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Smart Home devices 4487

Head Turd Polisher Administrator Just Bananas Posts: 61,262 Optimum instrumentum est inter aures
Re: Smart Home devices
« Reply #210 on: February 09, 2019, 08:59:24 PM »
Anyone using IFTTT?  I just discovered it last night, and it basically just adds a lot more commands and functionality to your phone and other smart devices.

Of course, one of the first things I did was set it to respond to the command "Execute Order 66" because... you know... priorities...   :jedi:   :facepalm:

Def

Yep, I use it a lot. For example for Social Media forwarding etc.
But also in the house. My lights flash when someone rings my doorbell. Just for fun…

That seems like it would come in very handy for my father, who has a major hearing problem.  It is because of his hearing issues that he got a Smartwatch- the buzzing on his wrist made a lot more sense than than a ringing/beeping phone did.  When they had a land line it was hooked up to a strobe light for him, and the scary part is that he can be standing right under the smoke alarm and not hear it, so I have been thinking of getting them a smart smoke alarm too.

Def

Leave the dents as they are- let your belongings show their scars as proudly as you do yours.
No Life Club Posts: 1,662
Re: Smart Home devices
« Reply #211 on: February 09, 2019, 09:35:05 PM »
I also automated the smoke alarm. If it goes off, ALL the lights in the house turn on at 100% brightness.
Did that in Apple Home btw.

I have a Ring doorbel and Philips Hue lights.
The lights in the living room flash 3 or 4 times if someone rings the doorbell.
No Life Club Posts: 1,310
Re: Smart Home devices
« Reply #212 on: February 09, 2019, 11:29:05 PM »
I have a Client who was Paralyzed in an accident and has around the clock nursing care in home.
They are not supposed to drift off but sometimes in the middle of the night.....

So I rigged an Alexa in his bedroom so that when he says "Alexa Get Help" it blasts the Beatles Help through Sonos Speakers around the house.
It took a while to get it working as you can not just ask Alexa for "Help" as she already thinks this means help with her?
She is sort of Bitchy about it too!
Head Turd Polisher Administrator Just Bananas Posts: 61,262 Optimum instrumentum est inter aures
Re: Smart Home devices
« Reply #213 on: February 16, 2019, 01:39:40 PM »
I picked up a couple of smart plugs the other day because I got a good deal on them.  Unfortunately I ended up with exactly the same issue that the person I bought them from had- they seem to only work with a 2.5ghz router and I only have a 5ghz router so they are virtually useless to me.   :facepalm:

I am pretty sure Megan has a dual band router in Ottawa, so they will probably go back with her when she visits next.

Def

Leave the dents as they are- let your belongings show their scars as proudly as you do yours.
Head Turd Polisher Administrator Just Bananas Posts: 61,262 Optimum instrumentum est inter aures
Re: Smart Home devices
« Reply #214 on: February 20, 2019, 09:38:27 PM »
I managed to wheel and deal a little bit today and got a 3rd Generation Alexa Echo Dot.  And I though Google Home Mini had a long name...  :facepalm:

The first thing I noticed, immediately out of the box, is that Alexa is HEAVY!

Both the Alexa Dot and Google Home Mini went on the scale (without their power cords) and the Mini came in at 174g versus 295g (6.1 oz vs 10.4 oz respectively).  This is likely due to the better speaker on Alexa- we all know Alexa has better hardware while Google has the better software, or at least that seems to be the general consensus.  I would concur as well, at least as far as my initial testing has taken me.  But I am getting ahead of myself.

I will say that I also prefer Alexa's fancy circular light to the Mini's 4 dots.  It is a lot easier to see if she's listening- and yes, I have fallen into the trap of calling them "she" because of the female voice on them.  Yes, you can change it, but I'm pretty sure I prefer the female voice.  Maybe I am sexist, wanting a female assistant, but I prefer to think of it as just preferring that the competent and helpful voice around the house doesn't sound like it's going to have a few beers later and take a swing at me.

Bear in mind that some of what I am about to say is the result of me already having Google Assistant software on my phone.

Alexa was harder to set up initially.

With the Google Home Mini, the app on my phone asked me if I wanted to connect my Mini to the same router, using the settings the phone used.  I said yes and it did the rest for me.  The app (Google Home) was already installed on my phone, and I believe it is already on most (all?) Android devices as part of the OS.

For Alexa I had to download the Alexa app on my phone, then connect to the device, then select the router and input the password.  Not a big deal for most of us, but Google was a lot easier. 

I then had to create a voice profile for Alexa, which resulted in me having to repeat ten phrases for her.  With Google, creating a voice profile is a lot easier, as I think (if I recall correctly anyway, it has been a while since I set it up) you just say "Ok Google" three times and it's ready to go.

The speaker on the Dot is easily far superior to that of the Home Mini, and the light show you get while things are playing is much cooler, although I wonder what it is like to fall asleep to? 

If you ask Google Home whether she is better than Alexa (or Siri, or Cortana etc) she will come up with one of many phrases that are amusing and noncommittal, while praising the others.

For example- I asked Google Home Mini right now whether she was better than Alexa.  Google responded that she was sure that Alexa loved Canada as much as she did, and that she (Google) was looking forward to them singing the national anthem together someday.  She then played O Canada. 

I then asked her again and she said "I couldn't compare myself to Alexa- assistants have to stick together."

If you ask Alexa, she just says "I like all AI's" every time.

Not a big deal really, but it shows you that the difference between Alexa's AI and Google's is just as far apart as the difference between Google's speaker and Alexa's.  Google's speaker is perfectly functional and adequate, but if you had Alexa first you'd be disappointed in it.  Alexa's responses seem a lot more generic.  Again, it is obvious in the Easter Eggs.  Asking each of them silly questions like "will you be my girlfriend" or "drop a beat" and you will get the same (amusing) responses from Alexa each time.  Ask the same questions to Google Home and it will come up with a different amusing answer every time.

For example:

How are babies made?

Alexa- "Babes are made through the process of reproduction."
Google- Actually gives the scientific process and then sends a link to your phone in case you want to know more

Is there a Santa?

Alexa- "Santa makes a lot of people Ho Ho Hopeful for a happy holiday and I definitely believe in that"
Google- dial tone, touch tones, elf switchboard, operator connects you to Santa, who then asks you to help him choose what band to have for Elfstock.  Say yes you will help and it starts asking you some follow up questions which then leads to a holiday song. 

If your kids don't believe Santa exists after that virtual, simulated two way conversation, then you have failed miserably as a parent.  :P

All in all, I like them both, but I think (at least so far, bear in mind I have only had Alexa for an hour or so!) if I had to choose one, I would stick with Google.  I will continue to test them against each other over the next little while and let you know if I change my mind.

Def

Leave the dents as they are- let your belongings show their scars as proudly as you do yours.
Administrator Zombie Apprentice Posts: 12,115 I am geek, hear me code
Re: Smart Home devices
« Reply #215 on: February 21, 2019, 12:04:41 AM »
The big reason for my indecision to jump on the black friday/holiday sales was that I want the amazon hardware with the google software

Listen to our Metal Radio Show: https://www.mixcloud.com/sexto9
Head Turd Polisher Administrator Just Bananas Posts: 61,262 Optimum instrumentum est inter aures
Re: Smart Home devices
« Reply #216 on: February 21, 2019, 12:15:55 AM »
I feel like that is what we all want.   :think:

Def

Leave the dents as they are- let your belongings show their scars as proudly as you do yours.
Head Turd Polisher Administrator Just Bananas Posts: 61,262 Optimum instrumentum est inter aures
Re: Smart Home devices
« Reply #217 on: February 22, 2019, 02:58:09 PM »
It turns out that my preference for Google's superior software is not as cut and dried as I thought.

Compared to Google Assistant, Alexa is pretty dumb, but you can add more functionality with IFTTT, and that helps a lot.  There is also a lot more setup with Alexa, such as having to give her access to your GPS data and phone, and then still having to input your location for weather data.  Imagine how unamused I was when I gave her access to GPS data, then asked what the weather was, and she said she couldn't answer because she didn't know where I was.   :facepalm:

Alexa cannot find your phone, and the weather data on the app appears to be stuck in F instead of C, although Alexa now reads me the weather in C.  The app is kind of difficult to navigate as there are a lot of submenus to go through to get what you want.  The Google app is also difficult to use for similar reasons- there are less submenus to navigate since it does a lot of stuff natively (assuming you have an Android phone or tablet) but the options are graphical and so you may have to guess the right icon to be in to accomplish something.

Using IFTTT though you can fix some of the things that Alexa doesn't do- sort of.  I installed the Alexa find my phone option, and it worked, except that the VOIP call she made to my phone took almost ten minutes to actually ring my phone.  If you are looking for your phone, you probably don't want to wait ten minutes for help finding it.   :facepalm:

While it looks like Alexa may be kind of useless, at least by comparison, the hardware is much better.  And I mean by a lot.  I hadn't realized how tinny the Home Mini speaker was, and I find myself not having to yell at Alexa as often as I had to at Google, especially if it was playing the radio or music.  And the sound coming out of it is far superior. 

One annoying thing regarding sound on Alexa though- the timer.

When using the timer on Google (which I do a lot) it makes a noticeable but not too annoying alert.  That's what you want in a timer, something you will notice, but not be terribly upsetting if you can't get to it to shut it off right away.  The Alexa version beeps at you as if it was programmed by Milton from Office Space:



In fact, the first time I used it, I actually had to ask Alexa what the noise was and what it was trying to tell me.  Of course, it couldn't answer that question.   :facepalm:

I think that you can't make a bad decision getting either of these, but stick to whichever one you get, because you will judge the other harshly by what you get used to.  If you get Alexa first you will get used to the better sound and microphone, and you won't really know what you are missing with the lack of functions.  If you get a Google Home device first, you will appreciate how easy it is to set up and use, and how many things it can do, and the sound quality won't bug you, because again, you won't know what you are missing.

I have relegated Google to the bedroom as I prefer the morning and nighttime routines with it, and Alexa has taken over in the living room because I listen to the radio much of the day (if for no other reason than to keep the dogs from hearing and barking at things outside) and the sound quality is much better- it fills the room much nicer.  The living room is also next to the kitchen, and the better microphone is handier when I am making supper.  I just have to really listen for the alarm at the end.  And, if I need a Google service when I am not in or near the bedroom, my phone is usually happy to do the job.

Def

Leave the dents as they are- let your belongings show their scars as proudly as you do yours.
Global Moderator Absolutely No Life Club Posts: 7,142
Re: Smart Home devices
« Reply #218 on: February 22, 2019, 03:28:06 PM »
I'm sticking with Alexa, I've got 6 of them now so no going back for me.  I've also just bought my sister one for her birthday as she has been wanting one since she saw mine.  She's an apple fangirl so really should get the homepod thingy they do, but they are way to expensive. 
Head Turd Polisher Administrator Just Bananas Posts: 61,262 Optimum instrumentum est inter aures
Re: Smart Home devices
« Reply #219 on: February 22, 2019, 04:26:45 PM »
I'm sticking with Alexa, I've got 6 of them now so no going back for me.  I've also just bought my sister one for her birthday as she has been wanting one since she saw mine.  She's an apple fangirl so really should get the homepod thingy they do, but they are way to expensive.

I agree- if you have one, don't go to the other.  There's not much point in that.  I think what bothers me is that they both have a call (intercom) feature, but as far as I can tell, they are not able to call eachother, which seems silly.  Maybe there is something in IFTTT, but in the end it doesn't make much difference to me as my place is small enough- if I speak loud enough that either will hear me, chances are the person in the other room I am trying to communicate with will hear me too.

Having both will either make you appreciate what they each do better than the other, or more likely, frustrate you when you want to do something that device doesn't do.

My Chromecast should arrive next week, and, as I understand it, Alexa won't talk to it, so that will be another interesting test.

Def

Leave the dents as they are- let your belongings show their scars as proudly as you do yours.
No Life Club Posts: 1,662
Re: Smart Home devices
« Reply #220 on: February 22, 2019, 07:47:13 PM »
I have Siri and Google. Because Apple ignores The Netherlands (No Apple pay, no HomePods (I do have them), no Dutch Siri on the HomePods etc.) I bought the Google mini's.
Talk to them for accessing 1 item. For the scenes I stick with Siri.
Global Moderator Absolutely No Life Club Posts: 7,142
Re: Smart Home devices
« Reply #221 on: February 24, 2019, 04:04:41 PM »
I like the drop in feature on the Echo's, but I wish when they released a new feature it was world wide. Still not able to call phones with them unless they have the Alexa app.  In the US you can call any number in your contacts.
Head Turd Polisher Administrator Just Bananas Posts: 61,262 Optimum instrumentum est inter aures
Re: Smart Home devices
« Reply #222 on: February 24, 2019, 04:27:39 PM »
I am making my first call on the Alexa right now.

Def

Leave the dents as they are- let your belongings show their scars as proudly as you do yours.
Global Moderator He Who Has The Most Nuts, Wins! Posts: 55,551
Re: Smart Home devices
« Reply #223 on: February 24, 2019, 11:24:19 PM »
I am making my first call on the Alexa right now.

Def

Are you still waiting for an answer :ahhh

 :D
Head Turd Polisher Administrator Just Bananas Posts: 61,262 Optimum instrumentum est inter aures
Re: Smart Home devices
« Reply #224 on: February 25, 2019, 12:36:57 AM »
No, it actually worked quite well.

Just like any other speaker phone anyway.  :D

Def

Leave the dents as they are- let your belongings show their scars as proudly as you do yours.
Global Moderator He Who Has The Most Nuts, Wins! Posts: 55,551
Re: Smart Home devices
« Reply #225 on: February 25, 2019, 03:56:38 AM »
Good to know :salute:
Head Turd Polisher Administrator Just Bananas Posts: 61,262 Optimum instrumentum est inter aures
Re: Smart Home devices
« Reply #226 on: February 25, 2019, 11:29:37 AM »
One thing to remember when using it to make calls is that they tend to come up on the other person's phone as Unknown Name, Unknown Number or similar, so the person on the other end may not bother responding.

That's why it had taken me so long to actually make a call on it- no one answered the first few times.

Def

Leave the dents as they are- let your belongings show their scars as proudly as you do yours.
Global Moderator Absolutely No Life Club Posts: 7,142
Re: Smart Home devices
« Reply #227 on: April 08, 2019, 11:43:04 PM »
Amazon echo and dots are reduced again in their spring sale
Administrator Zombie Apprentice Posts: 12,115 I am geek, hear me code
Re: Smart Home devices
« Reply #228 on: April 09, 2019, 08:02:47 AM »
I have a dot on the way, spring sale in Spain means 35 instead of 60.

Listen to our Metal Radio Show: https://www.mixcloud.com/sexto9
Administrator Zombie Apprentice Posts: 12,115 I am geek, hear me code
Re: Smart Home devices
« Reply #229 on: April 10, 2019, 08:48:17 PM »
Dot arrived, plugged in, was pretty painless to setup to be honest

Haven't done much with it yet but I'm liking what I see so far

Listen to our Metal Radio Show: https://www.mixcloud.com/sexto9
Global Moderator Absolutely No Life Club Posts: 7,142
Re: Smart Home devices
« Reply #230 on: April 10, 2019, 10:13:48 PM »
There's a battery speaker base for the dot 3 now, the reviews say it gives better sound than the echo plus and gives 8 hours of power. I'll get one sometime for use when I'm doing bbq's
Global Moderator He Who Has The Most Nuts, Wins! Posts: 55,551
Re: Smart Home devices
« Reply #231 on: April 14, 2019, 07:19:35 AM »
Really haven't used any of my smart devices in a bit :ahhh Need to use them more I guess :facepalm: Still debating on when and what to get with smart bulbs and plugs :think: I have also been looking really hard at the Nest Thermostat :salute:
Administrator Zombie Apprentice Posts: 12,115 I am geek, hear me code
Re: Smart Home devices
« Reply #232 on: April 14, 2019, 10:09:15 AM »
mostly been using ours for timers and alarms so far, and a bit of music.

Listen to our Metal Radio Show: https://www.mixcloud.com/sexto9
Head Turd Polisher Administrator Just Bananas Posts: 61,262 Optimum instrumentum est inter aures
Re: Smart Home devices
« Reply #233 on: April 15, 2019, 10:27:10 PM »
I have been using mine largely for watching TV (Mini controls Netflix and Chromecast very well), as well as timers, reference info (weather, conversions etc), music and news.

I also love the Chromecast for the slideshows.  I have it set to show photos of friends and family photos that I have stored in Google Photos and it randomly shows them on the TV.  It is great to be reminded of various adventures that we've been on- most of the time I can identify them immediately, but some of them I have completely forgotten about, and it's great to be reminded!  :D

Def

Leave the dents as they are- let your belongings show their scars as proudly as you do yours.
Global Moderator Absolutely No Life Club Posts: 7,142
Re: Smart Home devices
« Reply #234 on: June 04, 2019, 03:18:14 PM »
Echo Dots are on offer again
No Life Club Posts: 1,662
Re: Smart Home devices
« Reply #235 on: June 07, 2019, 01:06:03 PM »
I have two Google Nest Hubs now. One functions as a picture frame in my living room and the second one is on my nightstand as an alarm clock.
Love them!!!
Also have three Mini's in other rooms. Works great for some music and I can control my lights etc. everywhere now.
Head Turd Polisher Administrator Just Bananas Posts: 61,262 Optimum instrumentum est inter aures
Re: Smart Home devices
« Reply #236 on: June 08, 2019, 11:09:49 PM »
They are indeed addictive.

I have an Alexa Echo Dot 3 in the living room and a Home Mini in the bedroom.  I find the Home Mini is a lot better overall, and there's honestly not much I prefer about the Echo Dot.  Nothing significant, at least.

For example, I like the LED lighting on the Dot.  It is much more visible, so I know Alexa has heard me and I can continue with my command.  The green light that indicates which microphone is being used is also a nice feature, although to be honest, neither of these really offset the issues with Alexa.

For example, I use them both mostly as a radio, and I listen to a local station called Q104.  I tell Google to play Q104 and it automatically brings up my local Q104, which makes sense because I probably want to listen to my local station.  If I give the same command to Alexa, she either plays some other station or tells me that the station I want to listen to is not available in my area.  Then I say "Alexa, play 104.3" and she will play the correct station (wrong one is apparently 104.5, in Mexico or the southern US somewhere), but what's really annoying is that she will respond with "okay, playing Q104 on Tunein."

If she knew it was Q104, why the hell did I have to specify?

The Home Mini is a lot more intuitive, and I like that I can control my Chromecast.  For example, I just walk into the room, and if the TV is on I just say "okay Google, play Family Guy" and it will automatically pull up Netflix and start playing Family Guy on the nearest TV.  I can also play, pause, advance to the next episode, restart the current episode or go to the previous episode all by talking to it.  Not so with Alexa, although maybe that would work better if I had a Firestick instead of Chromecast.

The other day I also asked them both a couple of random questions.  I asked them both what the three laws of robotics were, and both gave me comprehensive (and correct!) answers, which was nice.  I then followed up by asking what the three rules for keeping a Mogwai was, and only Google was able to respond.  I will say that I wasn't 100% thrilled with the response from Google as it mentioned all three rules but only talked about what happens with bright light and water, and nothing about feeding them after midnight, which seems like perhaps the most important warning.   :facepalm:

Of course, that was still miles better than Alexa's complete lack of a response.

I also like that the Home Mini listens for follow up commands- or even non commands.  For example, my parents did an excellent job of teaching me to say please and thank you, and I often say please and thank you to Google.  Google often responds with "you are welcome" or other, similar responses.  I know it's not a big thing, but I appreciate these kinds of details, and it makes me want to use it more.

Unfortunately the one place that I think Alexa may outshine the Home Mini is with shopping lists, and that is one feature I really don't use on either.

After a few months of playing with both I can see why someone was willing to trade their Echo Dot for a Home Mini.  I want to add more smart home features to my house, and I have to say, in my limited experience, Google seems like it would be much better suited to controlling things than Alexa.

Def

Leave the dents as they are- let your belongings show their scars as proudly as you do yours.
Global Moderator He Who Has The Most Nuts, Wins! Posts: 55,551
Re: Smart Home devices
« Reply #237 on: June 10, 2019, 12:21:58 PM »
Not specifically a smart home device but has the features of one :cheers: does anyone have an Nvidia Shield TV :think: I have been looking and researching one of these and am really trying to debate about getting it but the price keeps me hung up about it :ahhh if it really is as great as all the reviews say then I very well may pull the trigger for one :dd:
Global Moderator Absolutely No Life Club Posts: 7,142
Re: Smart Home devices
« Reply #238 on: June 10, 2019, 02:40:23 PM »
I also like that the Home Mini listens for follow up commands- or even non commands. 

So do the Amazon Echo's, it must come disabled as default over there. Just turn on follow-up mode in the Alexa app.
Head Turd Polisher Administrator Just Bananas Posts: 61,262 Optimum instrumentum est inter aures
Re: Smart Home devices
« Reply #239 on: June 10, 2019, 09:58:07 PM »
So do the Amazon Echo's, it must come disabled as default over there. Just turn on follow-up mode in the Alexa app.

Thanks for the heads up- I will give that a look.   :tu:

I'm not sure who's app is more convoluted, although Google's seems convoluted because it does more, while Alexa's just seems convoluted because they can.   :facepalm:

Def

Leave the dents as they are- let your belongings show their scars as proudly as you do yours.

 

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