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.
internet of things
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.
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.
Scott is getting ready to go to the annual CIDIA show for home theater, and this year, it's going to have a huge presence for the so-called "Internet of things," where just about every device you have is smart and connected to the internet. Scott says that voice command is really starting to get popular in home theater equipment and accessories. We'll probably see major home theater devices with voice command built in. Apple is going to be announcing a new Apple TV in the next few weeks, plus updates to the upcoming Apple HomePod.
In what Leo calls a simple application of machine learning and data translation, Google Home can now make phone calls to any number in your phone's contacts. Leo adds this is the benefit to offering free services like Google Voice and Google Photos. It's able to take all that data that Google has access too and apply it to applications that make our lives easier.
Ken has an Eero mesh router, but he's concerned because he has several "internet of things" devices and he hears that mesh routers don't like them. Leo says that is the current problem, and it may be that the devices aren't smart enough to handle the mesh way of handling the network. They're working on it and Leo says that a fix will some sooner or later. But in the meantime, hardwiring to the router may be the best solution.
Steven used to own a Logitech Harmony universal remote. He had his living room and bedroom linked so he could use the same players, but that was too much for the remote to handle. Is there an alternative? He's been using a program called RTI, but it requires a programmer. Leo advises the Harmony Hub. For $100, he can link rooms. It controls infrared everywhere. He can also link his Amazon Echo to it.
Keith isn't thrilled that Amazon has lowered the manufacturer's warranty on the Amazon Echo to 90 days. Leo says it doesn't bother him. He's had several of them and none have failed. But Keith has had two Dots fail so far. He's frustrated because it tends to be very promiscuous in connecting to his wireless speakers, knocking his other devices off. Leo says that's likely more a problem of Bluetooth, and not the Dot itself. He's also having issues with Drop In. Leo says he hasn't heard of any problems with Drop In and it could just be a bad model or software glitch on his Dot.
Paul is wondering if the Eero router would give him greater security with his network based security cameras. Leo says that the most vulnerable items are those that are part of the so-called "internet of things" category because they are rarely updated for security. So if they get hacked, not only will the hackers have access to the cameras, but also the entire network. The Eero router has far greater security, because it's designed with internet of things devices in mind. But Leo says that we can also help by not buying devices that aren't updatable.