gadgets

I feel like making our German house “smarter” is making me dumber…

Yesterday, I wrote about how I’ve been “upgrading” our German house, adding new “smart” devices to make things “easier”. I installed new smart light bulbs in several lamps, bought new gadgets from Amazon and Apple, and invested in smart power strips and outlet covers. I’m sure I’ll be glad I did all of this, once we’ve figured out the learning curve. For now, I’m wondering if I should have my head examined.

Installing the new light bulbs was easy. It was just a matter of screwing them into the lamps and setting them to our Internet connection via an app on my phone or tablet. But now, I have to get used to a new routine. If I want to use the lamps with the new technology, I have to have my phone or tablet. The bulbs are numbered, and not necessarily in a logical way. I’m sure I’ll eventually get it so all I have to do is tell Alexa what I want. However, before that happens, I have to learn how it all works.

Meanwhile, I bought a new HomePod Mini, because most of my media is on Apple. I do have some stuff on Amazon, but for some reason, I can’t seem to download MP3s on Amazon in Germany. I have been able to do it in the past, but I can’t do it now, for some strange reason.

Now, my big HomePod, which we’ve been using in the living room for years, works fine. It accesses my music from my big iMac desktop. Silly me. I thought it would be easy to do the same with the HomePod Mini sitting next to my computer. But no… it seems to work best if I have Apple Music. I don’t want to subscribe to Apple Music. I prefer to buy the stuff I want. I don’t want a subscription service having access to my collection and possibly replacing stuff I own. And I don’t want to “rent” my music.

Why does my HomePod work fine with the computer, albeit not wanting to play stuff I didn’t download from Apple, but the Mini doesn’t? I can use AirPlay to play music on the Mini, but it doesn’t sound as good as my computer speakers do.

I may end up moving the new Mini and the future new HomePod into our entertainment room and pairing them for better sound in there. I did get the new Mini to work with the TV in my bedroom, but I think I’d need another one, because otherwise, the sound just comes from the one speaker. It’s not better than the TV speaker is.

Surprisingly enough, I’m finding Amazon Alexa a lot easier and more function than the HomePod Mini is. It’s also significantly less expensive. I’d probably just as soon use Alexa, but so much of my music is through iTunes, and it’s all very proprietary. I bought another Echo Dot for our entertainment room, just because it’s so easy to use and doesn’t cost that much. Just plug and play.

I’m a little troubled by the HomePod Mini and how difficult it is to just get it to play the music I already own. I hope the full scale HomePod that is coming out soon won’t be like that. Otherwise, it might end up being a door stop… or an expensive speaker.

But at least we have new and better lighting. I do like that about the new light bulbs, especially since I bought a new reading light last week just so I could finish my latest book… which was an actual book, rather than Kindle. I should probably embrace old fashioned books more, since using Kindle kind of compromises privacy and gives Amazon suggestive selling information. But doggone it, it’s just a lot easier to use Kindle. The backlighting makes it so much easier for me to read, and the print is larger. I can read it after dark, too.

I’m beginning to think this whole project would be a lot easier if I was 20 instead of 50. I think something happens when you get older, and lose patience with learning new technology. However, I do see value in learning the technology, because pretty soon, everyone is going to use it. I don’t remember the last time I used a landline telephone, for instance. I don’t remember the last time I watched regular TV. I think pretty soon, anyone who doesn’t own a smartphone is going to be shit outta luck.

Pictured is the blue HomePod Mini. Mine looks just like it, and so far, is just about as functional as the photo is.

Edited to add on January 26th…

I ended up adding most of my music to my phone, and now the HomePod Mini seems to work. I didn’t put any music on my phone because I so often use it for photos. I guess now, I can retire my worthless iPod Touch, which doesn’t have enough storage.

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11 thoughts on “I feel like making our German house “smarter” is making me dumber…

  1. I use google instead of Alexa. But you could be right about making us dumber. These things are good with everything. Even general questions. Instead of figuring things out ourselves, we ask Alexa or Google and its done for us. Might be making us lazy too..lol But I like my Google

      • Im not either. I just know it all has to sync together somehow. My google nest has a home app that helps connect everything to it which is great. But im not sure about Alexa. You would think if they want us to use these things, make it easy..

      • What annoys me is that I have a lot of Apple stuff, and that’s what’s giving me trouble. Alexa is very easy to use. Just plug and play. But I think Apple is determined to get me to subscribe to Apple Music, which I don’t want.

      • Apple is good at that. I use Spotify on Google and a friend has Alexa and when im there I use my Spotify. Just keep telling Apple no, once you get one thing from them they its all downhill, and they dont make it easy to get away from them.

  2. Testing, testing, one, two, three. Can everyone in the back hear me? (Feedback noise)…Oops. Sorry about that.

    Ha ha. I’m being silly, but this is my way of saying there’s something oddly wrong with the comments function on these blogs!

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