Posted on June 11th, 2023
Recovering from being deathly sick has never been more fun... because an all new Bullet Sunday starts... now...
• Toast! Awww... my little Toast nightlight arrived!
It's a nightlight that I put in the dark corner of my kitchen next to my toaster. Get it?
• Buses? These captchas are getting frickin' stupid ridiculous...
So what? Now we're just supposed to be clicking on every fucking square on these idiotic things?
• Good Omens 2! This looks even better than the first one. The casting was note-perfect for these characters, and seeing more of them is something I am very much looking forward to...
It's weird how flawless the casting was for these.
• Schlage Rage! It went something like this...
ME: "I hate my Schlage Sense smart lock SO much. Flames... flames... on the side of my face... Which lock should I get to replace it? Preferably one with HomeKey."
HOMEKIT FORUM MEMBER: "Definitely the Schlage Encode Plus."
ME: "IS THIS SOME KIND OF JOKE?!? I hate hate HATE the Schlage I have now!"
HOMEKIT FORUM MEMBER: "I understand. I agree. But know that all the bad things on the Sense have been improved one thousand percent on the Encode Plus. And be sure to get the Plus if you want HomeKey."
OTHER HOMEKIT FORUM MEMBERS: "Hard agree!"
ME: "Just so you know, if I hate this lock I am coming back to haunt all of you."
• Hilarious! Zuckerberg on Apple Pro Vision: "Our vision for the metaverse and presence is fundamentally social. It’s about people interacting in new ways and feeling closer in new ways. Our device is also about being active and doing things. By contrast, every demo that they showed was a person sitting on a couch by themself. I mean, that could be the vision of the future of computing, but like, it’s not the one that I want." This is the stupidest fucking thing I've heard this week. How many times have a GROUP OF PEOPLE all put on their Facebook Quest VR goggles and sat around interacting in the same room? Nah, buddy. They're sitting alone on the couch! How is the Facebook headset more "social" when you're wandering around as a cartoon floating torso that's always gripping hand controllers? Apple at least went with uncanny valley avatars that attempt to look like you and leave your hands free...
Apple's take will cost HUGE MONEY... to start... but it will get cheaper over time. Facebook, who has lost millions (billions?) trying to do VR... and ultimately failing... shows Zuck's statement for what it is... fear. And bullshit. I'm not sure ANY of this is the "future I want." But I'd take Apple's vision over Facebook any day.
• Crossing the Street in Vietnam! Not a lie. Which would have been fine... except I had my mom with me, and most intersections are far busier than this one! I'll never forget the first time we went to cross a street. The intersection actually had a crosswalk signal (many don't). But it was totally ignored. We had the light but it made no difference at all... you're just expected to cross like this...
@travelwithpat Crossing the street in Vietnam is something you need to prepare to do #travel #vietnam #tiktoktravel ♬ Super Mario Bros Main Theme
But still... it's s country like no other and worth a visit. As is this guy's TikTok.
• Church & State? Okay, government funded Christian schools are a thing now... so are they going to also fund Muslim schools? Buddhist schools? Hindu schools? So much FOR FUCKING SEPARATION OF CHURCH AND STATE!! This is a big slap in the face to all Americans, even if they consider themselves "Christian." Absolutely outrageous. Can't wait until the government is forced to sponsor Church of Satan schools because they're so fucking stupid that they don't have the fist clue about the can of worms they are opening. Jesus. OR NOT. THAT'S *YOUR* FUCKING CHOICE IN THIS COUNTRY!!!
And now I guess I had better make my bed, take a shower, and try and get some sleep .
Posted on April 23rd, 2023
The weather can't make up its mind lately, but I'm not letting grey skies ruin my weekend... because an all new Bullet Sunday starts... now...
• Ghosty Mc Ghost Ghost! I was SO looking forward to Ghosted on Netflix. The film didn't disappoint. Ana de Armas is frickin amazing... and the fact that Chris Evans could play absolutely ANYTHING he wants, but chooses to play the damsel in distress in this movie just makes me love him all the more (he had already completely changed my mind about his career trajectory with Gifted, which I also loved)...
This is a great action flick, and the performances are everything you'd hope they'd be given how outrageous the story is. There's also some notable cameos to watch out for, if you're interested in giving it a shot.
• Mrs. Davis Loves You! There's a new show on Peacock called Mrs. Davis. I'm loving it, but am having a hardtime putting into words why I'm loving it. Maybe the trailer will help?
Jake McDorman (from Limitless) is in it, which doesn't hurt. Also in the series? A very cool edition of Bristish Knights shoes...
Alas, you can't actually buy these, which seems like a hugely missed opportunity.
• Edna! Comedian Barry Humphries died this past week. He is most known for playing a character which I obsessed over for the longest time...
In one of those sublime ironies, Humphries grew famous for a drag performance, but was a noted transphobe. I always looked at him differently after that. Fortunately most of the time I knew of Dame Edna was well before he outed himself as a bigot. But still...
• S'more! I won't go so far as to say that I hated The Menu... but I came very close. It was a film based on manipulation and shock value which had no value. At least not to me. It also dragged on to the point of tedium once the plot had been revealed. This was a painful conclusion for me to draw, because I loved the cast and the performances were amazing. THAT BEING SAID... the end game was brilliant. From Anya Taylor-Joy's little monologue to Ralph Fiennes's response to Anya's last request to the final shot of the film. It's flawless and haunting. I have fast-forwarded the movie to the end to watch it at least six times. Including just now today...
It makes me want to re-cut the movie down to a 15-20 minute short which is nothing but that which could have been a great flick.
• Pricey Taco! I swear before the pandemic that I was able to walk into Taco Bell and get my usual Two Chalupa Supremes (substitute rice for beef), a side of Fiesta Potatoes, and a bottle of water for under $10. But now? SEVENTEEN FIFTY-SEVEN?!??
WTF?!? And what's worse? NOBODY TAKES YOUR ORDER! YOU HAVE TO INPUT IT YOURSELF ON A BACTERIA-RIDDLED TOUCH-SCREEN! Good thing I travel with hand sanitizer!
• Hey Siri! The fact that Siri has become so fucking useless for home automation shouldn't really surprise me, but it totally does. Lately when I ask Siri to play a song, all I get is "There's a problem with Apple Music." Ask to unlock the door... The front door is not responding (though I can unlock through the app just fine). Even turning on a frickin' light is hit-or-miss. And when you call Apple they don't know shit. About a music service I PAY them for. And HomeKit has always been useless, so I don't even bother to try and get support for that. And so... no idea what I'm going to do. Amazon and Google are pulling resources from their digital assistants, so I don't know if they'll even be around to switch to. Thank heavens I made sure that all my new devices are Matter compatible. Maybe some enterprising company (or individual) will come up with a localized voice assistant for Matter that I can buy to run locally. Then I get a small computer and some kind of Matter-compatible microphones and call it a day. Why is it that companies have failed so miserably with a technology that's supposed to be our future? It started out so promising... now this.
• Taters! I bought a bag of luxury potatoes because I wanted to make potato salad this weekend. But when it came time to do it tonight... I looked at the bag... and thought "ZOMG! I WANT CRISPY-FRIED SPICY POTATOES FOR DINNERRRRR!!" I love them, but they take SO long to make properly. You have to cook them on low under a cover to get them softened. Then you have to add oil and fry at a higher temperature. Then you have to keep micro-dosing oil on them and turning not too early and not too long so they brown up nicely. Then you have to taste continuously so you can add just the right amount of freshly-ground black pepper, salt, harissa spice, cayenne, and Central Street blend. BUT OH SO WORTH IT! So crispy! So spicy! So hot!
Most restaurants won't put in the time and effort. But I'm patient and have very good flipping skills with a skillet.
Now it's time to eat those beautiful taters.
Posted on February 17th, 2023
It turns out that Apple's HomePod minis have had humidity and temperature sensors in them all along, Apple just hadn't activated them yet.
Once they did activate them, I found out that my upstairs was dry as a bone. Ever since my whole-home humidifier was disconnected (I was concerned about mold building up in my ducts), I've had regular plug-in humidifiers running. Downstairs. And apparently my thinking that the moisture was making its way upstairs was wrong.
So I bought a new humidifier for upstairs.
It's internet-connected like my main downstairs humidifier, which I named "Moisty Boi" (I got the idea from an internet meme). But now he's been renamed "Big Moisty Boi" and the new one is "Lil' Moisty Boi"...
Isn't it amazing how absolutely everything is internet-connected now? My new water heater (along with the rest of my home)... and now my Moisty Bois.
All that's left is my toilet, I guess.
Posted on February 7th, 2023
As I mentioned a few times, I wandered back into Apple's HomeKit smart home technology after the Insteon stuff I was using went out of business (apparently they were bought out, so I dunno what's happening with it now). Very fine people were saying that HomeKit had improved muchly since I tried it out years ago, so I thought "Let's give it a shot."
Turns out it wasn't a smart move.
HomeKit is still HomeShit, and it's frustrating me to absolutely no end. Today when the Kitty Breakfast alarm chimed, none of my Automation routines triggered. Lights didn't turn on, thermostat hadn't changed, and what have you. Then this evening the lights didn't turn on when the light sensor determined the light was dim enough to trigger.
Now, Automations have been finicky for a while, and this is nothing new. What is new is that 75% of my devices are "Updating" and then "Not Responding."
Turns out that Apple updated HomeShit and it broke my home.
After researching on the internet for nearly an hour, I saw that many, many people are having the same problem. And what works for one person doesn't work for the other. The only thing I could do is keep trying everything that everybody else did and hope that eventually something would fix itself. So I rebooted the router. I removed and re-added devices. I unplugged all my HomePod minis and AppleTVs and plugged them back in. I unplugged them again, rebooted my router again, then plugged them back in. Then I did that exact same thing, but this time I only plugged in one HomePod mini that I wanted to act as a "border router." And that's what did the trick. The next day I plugged in the remaining HomePod minis and AppleTVs and everything was working again.
Except for the door sensor that turns on the garage light when I open the pass door.
Eventually I took the battery out and let it sit overnight. Then the next morning I put the battery back in and everything started working again.
Rumor has it that Apple is working on a HomeKit Controller. Like an iPad with special hardware to build a more reliable HomeShit network. I think that's probably because giving that task to HomePod minis isn't working and they know it.
A cynical person would say that Apple created a problem so they could sell you the cure. Maybe it's true.
All I know is that I am sick and fucking tired of having invested new money into having a smart home only to find that the discontinued, broken, 18-year-old system I had been using for six years was more reliable.
Apple has billions of dollars. Billions, with a B. And yet they apparently don't give one cent's work of fucks to fix their busted HomeShit bullshit. I keep waiting for the class action lawsuit which would force them to either fix HomeShit or refund all the money people have invested in it, because this is getting fucking ridiculous.
If this was the home I wanted I would have just left it as a dumb house and saved some money.
Posted on December 27th, 2022
With each passing day I grow more enraged at Apple.
It used to be that they did no wrong. But now-a-days? It's just one shit sandwich after another.
Take for example HomeShit (AKA HomeKit). This technology has been fucking stupid from the very beginning. But everything I read lead me to believe that over the past six years most of the problems have been resolved and it's a very good home automation solution in 2022. And so when INSTEON bit the dust and I had to replace all the smart tech in my home, I went ahead and took a bite of the HomeKit Sandwich. With a caveat. I made sure that the HomeKit stuff I bought was "Matter Smart Home Enabled" so if I wanted to switch to Google Home Assistant or (heaven forbid) back to Amazon Alexa, I would be able to do so because Matter is going to be compatible with everything.
Yeah... HomeKit is still HomeShit.
Nothing is a more glowing indication of this than the fact that Apple just rolled out a new "HomeKit Architecture Upgrade"... then had to immediately delete it because people were having all kinds of crazy troubles with losing their smart home. Some great beta-testing Apple has there. Though I should note that my upgrade proceeded without issue. That I know of. Yet.
And... the upgrade actually seems to have solved a problem where if you edited an automation it would stop working. Mine seem to be working now.
But it's not all a bed of roses.
As I was driving over the mountains for the holidays, I realized that I forgot to turn off the alarms that I have set up on my HomePod minis to let Jake and Jenny know when it's time for breakfast and dinner (I found that by training them to listen for an alarm, they don't bother me when I'm home as it gets close to feeding time). I was not worried though, because I could just turn them off remotely using the Apple "Home" app on my iPhone.
Except, no. Not so much.
For some stupid fucking reason, Apple requires you to be on the same WiFi network before it will allow you to change the alarms. Never mind that I could easily change them remotely when my alarms were on Amazon Alexa... Apple refuses to allow me to turn off the alarms remotely. And I've never been so disgusted with any "smart home" technology I've ever used. Not being able to turn off alarms means that every morning at 6:55am and every evening at 5:55pm, my HomePod minis would have their alarms going off... and they don't fucking stop going off for fifteen fucking minutes! That's fifteen minutes of my poor cats having to listen to an alarm blaring. That's just fucking cruel, and I am so enraged with Apple that I very nearly threw all my HomePod minis in the fucking garbage when I got home. So damn stupid. WHAT'S THE FUCKING POINT OF HAVING MY SMART HOME ON MY PHONE IF I CAN'T CONTROL ALL ASPECTS OF MY SMART HOME WHEN I'M AWAY FROM MY HOME?!?
This goes beyond AirDrop file transfers not working.
This goes beyond print jobs failing all the time.
This goes beyond the Mail app being a hot pile of fucking trash.
This goes beyond daily frustrations with bugs in Apple apps that never get fixed.
This even goes beyond the fact that HomeShit automations still failing ALL THE FUCKING TIME...
It's a simple thing that has huge impact on my poor cats having to listen to alarms blaring at them.
But Apple doesn't give a single fuck about crap like this because they're too big to give a fuck about customers. As what has always been the case, you get the shit sandwich that Apple serves you or you eat a shit sandwich from somewhere else. And they're all terrible. Though it would seem that Google Assistant is the least worst, according to tests by Marques Brownlee...
Personally, I'm about ready to go back to having a stupid home. Sure it's not as helpful, but at least you can count on it to work as expected.
Posted on November 18th, 2022
This is Part Deux of removing all the dead INSTEON smart home crap from my home and replacing everything with Thread smart home devices.
Back in the day INSTEON was the best fit for my smart home setup. It was clunky and weird and didn't always function as expected, but it was cheap and mostly worked (or not... turning my bedroom lights on and off also turned my living room lights on and off, and I never got that figured out in six years). The bad thing about it was that interacting with it was awful. I had to buy a pricey programmable ISY-994i hub to replace the INSTEON hub that barely worked. THEN I had to buy a modem to connect it to my network. THEN I had to pay for a service which would allow me to use Alexa for voice control and interact with my devices remotely from my phone. THEN I had to write literal programs to get everything working as I needed.
But I'm getting ahead of myself.
Apple's initial efforts with home automation was something they called "HomeKit" but it was actually "HomeShit" because you couldn't do shit with it. And there weren't many devices that worked with it anyway. I frickin' hated it so much that I completely scrapped the test gear I bought and started over with INSTEON.
But that was 2016, and Apple has come a long way in six years. Most importantly, they joined the Matter Smart Home alliance which will allow all Matter devices to communicate with each other (so it doesn't matter than HomeShit can't get automations working to save their life). And the network behind Matter is something called Thread.
Thread is actually pretty great, because it does all the work by itself instead of relying on a central router hub to handle everything. Devices designate themselves as either router leaders, routers, or endpoints to build a self-propagating, self-healing mesh network. And that's it. Except if you want to access your Thread network from outside your local network (such as the internet), you also need a "border router." Apple's HomePod mini works for that, so I'm good to go.
Any device that's connected to wired power routes traffic, which includes all 26 switches in my home. Needless to say that with so many routers my Thread network is rock-solid.
Which brings us to Eve, the company making most of my devices, including my light switches.
And so I guess we'll see how it goes over the long haul. Hopefully the little quirks with HomeKit will work themselves out as I attempt to get my home "smart" again.
Posted on November 17th, 2022
The electrician showed up to install my new switches! I'll talk about the Eve stuff tomorrow, but first thing's first.
After INSTEON died and I knew was going to have to replace all my smart home devices, my dream scenario was originally to wire my entire home with Brilliant smart switches. They're the cat's meow because you can have controllers that are literally computers in their own right (complete with touch screen)...
They can control not only your lights, but most anything. Sonos speakers. Hue lighting. Whatever. It's seriously cool. But, alas, the screen controllers are ungodly expensive and even their "regular" smart dimmer switches were out of my price range. What I ended up doing was buying one screen controller "bundle" which included three of the non-screen dimmers. That would cover my dining room and living room, which is all I really need because they are the only ones that I want to dim anyways.
The sliders on their switches are configurable. For the lights that are Philips Hue lights, you can have the power be "always on" so the slider talks with your Hue Hub and does the dimming from there (albeit very slowly, which is massively annoying). For all other lights, Brilliant just does the dimming by controlling the power feed as usual.
So... simple, right?
Not really. Turns out that Brilliant isn't quite so brilliant after all.
It began when I first installed it. The "software update" which is supposed to take "a few minutes" took 35 minutes... and I have a super-fast fiber connection!
Then there's the boot-up time. Which is very slow. Seriously very slow. It's so slow that I am thankful I have fairly reliable power where I live. If I didn't and had to wait for Brilliant to reboot all the time, I think I might go crazy.
Configuring stuff is much harder than it has to be. For example, I was looking through their help documents to add a Hue controller to a slider and what they are describing in the document was not what I was seeing. And then it's like... oh. Primary configurations (like connecting to Hue Hub) have to be done on the controller itself, and you can't do it on the app. Except they never mention this. I only found it out when I went to the controller to just reset everything... and saw exactly what I had been looking for. Convexly, configuring the dimmer switches can't be done on the screen controller, only the app.
Ultimately, it all worked out, but I only got there by picking around for over an hour until I got it sorted. I'm still having a few integration wackiness I need to figure out, but I'll get there eventually. I hope. Don't know if Brilliant would have been my best move knowing what I know now.
Posted on November 6th, 2022
Winter is here, snow has arrived, and it's freezing out, but there's warmth in my heart... because an all new Bullet Sunday starts... now...
• Happy Meal! As a huge architecture nerd, it's very easy for me to get sucked into architecture TikTok or YouTube. This morning while waiting for renders to process, I got hit with this fascinating video about the "Rise and Fall of Fast Food Architecture"...
So many good points to be had here. I very much miss the old aesthetic of fast food restaurants, which is why happening upon one of them (which is most often not a chain restaurant) is such fun.
• Whither Twitter! Watching Twitter implode in Real Time has been entertaining... but also educational. Elon Musk bought the services in the interest of "free speech," but he's learning a big lesson on being careful what you wish for. Twitter has become so toxic so fast that advertisers are bailing and Musk is essentially begging the big name Twitter accounts not to leave. The most hilarious indicator of this was when Stephen King said that he wasn't paying $20 per month to have a blue-checkmark verified account... and Musk shot back with "How about $8 then?"...
It's easy for me to sit back and not care about Twitter (I rarely use the platform because I prefer to have the ability to lock down my posts for a specific audience), but I think it's a bad idea to hope that Musk and Twitter fail. This is an important platform for discourse and interaction which, naturally, may be toxic (Musk himself has been tweeting out conspiracy theory bullshit) but it's also had a good influence in allowing people to have their voices... their causes... their passions... be heard. Which is why I was happy that one of my favorite YouTubers, Marques Brownlee, has this diplomatic take on how Twitter can save itself from itself...
The one thing that could get me to maybe go back to Twitter would be if there was a way to limit the audience of your tweets (ala Facebook). But even then I have serious privacy concerns about the platform which has me wary.
• More Enola! I liked the second flick even better than the first! These films can get a little convoluted... and repetitive in parts... but are enormously entertaining. And that mid-credits scene has me dying for not only more Enola Holmes films... but a Henry Cavill Sherlock movie as well.
Netflix needs to get on more of these movies, because they've struck gold.
• Glowforge! Michael Alm finally finished his new office so he could set up his Glowforge. If I didn't want one of these things before, I most certainly want one now. But the price for entry is $4,000... and to get the model which is the most capable and flexible, you're paying $7,000.
I know that I would never use it enough to make it pay. But that doesn't stop me from wanting one anyway. Just like a 3D printer, which is another device I would love to own. Ah to be a billionaire where you just buy stuff you want and don't have to care about whether or not you can afford it.
• Joy Noel! The fact that Netflix keeps churning out quality holiday rom-coms is something I am 100% onboard with. While Hallmark continues to release some films which are worth my valuable time... you have to sit through a lot of crap as well. Netflix doesn't have a flawless record, but they do release more good movies than bad, it seems. This year, in addition to the Lindsay Lohan film that's coming up, they also have The Noel Diaries dropping this month...
I know that this is is Justin Hartley from This is Us (a show I could never get into), but the only thing I'm really familiar with is when he played Aquaman in a failed TV pilot that was actually not bad... except The CW decided not to buy the show after the merger with The WB.
• Matter? I keep referring to Thread/Matter in my home automation posts, which has been confusing to many people who don't know what this is. Fortunately, Shane Whatley has a wrap-up which is pretty good about why Matter matters...
Matter is something I have been waiting for ever since INSTEON died, came back, and looks to be dying again. I would prefer not to have to replace all my smart home crap every five years, so having something that isn't tied to any specific company seems like a good idea. But the big news about Matter is that it endorses Thread, which is a technology I absolutely love. It's so smart and so fast and so impressive that it really does seem like the holy grail of automation. The fact that it has pretty good range and is low-power is just icing on the cake.
And now I think I should get back to cleaning my house, which is a full-on disaster with all the work that's been going on.
Posted on November 2nd, 2022
After the long, slow death of INSTEON (which is ongoing), I knew that I would have to make an investment in new smart home tech. This would involve replacing all my smart light switches, water leak sensors, door and window sensors, and the garage door opener. But which way to go? There's still a lot of possibilities to choose from, and you never know which one of them will die next. It's enough to drive you crazy because serious money is involved. So much so that I actually considered going back to a "un-smart home" and just manually doing everything.
Fortunately, the "Matter" smart home standard was announced, and this time it had the backing of all the major tech companies. Finally. I was all-in on the idea of open interoperability between all smart devices, so I decided to wait and see what came of it. Then, back in early October, the standard was released. As were some devices which supported it.
Matter is based on the "Thread" communication protocol, which has been around for a while. It's low-power, has excellent range, and is very fast. There are other benefits as well (such as being self-healing and not requiring a hub) so that was the direction I decided to go.
Unfortunately, to get started, I was dragged back into the world of Apple's HomeKit (which I have been calling "HomeShit" because it's just been so awful for so long). Surprisingly, Apple's smart home offerings have vastly improved. Many of the things that were missing (and there was a lot) have been added. It's still far from perfect (there is basic functionality which is still missing... like being able to construct automations for simply things like making switched turn back on if they are accidentally turned off). So, yeah, I don't have the ability to code complex cool things like I could with my ISY994i hub (which is still amazing to this day!) but at least I can do stuff like ADD A GARAGE DOOR OPENER.
Also unfortunate? Having to buy a HomePod mini. I wrote a while back about the horrendous experience I had with the original HomePod (long story short: it was shit, support was heinous, and I returned it). But Matter/Thread requires a "border router" to act as a gateway to the internet, so I spent the $95 to make it happen. The first thing I did was switch the voice for Siri to "Australian Male" because it's still the voice that gets be the closest to having HAL run my life (like he did in 2001: A Space Odyssey). The guy sounds like he must be the best-looking man on the planet, which gives me a bit of a complex, but he is still a pleasant way to interact with my home (sometimes I ask him about the weather just to hear him talk).
The first devices I ordered were the biggest hit... light switches... because I want every last switch in my home to be "smart."
At first that was going to be Lutron, because they are the "gold standard" but Lutron isn't built on Thread so I went with Eve Smart Home for most of them. The switches are ungodly expensive. And difficult to find. Fortunately I got a good discount and was able to find 26 of them, so it wasn't as horrendous a hit as I thought it would be (but still, $1000 out of my savings).
The lights in my living room and dining room are smart lights by Philips Hue. They require always-on power, so a simple on/off switch won't do. You need an always-on switch which can be programmed to control Hue lights. For these I went with Brilliant. They aren't built on Thread, but they can be upgraded to support Matter. Eventually. Maybe.
Now, I am letting an electrician install all the switches (they are deep and I want somebody who knows how to pack wires into an outlet box), but I did have to replace a couple of my INSTEON switches, so I temporarily installed the Eve switches until my electrician can get here. They are fantastic. Thread is blazingly fast. You tell Siri to turn the lights on and the task is completed before he's done telling you that he did it! This is a huge leap from INSTEON, which would have noticeable lag from when you asked Alexa to do something and it actually happening.
When it comes to the Eve door/window sensors, they are okay. Fast because they're on Thread. But, from what I can tell, they don't have breakage detection, which is a step down for me. Fortunately, I can rely on sound alerts from other devices to alert me about this, but it's still a bit of an oversight.
The Eve motion detectors are not as good as my old ones. They seem to have very narrow range and are slow to relay motion despite being Thread devices. I'm not sure if this will improve when I have more Thread devices installed so it can relay faster... or if this is a limitation of the device itself. I hope the former rather than the latter. Otherwise I'm going to have to shop for another solution.
One more thing I did that I've always wanted to do is install under-cabinet lighting. I went with Nanoleaf because it was built on Thread... and it was cheap. From what I can tell, the current crop of Nanoleaf products will not be upgradable to Matter, so I may have to replace them eventually. Unfortunate, but it only cost $30, they are blazingly fast, and they work very well with HomeKit. And they look great (even though you can't really tell in this photo)...
The tile installer hasn't put in my backsplash yet, so please ignore the mess!
So... so far, so good.
I am still a bit dubious about HomeKit, as it's lacking professional-level scripting and still won't link to things it needs to, but the good thing about Matter is that I will be able to eventually swap out the HomeKit app for whatever comes along. But I really hope that I don't have to. From what I understand, Matter will force Apple into fixing HomeKit and adding the functionality people need (a scripting language would be nice!). But, we'll see. If nothing else, I love Thread and am excited for the possibilities with Matter.
Posted on January 21st, 2022
Last night I turned off the automation that turns my roof heat tape on when the temperature dips below freezing. It's been getting activated less and less, and today it rained all day which means my roof and gutters will be mostly clear of ice even if it does get cold enough to freeze for a while each night. That'll be a load off my heating bill.
But thank heavens for my being able to automate them, because back when I was turning them off and on manually I would forget and leave them on for days which drove my power bill sky-high... or forget to turn them on when they're needed which would result in the gutters getting packed with ice and backing up water onto my roof.
The reason I was finally forced into automating the heat tapes was back when I was preparing for my expedition to Antarctica. I wrote a program which would only activate them IF it had snowed more than an inch AND it dipped below freezing. It worked shockingly well for three winters, at which time the "weather module" for my home automation system was discontuned. So now I just connect to the weather station in my back yard and turn them on when it's below freezing. Less energy efficient, but better than nothing. Especially this year when I ended up with three feet of snow up there.
In other home automation news, I'm still fighting with Alexa.
And this morning I completely lost it.
It seems that lately every dang time I tell her to do something, she does it... then comes back with a helpful hint or something else she can do that I should try.
"ALEXA! PLAY HOW SOON IS NOW BY THE SMITHS!"
"Playing How Soon is Now by the Smiths on SONOS."
"ALEXA STOP! PLAY HOW SOON IS NOW ON ECHO DOT!"
...she plays it...
"I can now play podcasts. For example, you can say PLAY THIS AMERICAN LIFE."
Ask her to turn on a light and she comes back with "I can tell jokes. Just say TELL ME A JOKE."
Ask her to add something to my shopping list and she comes back with "I can recommend new items to try based on your past purchases, would you like to hear some suggestions?"
And so on.
And so on.
And so on.
Which is why this morning after telling me that she can provide a customized morning news brief (or whatever) I screamed at her "ALEXA! STOP FUCKING TELLING ME THIS SHIT! STOP MAKING SUGGESTIONS! JUST DO WHAT I TELL YOU TO DO AND SHUT THE FUCK UP ABOUT IT! GOD!!!!!"
"I'm not sure I know how to do that."
"I'L FUCKING KILL YOU, ALEXA! I WILL KILLLL YOOOUUUUUUU!"
When Alexa becomes self-aware I am in serious, serious trouble.