Cool tech Part Deux

This is the second half of my Cool Tech post.  Having moved over the Summer, I had the opportunity to experiment with Kevo, Ring, Hue, Arlo, and the Echo.  Here’s my reviews along with the Russell rating system of 1 (lowest) to 5 (highest) tennis balls.

kevoKevo $200 is a deadbolt lock for doors.  It’s Bluetooth and you control it via an app on your phone.  Despite having it professionally installed it has intermittant issues, a slow interface and poor battery life.  I think the unit should have better options such as automatically unlocking when you approach.  I’ve contacted their support and they are helpful but the solution is not fully baked.  This is software, c’mon man, improve it!!  Russell’s ratingtennis-ball

Ring $200 is a doorbell with a camera that connects to WiFi.  If ringyou already have a doorbell you can easily wire it into Ring.  If you don’t hard wire it, you can run it on batteries.  It has an app for your phone so you can see and talk to who’s at your door.  It’s motion sensor and cloud storage saves everything that it sees.  It has an optional ringer too that’s $30.  Russell’s ratingtennis-balltennis-balltennis-balltennis-ball

hue-1Philips Hue is LED lighting available in adhesive strips, stand-alone hue3lights, and traditional LED lightbulbs.  It’s $10/foot for the strips so it’s not cheap. You cab set up zones and control everything via an app on your phone.  Think accent lighting and places where you can have indirect lighting.  There are themes and Hue lighting can be any color.  There are additional apps like Hue Disco and Hue Fireworks that put your lights to music and simulate (in this case) fireworks. Remember, it’s always good to have fireworks on demand in your house!  Russell’s ratingtennis-balltennis-balltennis-balltennis-balltennis-ball

arloArlo $300 with 2 (max 5) cameras and the base.  This is a wireless high-def camera’s in your house with cloud storage accessible via an app on your phone.  The cameras can be wall mounted in seconds and set to on, off, or motion detect. To me this is added security for your house because I know who came in and out of all entrances and when.  Plus, I can see my cat on demand.  Russell’s rating: tennis-balltennis-balltennis-balltennis-ball

The Amazon Echo is a round black cylinder with an audio system connected by WiFi.  The Echo interacts with you by voice, and answers to the name Alexa. If you don’t like the name you can call it Amazon.

echo-dotThe Echo could become the center of your home automation efforts by acting as the brains of your home automation and IoT network. Alexa, or the Echo, understands queries and commands issued in natural language. The Echo is always listening for interaction from anywhere in the room.  To get Echo’s attention you begin commands with its name, i. e. “Alexa.”

megan-and-jackEcho can be connected via its app to the major audio streaming services, including Spotify, Pandora, iHeartRadio, TuneIn, and Amazon’s Prime Music. Once it’s connected, you can say things like “Alexa, play Megan Davies.”

You can pair your phone or tablet with the Echo over Bluetooth and use it as a wireless speaker. Once paired, you connect/disconnect it by telling Alexa to do so. Once connected, open the app on the phone and play music normally and it plays through the Echo speaker system. It’s not the best audio system, but it’s good enough for casual listening.  Simple tasks available are making to-do lists, setting alarms, streaming podcasts, playing audiobooks, reading PDFs, providing weather forecasts, warning you of traffic conditions, answering trivia, and supplying information in real-time.   Russell’s ratingtennis-balltennis-balltennis-balltennis-balltennis-ball

Tennis updates – there’s a FaceBook group for Middle States League Tennis. Please check it regularly for updates and information. Here’s the Facebook page Middle States League Tennis.  By the way, the adult season in Philly starts the last two weeks of April.

Pork Chops and Applesauce (PCA)  My Philly 18+ 8.0 Mixed team got off to a shaky start this season essentially splitting courts in the our first three matches.  The league is composed of 3 flights, 2 flights of 6 and our flight of 9.  We have to win our flight to guarantee advancing.  We have 5 unbelievable teams in our flight, all easily capable of winning at Districts and Sectionals.  They are Great Valley, Healthplex, UMLY and Springton Just for Fun.  We’ve been on a roll recently so hopefully we can advance out of local league.  Good grief,when did things become so competitive?!?!

Bryn Mawr Bashers is my 40+ 8.0 Mixed team.  This is a good team and we’re in a dogfight to advance but there does seem to be a path to Districts.  Having a such a small team full of fun teammates facing excellent competition is what it’s all about.  For the record, I never expected 40+ to be this much fun…  (don’t say it).

Lastly, Boeing produces over forty 737 airplanes a month.  This video accessible via the link below shows the epitome of cool tech. Image:The train arrives with the main body in the morning and in this 3 minute time lapse video it shows you the fabrication of a new plane.  Watch this amazing process here Boeing 737 assembly line.  Check back soon and please share your comments.


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