Smart Home

iHome Scrambling to Fix Lingering Customers Problems After Cloud Outage

What do you do when the cloud goes down and your smart home goes offline? That’s yet another pitfall of connecting everything to the Internet. iHome’s cloud service that supplies communication to its smart home products went down this past Friday. The service was out from about 10:00am EST to 3:30pm EST. But, while the company’s services recovered in less than 6 hours, customers devices continued to have problems reconnecting to the restored service. The outage has been reported to be caused by an unseen issue during a “routine” maintenance window. How many times have we heard that from various cloud providers? Today, the company is sending an email to its customers with instructions for resolving remaining problems, which surprisingly include applying new fir...

Review: Sengled Element Classic Dimmable A19 Smart Bulb with Echo Plus

Since the incorporating the Amazon Echo Plus into our Alexa farm here at the house, I’ve been in deep testing mode. I’ve been attempting to locate the lighting solutions for inside the house that is best for our varying situations. I’ve been through quite a few different manufacturers of smart bulbs on a trek to control lighting scenarios where our kids can’t remember to turn lights off to save their lives. So far, here’s the list of smart bulb manufacturers I’ve tested: Phillips, Sengled, IKEA, Sylvania, GE, and Cree. And, to be honest, I wasn’t looking for dimmable versus color options. I only wanted something priced right that installs easily, works flawlessly with the Echo Plus, and is easy to manage through voice commands and the Alexa mobile ...

First Look: Enerwave Z-Wave Home Automation Power Modules

As you know from reading here, I’m slowly migrating my home to an automated, smart home with primary focus on Alexa integration. These, that arrived on my doorstep late last week, don’t offer Alexa integration yet (though its promised), so after testing I’ll probably set them aside until Alexa voice commands are possible. These power modules are from Enerwave and they are all just a tad bit different. The ones I have to test include an in-wall duplex receptacle, a plug-in module for small appliances, and a plug-in module for lights with dimmer capability. I’ll leave some first look specs and photos here and attempt to test the plug-in modules this week and the duplex receptacle this next weekend. UPDATE: They tell me that the in-wall duplex receptacle does support A...