A day in the life of HomeKit

Speaking of home automation, if you really want to see what a house of the future can do then this is a great post by Kris Van de Sande, showing how he goes about his day with HomeKit powering his house. There has clearly been some money thrown at this solution, but it’s the closest thing I’ve seen to the future, or plain old magic, without there being cupboards full of rack-mounted switches, patch panels and blinking lights.

Currently we have 40 hue light sources spread around the house. Add that with a dozen more accessories, sensors and triggers, this has been a serious investment over the years. And some might say I have over-done it with seven lights in my small office, or five lights in the bedroom but by spreading out several lights, the technology allows me to set a scene very effectively.

I have four lights so far. I have some catching up to do!


The ultimate smart apartment

I’m only just starting to get my toes wet in the word of home automation - we have some bulbs, that’s about it - but this video shows what kinds of things are possible when you throw something like a Logitech Harmony Hub into the mix. Impressive stuff, and I can’t help but think this is going to end up costing me money!

Check the video out and hide the credit card when you do...


Zelda: Breath of the Wild in over 200 screenshots

I’m a bigger fan of Zelda: BotW than my game time would suggest, but I can’t hold a candle to these guys.

My partner and I sunk hundreds of hours into Zelda BotW, and enjoyed every minute. I wanted to immortalize our playthrough somehow, and the Hero's Path DLC feature gave me an idea for how to do it. I used the Switch's screenshot feature and Photoshop's photomerge tool to recreate the entire map with our entire playthrough trail overlayed on top of it. After painstakingly saving, cropping, merging, troubleshooting, and tweaking over 200 screenshots, I finally got a result I was proud of. The final map printed at 16x20 at 300 dpi with no problem, and it looks fantastic on my game room wall. Thank you Nintendo for an amazing adventure that I'll never forget!

Check the gallery out for the images - it’s a brilliant idea and one that turned out even better than anyone could have imagined. Who said games aren’t art?


What can a HomePod actually play?

There has been plenty of confusion and conflicting information about Apple’s new HomePod and whether it can play music from anywhere other than Apple Music and, if it can, how it does it. Now some people have spent time with the speaker, we ares tarting to get answers to the questions everyone is asking.

Serenity Caldwell, over on iMore

What does this all mean in practice if you're not an Apple Music subscriber? Essentially, you'll just have to use one of your devices to AirPlay content to your HomePod instead of using Siri to request it. You'll miss out on a lot of the Siri-specific music features, but it's not the end of the world if you're primarily interested in HomePod as a speaker and for its better privacy implementations than other smart speakers.

I’m not sure anyone should be at all surprised about this, but I’m also unsure whether it’s an issue or not. Sure, the Echo allows users to specify if they want to use Spotify when asking for a song to be played, but this is a HomePod. Apple wants everyone to use Apple Music, and we already know that Siri isn’t all that great at working with third-party apps at the best of times, let alone when tied to a brand new, version 1.0 product like the HomePod.

Want to use Spotify? Google Music? Anything else? AirPlay it and you’re golden. Still, takes away some of the magic of a “lady in a tube,” though, doesn’t it?

Be sure to check out Serenity’s full piece for the lowdown on what the state of play is.


WhatsApp for Android now supports notification channels

Rita El Khoury, writing for Android Police:

Android 8.0 Oreo introduced one cool feature for app notifications: channels. Since not all notifications are created equal, even if they come from the same app, this would allow you to choose how different types of notifications appear, sound, and vibrate, or not, on your phone.

Being able to have fine grain control of how an app like WhatsApp handles notifications is a huge deal. One of the unsung heroes of Android Oreo.