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(Globe and Mail)   We are smart. We own smart devices. Top five smart home devices to make your ship go RIGHT NOW   (theglobeandmail.com) divider line
    More: Plug, Lighting, first smart home device, Speech recognition, smart home speaker, smart speaker, Thermostat, smart home assistant, Smart device  
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655 clicks; posted to STEM » on 06 Oct 2022 at 5:05 AM (8 weeks ago)   |   Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook



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View Voting Results: Smartest and Funniest
 
2022-10-06 5:06:56 AM  
These smart things sure are making people dumb though
 
2022-10-06 5:14:26 AM  
I've always wanted to be able to say "red alert" in my home and have the lights go red and hear the STNG klaxon sound. I can do that now but I'd feel vaguely silly for it. Let me ask the wife... Oh. The answer is no. Sigh.
 
2022-10-06 5:29:03 AM  
I've grown so accustomed to smart plugs controlling everything, it was quite the shock recently having to shut everything off manually during a planned internet outage. The bother!
It's also great to be able to monitor washing and drying cycles via the real time power usage, from the laundry that is out of earshot.
 
2022-10-06 5:49:50 AM  

American Decency Association: I've grown so accustomed to smart plugs controlling everything, it was quite the shock recently having to shut everything off manually during a planned internet outage. The bother!
It's also great to be able to monitor washing and drying cycles via the real time power usage, from the laundry that is out of earshot.


I know how long both my washer and dryer run, and I just set the timer on my microwave. Ta da!
 
2022-10-06 5:52:54 AM  
My father (who we lost recently four months after his cancer diagnosis...) took up home automatisation after retiring as a programmer.

His best work IMHO was hooking the city's calendar into his system (the garbage pick-up schedule in particular), so that he was reminded by text the evening before to put out one of the garbage bins.

A close runner up was the decision to use a shock sensor(?) in the mail box to trigger a notification that mail had arrived. Before, he and my middle brother had experimented with light sensors and some other sensors, but they showed too many false positives.

shiat, I miss him.
 
2022-10-06 5:54:57 AM  

lindalouwho: American Decency Association: I've grown so accustomed to smart plugs controlling everything, it was quite the shock recently having to shut everything off manually during a planned internet outage. The bother!
It's also great to be able to monitor washing and drying cycles via the real time power usage, from the laundry that is out of earshot.

I know how long both my washer and dryer run, and I just set the timer on my microwave. Ta da!


that's, smart! heh
 
2022-10-06 5:59:47 AM  
We have a smart thermostat which is actually handy, but the original web programming interface sucked. It was easier to program the thermostat itself. It came with the system when we replaced the AC.

We have an older Chromecast for streaming.

We bought Nest mesh WiFi, but I have the smart speaker stuff off, and the microphone switches off.

I don't want to get into a system that requires a monthly fee and/or a system that the company  goes out of business four minutes after I get it set up. Plus the security issues.
 
2022-10-06 6:04:33 AM  

lindalouwho: American Decency Association: I've grown so accustomed to smart plugs controlling everything, it was quite the shock recently having to shut everything off manually during a planned internet outage. The bother!
It's also great to be able to monitor washing and drying cycles via the real time power usage, from the laundry that is out of earshot.

I know how long both my washer and dryer run, and I just set the timer on my microwave. Ta da!


exactly. Most of this "smart" stuff is technology looking for a purpose, and people telling other people they need it. It's marketing
 
2022-10-06 6:11:29 AM  
The only home appliances we have that are 'smart' are cat feeders that are synced with individual cat's ID chips so they only open for the right cat.  Invaluable in the quest to get the chonky cat's weight down while still allowing the underweight grazer cat to keep food around throughout the day.
 
2022-10-06 6:17:35 AM  
The best "smart home" thing I've seen was back in the days of X10 devices.  My boss had bought a repoed home that had all the switches removed and he put in the X10 stuff.   He also had some power monitoring stuff hooked to each kids room and other places around the house.  If he hit the switch at the bottom of the stairs, all the lights downstairs would go off unless something was on that shouldn't be.  Hi the switch at the top and the lights in hall in front of the kids rooms would go on if they were using too much power or else they went off and the other hall light went off about 5 minutes latter.  He even had some books published on the topic in 1991.
 
2022-10-06 6:19:37 AM  

BumpInTheNight: The only home appliances we have that are 'smart' are cat feeders that are synced with individual cat's ID chips so they only open for the right cat.  Invaluable in the quest to get the chonky cat's weight down while still allowing the underweight grazer cat to keep food around throughout the day.


The old solution to that problem was to figure out how high the two cats can jump and put some of the foot just out of reach of the other cat.  The added exercise of attempts isn't likely to do it any harm either.
 
2022-10-06 6:23:10 AM  
Anyone who advocates for smart home devices needs to be sent to gitmo on espionage charges. None of it is secure, it always spies on what you do/say and its one random event away from being turned into an expensive brick
 
2022-10-06 6:25:30 AM  
They mention streaming devices but neglect to point out that video game consoles can do that too, from streaming services or from your other devices or off a USB memory stick. Plus all the other stuff consoles can do. Oh, and play games.
 
2022-10-06 6:43:13 AM  

cretinbob: These smart things sure are making people dumb though


Nobody cares.  Willful stupidity is all the rage now.  It's  not just for conservatives.  It's the one thing we really share--mental and spiritual laziness.

Fark user imageView Full Size


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2022-10-06 6:46:57 AM  

Unobtanium: We have a smart thermostat which is actually handy, but the original web programming interface sucked. It was easier to program the thermostat itself. It came with the system when we replaced the AC.

We have an older Chromecast for streaming.

We bought Nest mesh WiFi, but I have the smart speaker stuff off, and the microphone switches off.

I don't want to get into a system that requires a monthly fee and/or a system that the company  goes out of business four minutes after I get it set up. Plus the security issues.


Try Home Assistant, https://www.home-assistant.io/

It's free, community supported, weeks when many different devices.
 
2022-10-06 7:11:55 AM  
Smart Speaker: Wiretap, let me tell you about my day!

Smart Thermostat: Hey! What do you mean there is a power emergency and I am locked out? Hey?! What do you mean I can't login cause the WiFi is down and I am freezing!

Smart Bulbs: Hey?! what do you mean I can't login to my bulbs and turn them off if the wifi doesn't work? where did my switches go?

Media Players: Hell yeah! to work with my intentionally dumb TV.
 
2022-10-06 7:16:05 AM  

oa330_man: Try Home Assistant, https://www.home-assistant.io/

It's free, community supported, weeks when many different devices.


Though you have to put in a lot of work to find compatible devices that are also privacy-respecting.  And even then you're probably going to need to learn how to block traffic from leaving your network because even the things that don't NEED to call Bezos or Xi usually do.

An absolutely amateur can probably muddle through and get a system working (ZigBee and 433MHz can be a challenge to configure), but you really do still have to be a techie to get it working well and respecting privacy and to work even if you have an Internet outage.

Oh, and smart 'speakers' are still out, as so far as I know even the 'privacy respecting' voice recognition options still send audio out to external servers for processing.
 
2022-10-06 7:18:10 AM  
"The more you have these devices around and the more you use them, the more you become reliant on them," he says.

Wow, he just comes right out and says it--I like not thinking.

the marketing consultant

First up against the wall, chubby.
 
2022-10-06 7:18:38 AM  

Concrete Donkey: Anyone who advocates for smart home devices needs to be sent to gitmo on espionage charges. None of it is secure, it always spies on what you do/say and its one random event away from being turned into an expensive brick


Wrong! My smart flesh light sends requests through my Echo to buy more lube to Amazon, when it's running low.
 
2022-10-06 7:19:44 AM  
Missing from the list: Smart Anal Beads
 
2022-10-06 7:23:27 AM  
We have closed comments on this story for legal reasons or for abuse.

It was an ad.

WhiskeySticks: Missing from the list: Smart Anal Beads


Do you play chess?  You should probably ditch them for a while, just saying.
 
2022-10-06 7:27:34 AM  

AlphaG33k: Smart Speaker: Wiretap, let me tell you about my day!

Smart Thermostat: Hey! What do you mean there is a power emergency and I am locked out? Hey?! What do you mean I can't login cause the WiFi is down and I am freezing!

Smart Bulbs: Hey?! what do you mean I can't login to my bulbs and turn them off if the wifi doesn't work? where did my switches go?

Media Players: Hell yeah! to work with my intentionally dumb TV.


I don't disagree on the smart speaker (I wouldn't have one in my house, but if a government agency wants in they could always plant an app on my phone... you can't win without going back to the stone age).

But for the thermostat and lights?  If you build a system that doesn't include manual overrides, you're an idiot.  My smart thermostat has the same buttons on it for direct control that my old dumb thermostat had.  My smart switches all work without WiFi, I just have to get off my ass like I did before I had them connected to a computer.
 
2022-10-06 7:49:42 AM  
Cool, we don't own any of them!
 
2022-10-06 8:07:38 AM  

WhiskeySticks: Missing from the list: Smart Anal Beads


Are you a grandmaster chess player?
 
2022-10-06 8:21:41 AM  
No,no,no,no,no

DRTFA

38 years in IT taught me that dumb is smarter.
 
DAR [TotalFark]
2022-10-06 8:21:53 AM  
Three words, "Corporate Listening Devices" in your home!!!!!!

Yes, I run my own firewall / video / poe switches / servers / cat 5s (I don't even like WiFi much)..../dar
 
2022-10-06 9:18:02 AM  
I am an advocate for solid state electronics
 
2022-10-06 9:22:43 AM  

natazha: No,no,no,no,no

DRTFA

38 years in IT taught me that dumb is smarter.


^This.gif

I can't remember how many times people have said to me "You work in IT and you don't have: an Alexa/Facebook/Twitter?". Hell and No.
 
2022-10-06 9:53:55 AM  

luddite v2.0: I am an advocate for solid state electronics


I am an advocate for vacuum tubes and mechanical relays.
 
2022-10-06 10:07:49 AM  
The ONLY 'smart' home device I would ever consider getting is a smart thermostat, but considering I'm likely going fully remote so I can buy my first house, there's really no need to have it at that point.

Everything else I can't possibly see any fathomable reason to have them.  It's just a waste of money.

I can manually click things and manually turn things off.  I don't need an easily hackable 'smart' device to cater to extreme laziness.  No thanks.  Piss off.
 
2022-10-06 10:24:34 AM  
Smart speakers are listening to you.
Smart thermostats are not under your control.
Smart plugs and light bulbs aren't "smart" - they're "slaved." They're a switch with a remote control, and that remote control wants to know everything about you before it'll turn on or off your plug or light bulb.

Seriously, don't let "smart" fool you. None of that is "smart." It's just "connected." The claimed intelligence happens elsewhere - in an app on your phone, on a server somewhere else. You had to provide lots of data to get it to work, and you continue to provide data every time you interact with your "smart" toys.

What the folks who sell such devices want, more than anything in the world besides money, is your data. Everything you provide, from voices and faces to usage patterns and preferences, is available to mine, market, package, and sell for the kind of money that's driving so much of the tech industry right now.
 
2022-10-06 10:46:54 AM  

FormlessOne: Smart speakers are listening to you.
Smart thermostats are not under your control.
Smart plugs and light bulbs aren't "smart" - they're "slaved." They're a switch with a remote control, and that remote control wants to know everything about you before it'll turn on or off your plug or light bulb.


Of course smart speakers are listening to you.  So are your phones.

You are wrong about some kinds of smart plugs.  If they are not wifi, but are Z-wave (or possibly zigbee) they connect to each other in a mesh network and to their controller, but not to anything external.  Depending on the controller, that may call home (some require it), but some can be completely removed from the Internet and run on an internal network with no outside connections.

Is it hackable?  Sure, Z-wave isn't the most secure, but it is an uncommon protocol and has extremely limited range.  It is security by obscurity.  Besides, worst case someone can turn on my bedroom light and/or fan?  Oh no, the horror.
 
2022-10-06 11:18:50 AM  
Ok, I own a smart clothes washer, but only because "smartness" was included by default with all the other features I needed.

I'd argue that it's 50% marketing driven, but the other 50% is cost reduction of added features (physical buttons and indicators cost money).

Downloadable custom cycles?  Hint: they activate far too quickly to have "downloaded" them from the cloud. The app just allows you to configure them.

They also could have included an panel indicator to remind me it's time to run the tub clean cycle, but the app does that now.

And then there's the garage door opener.  Same deal, the other features I wanted forced the purchase. While it's helpful to be alerted it's activated, and I presume there are diagnostics when there's a problem someday... nothing beyond that is compelling.
 
2022-10-06 11:18:53 AM  
There are wifi connected smart plugs and switches now.


I have a Honeywell programable thermostat at my home. Don't need anything other than that. The schedule runs in the winter, I turn it off in the summer. I can set it to hold when I go away for a few days.

I have a 3rd gen Nest at my camp in Maine so I can monitor temperature in the winter in case shiat goes pear shaped when it's -20°F, and of course to bump up the heat before I arrive.
 
2022-10-06 11:28:38 AM  

mjbok: FormlessOne: Smart speakers are listening to you.
Smart thermostats are not under your control.
Smart plugs and light bulbs aren't "smart" - they're "slaved." They're a switch with a remote control, and that remote control wants to know everything about you before it'll turn on or off your plug or light bulb.

Of course smart speakers are listening to you.  So are your phones.

You are wrong about some kinds of smart plugs.  If they are not wifi, but are Z-wave (or possibly zigbee) they connect to each other in a mesh network and to their controller, but not to anything external.  Depending on the controller, that may call home (some require it), but some can be completely removed from the Internet and run on an internal network with no outside connections.

Is it hackable?  Sure, Z-wave isn't the most secure, but it is an uncommon protocol and has extremely limited range.  It is security by obscurity.  Besides, worst case someone can turn on my bedroom light and/or fan?  Oh no, the horror.


Yes, you've identified the edge cases. Yes, I'm aware that not all of them are WiFi. Yes, I'm aware that a few home controllers don't "call home" and relay information.

Problem is that you've identified such a small share of the overall smart home market that it's easy enough to discount at present. Amazon, Alphabet, and Samsung virtually own the market.
 
2022-10-06 11:34:06 AM  

FormlessOne: Yes, you've identified some of the edge cases


As a former BA, that was my job.

Here's another one.  Neighbor had just purchased his house.  Had not finished moving it.  Got a notification from his Nest that the heat was rising in his house.  75.  80, 85, 90 degrees in short order.  He quickly drove home to find his house on fire from a lightning strike.  Saved the house, but the inside is almost a complete gut job.  If not for his nest he would have lost the whole house.
 
2022-10-06 12:50:45 PM  

mjbok: FormlessOne: Yes, you've identified some of the edge cases

As a former BA, that was my job.

Here's another one.  Neighbor had just purchased his house.  Had not finished moving it.  Got a notification from his Nest that the heat was rising in his house.  75.  80, 85, 90 degrees in short order.  He quickly drove home to find his house on fire from a lightning strike.  Saved the house, but the inside is almost a complete gut job.  If not for his nest he would have lost the whole house.


My smoke alarms are connected to my home security.  I'll not only know my house is on fire, but where the smoke was first detected.
 
2022-10-06 12:55:44 PM  
Headline must be referring to #4, which is an LED pack.
 
2022-10-06 1:01:01 PM  
I always thought the ultimate 'smart' home would be an electrical panel with a PLC with everything wired back to go to either an input (light switches, temperature sensors, etc) or an output relay (lighting, wall sockets, etc)  It could run for decades without any user intervention, be nearly completely customizable, and wouldn't need to be connected to the internet.

And in a worst case scenario, you could just yank the PLC and add jumpers in the panel for all the required circuit configurations.
 
2022-10-06 1:02:54 PM  

Unsung_Hero: mjbok: FormlessOne: Yes, you've identified some of the edge cases

As a former BA, that was my job.

Here's another one.  Neighbor had just purchased his house.  Had not finished moving it.  Got a notification from his Nest that the heat was rising in his house.  75.  80, 85, 90 degrees in short order.  He quickly drove home to find his house on fire from a lightning strike.  Saved the house, but the inside is almost a complete gut job.  If not for his nest he would have lost the whole house.

My smoke alarms are connected to my home security.  I'll not only know my house is on fire, but where the smoke was first detected.


The only reason I got the Nest Smoke detectors was because at the time they were one of the only battery powered thermostats that had interconnectivity.  When one goes off, they all do.

Every other feature could get removed tomorrow and it still would have been worth it.
 
2022-10-06 2:01:31 PM  

mjbok: FormlessOne: Yes, you've identified some of the edge cases

As a former BA, that was my job.

Here's another one.  Neighbor had just purchased his house.  Had not finished moving it.  Got a notification from his Nest that the heat was rising in his house.  75.  80, 85, 90 degrees in short order.  He quickly drove home to find his house on fire from a lightning strike.  Saved the house, but the inside is almost a complete gut job.  If not for his nest he would have lost the whole house.


You're better off losing the entire house in a fire.  That way, there's no arguing with the insurance company about paying.
 
2022-10-06 2:06:57 PM  

Chief Superintendent Lookout: mjbok: FormlessOne: Yes, you've identified some of the edge cases

As a former BA, that was my job.

Here's another one.  Neighbor had just purchased his house.  Had not finished moving it.  Got a notification from his Nest that the heat was rising in his house.  75.  80, 85, 90 degrees in short order.  He quickly drove home to find his house on fire from a lightning strike.  Saved the house, but the inside is almost a complete gut job.  If not for his nest he would have lost the whole house.

You're better off losing the entire house in a fire.  That way, there's no arguing with the insurance company about paying.


Yeah, I wish my house would burn down.  You know, when nobody's home and my backups are off site.

I'd have a meeting with an architect as soon as the insurance company cheque cleared.

Sadly, I'm not into arson and insurance fraud, so it's up to Mother Nature.
 
2022-10-06 2:50:54 PM  

Unsung_Hero: My smoke alarms are connected to my home security. I'll not only know my house is on fire, but where the smoke was first detected.


This was as they were in the process of moving in.  Alarm system/service was not yet turned on.
 
2022-10-06 4:54:35 PM  

12YearBid: I've always wanted to be able to say "red alert" in my home and have the lights go red and hear the STNG klaxon sound. I can do that now but I'd feel vaguely silly for it. Let me ask the wife... Oh. The answer is no. Sigh.


You could do that by setting up a routine in the Google Home app
 
2022-10-06 6:46:24 PM  

Cormee: 12YearBid: I've always wanted to be able to say "red alert" in my home and have the lights go red and hear the STNG klaxon sound. I can do that now but I'd feel vaguely silly for it. Let me ask the wife... Oh. The answer is no. Sigh.

You could do that by setting up a routine in the Google Home app


Well crap.  I'm going to have to figure out a truly private speech recognition system for my Home Assistant.
 
2022-10-06 7:04:42 PM  
Real "smart" stuff would be like having the smoke detectors turn off the power to the house when there is a fire.  It is a trivial thing to do with parts that local electrical retails have in stock but no one seems to do it.

In a smart home forum on usenet long ago someone had mentioned that his washing machine hose broke which caused water damage and the washing machine to catch fire. Since the hose was broke, he couldn't use the garden hose to put out the fire since it had no pressure.  Today the hoses are even cheaper made and still don't have hydraulic fuses in them.  A hydraulic fuse is a weak spring against a ball bearing in a cone shaped bit of metal or even nylon yet water damage from broken connection pipes is still a common thing.
 
2022-10-06 8:51:12 PM  

DON.MAC: Real "smart" stuff would be like having the smoke detectors turn off the power to the house when there is a fire.


How about a float sensor on your sump pump to alert you if it goes higher than the sump pump trigger point?

Or a flood sensor near likely flood spots that can trigger a server to turn off your water main?

And for fire?  How about another servo that turns off your natural gas, and a switch that kills power to the HVAC so you're not pumping smoke around the house?

At a lesser-than-emergency level, how about mixing weather station sensors with access sensors to remind you to close windows if it's raining?  Or checking your HVAC fan's draw to determine if the filter's ready to be replaced?

Once you have a home automation system, these incremental upgrades are easy.  Though admittedly my latest project was just getting the vacuum to report which room it is in if it gets stuck.
 
2022-10-06 9:17:27 PM  

lindalouwho: I know how long both my washer and dryer run


Gah, mine have sensors that make any cycle subjective. Drives me nuts. There was 15 minutes left 10 minutes and now there's 12 minutes left?!!
 
2022-10-07 5:29:11 AM  

cretinbob: lindalouwho: American Decency Association: I've grown so accustomed to smart plugs controlling everything, it was quite the shock recently having to shut everything off manually during a planned internet outage. The bother!
It's also great to be able to monitor washing and drying cycles via the real time power usage, from the laundry that is out of earshot.

I know how long both my washer and dryer run, and I just set the timer on my microwave. Ta da!

exactly. Most of this "smart" stuff is technology looking for a purpose, and people telling other people they need it. It's marketing


You're right. I can see how some of it, like Alexa for instance, could be kind of fun, though. I'm just not that interested.
 
2022-10-07 5:30:58 AM  

morg: lindalouwho: I know how long both my washer and dryer run

Gah, mine have sensors that make any cycle subjective. Drives me nuts. There was 15 minutes left 10 minutes and now there's 12 minutes left?!!


Ha! State of the art, but puts you in a state. That would drive me crazy, too.
 
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