Alexa-fying the house

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wove
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Alexa-fying the house

Post by wove »

I wanted to get a camera setup on the bird feeders so my wife could watch the birds while sitting comfortably at her desk. I picked up an Echo Show older model refurbished on black friday along with a wireless battery camera for outdoors. I told the kids I was setting this up and for Christmas they sent us Echo dots, light bulbs and outlets. I have spent the last few days setting it all up. It is really very slick.

The house is 150 years old and when wiring was added they put it in so it was easy for the electrician, but not very convenient for dwellers. The switch for the light in the hall and on the stairs is at the end of the hall at the top of the stairs. There is no light or switch in the living room, so you hunt for a table lamp in the dark. With Alexa you can turn them off and on without needing to hunt for a switch in the dark.

The echo devices can be used as an intercom, and music can play wherever you want it. It is nice to watch the birds, with out needing to go stand at the windows. Overall this has been a big improvement to the house's livability. I imagine overtime, we will turnoff features we do not need, and perhaps find features we would like to use. Just adding up the prices, it seems the total cost of everything was less than $150 and it was money well spent.
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crosscourt
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Re: Alexa-fying the house

Post by crosscourt »

Ive never used Alexa but I have installed wireless switches for lights. They use a hand held device to activate a light switch from another location. You can also mount the switch to a wall. The transceiver goes inside the electrical box of the switch that typically is in a bad location.
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tlmiller
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Re: Alexa-fying the house

Post by tlmiller »

I actually own no "personal assistant" devices nor iOT equipment. Never have. Probably never will personally, either. Nothing against them, but I just never found a need myself for them, and their questionable security for most of them pushes the decision towards "no" for me.
wove
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Re: Alexa-fying the house

Post by wove »

tlmiller wrote:their questionable security for most of them pushes the decision towards "no" for me.
Up to a year ago I was in total agreement with your assessment and even now I have concerns about security. Alexa does work easily and usefully and I have arrived at a place in life where convenience is starting to trump security. To look up the dark stairs and just say "let there be light" and have the lights come on is nice. After lying down for the night I can say, "Alexa, goodnight." and every light in the house is turned off.

It does take a while to get everything configured. The bird watching camera is actually an outdoor security camera, and when first setup I received 8 texts an hour telling me that "Bird camera has detected motion." The setting to turn those off is deep into the menus. And as you noted they "offer" to do much that we just do not need or want.
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crosscourt
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Re: Alexa-fying the house

Post by crosscourt »

Ill second tlmiller on this one, as the security aspect makes it a definite no.
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wove
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Re: Alexa-fying the house

Post by wove »

I got my first computer in 1981 and it really impressed me. I always did want the Star Trek kind of computer though. "Computer. Show me the life forms on Seti Alpha Prime." And well "Alexa. Show me the bird feeder."; is about as close as I am going to get. I am still waiting for, "Computer. Coffee, black, hot."

Our house is full of lots of connected devices. TV, speakers, phones, computers, tablets, printers. A button on the key starts the car, a button in the car opens the garage door. Alexa opens another vector of risk, but it is not like there are no other holes in the fence.
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