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Amazon Echo. Basically Siri for your home 2. (Page 2)
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subego
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Jan 7, 2017, 01:55 PM
 
Deathmatch is inconclusive. It's about a 50-50 spread between which Echo hears me better.

I'll try a different spot, but I need to wait for the cat to wake up and get out of the way. She's also high-maintenance.
     
subego
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Jan 8, 2017, 01:29 AM
 
I've said already buying things with the Echo is kinda disappointing, but I couldn't help amusing myself by using it to buy another Dot.
     
subego
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Jan 8, 2017, 02:04 AM
 
Originally Posted by osiris View Post
Sounds like wife #1
And to be fair to Alexa, where I originally set things up in the bedroom, everything is pretty much perfect.

I've got an unobtrusive spot for it, but it can hear me perfectly from everywhere in the room, even with music playing on the stereo. It's even better now that I've hooked it up to a Bluetooth speaker, which I've also been able to stash in an unobtrusive spot, but a better place to have "talking" come from.

The most important thing I want it to do, which is turn on and off the lights, works flawlessly, even though I had to use the hack. It wasn't particularly hard to set up either, relatively speaking.

Where stuff got complicated was all the back-end stuff I needed to do to automate my Mac to do crap I had been doing with my phone and a keyboard, and dealing with how to best compromise once it came out into a bigger than normal room.
     
ShortcutToMoncton
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Jan 8, 2017, 01:14 PM
 
Super interesting! It's stuff like this that has made me hesitate to jump on board while-house wireless audio like Sonos - my buddy has a ridiculous Sonos setup throughout his house and it's pretty amazing, but everything is still tied to the interface app, which isn't really ideal.

I have a pretty traditional house with rooms and normal semi-convenient wall switches - spending crazy money just on Hue lights makes absolutely no sense to me (just like the Nest fire alarm sounds totally crazy at that price point).

But it sounds like in the very near future voice command will be here. Every cheesy sci-fi scene of saying "lights at 30% please" and "music, jazz playlist, 25% volume please" and all this shit will actually happen.

So yeah.....it makes me not want to invest a couple thousand in an otherwise well-integrated but probably soon-to-be-obsolete sound system like Sonos' current stuff.
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subego
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Jan 8, 2017, 01:50 PM
 
Note, I do have switches, it's just they (as is usually the case) only control lights wired into the wall.

I'm a big proponent of lamps over built-in. So the switches don't do anything I actually want them to do.


If you have a Mac based home media server type deal, AirTunes is pretty sweet. $100 a node.
     
subego
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Jan 8, 2017, 02:28 PM
 
My current spot, with Alexa looking very Tron.

     
ShortcutToMoncton
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Jan 8, 2017, 09:34 PM
 
What is AirTunes? I thought that's what Apple used to call AirPlay...?

Our lighting philosophies couldn't be more different. I hate almost all lamps and change all hardwired lights to ensure they suit the room needs. We have just a couple big lamps in the house - one where the room doesn't have a main light, and the others on the nighttables with switches by the bed.
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subego
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Jan 9, 2017, 12:42 AM
 
What do you have against lamps?


Apple calls everything AirPlay now, so I suppose I should call it that. What you can do with AirPlay when it comes to video versus just audio is different enough I find it useful to keep calling the audio only part "AirTunes".

Every Airport Express has an audio out. It's a nifty 3.5mm combo analog and optical jack, so you can outboard the DAC or not as you so choose.

They work natively in iTunes. Select any or all of the Airport Expresses, and your music beams to them in sync. It takes a few seconds to fire up, but once it's going, it responds instantly to commands.

Any other audio source on your Mac can be sent over the same protocol using Airfoil.

So, I should have qualified my statement of how sweet of a setup can be made out of this. It's great if you're iTunes-centric, and further have an iPhone with you to act as a remote. While excellent, once you get into Airfoil, things start to get a little kludgy.
     
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Jan 9, 2017, 11:35 AM
 
TV Report on Accidental Amazon Orders Triggers Attempted Amazon Orders Across San Diego

"I loved the little girl’s take on it... Alexa ordered me a dollhouse"

Cue every Alexa.


Sorry for the Gizmodo link.
     
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Jan 9, 2017, 12:16 PM
 
     
ShortcutToMoncton
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Jan 9, 2017, 04:15 PM
 
Originally Posted by subego View Post
What do you have against lamps?


Apple calls everything AirPlay now, so I suppose I should call it that. What you can do with AirPlay when it comes to video versus just audio is different enough I find it useful to keep calling the audio only part "AirTunes".

Every Airport Express has an audio out. It's a nifty 3.5mm combo analog and optical jack, so you can outboard the DAC or not as you so choose.

They work natively in iTunes. Select any or all of the Airport Expresses, and your music beams to them in sync. It takes a few seconds to fire up, but once it's going, it responds instantly to commands.

Any other audio source on your Mac can be sent over the same protocol using Airfoil.

So, I should have qualified my statement of how sweet of a setup can be made out of this. It's great if you're iTunes-centric, and further have an iPhone with you to act as a remote. While excellent, once you get into Airfoil, things start to get a little kludgy.
Ahhhhhh right - I remember us discussing this in the past sometime and checking out Airfoil.

At the time it felt a bit too early in the tech....funny that I'm still there. IIRC the Airport Express idea had some limitations i couldn't wrap my head around (like wires and power and auto-on issues that are largely solved by Sonos' powered speaker, built-in Wifi network approach).

I understand that Plex now works with Sonos.....I have a Plex setup that solves some of my issues with iTunes (namely it neatly organizes and visually updates your existing library, instead of iTunes' ancient approach), so I may just buy one of the cheaper Sonos speakers and test out how well the integration actually works.
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subego
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Jan 10, 2017, 12:22 AM
 
It does wireless... I mean, it's an Airport.

That said, because I can, I have mine Ethernetted.

The main draw over a Sonos is cost... at least, the more stuff one has ready to go. Connecting preexisting sound systems with the Sonos Connect is $350 a pop, which is frigging highway robbery. If you have two stereos, that's $700 just to get a seat at the table.

Even in terms of expansion cost, take any given Sonos, subtract $100 (cost of the Airport Express) and use the left over cash to buy the best-in-class sound system at that price point. It'll blow the grille off the Sonos.

Not including the stereos, but including three new sound systems, my five node setup cost about $800.

Don't forget the Airport Expresses are also print servers and (kinda weak) wifi access points.

For an iTunes based system, there really is no other way to go.

Of course, the Airport Express just sends audio. It can't power anything on. I've adopted the non-green solution of always leaving everything on.

Airfoil works very well, but the AirTunes protocol uses a two second buffer, which can introduce small quirks Airfoil can't control (play or pause has a two second lag) or epic deal-breakers (picture and sound are two seconds out of sync).

There's also that leetle problem of Apple ceasing development, so it's gonna get discontinued.

None of this has anything to do with lamps. Why the hate?
     
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Jan 10, 2017, 11:50 AM
 
Originally Posted by subego View Post
It does wireless... I mean, it's an Airport.

That said, because I can, I have mine Ethernetted.

The main draw over a Sonos is cost... at least, the more stuff one has ready to go. Connecting preexisting sound systems with the Sonos Connect is $350 a pop, which is frigging highway robbery. If you have two stereos, that's $700 just to get a seat at the table.

Even in terms of expansion cost, take any given Sonos, subtract $100 (cost of the Airport Express) and use the left over cash to buy the best-in-class sound system at that price point. It'll blow the grille off the Sonos.

Not including the stereos, but including three new sound systems, my five node setup cost about $800.

Don't forget the Airport Expresses are also print servers and (kinda weak) wifi access points.

For an iTunes based system, there really is no other way to go.

Of course, the Airport Express just sends audio. It can't power anything on. I've adopted the non-green solution of always leaving everything on.

Airfoil works very well, but the AirTunes protocol uses a two second buffer, which can introduce small quirks Airfoil can't control (play or pause has a two second lag) or epic deal-breakers (picture and sound are two seconds out of sync).

There's also that leetle problem of Apple ceasing development, so it's gonna get discontinued.
Well by wires I meant in comparison to Sonos. All you need is one speaker ethernetted and then all others require only power. It's the most unobtrusive system you can get for while-house audio unless you run a central receiver with in-wall wires everywhere (which I am not prepared to do - plaster walls and crown mouldings in an older house make that almost impossible!).

I'm not entirely sold on your price breakdownr - no question that Sonos will be the premium priced solution, but there's not a hugely significant difference once you factor in the powered speakers, especially if you simply want a smaller whole-house solution (I.e. for the most part, simply general in-room audio in discreet locations - not dedicated stereo or theatre locations.)

I agree that for dedicated stereo or theatre systems it would get pricey. But I'm also willing to pay for ease of setup and non-fiddliness. Having to deal with audio delays between systems would be a non-starter for me - in that respect $350 isn't terrible for a well-integrated experience for the existing speaker system.

There is another system called BluSound which was developed by NAD I think - it's slightly more high end but I've also heard good things.

None of this has anything to do with lamps. Why the hate?
I have a minimalist sense of style and don't like superfluous things cluttering around. Would much rather install a new light fixture than add a lamp.
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subego
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Jan 10, 2017, 12:58 PM
 
To be clear, I think there are various reasons for you not to go with an Airport Express system, but I should clear up a few things so at least you're working with correct info.

The Airport Express does wireless the way you want, as in it can wirelessly join your existing wifi network as a client. None of mine need wires, they only have them since making that happen in a loft is relatively easy.

Maybe I'm crunching the numbers wrong, but I don't think so. Integrating my existing system was $500 less, so that's a gimme. My three expansions cost about $200 a piece. This includes a set of powered speakers. My go-to, sub-$100 pair of powered speakers are Creative T-20s. I'm almost positive this would crush the $200 Sonos Play:1 in the fidelity department. The Play:1 isn't even stereo. You need to compete with a Play:3, a $200 set of powered speakers will likely be better. A Play:5? That's $400 you get to spend on a set of speakers. We're in Bowers and Wilkins territory now.

The audio/video sync with Airfoil is going to be a deal-breaker. I'm in agreement with you on that.
     
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Jan 10, 2017, 05:22 PM
 
Originally Posted by subego View Post
To be clear, I think there are various reasons for you not to go with an Airport Express system, but I should clear up a few things so at least you're working with correct info.

The Airport Express does wireless the way you want, as in it can wirelessly join your existing wifi network as a client. None of mine need wires, they only have them since making that happen in a loft is relatively easy.
I think one of us is misunderstanding. The AE needs to be plugged in and powered on. That's a power cord of some type. Then it needs to be connected to your speaker system - another connection & cord, and then another power cord for the speakers, and introduction of sleep/wake issue. (Your speaker(s) may or may not be powered, and if not would necessitate more boxes and wires for a receiver etc.) In comparison, a Sonos speaker simply has one power cord; it's a far more elegant solution.

The Play 1s can perform stereo sound when you have two of them. And I feel the Play 1s are a bit more balanced than you give them credit for (which is a criticism of the T20s I believe.). But I feel we're talking about two different things here - I feel that quality stereo sound is pretty useless in a whole-home solution: stereo listening generally needs to be confined to a certain sweet spot, and requires a particularly attentive listener to give appreciable benefits. I'm talking about discrete placement of a speaker or two in each room, for continuous sound throughout the house.....I don't want wires running between my speakers unless they are set up for dedicated stereo listening or the wires are in-wall so as to be invisible.

I am planning to re-build a dedicated stereo & theatre system - one where you can sit down to hear good sound - and if I go Sonos, it will have to have a Connect box. But I enjoy decent sound and it will likely be a few thousand dollars worth of equipment, so $350 won't be a deal breaker.

We're in Bowers and Wilkins territory now.
Honestly, $400 each for the Play 5 isn't totally outrageous - they sound really good. (And for that price you're getting low-end B&W which even things out a little.) But I think the problem with using the Sonos speakers in a "system" is that you're paying for the tech inside each speaker that's designed to operate it independently if required, as opposed to a single box that is scalable with multiple speakers.

My big issue with Sonos is them not supporting Airplay or another similar system. So you have this fancy whole-house system - but you start playing a YouTube playlist on your iPad, and suddenly they're completely useless because you can't "cast" to them like in AirPlay. That's annoying, and again, back to what feels like early tech issues.
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subego
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Jan 10, 2017, 08:44 PM
 
You are correct, I was misunderstanding. I'm way anal about cable clutter. If there are places where the cables you do need are impractical to hide, that's definitely a huge downside.


I'd of course want to try the Play:1 before I stated it unequivocally, but assuming the cables could be hidden, my guess is I'd stick with the T-20s.

I'm sure the Play:1 has better internals than what's in the T-20s, but the question is for "whole room audio", are they better than the "laws of physics" advantage the T-20s bring? It's one woofer and one tweeter versus two woofers and two tweeters... separated into two units.

Again, none of that matters if there are ugly cables wrecking it. In my garage they're hidden behind boxes.


I understand the desire to cut down on fiddling by having the whole house system separate from the stereos, but that would just torque me off. I like how my stereos sound. I don't want to listen to music in those rooms on different (probably inferior) gear. Dare I call it... superfluous.

I'm also a bachelor who never watches anything. It cuts down on fiddling.
     
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Jan 10, 2017, 09:16 PM
 
Yeah - I mean it sounds like you have several dedicated stereo listening areas. My concept is a speaker or two in each room throughout the house - fairly unobtrusive but enough to enjoy tunes while moving around or while a bunch of people are over. And then a dedicated high-powered listening area for really good stuff. (I have a couple Totem Tribe III speakers saving up for the system so far, so I'm trying to go fairly high-quality for this system.)
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subego
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Jan 10, 2017, 09:50 PM
 
It's sort of a hybrid...

For the two rooms that already had stereos, they act as the sources.

Two other rooms each got a pair of powered speakers added to them.

My last one has an amp, which runs two speakers in mono. Those speakers snake far away to provide "fill-in".

Lastly, one of Airfoil's nifty tricks is it lets computers act as an AirTunes client. The computer in my office is the secret 6th node.

That's basically my whole apartment. I have all the volumes set at a "background" level, so whatever I play is just sort of "on", and is more or less consistent as I walk around.

Which I do a lot... restless leg. It's why I don't watch things.
     
subego
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Jan 10, 2017, 11:43 PM
 
Alexa in stealth mode.



I'm at five Dots now, plus the one at work. I need a recovery program.
     
subego
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Jan 15, 2017, 12:18 AM
 
I'm glad I'm starting to develop a more natural voice when talking to Alexa.

My "debug" voice is kinda stern.
     
subego
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Jan 16, 2017, 04:27 PM
 
Someone on the show I'm listening to started talking to his Echo, and woke mine up.
     
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Jan 18, 2017, 02:48 AM
 
Subego, have you tried Yonomi to get your smart stuff working with Alexa? https://www.amazon.com/Yonomi/dp/B01E7TYGFO

It'll be much easier if you just comply.
     
subego
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Jan 18, 2017, 06:07 AM
 
If I didn't already have Indigo doing more or less the same thing, I'd be on that in a heartbeat. Excellent suggestion!
     
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Jan 18, 2017, 05:20 PM
 
Does anyone know how the software updates to Echo are sent out? On another forum, some people (including my Dot) have got 'Computer' as a wake word option, others haven't. My device software number in the settings is 564197320, others that don't have Computer as an option have number 564196920. Are they staggered by the type of Echo, whether its an Echo or a Dot, or serial numbers or... ?

It'll be much easier if you just comply.
     
subego
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Jan 18, 2017, 05:37 PM
 
Some of my Dots do, some don't.
     
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Feb 4, 2017, 02:43 PM
 
Any of you folks using these in connection with other smart-home systems? I've got another thread about smart-home security cameras - I picked up Arlo Pros and really like them - but I'm reading how people integrate them into smart-home hubs using something like the Samsung SmartThings - for example, triggering the motion sensor on your entrance or driveway camera - or some sort of geofence trigger with your phone - could make the smarthub turn on your entrance lights or start playing your favourite tunes or something like that. Sounds kinda cool - my porch entrance is particularly dark so it would be nice to have the recessed lighting automatically turn on when I get in the driveway.

I'm hearing good things about the SmartThings and Wink but again, also lots of talk about how this tech is very much in its infancy....
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subego
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Feb 4, 2017, 03:27 PM
 
Most of the thread is me blathering about getting Alexa to integrate with my currently existing "smart home" system.

Unfortunately, when it comes to hubs, I only really know about Insteon, which is pretty old school at this point.
     
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Feb 5, 2017, 01:45 PM
 
Ahhhh I didn't get your reference to Indigo - that's a device I've never heard of! Up in Canada it's the name of a big-box bookstore.

What do you with it? Is it just lights and music at this point?
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subego
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Feb 10, 2017, 04:19 PM
 
I think Alexa may be gay.

     
subego
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Feb 10, 2017, 04:33 PM
 
Originally Posted by ShortcutToMoncton View Post
Ahhhh I didn't get your reference to Indigo - that's a device I've never heard of! Up in Canada it's the name of a big-box bookstore.

What do you with it? Is it just lights and music at this point?
Indigo is actually Mac home automation software. I have an Insteon hub plugged into the same Mac, and then use Indigo to program lights, and act as "logic", or make different hubs cross compatible.

Alexa doesn't really run the lights or the music. Alexa talks to Indigo, and then Indigo fires off the Insteon hub, or AppleScripts to run music.

Most stuff works on the same idea. If I wanted a quick and dirty geofence, I'd figure out some way to pass to Indigo my phone has joined the network, and then have Indigo switch on lights when it got the signal.

As an aside, Indigo seems to have some of the best security out there. AFAICT, it's the only smart home software with P2P remote control. Everything else goes through corporate servers. This is actually why I need to use a hack to get Alexa to work. Direct integration means Indigo would have to give control of your software to Amazon, and they don't feel comfortable doing that. The hack uses built-in Alexa functionality, so it works without interfacing with Amazon, but is very limited in what it can do because of it.

I can theoretically control anything on my computer with Alexa now, but lights and music are the two practical uses.
     
subego
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Feb 10, 2017, 04:44 PM
 


The guy I listen to on the radio (Steve Dahl, not Steam Doll) said this and managed to get Alexa to start playing himself in the kitchen.

"Order me a pizza" was him too.
     
subego
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Feb 20, 2017, 04:36 PM
 
I don't have many clocks. Digital clocks are meh, and cool analog clocks make noise.

I find myself asking Alexa what time it is a lot more than I expected. It's nice if I have something in my hand, or don't feel like pulling out my phone.
     
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Feb 20, 2017, 04:59 PM
 
That just happened to me last night for the first time. My phone was out of reach and we moved the living room clock to our bedroom without replacing it, so I asked Alexa what the time was.
     
subego
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Mar 8, 2017, 01:02 AM
 
Well, that's annoying. Amazon is doing maintenance, and now my house stopped working.
     
subego
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Mar 8, 2017, 01:17 AM
 
Is this a day without Alexa? You win! I surrender!
     
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Mar 10, 2017, 09:40 AM
 
Originally Posted by subego View Post
Is this a day without Alexa? You win! I surrender!
It's just Alexa having a tantrum.
This space for Hire! Reasonable rates. Reach an audience of literally dozens!
     
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Mar 10, 2017, 11:09 AM
 
To make you better appreciate her, and raise her salary? What a lazy whiner. She'll be replaced by scabs.
     
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Mar 10, 2017, 07:47 PM
 
Originally Posted by subego View Post
Well, that's annoying. Amazon is doing maintenance, and now my house stopped working.
The future is absurd. Does Alexa really need to ping Amazon's servers to do something like turn on a light?
     
subego
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Mar 10, 2017, 10:51 PM
 
In theory, no. Enough of that is built in it should retain basic functionality without a connection.

My guess is it was actually some form of horrendously botched OS update.
     
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Mar 10, 2017, 11:54 PM
 
Cynically I figure they disable it if they can't record you
     
subego
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Mar 11, 2017, 12:09 AM
 
And here I was being optimistic. I thought it would keep basic functioning, but yanking my internet connection puts them in a disabled mode.
     
subego
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Mar 17, 2017, 09:32 PM
 
Previous to the day without Alexa, the UPS to my "home computer" died, and I was without my setup for about three days.

Even though I only have my four commands (main lights, bedroom lights, Pandora, radio station), I really missed having it. Using the light switch made me feel like an animal.

I did end up using some I Hate Radio, and I'm envious of how quickly the built-in functions work. The hack has a couple second lag.

Being able to use "Alexa stop" is also nice.
     
subego
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Mar 31, 2017, 04:43 PM
 

I know I shouldn't be encouraging this.
     
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Mar 31, 2017, 05:29 PM
 
Yep it's March 31st alright
     
subego
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Mar 31, 2017, 08:13 PM
 
When did the day before become a thing?
     
The Final Shortcut
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Join Date: Mar 2012
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Mar 31, 2017, 09:24 PM
 
Tomorrow's Saturday. Peeps don't want to work on Saturday!
     
The Final Dakar
Games Meister
Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: Eternity
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Mar 31, 2017, 11:51 PM
 
Originally Posted by subego View Post
When did the day before become a thing?
When people got smart to April 1st
     
subego
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Location: Chicago, Bang! Bang!
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Apr 1, 2017, 12:04 PM
 
Won't people get smart to this? Took me about 20 seconds.

That's not a challenge, only an observation.

I'm hoping Shortcut has it right, which means it'll get backed-up two days next year, then revert to normal.
     
subego
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Apr 1, 2017, 12:08 PM
 
Good Christ. It being the weekend hasn't stopped anyone else. Reddit's a ****ing wasteland.
     
subego
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Apr 28, 2017, 03:47 PM
 
One of my Dots started listening yesterday and wouldn't stop.
     
 
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