How to Add Lutron Casèta to Google Assistant

 

Introduction

 

Lutron Casèta’s Smart Bridge v2 works well with Siri out-of-the-box, and has been integrated into Amazon’s Alexa . With Google’s push to get Google Assistant up and running on more Android devices (those smartphones running Marshmallow and Nougat), it looks like Lutron has finally added support for their Casèta line of home automation products! This gives Android users a direct link to the Lutron Smart Bridge without having to go through a 3rd party like a Samsung SmartThings or an Amazon Alexa to voice-control lights. This should help consumers that want to voice-activate their lights alleviate some of the extra cost for an otherwise expensive line of products. Google Assistant doesn’t stop at just lighting, it also works with Serena shades. This makes Lutron Casèta home automation so much more useful. One downside to Google Assistant is that it doesn’t support scenes at the moment, so you’ll still need to use workarounds for that.

Update 8/1/17. Scenes are now supported in Google Assistant!. You will have to de-authorize Lutron in the “Home control” section of Google Assistant settings. When you reauthorize it, you will be able to choose any of your scenes and add them to Google Assistant!

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How to Get Free Home Telephone Service Using Obihai

 

Introduction

 

Our family recently switched from Comcast to AT&T’s U-verse for internet and cable TV. Since AT&T didn’t offer us home phone service, and we weren’t ready to give up our landline yet, we were left searching for a provider. I knew that VoIP would be the solution, and there’s a lot of great options out there for cheap service- magicJack, Vonage, Skype, etc. As my research progressed, I kept finding cheaper options. I had nearly settled on magicJack, and as I was reading the reviews of the magicJack Go on Amazon, another product caught my eye- Obihai!

The Obihai Obi200 is a tiny device that fits in the palm of your hand. The first thing that really stood out to me was the Google Voice logo written very prominently on the front of it. As a long time cellular Google Voice user, I was excited when I saw that I could also use it for residential service as well. Google Voice gives users some awesome options, like:

  • Recording phone calls.
  • Visual voicemail transcripts of calls.
  • The ability to forward calls to other phone numbers.
  • The ability to ring multiple phones.
  • Block unwanted telemarketers and robocallers from calling your house again.
  • Low-priced international call rates.

One downside to using a Google Voice phone number is that you won’t get traditional 911 service. Obihai does a pretty good job of filling this gap, and gives you the option of signing up for E911 service through a 3rd party company called Anveo. The E911 service runs $15/yr for the basic package, or you can pay $25/yr to get alerted if someone dials 911 from your home phone.

The Obi200, and just about any VoIP service, requires a stable, high-speed internet connection, such as broadband or DSL.

The Obi200 is a little more expensive than a magicJack product. But at $45, you can get free home phone service for the rest of your life. If you move, you just take the Obi200 with you and set it up at your new residence. You won’t ever have to worry about porting your phone number to another provider. And it works! Calls are just as clear as they were using Comcast’s telephone service.

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Samsung S7 Edge- How to Fix SmartThings Mobile Presence Sensor

 

Introduction

 

SmartThings is a great platform, but like all things technology-related, it’s only great when it works. One issue I recently ran into after I factory reset my Samsung S7 Edge is shown in the picture above- I was constantly seeing my phone come in and out of my SmartThings geofence. Since my phone is tied to various automation routines, things around my home started to operate when they weren’t supposed to. In a single day, my phone was causing my routines to trigger 30+  times!

After my garage door opened up on its own a couple of times, I removed my phone as a mobile presence sensor from all of my routines. This was frustrating, because the phone had worked flawlessly before. I contacted SmartThings support, but they had me check everything that was listed in the troubleshooting section of their website- make sure GPS in set to High Accuracy, check your “Home” address in Google settings, etc. None of their suggestions worked. But here’s what finally did.

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How to Add SmartThings to Google Assistant

 

Introduction

 

Google Assistant is compatible with SmartThings without Google Home! This is great news for Android users that have a SmartThings hub. Since SmartThings now supports Lutron, if you also have a Lutron hub , you can now control your lights from your phone using natural speech voice commands. Since SmartThings doesn’t do Lutron scenes, these won’t be available through Google Assistant. Hopefully at some point in the future Lutron will provide native support to either SmartThings or Google Assistant.

Update 8/1/17: Lutron scenes can now be controlled from Google Assistant! You will need to remove Lutron from Google Assistant’s Home control settings. When you reauthorize the Lutron app, you will now have the option to add scenes!

Google Assistant can also control your Logitech Harmony Home activities if you have them set up with SmartThings. Now you can turn on your TV with voice commands that actually work (sorry Samsung, built-in voice commands are the first thing I disable on a smart TV).

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Samsung S7 Edge- How to Enable Google Assistant

 

Introduction

 

I’ve been reading a lot of tech articles over the past few weeks that claim Google Assistant is now ready for any phone running Android 6.0 and above. I never received the automatic update for Play services version 10.2.99, so I manually downloaded and installed it. To my surprise, when I long-pressed the home key, I was still shown Google Now cards. One thing I never read about was that you needed to enable  Google Assistant after you update to Play services 10.2.99.

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Samsung S7 Edge- How to Get Rid of the Default Keyboard Notification

 

Introduction

 

As most Samsung Galaxy users know, their devices are some of the sleekest, most reliable, and most powerful devices in the mobile computing world. But that doesn’t mean they are perfect, and the S7 Edge isn’t any different. I discovered one of the most annoying things about this phone, recently, when I switched keyboards.

I had an app that kept crashing whenever I long-pressed for symbols while using the Samsung keyboard, so I downloaded the Gboard keyboard as a workaround. Everything went smooth, it fixed my problem with the app, and I was happy again.

As time went on, I started receiving random notifications that wanted me to set the default keyboard. No matter how many times I set the default, I would be continually bombarded with this notification every time I used the virtual keyboard. Fixing one annoying problem caused another problem that was just as aggravating. I did a little research and found out that this is a common problem with the Galaxy line of phones.

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Logitech Harmony Ultimate Home Hub- How to Change WiFi Networks

 

Introduction

 

So you just bought the newest, hottest router on the market, huh? You’ve set it up, and now you’re getting blazing internet speeds, but when you try to watch TV, you realize your phone’s Harmony app can’t connect to your Harmony hub anymore.

This was my exact situation last weekend. I upgraded my router from a 6th generation Apple Airport Extreme to a Netgear Nighthawk X6 R8000 tri-band router . I created a meticulous plan for porting my devices over to the new network…or so I thought. As it turned out, I overlooked several devices, with the Logitech Harmony hub being one of them.

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