July 15, 2020
I’ve been slowly “smartening” our current home. It started with some Ecobee 3 thermostats (the ones not yet haunted by Alexa), then a HomePod, and more recently some Hue bulbs. I bought the bulbs for our master bathroom thinking it would be nice to have lights that adapted to the time of day; very bright during daylight hours and dim and warm when the sun has set. What I didn’t realize is that the bulbs have a boot up time, so if you turn them off with a conventional switch, when you turn them on they won’t immediately set themselves to whatever time-based settings you have them on. I moved them all to the office, where I can now turn on the overhead light and desk light at the same time. It’s… an ok trick.
There’s two things I don’t love about these smart devices, beyond the fact that you’re best off with wifi connected buttons to operate them:
- The interfaces of the native apps and the interface of Apple Home have a lot of overlap, but also a lot of inconsistencies.
- I don’t want to carry my phone around my home - I have an Apple Watch, I want it to control everything.
The best solution I’ve found so far is the HomeRun app. You can assign it HomeKit scenes with custom icons, and run them off of the watch. They usually work, and it’s better organized than the Watch’s Home app that shows a grab bag of scenes at the top followed by every little device you own. At the very least I can now walk into the office at night, without my phone, and turn the lights on.