Used to be, the most customization you could squeeze out of your lighting was how warm or cool you wanted it to be. Not anymore. With the Philips Hue home lighting system, you can control every light in your house down to its color, saturation, and brightness—right from your phone. What Is It? Philips' app-controlled mood lighting system. Who's it For? People for whom On and Off are insufficient. Design The system is composed of three Wi-Fi connected light bulbs, a network gateway slightly larger than a hockey puck, and an iOS app that communicates with the bulbs (through the gateway). Advertisement Using It Plug the bulbs into their respective sockets (either spreading them around the room in multiple lamps or concentrating them in a single fixture), plug the gateway into a spare port on your wireless router, install the Hue app on you iOS or Android device, connect the app to the gateway and you're all set. The app (at least the Android version that I tested) comes … [Read more...] about Philips Hue Lightning Review: Your Lamp’s Not Worthy (Updated)
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Smart homes sound awesome. The idea sounded awesome 15 years ago, when Microsoft teased some of their ideas in a concept video, and it sounded awesome when Apple announced HomeKit last month. But do you know anybody that actually lives in a smart home and reaps all that awesomeness? Probably not. And Quirky wants to change that. This week, Quirky is launching the ambitious next step of its mission to win the smarthome platform competition—starting with Wink Hub, a platform that controls not only Quirky's cadre of connected appliances, but 60 others smart products from 15 partner companies. A bit like IFTTT, the Wink Hub will also let you write simple programs, called Robots, that let you hack your house so that all of your internet-connected (and probably pricey) devices will work together. Along with the Hub, Quirky's released a revamped Wink app and added a customer support service run by real human beings to help you set everything up. The whole project is being rolled out in … [Read more...] about Quirky Wants To Win the Smart Home Wars With This $50 Hub
How much of the stuff that you don’t like have you actually given a fair shake? I’m posing this question to you, the reader, as cover for the shame of my own answer. There are things—things with widespread, dedicated followers who can’t imagine not having them in their lives, who even pity those who have never experienced them—that I long ago decided are “just not for me,” without even bothering to investigate whether that’s true. How liberating it is to never bother challenging my presumptions; how freeing to my limited time and DVR space! My prejudices have saved me untold hours that I can then spend watching old 30 Rock episodes. But then again… What if I’ve been missing out on something that might actually bring me joy, all because I’m too stubborn to really, truly give it a shot? It’s a nagging feeling that’s only gotten stronger as I’ve gotten older, and after more than a decade of working with … [Read more...] about Can a lifelong anime skeptic learn to love it?
Smart bulbs ain't cheap, but GE has decided to enter your smart home with a new LED bulb called Link, which promises to make intelligent lighting cheaper. Well, a bit cheaper at least. It has a point: Philips' latest Hue bulbs cost $60 a pop, which is quite a lot for a bulb. GE's new offering instead uses a hub-and-spoke model, where a central node costs $30 and and then extra bulbs, which connect to that one, cost between $15 and $25. You can also pick up a starter kit, which includes two 60W-equivalent bulbs and a hub, for $50. Advertisement They're all controlled with Wink, allowing you to adjust brightness and schedule the lights using your phone via that central node. There aren't any flashy extras like you can get with some other bulbs—hence the lower price. But despite being cheaper, they should still last a while; 23 years if you trust GE. The bulbs are available for pre-order now through Home Depot, though they don't ship until the fall. That's a long wait to save … [Read more...] about GE’s Link Is a (Slightly) More Affordable Smart Bulb