say for certain this is the next gizmo out of Amazon’s Lab126, I can tell you it fits their pattern. With that in mind, let me introduce you to Scituate LLC, housed at a Regus office rental facility in Arizona, staffed by a Raven Brady, with a Google Voice number. And what they’ve filed is the mysterious single band JK76PL 802.11 b/g/n “Wireless Device” — let your imagination go crazy. Could this be Amazon’s next Echo or Fire TV product? A home automation hub or Fire tablet dock? Something for their warehouses? Or someone else’s product all together?

Massive Amazon Fire TV Stick Update Detailed

IMG_8038

One thing was immediately clear as soon as I was able get Netgear Arlo up and running: 1) it was very easy to add cameras, and 2) all I wanted was to buy more cameras! But let’s back up a second and explain exactly what Arlo is, and is not. Arlo, the spiritual successor to Vue, is the newest camera security system from Netgear — it consists of a central wireless hub hooks into your home router along with a number of wireless cameras. Arlo also incorporates heat-based camera sensors to record video as motion is detected and stores those clips in the cloud. But Arlo is NOT designed for continuous 24/7 video recording like a Dropcam. Now that we have that out of the way, let’s walk through how to setup the system, and explain the usage at our home. Continue Reading…

amazon-echo-sonos

While our home has hosted a pair of Amazon Echo ($99-199) connected-speakers-with-benefits for several weeks, I’ve yet to write much. As my thoughts continue to coalesce, Amazon just hit me with news of an update. Joining the existing I Heart Radio and Amazon Prime voice-controlled apps are Spotify, Pandora, and iTunes. However, whereas I Heart Radio and and Prime Music are native apps that live solely within Echo and the cloud, these newcomers stream to Echo via a Bluetooth-connected iPhone or Android. The addition of voice for transport controls is surely nice-to-have, but it’s not in the same league by requiring another device in the mix and without being able to verbally summon a specific artist or playlist as I do with Prime Heart. Continue Reading…

Sonos 5.3 Beta

Within the last few days, a new APK for the Sonos Android app popped up online. And, throwing caution to the wind, I went ahead and installed the 5.3 beta. While I’m not privy to the release notes, and therefore not necessarily aware of all changes, it seems likely that massive usability enhancements headline this release.

Upon opening the app, we’re presented with our Sonos Favorites (which I now have reason to flesh out). Further, certain functionality like switching zones or enabling timers is more apparent, while requiring fewer clicks, as Sonos more sensibly surfaces these features. And beyond the new raft of top-level contextual menuing, the now playing bar gains new functionality in rating, where appropriate – like I Heart Radio and Pandora music streaming services. Continue Reading…