[Adult language alert!] So, you think this is funny, do yah? A few months back, I posted a rather negative review on the whole notion of the “smart home” as embodied by the app-crazed marketers of the world.
The product involved was TP-Link HS100 Smart Plug (2-Pack), No Hub Required, Wi-Fi, Works with Alexa and Google Assistant, Control Your Devices from anywhere (HS100 KIT) – basically 2 “smart switches” that cost your $45.
As much as I worry about unauthorized access to anything, this may seem a confusing and contradictory move. But, since the Post Office is dropping scans of everything in my FedFile – that master database on each of us that the Provos and such now track (see Total Information Awareness) that there was relatively little personal risk from riding this new (and odd) wave of tech.
How It Works
This is a hoot: So you have either an Amazon Dot ($39) or that Google thing (next on my install list if time permits).
Learning the basics of Alexa voice commands is simple: “Alexa play iHeart Radio WOAI” will bring up Charlie Parker and the morning crew down in San Antonio over breakfast, for example. The streaming is OK and considering we live out of range of all but local religious and country stations, we get our money’s worth from that.
But that’s ONLY the voice of Amazon. When you get an Alexa (I have the small “Dot” in my office) there’s half a dozen steps of monkey-motion to dance through, but eventually it works.
Since I also bought one of the All-New Fire HD 10 Tablet with Alexa Hands-Free, 10.1″ 1080p Full HD Display, 64 GB, Marine Blue – with Special Offers ($190) – and I have no idea what the “special offers” are – I now had a way to FINALLY program the “smart switches.” Birthday gift to me.
If you remember our last go-round: I could not set-up the “smart switch”p from the Alexa app (voice side) and the PC side didn’t do it either. I had to download something called TP-Link KASA. Go figure.
Seemed easy enough. Well, was it? Hell no! It was a major PITA.
The theory is you flash the QR card on the TP-Link set up doc. No.
Fire 10 HD doesn’t auto-focus that close. Looks good at arm’s length – sucksabunch up close. Get the cam close enough to read the QR and everything is fuzzy-out all to shit and it won’t read.
Hmmm…next idea, genius?
Well, I will just flip over to Google Play and download TP-Link Kasa from there, right?
This time the Google software didn’t want to install. After a one-hour session of joyful longshoreman-talk, I finally get Google Play working.
NO. No…strike that…
It won’t download the Kasa app I need because my new Kindle 10 is not “linked” to my Google account. Never did get that to work. (shit)
Finally gave up on Google and since I don’t like their lefterly politics that much, oh well.
I still had one more option: I could look (Bing) for the KASA .apk. Which, if you’ve never tapped your way into this part of the digital asylum, means the ready to install compressed application.
Which eventually I get downloaded (100 MB so there goes part of my resource) and at last…does it load?
It TRIED to load, but due to the security settings on the Fire 10, here comes three minutes looking for “How safe to use this properly sourced .APK?”
Turns out, there is a drop-down on the Kindle settings that let’s you hold off the security gestapo long enough to install the app.
Done? Well no.
Now I had KASA downloaded. BUT, it would not let me go search for the damn devices until I first “SET UP AN ACCOUNT.”
Do I need an account to control a “smart switch?” I’m staring at in my hand and there’s a soft voice between my ears saying “What kind of bullshit is tech leading us into?”
FMTT – I set up the stupid account.
But NOW it STILL won’t let me log in without first answering a confirming email.
Ure shitting me right? I’ve been goring through imap hell this week. Email working?
NO. Thinks my verification is a phish.
I had to whitelist the source on my first filtering mail server because I use staged forwarders. (This means if you send an email to George@ure.net, it goes through one set of filters and then forwards to the next route here and other filters are applied and then it forwards to another ISP (more filters) and if everything is working well, all is peace and harmony.
No crap, now spam, no fish. Until this week when it turned into no mail.
BUT I solved that one.
See: ever since the earth station for Exede/Viasat changed (part of the time) to Phoenix or out in BFE or wherever (from Virginia) I had been through a different two-hour adventure with some very patient Amazon support folks on THAT adventure. As it turned out, fixing THAT left me with a recent memory of how to turn off the front-end email server’s forward and use it’s webmail face to get that dam “verification code” from TP-Link,
With me on this so far? You get a Microsoft gold star if you follow.
OK, I get the KASA app running and it seems to work. I name one switch “Printer” and the other one “Radio.” Radio turns on the tube type ham radio gear (from another Echo box in the house) so the tube gear can warm up while I’m having coffee and visiting the throne room on Sunday morning. Yeah.,..diss is dah digital life, bro.
I get everything working and then come into the office yesterday morning.
“Alexa, turn printer on!”
“OK” and the printer comes on at the other end of the room.
“Alexa: turn printer off.”
Another soft click and she says “OK.”
God this was cool…as the fits of sweating and swearing and tears of the previous day rode into the sunset of memories…
“Alexa: Ham radio on.”
“Getting 103 Rock Station from iHeart Radio…”
WTF floody buck????? @#$%^&*()_(*&^%!!! It worked two hours earlier!
Oh, I forgot to mention that the Kindle Fire 10 has Alexa voice built in. BUT until the software is updated, it will not let me change the wake-up word on the Fire. (I think Amazon should let us use the word Fire as a wake-up word, but then my sense of humor at the prospect of hearing people in a crowded office yelling “Fire! Fire!” may be different than the sense of human (if any) enjoyed by Amazon’s legal department,
Because of this name-game, whenever I tried to do something on the Dot, both the Dot and the Kindle 10 would answer. Both being named Alexa.
I was wandering around cursing a blue streak – and I’m convinced it keeps me from stroking out and then the answer came to me:
The Dot now answers to “Computer” for its wake-up call. And later on this morning I’ll make a pass at naming the radio power switch something else.
How does “Computer: Tunafish!” sound? (Turns out this is not a skill yet…by I’m sure I’ll be sued by some IP shysters anyway. It’s how this sick planet works now.)
I was approaching things like a logical human might — but it’s becoming clear to me that human’s no longer really develop computers.
Like Zeus the Cat, the smart office is now training us.
As the Zeus the Cat explained it: “See stupid upright ape? They are able to call it a Smart Home because it’s obviously smarter than you…”
Write when you get rich. “Computer Publish!”