Jan 15, 2020: Light

Carole’s started asking about getting some app controlled lightbulbs so that we don’t have to get off the couch to, as Peter Kay would hilariously say, turn the big light on. Or off.

And we could. With a small investment of a gazillion pounds, we could get the bulbs and shout at the lights. But we’d need another hub to work alongside everything, by the looks of it, and that’s another ethernet port lost to controlling our home wirelessly from the toilet.

And aside from the fact that we’d need to hook up about three ethernet hubs to take all our existing wires, plus any new ones and be future-ready for more, there’s a bigger problem.

If you’re ever in the car with Carole and she has occassion to use her horn, you’re in for a real treat. She will shout at the offending driver, wave her arms around and struggle to find her horn before issuing what is the most pathetic little “meep” noise from the car. Often after we are now several hundred yards from the scene of the horn-requiring incident.

Using the Home Computer Robot Lady is the sams thing. It would be quicker, sometimes, to manually do whatever she’s asking than it is for her to have the HCRL do it.

Not to mention we have – at present – two plugs set up. Blanket turns on the electric blanket, bed lights up the fairy lights on the bed head. Blanket. Bed.

That’s it. Two words.

They are very rarely used. In fact Carole usually says lights, meaning the bed lights, which turns on the blanket (because of some lazy device categorising by me which I never envisionsd being a problem).

It’s a wonder our bed has never burnt to cinders.

I dread to think what would happen if we had voice-controlled lights. Just a woman shouting at bulbs, calling them all the wrong names. Our house needing to carry an epilepsy warning due to flashing lights…

If she asks again, I’ll pretend it cannot be done.

One thought on “Jan 15, 2020: Light

  1. Best thing I bought last year was the Hue hub and a load of bulbs. If I’m watching movies or gaming in the back room at arse o’clock in the morning and need to nip into the kitchen to get a refill of water, I can just say “Echo… night lights” and it’ll turn on the lights in the back room to full (so I don’t trip over any weights or whatever), the hall lights will go on to 10% so I can see enough to get to the kitchen, and the kitchen island lights will go on full.

    By the time we get to our road when we’re driving home, the phone lets the hub know that we’re approaching, and it puts on the outside lights, inner hall lights, kitchen lights, and lounge lights. When we go out, we can even set it up to imitate life, so that the lounge light will go on once it gets dark, and the hall and kitchen lights will go on and off for periods that make it look as though someone’s home.

    Even when gaming, if you’re so inclined, it can add immersion to a game (depending on the motherboard and setup, of course) where I’m playing The Outer Worlds and when I’m being shot at the lights will go red. When I’ve removed enemies, it’ll go back to normal. When enemies are sensed behind me, it’ll go amber. That sort of thing.

    But being able to control everything through an app means if we’ve stayed out later than expected, we can put lights on so it appears we’re home (or we can start the life imitation remotely), and it’s great for the kids as they can control the upstairs landing lights from their beds using portable switches that adhere to their bed posts. Means they never have to walk around in darkness to get to a switch.

    We’re mostly wired, too. Hub in my office feeds into the lounge, into the garage, into Lorna’s office, and into the hall (where it plugs into another hub and also creates another four access points). There’s the hub in the downstairs hall (which feeds into the back room for PC, PS4, PS3, TV etc) and the cable upstairs feeds into another hub (TV, PS4, PC). For the most part, though, we use TP-Link TL-PA7010PKIT wired extenders for upstairs access. One plugs into the main hub downstairs and feeds the full network connection through the electrical circuit. So the kids’ devices are plugged into their own TP-Link sockets in their bedrooms and it means they have wired connections with any actual wires going into their rooms. Packet loss is minimal and doesn’t disrupt gaming or streaming, and the speeds drop from around 68mb downstream to 56mb, which isn’t that bad.

    You thought about using passthrough networking? We started using it thirteen years ago when it was still in its infancy but it’s improved a lot since.

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