How to control TP-Link Smart Plugs with Alexa

A TP-Link Smart Plug turns a regular AC outlet into something you can control from anywhere using mobile device, or by using your voice (if you also have an Amazon Echo). It’s more than just fun to say “Alexa, turn on the living room lights.” This is a useful utility that you won’t want to give up. Clearly written instructions for how to get it running are provided below. Continue reading How to control TP-Link Smart Plugs with Alexa

Hands-on review of the Amazon Dash Wand with Alexa

The Amazon Dash Wand with Alexa is a brand new, inexpensive battery-powered shopping and information device for the home. It’s similar, in a way, to the popular Amazon Echo smart speakers, but it’s different in lots of ways, too.

Amazon Echo devices are primarily used to listen to music, but, the new Dash Wand isn’t capable of playing music. It runs on two AAA batteries, and would quickly burn through them if it were tasked with playing Adele all day. Continue reading Hands-on review of the Amazon Dash Wand with Alexa

Review of the Apple TV (2nd generation), 7 years later

I’ve been actively using my Apple TV (2nd generation) for almost seven years, and I figured March of 2017 was the perfect time to finally share my thoughts on it. Why? I’m getting closer to unplugging this thing from my TV, but I haven’t done so yet.

You see, my TV is eight years old. It hails from a time when two HDMI ports was considered sufficient. The gadgets that I plug into it need to truly prove their worth, and my Apple TV 2 has been skating on thin ice lately. It recently went through a weeks-long phase where it couldn’t play Netflix without crashing. I managed to fix the problem, but I haven’t forgiven it. Continue reading Review of the Apple TV (2nd generation), 7 years later

How to use Google Home with Sonos

If you’re wondering if it’s possible to control Sonos speakers and components with just your voice and a Google Home, it is! This article points out all of the Sonos products that are compatible, shows you exactly what you need to get it working, and clearly explains how to do everything. Continue reading How to use Google Home with Sonos

5 important tips for using the Amazon Echo Dot with Sonos

I own the first generation Amazon Echo Dot, and I’ve been using it since May 2016, and almost the entire time it’s been plugged into my Sonos PLAY:5 speaker. With some trial and error, I’ve cobbled together five solid tips for getting the most out of using it with Sonos. Continue reading 5 important tips for using the Amazon Echo Dot with Sonos

How to control Sonos with the Spotify app

Spotify and Sonos just made it possible to control Sonos speakers directly from the Spotify mobile app. This new integration was released today, and this blog post clearly explains how to get it all running. Continue reading How to control Sonos with the Spotify app

Amazon aims for domination with the 2nd Gen Echo Dot

When Steve Jobs introduced the original iPhone in 2007, he unveiled several major innovations — but the multitouch interface was by far the most important. It redefined the possibilities of mobile tech. Seven years later, Amazon debuted a product that may have an equally impressive input innovation. However, instead of being a sleek handheld gadget, it was a stark, voice-activated speaker.

Initially, the Amazon Echo was greeted with befuddlement and indifference. Like seeing a smartphone that lacked a hardware keyboard for the first time, a speaker that listened and spoke was a puzzling novelty. Continue reading Amazon aims for domination with the 2nd Gen Echo Dot

How to use the Amazon Echo Dot with Sonos

The Amazon Echo Dot is a tiny gadget that acts as a digital assistant for your home. What makes it special is that it doesn’t have any screens — it’s controlled entirely with your voice. If you have a Sonos sound system, you can connect the Echo Dot to it, giving you reliable voice control of music, web searches, and a lot more. You get the best of both worlds: Amazon’s excellent voice interface and the great sound quality of Sonos. Continue reading How to use the Amazon Echo Dot with Sonos

Endearingly frustrating: A review of the Nest Learning Thermostat (3rd gen)

I’ve had the 3rd generation Nest Learning Thermostat installed in my home for the past four months, and now I want to share my experience with this sleek, sexy, and slightly frustrating gadget.

If you don’t have time for a long review, here’s a quick one:

Overall, I’m satisfied.

It’s not perfect, but it’s far better than any other thermostat I’ve ever encountered. My wife is less enthusiastic — but she hasn’t ripped it out of the wall yet. Continue reading Endearingly frustrating: A review of the Nest Learning Thermostat (3rd gen)

Two Months with the Nest Protect

In our post-2007, post-iPhone world, it can be misleading to define oneself as a “gadget geek.” When you consider that the majority of people in the United States now own a smartphone, this particular term becomes distinctly trite. To truly be a gadget geek, you need to do better than being a smartphone or tablet nerd. You need to embrace bleeding-edge gadgetry in unusual product categories. You need to be a true dork.

Continue reading Two Months with the Nest Protect