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Smart Radiator Valves: Worth It? Or Just A Gimmick?

A standard (non smart) terrier thermostatic radiator valve fitted to a radiator in my house.

A single-zone smart thermostat can either put the whole house’s heating on, or off. It can’t control individual rooms (well, not without automatic dampers – which are rarely fitted in residential homes). In my opinion, this is one of the many flaws of smart thermostats. But what about smart radiator valves? Can these swoop in … Read more

Using Amazon Echo As A Baby Monitor (But Is It Worth It?)

Two Echo devices (a full size Echo and an Echo Dot), along with a 'Love You' baby bear.

So you’ve just found out that you’re expecting a little one? Congratulations, that’s awesome! Speaking as a fairly new dad myself, I’m sure that clearly the first question you’ll be asking yourself is “How can I hook-up two Echos to function as a DIY baby monitor“? Since this is obviously an important topic, I thought … Read more

SmartThings, Sengled, Wink, Home Assistant.. Still Needed?

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

When it comes to controlling your new smart home device, you’ll probably see that most devices nowadays “support Alexa”. Some support Google Home, too. However you may also have seen people talk about their ‘SmartThings Home Hub’, or perhaps their ‘Home Assistant hub’ running from a Raspberry Pi. So what gives? Do you need a … Read more

Controlling Smart Homes With Your Brain: Sci-fi or Reality?

Marketing image of NeuroSky's Brainwave Starter Kit, including the headset and details about the mobile and computer control apps.

Various sci-fi and futuristic TV shows and movies cover people controlling technology with their minds. This might be via brain waves being captured by a funny looking hat, or by putting a small implant (chip) near/into the person’s brain. Whilst this sounds like pure fiction, senior Intel researches predicted in 2009 that we would soon … Read more