internet of things

Can I use my iPhone to control a Sous-vide cooker?

Episode 1443

Olga from Arizona
Mellow app

Olga and her husband are blind, and she wants to know how the accessibility is for the Mellow Cooker with her iPhone. Will it tell her what to do when she links the two together? Leo says the Mellow has no controls, so it would be controlled with an app. The app will walk them through it. They can just flash the Wi-Fi info from the phone, and then they'll be able to control it from the app.

Which Amazon Echo should I buy?

Episode 1438

Joe from Williamsport, PA
Amazon Echo

Joe wants to know which Amazon Echo he should buy. Leo says that the Alexa Echo has its own speaker and costs $100. The more affordable Echo is under $50 and he would need to connect a speaker to it. Should he buy Google Home instead? Google does a lot of the same things, but it isn't as advanced and mature as the Echo in terms of skills. But the Google Home is smarter for answering questions. Leo says he prefers the Echo, so he should get that.

Why won't my internet connected door lock work?

Episode 1435

Brian from Nashville, TN
August Smart Lock

Brian says that he's having issues with his internet connected door lock. It's connected to a ZigBee hub, and it's only 11 feet away from the door lock and the hub is hardwired to the router. The company's support told him he'll need to get a repeater. Leo says there are routers coming out now that have Zigbee built-in, which could be one solution to these problems. Ultimately the real solution is that these things won't be using ZigBee or Z-Wave, the devices will be talking to the Google Hub or Apple HomeKit.

Amazon Echo or Google Home?

Episode 1433

Nancy from Tarzana, CA
Amazon Echo Show

Nancy has an Android phone, her kids have iPhone. Which assistant should she get, Amazon Echo or Google Home? Leo says it doesn't really matter, but for Nancy, using the Google Home would be similar to Android's voice assistant. The Echo has been out for a few years now and it's a mature system, whereas Google Home just came out not long ago. Google Home is better for facts because of its search knowledge. Amazon Echo is better for home automation. It works well with a variety of Internet of Things devices. Google Home isn't quite there yet with Internet of Things.

How can I have my Hue lights interact with my security cameras?

Episode 1428

Brian from Charleston, IN
Raspberry Pi

Brian has several Rasperry Pi computers for a DIY security camera network. Leo says he shouldn't DIY to save money anymore, he should just do it to have fun. Brian had an intruder (a critter) come in last night, and it wasn't lit very well. Leo says he'll want an infrared camera. Motion sensor lights would be a good idea as well. Leo says that half the fun of making is to figure out what's next and how to make it better.

What wireless doorbell should I buy?

Episode 1422

Jorge from Moreno Valley, CA
Ring

Jorge wants to get a wireless doorbell. Suggestions? Leo says that he uses Ring, and they are also a sponsor. There's also Skybell. But these smart internet enabled doorbells represent a security risk because they're connected to the internet (called Internet of Things) and often they aren't updated. So if someone can break into his network, they may be able to break into his house or system. With that warning, Leo says that Ring does a great job.

Can the Amazon Echo make phone calls?

Episode 1418

Cindy from California
Amazon Echo

Cindy wants to know if the Echo can work as an intercom all around the house. Leo says it can, but the Echo Dot requires external speakers, while the Echo has its own speaker. There's also the Echo Show, which also has video. She heard that it can make phone calls. Leo says it doesn't make phone calls, but it can make Echo to Echo calls to anyone in her network. If she wants to make phone calls, then Google Home is the way to go. It uses Google Voice.