My Robot Army

Some of you who follow me on social media know that I’ve been starting to amass my robot army. I have a Roomba. I have an Amazon Echo. I have this vision of myself as Judy Jetson, walking around in a dress while my robots take care of all the housework. So this year for Christmas (yes, I buy myself Christmas gifts) I got a Hue hub and a bunch of smart light bulbs. They connect to my WiFi, and my Alexa, so all I need to do is walk around the house and tell Alexa to turn various lights on and off.

Yeah. That’s the idea anyway.

The first box came and after installing all the bulbs, I plugged in the hub and discovered it wouldn’t power on. That meant I had to go around and change all the bulbs again, so I could box it all up and send it back as defective. The second set worked, and I spent hours connecting it all through the Hue App, creating lighting groups and naming individual lights. Then I activated the Hue skill in the smarthome part of my Alexa. Voila! Judy Jetson!

So here I am two months later having a bit of buyer’s remorse. Here are some of the issues with my not-so-smart home:

  1. Sometimes the hub can’t find certain lights, and not matter how much I shout at Alexa, she calmly informs me the hub isn’t connected to that light. After a few tries, I have to get up off my butt and turn it off myself.
  2. The names are EXACT. And my memory isn’t what it used to be. So when I tell Alexa to turn on the Boys’ Bedroom Light, she insists there’s nothing by that name. After a few tries I realize that I need to say “Boys’ Room Light”.
  3. Sometimes Alexa can’t hear me clearly from across the room, and it’s easier to reach out and flick the switch then move closer to the Alexa.
  4. Sometimes Alexa pretends to be deaf and just ignores me.
  5. Sometimes Alexa informs me she can’t connect to the WiFi for some unknown reason.

If there’s a brief power outage, the lights default to “on” when the power returns. Imagine being sound asleep in the middle of the night and suddenly every single light in the house comes on. Worse, because there was a power outage, Alexa isn’t on, and even when she does come online, she informs me very loudly that she can’t connect to WiFi because it takes my internet router a while to cycle on. Meanwhile every stinking light is blindingly bright in the house and I have to get up and walk around to turn them all off.

Yes, I know there is some kind of fix for this, but I’d need to research it, and download a bunch of stuff, and spend hours setting it all up. I’m thinking it would be easier just to buy a UPS for my internet and the Hue hub, and another one for the Alexa, because throwing money at a problem always works, right?

Judy Jetson, I’m not. But hey, the Roomba works great!

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