Thursday, August 13, 2020

Tech You Should Pick Up For Your Household.

December 15, 2019 by  
Filed under Opinion, Tech/Internet, Weekly Columns

Like Love Haha Wow Sad Angry

( We have computers, communication, calculators, education, and entertainment in our pockets. It’s amazing, really. Technology has grown in such a way that even the things that are pretty much commonplace in our homes have either been improved or innovated for the times. Let’s look at a few things you should pick up for your household to bring it into the twenty-first century.

Google Nest/Amazon Echo

It took me a while to get a Google Nest. I’d see them on sale regularly at Target but forget to get one. I finally made the jump earlier this year and it’s pretty damn dope, actually. It can be put roughly anywhere and won’t really get in the way. After mastering commands via Google Assistant, I’ve got it to where it does about 95-percent of things I request the first time around.

With these speakers, it’s a matter of speaking clearly and being in decent range. Both of these were problems I had with Google Nest initially. News, music, alarms, directions, search queries; your assistant has you covered.

But if you’re away from your phone—like I am 40-percent of the time—these speakers come in really handy. Sometimes I don’t really need to use my phone and I don’t feel like going to another room to fetch just to do a quick search of something minor.

That’s where Google Nest shines. But what about Amazon Echo? It’s roughly the same thing there as well. Both rely on AI assistants to do tasks for you, it’s just a matter of which one you’d rather use. The main difference is that Echo is tied into everything Amazon while Nest is tied into all things Google.

Set-Top Box

Roku, Amazon Fire, you know what they are. These are those boxes or plug-in sticks—Amazon has those as well—that allow you to use multiple streaming services on your TV. These services have also expanded into allowing live TV. This decade has seen so many streaming services pop up and grow that these boxes were going to become useful eventually.

What it requires from you is an internet connection, whatever streaming services you have, and you’re set. All of your stuff is there to watch. These things can also be hacked—by the owner—to allow for free viewing of stuff then again, most things can be hacked or unlocked now and days.

Smart Fridge

This is something I’d really love. Next to zero effort goes into opening the refrigerator and rummaging inside for something. However, those with disabilities that limit mobility or strength will find the smart fridge useful to a degree. It allows you to see what’s in your fridge without opening the door. Useful until you have to actually open the door.

That is until LG comes out with its self-opening fridge. Like I said, there are things in our homes that have been innovated. For decades, refrigerators worked on a system of cooling and freezing things while you had to do three things: plug it up, open, and close it.

Well, four if you include cleaning it out but that’s a storage and sanitation thing. At any rate, when I first saw the smart fridges with the touch display from LG and Samsung I thought “Wow, this is very 2020. Here I am with this white two door fridge…opening it to the unknown like a mark.”

Gaming Console

Yeah, you knew I would get here eventually. Game consoles now are full entertainment devices. By the time that last generation came out—PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, Wii—you were able to watch YouTube, Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Video, most other video streaming services, and listen to Spotify on them. With this current generation of consoles you have even more.

Movies that have just finished up their theater run can be purchased on these consoles. For a period, they had special live TV packages and networks have dedicated apps on them as well. Really, the only reason you’d need the set-top box is for whatever live TV packages are available since game consoles today cover many of the same services and more.

They do a lot more than play games but it’s a bonus if there are any games you’d want to play.

Smart Doorbell

Ring’s Video Doorbell is the best known one on the market right now. Basically, it allows you to know who is at your door, lurking around on your porch and property, without you having to peek through the blinds or open the door—because both of those are very 1929. I couldn’t even pick a decade for it; I went through four before settling on 1929.

People have always peaked out the windows to see who is visiting them or disturbing them but now, you don’t have to be so obvious in doing so. That portable device that you keep in your pocket or that other one that your read books off of or watch Hulu and Netflix on—now it’s part of your home security. You can just check it out and see what’s happening on your property without inconveniencing yourself at the minimum and risking bodily harm and robbery at worst.

There have been privacy concerns for Ring customers over how video can be used commercially and for targeted ads as well as the service possibly being used as a private camera system for police. It’s all believable stuff. The only other major alternative is Google Nest—and Google has issues with privacy as well.

If that raises concern, you can always get a small camera for your porch that feeds the image to your phone directly without needing Ring or Google’s smart doorbells.

Staff Writer; M. Swift

This talented writer is also a podcast host, and comic book fan who loves all things old school. One may also find him on Twitter at; metalswift.

Speak Your Mind

Tell us what you're thinking...
and oh, if you want a pic to show with your comment, go get a gravatar!