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Why does my Amazon Echo make random noises?

Phone screenshot showing all activity on registered Amazon Echo/Alexa devices.

Having a smart voice assistant like the Amazon Echo is great due to all the smart home features it offers, but sometimes it seems to ‘wake up’ by itself and play a random noise or sound. Sometimes this sounds like a genuine notification (even though there’s no reason for the notification), whilst other times the … Read more

Does Google Home (& Mini) Need a Music Subscription?

Google Play Music logo

The Amazon Echo offers over two million songs as part of Amazon Prime, but Google doesn’t have a similar membership scheme. Also the ‘small print’ of the Google Mini and Google Nest Mini says that “subscriptions may be required for certain content”. But what exactly does this mean? If you bought a Mini and don’t … Read more

The Definitive History Of Smart Home Devices

Part of the advert poster for the Thor-32, an "electric washing machine with Thor All Metal Swining Wringer". The washing machine is pictured, with some cables and a motor visible at the bottom.

History is littered with incorrect predictions of what smart homes of the future would look like. Whether it was the LA Times Magazine predicting in 1988 that we’d all have robot butlers (I wish this had come true!), or Intel scientist Dean Pomerleau predicting in 2009 that we’d soon be controlling computer systems with our … Read more