New Video – Amazon Alexa – All Ring Doorbell Sounds

YouTube thumbnail snippet for my 'Ring Doorbell - All Alexa Sounds' video, showing me talking and the Alexa app.

You can use your Echo (and Fire TV) devices as a doorbell for your Ring devices. There are currently 26 different doorbell sounds you can play via Alexa when someone presses your Ring doorbell. Some are standard doorbell sounds, whilst others are seasonal ones: The timestamps for each Alexa doorbell sound are: 0:52 – Default … Read more

Does Google Home (And The Google Home App) Cost Money?

A Google Home Mini device placed on a wooden shelving unit

Google’s range of smart speakers – the Google Home range – are a rival to Amazon’s Echo range. Google Home devices (including the Google Mini and Nest Mini) give weather updates, play music, supports timers and gives reminders, and a whole lot more. But does this cost money? Also the devices can be controlled by … Read more

New Video – Ring Doorbell & Camera Zoom: Is It Any Good?

YouTube thumbnail for my video covering zooming in Ring video captures (for Ring cameras and doorbells).

Ring doorbells and cameras record in full HD (1080p), apart from the original Doorbell 1 (which is 720p). Whilst this captures a good level of detail, they don’t contain a telephoto ‘zoom’ lens, however, so you’re always going to be a bit limited in terms of what detail you can pull out of small, far … Read more

Echo Is ‘Account Locked’. Also Can Stolen Echos Be Tracked?

A new Echo Dot (sandstone color) in setup mode with an orange ring going around it.

During the setup process for a new Amazon Echo smart speaker, you’ll have to link it to your Amazon account via the Alexa app. However sometimes this fails for unclear reasons, and you need to speak to Amazon customer services. In rare cases, the failure will be caused by someone else having already registered your … Read more

Managing LOTS Of Smart Home Devices (App Vs Smart Hub Vs ?)

Screenshot taken of the desktop view of Home Assistant's demo.

When you have dozens (or even hundreds) of smart home devices – from smart speakers to smart bulbs, and smart plugs to cameras – you might be struggling to manage them all. After all, they’re probably all from different brands – meaning that you’ll probably have 10 different mobile apps! And even if the devices … Read more

Can Ring’s Smart Cameras Trigger Ring Alarm?

The Ring Alarm base station mounted on a wall above a shelf, with a Ring stick-up cam sitting on the shelf.

Ring’s devices can be linked together to provide closer integration, and it’d be nice if motion detected on a Ring camera (especially an outdoor one) could trigger the Ring alarm to sound. But is this possible? I’ve always been curious about this so I wrote this article to find out. It’s not currently possible for … Read more

My Smart Home Thoughts: What I Love (And Hate!) About Them

Selfie of me (Tristan Perry) looking thoughtful

I purchased my first Echo device back in 2016, and I’ve always found it quite useful, although my wife wasn’t convinced at first. But over time, as we’ve discovered more Echo features – and also purchased new smart home devices – we’ve both come to appreciate smart home technology a lot more. At the same … Read more

Can Google Home Read Emails And Text Messages?

The Google Nest Mini (2nd generation) on a table, processing the command "Ok Google, play Skies and Shadows"

Google’s smart voice assistant – the ‘Home’ range – is great. It can play music, search (and read back) the internet, read your calendar entries, and a whole lot more. So logically, since Google also produce email (via Gmail) and mobile phones (via the Google Pixel range), Google Home can also read emails and text … Read more

Ring Video Range: How Far Can It See? Can You Zoom In/Out?

Using 'pinch zoom' in the Ring phone app to try and read information from a passing car at night.

Ring’s cameras and doorbells tend to film in full HD (1920x1080p) with a few exceptions. Whilst this is good, Ring cameras also use a wide angle lens that pick up a lot of footage – at the sacrifice of overall detail quality, that is. Whilst you can zoom in on Ring recordings by doing a … Read more