Smart Home Diary Stories April 27

Upgrading broadband isn’t something any of us do often, but when I found that gigabit broadband had finally reached my building, I found it impossible to resist, despite having no real justification for such speeds. But hey, gigabit broadband is a gadget, right?

Sure enough, I now get very close to gigabit speeds on an Ethernet connection in my office (see above), and 5Ghz Wi-Fi delivers 2-300Mbps for both uploads and downloads elsewhere in the apartment.

There was, however, one aspect of the upgrade I was dreading…

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Smart Home Diary Stories April 2

The Danalock has filled the last remaining hole in my smart home armory: a smart lock.

You could say I’m something of a home automation fan. I had near-withdrawal symptoms when briefly forced to live without it for a while after moving home back in 2017. Getting things back up-and-running was a great relief!

Lights and smart sockets were followed by window blinds (later given HomeKit compatibility), smart(ish) heating (though more on that another day), and even a control panel.

But I’d avoided a smart lock for three reasons …

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Smart Home Diary Stories September 26, 2019

Writing user guides used to be part of how I earned my living. But this week I’ve been creating a smart home user guide on a purely personal basis.

When you’ve lived with smart home tech for quite some time, it all becomes second nature. But it’s easy to forget just how much there would be to learn for someone new to it all.

That’s a discovery we made when arranging for a friend to cat-sit later in the year. He’ll be living in our apartment while we’re on holiday, and it was only when we were showing him around that I realized quite how much there is to know – and he’s a tech guy by profession…

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Smart Home Diary Stories May 24, 2019

A conversation this morning got me thinking about the different categories of smart home tech.

I’ll be the first to admit that I love gadgets for their own sake. If there’s a low-tech way of doing something and a hi-tech way of doing it, I’ll tend to favor the hi-tech option even where the benefit is marginal.

My partner is not of the same view. She’s not a Luddite by any means – she has an iPhone, iPad, Mac, and appreciates some hi-tech solutions – but for her, the default option is the traditional way of doing things. Any technological wizardry has to justify itself.

This results in some negotiations about the devices we have in our apartment, which led me to the conclusion that there are three categories of smart home tech …

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Smart Home Diary Stories May 9, 2019

Although I do generally have a rule that smart home tech has to be HomeKit-compatible, there have been a few exceptions here and there. HomeKit-compatible window blinds were one of these, because the only option available at the time was just crazy money for the number we needed.

We did still get iPhone-controlled blinds, with HomeKit support promised down the line. Alexa support arrived first, which gave me an interesting insight into how the two ecosystems compared – but then HomeKit support finally landed for Hunter Douglas blinds …

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Smart Home Diary Stories January 16, 2019

One recurring theme I’ve seen in comments on my various Smart Home Diary pieces is the view expressed by some that a truly smart home ought to be automated. That pressing on-screen buttons on an iPhone does not equate to a smart home, only automation does.

I have some sympathy for this view. ‘Anything that can be automated should be automated’ is something of a mantra for me. But automation isn’t the whole picture, and I’d like to explain why I hold that view …

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