Diatribe Number 37 – Automating the House

Is it a sign I’m getting old when I think about a post topic so much that I think I’ve already posted it? Then I realize I’m so behind in my posts that I might be forgetting one of my “vitally important” topics? Don’t answer! Ok, do!

So, I’ve got an Amazon Echo. Who doesn’t. I’ve got Siri. If’ you’re Applefied, you have Siri. I have a WEMO switch that allows me to turn my chair light on and off using my Amazon Echo. Ok, that’s pretty cool -when I remember I have it.

So, I had to replace my dishwasher recently. I researched one looking specifically for a wifi-enabled appliance. It’s a bit of a challenge -even today! I was left with either a Bosch or an LG. The LG was local. The Bosch was a return at a Best Buy about 100 miles away. I went for the LG. Turns out Home Depot doesn’t stock dishwashers and wouldn’t let me unscrew the display and take it with me. A week later, I had a wifi-enabled dishwasher. What does it do? It sends me a message when the washing cycle is done and if my drying additive is low. Cute. But, not astounding. Hey, I live with stuff when I’m on the cutting edge. Woohoo! Ahem.

Ok, now down to my concern. Automating the house involves also falling for some “cool” gadgets that turn out to be pure useless. Take my sprinklers system. I ordered a Wiijoo from Amazon. It looked cool in the pics. It was for my birthday. I opened it with the necessary excitement (maybe a bit more) and only when I scheduled some time to install it, did I realize the manual was a tiny pamphlet written rather poorly. Also, the unit was not designed for outside use – so replacing my existing outdoor controller would be awkward. Worse, the process to program the unit with the house wifi settings was archaic. And once I downloaded the Amazon skill, I realized the real issue – Amazon would treat the entire controller as an on/off switch. No zones. No sprinkler amenities. No joke.

Fortunately, my adventure lead me to Lowes to look for a box large enough to mount outside and protect the Wiijoo. There, I came across Orbit’s version of a wifi-enabled sprinkler controller. There was music. A chorus. It was a relief. And after installing it and using the app from Orbit, it was a revelation. Don’t buy a Wiijoo! Buy an Orbit! The company already knows sprinkler systems. They added the wifi and the app is good. Darn good. It can even handle multiple homes as well as zones. And it lets me know when it’ll skip a schedule because there was enough rain in the area within 24 hours (an option I enabled as it’s Internet connected and monitors the local weather). The Wiijoo was returned post haste!



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