Promising Smarthome Tech That’s Still Too Challenging to Install

A woman controlling her shower by smartphone.Moen

Smart lights, plugs, and voice assistants are easy to install and use. But some promising tech isn’t ready for the average person, even if it does look great. These smarthome gadgets look fantastic but have too many barriers.

I spend a lot of time looking at smarthome devices. What I have, what I don’t have, what’s available, and what might someday be possible. As a smarthome junky, I default to wanting it all. But better sensibilities (plus my family) keep me in control. Some gadgets, even if they exist right now, aren’t ready for the average smarthome consumer.

And that can be for any number of reasons, whether it’s price, the need for a professional installer, or required alteration of your home and property. It’s one thing to wire in a video doorbell or light switch; it’s another to run power to your shower or lay down wires in your yard.

Smart Water Shut Off Switches Aren’t Granular

A Flo by Moen smart valve, box, and phone showing the app.Moen

A few companies, like Moen and Phyn, offer smarthome devices that monitor your water usage. With that monitoring comes leak notices, water usage measurements, and even the ability to shut off the water.

You can enable that last feature multiple ways—on a schedule, after a set amount of water usage (to prevent overly long showers), or if the system detects a leak.

But two related issues keep these systems from the mainstream. First, you’ll need to hire a plumber to install the device. And second, the system must be installed on the main water supply to your home. That means when you do shut off the water, you don’t shut it off to a particular shower or sink. The system shuts the water off for the entire home. It’s overkill for most people’s needs.

Smart water assistant devices are expensive too. You can expect to spend between $500 and $700 before the plumber. And if you don’t have power by your main water supply, you’ll need to hire an electrician to take care of that problem too.

Installing Smart Energy Monitors Can Electrocute You

A Sense energy monitor, phone and Computer showing results of monitoring.Sense

You may have already heard of Sense energy monitor, but that’s not the only smart energy monitor on the market. Smappee (who wins the worst name contest), Neurio, and Emporia all want in on monitoring your energy usage as well.

For the most part, they have a few things in common. Typically the monitors run somewhere around $250, and you have to attach them directly to the wiring in your circuit breaker box. While the clamp system these devices use looks simple, your circuit breaker box is the last place you want to go mucking about without proper training.

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Source: https://www.reviewgeek.com/23454/promising-smarthome-tech-thats-still-too-challenging-to-install/
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How to Find and Add Citations in Google Docs

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When writing papers, you need to generate a detailed and accurate list of all the sources you’ve cited in your paper. With Google Docs, you can easily find and then add citations to all of your research papers.

Fire up your browser, head over to Google Docs, and open up a document. At the bottom of the right side, click the “Explore” icon to open up a panel on the right.

Alternatively, press Ctrl+Alt+Shift+I on Windows/Chrome OS or Cmd+Option+Shift+I on macOS to open it using the keyboard shortcut.

RELATED: All of the Best Google Docs Keyboard Shortcuts

Click the Explore icon.

Explore is kind of like the Google Assistant of Docs. When you open the tool, it parses your document for related topics to speed up web searches and images you can add in Docs.

If Google Explore find related topics in your document, it will suggest them as soon as the tool opens.

If Explore isn’t able to find anything relatable in your document, type what you’re looking for in the search bar and hit the “Enter” key to search the web manually.

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Source: https://www.howtogeek.com/440835/how-to-find-and-add-citations-in-google-docs/
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What is WiFi 6?

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The Wi-Fi Alliance, the worldwide network of companies that brings you Wi-Fi®,  announced this month that it would start offering WiFi 6 certifications to device manufacturers. That’s all well and good, but what does that actually mean? Read more…

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Source: https://mashable.com/video/what-does-wifi-6-mean/
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DARPA aims to make networks 100 times speedier with FastNIC

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Having a slow connection is always frustrating, but just imagine how supercomputers feel. All those cores doing all kinds of processing at lightning speed, but in the end they’re all waiting on an outdated network interface to stay in sync. DARPA doesn’t like it. So DARPA wants to change it — specifically by making a new network interface a hundred times faster.

The problem is this. As DARPA estimates it, processors and memory on a computer or server can in a general sense work at a speed of roughly 10^14 bits per second — that’s comfortably into the terabit region — and networking hardware like switches and fiber are capable of about the same.

“The true bottleneck for processor throughput is the network interface used to connect a machine to an external network, such as an Ethernet, therefore severely limiting a processor’s data ingest capability,” explained DARPA’s Jonathan Smith in a news post by the agency about the project. (Emphasis mine.)

That network interface usually takes the form of a card (making it a NIC) and handles accepting data from the network and passing it on to the computer’s own systems, or vice versa. Unfortunately its performance is typically more in the gigabit range.

That delta between the NIC and the other components of the network means a fundamental limit in how quickly information can be shared between different computing units — like the hundreds or thousands of servers and GPUs that make up supercomputers and datacenters. The faster one unit can share its information with another, the faster they can move on to the next task.

Think of it like this: You run an apple farm, and every apple needs to be inspected and polished. You’ve got people inspecting apples and people polishing apples, and both can do 14 apples a minute. But the conveyor belts between the departments only carry 10 apples per minute. You can see how things would pile up, and how frustrating it would be for everyone involved!

With the FastNIC program, DARPA wants to “reinvent the network stack” and improve throughput by a factor of 100. After all, if they can crack this problem, their supercomputers will be at an immense advantage over others in the world, in particular those in China, which has vied with the U.S. in the high performance computing arena for years. But it’s not going to be easy.

“There is a lot of expense and complexity involved in building a network stack,” said Smith, the first of which will be physically redesigning the interface. “It starts with the hardware; if you cannot get that right, you are stuck. Software can’t make things faster than the physical layer will allow so we have to first change the physical layer.”

The other main part will, naturally, be redoing the software side to deal with the immense increase in the scale of the data the interface will have to handle. Even a 2x or 4x change would necessitate systematic improvements; 100x will involve pretty much a ground-up redo of the system.

The agency’s researchers — bolstered, of course, by any private industry folks who want to chip in, so to speak — aim to demonstrate a 10 terabit connection, though there’s no timeline just yet. But the good news for now is that all the software libraries created by FastNIC will be open source, so this standard won’t be limited to the Defense Department’s proprietary systems.

FastNIC is only just getting started, so forget about it for now and we’ll let you know when DARPA cracks the code in a year or three.

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Source: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/Techcrunch/~3/SqTbaS3jvoA/
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How to watch the MLB playoffs and the World Series without cable

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Major League Baseball has placed more hurdles in front of cord cutters than any of the four professional sports leagues. It has made baseball broadcasts the exclusive province of cable and satellite TV networks, even for your local teams. Add to that the league’s draconian blackout policies, and the prospect of watching the Grand Old Game without a pricey subscription seems as reachable as a Clayton Kershaw slider.

It doesn’t get much easier come October. This year’s postseason games will air nationally across five networks: Fox, Fox Sports 1 (FS1), ESPN, TBS, and Major League Baseball Network (MLBN); all but the first are cable/satellite channels you can’t tune into with a TV antenna. Fortunately, with some combination of over-the-air and over-the-top options, you can still watch virtually every at-bat from the Wild Card round to the World Series. Here’s how.

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Source: https://www.techhive.com/article/3124631/how-to-watch-the-mlb-playoffs-and-world-series-without-cable.html#tk.rss_all
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How to Shut Down and Reboot Your Windows PC from an Android Phone

Featured-image-shutdown-PC-from-Android-Did you know your Android phone can also double as a remote control for your desktop PC or laptop? The only requirement is that both your phone and PC should share the same Wi-Fi connection. Follow the simple steps below to shut down and reboot your PC from an Android phone. You can be in another room or even the front yard, in fact as far as the Wi-Fi signal goes. While there are many apps that promise to convert an Android phone into a PC remote, few are as effective as Asus Smart Gesture app, which is our focus of discussion. Download the Asus… Read more

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Source: https://www.maketecheasier.com/reboot-pc-from-android/
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