Archives For Smart Home

sonicare-bluetooth

By way of the FCC, we learn Philips plans to soon expand their Sonicare line with yet another Bluetooth-enabled toothbrush. The technology had originally been released in a kids brush, as little ones presumably need more coaching as to when and where the cleaning gets done. As it turns out, Philips joins competitor Oral B in determining we adults can also benefit from a smartphone-linked brush:

Follow the Sonicare app’s brushing guidance combined with the BrushPacer and begin brushing. The Philips Sonicare app helps to address any missed spots by guiding you to spend 20 seconds in the areas you missed during brushing.

Does the incoming Sonicare Flexcare Connected solve a problem or merely represent more Internet of Stupid – is my brushing bad enough to justify continual monitoring and remediation (and do I really want my phone next to the sink?) Can I link up with friends, like Fitbit, to see who brushes better (and issue taunts)? Never mind oral hygiene, what happens to one’s stress level should we forgot to compulsively track each session?

Apr 7

Amazon has passed what looks to be a second generation Dash button thru the FCC — based on filing approach, device profile, and model number. But, given the very limited information, the only obvious enhancement is Bluetooth LE joining the existing 802.11 WiFi variants, potentially allowing smartphone or home automation interaction beyond what’s currently available in merely reordering supplies via wireless. Alexa-like integration would be cool…

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As to other upcoming Amazon reveals: I’m also currently tracking what’s either a new Fire tablet or Kindle e-reader or, alternately, an existing device of that sort headed to new markets. Stay tuned.

nest-woot

Woot’s offering up a new, not refurb, 3rd generation Nest learning thermostat for $50 off retail at $200. I much prefer ecobee3, but this is a decent value if you happen to be in the market…

Philips just released firmware for the Philips Hue bridge that may permanently sever access to any “non-approved” ZigBee bulbs. We previously covered third party support in January 2015, when Philips indicated it was not blocked – and have since benefited.

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The recent change seems to suggest any non-Philips bulbs from manufacturers such as Cree, GE, and Osram will not be supported in many situations, whereas “Friends of Hue” branded product are. At the time of publication, it’s unclear whether 3rd party bulbs will stop working immediately after the firmware update or if they may only become inaccessible after the bridge is reset. We’re also not sure if being “reset” means rebooted or factory reset. This appears to apply to both the round v1 bridge and square v2 HomeKit-compatible bridge after the latest firmware update is applied. Continue Reading…

Check & Repair Your Ecobee Sensor

Dave Zatz —  December 11, 2015

While I generally prefer my ecobee3 smart thermostat (upstairs) to my Nest (downstairs), the company appears to have suffered something of a manufacturing quality control issue that significantly reduces its key remote sensor benefit. Namely, a number of recently shipped devices feature misaligned ecobee sensor component to sensor window. Indeed, I had set up a sensor in my soon-to-arrive baby’s room … but it rarely showed the room as Occupied – a requirement for ecobee’s “Smart Away” and “Follow Me” features.

ecobee-sensor-repair

I’m sure ecobee Support would gladly swap defective devices, but it turns out the fix is pretty easy and I took care of it myself. Basically, pry apart the top and bottom portions of a sensor and rotate them so that the eye sits behind the window. In my case, I was able to open the module with my fingernails (versus Chris’ screwdriver approach), rotate the top 90 degrees, and snap the pieces back together in short order.

When it came time to choose a new mattress this past summer, I decided to wire up our bedroom with Sleep Number and Sleep IQ. Casper gets a whole lot of tech press, for reasons that aren’t entirely clear given their now commonplace bedding materials and a limited one-mattress-fits-all product lineup. Whereas I truly hoped to embrace technology as a potential means of enhancing our sleeping experience. Sleep Number seemed to fit the bill. And, four months in, we’re extremely satisfied with our decision.

After hours of research, including extensive and appreciated online pre-sales chat along with an impressive Consumer Reports’ endorsement, I ended up purchasing the entry-level Sleep Number C2 model with a SleepIQ upgrade. Interestingly, the same core components and functionality are found within all Sleep Number mattresses (that we’ll get to in a minute). What differs are things like padding and cover thickness or composition. Indeed, the Sleep Number C2 is Consumer Reports second highest rated bed… right behind the Sleep Number i8, but at 1/3rd the cost. Having replaced a pair of name brand mattresses the last few years, due to depressingly rapid deterioration, we’re appropriately conservative with ongoing bedding investments.

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August is out with several announcements today as they now publicly transition from a singularly focused smart lock company into a home automation player. We’ve got service relationships, a smart keypad, a doorbell camera, and, of course, more smartlock. The existing August lock drops in price to $199 with a significantly updated model joining the fray at $229.

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