Top Scoops

Book Reviews | Gordon Campbell | Scoop News | Wellington Scoop | Community Scoop | Search


Smart homes: For people who love to tinker

At The Verge Thomas Ricker writes a review of a light switch.

See: Philips Hue Wall Switch Module review: smart-ish, at last - The Verge

The switch in question controls Philips Hue lights, nothing else. It won't control your standard light bulbs. It's expensive. To use it you need to dig around in your house wiring. Strictly speaking that's a job you should leave to a qualified tradesperson. Which isn't cheap.

If you buy it you can play with your home's lighting. Each bulb can be any one of millions of colours.

Yes, infinitely controllable lighting could be nice.

In theory it could be useful and fun. No doubt there will be people reading this who are true believers.

There may even be people who need to control home lights to this degree for some reason. But for most people it is an indulgence. You do it, not because you have to, but because you can.


Smart home technology is still at the stage where it is often time consuming to install and complicated to use. Few people who opt for smart homes do more than scratch the surface.

It reminds me of the early 1980s when I had to buy a soldering iron to make my own home computer. In my case I did this because it was my job. Most people who went down this route saw it as a hobby.

After hours spent soldering components you get an early 1980s home computer that couldn't do much. But hey! It's a home computer. Never mind there were few practical applications and each model of home computer was incompatible with every other model.

You could say the same things, about smart homes.

Eventually the technology will come good. Someone will develop the Ms-Dos and IBM PC of the smart home era. The applications will follow.

But for now, it is an expensive toy for people who have time on their hands and lives that clearly are not already complicated enough. There will be people who enjoy the challenge; people who enjoy tinkering.

Smart homes: For people who love to tinker was first posted at

© Scoop Media

Top Scoops Headlines


Binoy Kampmark: Vague Alternatives And G7 Summitry: The Build Back Better World Initiative

Summits often feature grand statements and needless fripperies. In Cornwall, the leaders of the G7 countries were trying to position and promote their relevance as the vanguard of democratic good sense and values... More>>

Suicidal Games: Tokyo’s Coronavirus Olympics

A pandemic crisis. A state of emergency. Overwhelming public opinion bristling with alarm. Notwithstanding these factors, Tokyo is still on track to host the Olympics that was cancelled last year in response to the global pandemic. The first sports team – Australia’s softball crew – has touched down. Is all this folly, bravery or self-interest?.. More>>

Binoy Kampmark: Burned By The Diana Cult: The Fall Of Martin Bashir

The interview was infamous, made his name and was bound to enrage. It also received a viewing audience of 23 million people who heard a saucy tale of adultery, plots in the palace, and stories of physical and mental illness. But the tarring and feathering of Martin Bashir for his 1995 Panorama programme featuring Princess Diana was always more than the scruples of a journalist and his interviewing methods... More>>

How It All Went Wrong: The Global Response To COVID-19

The Independent Panel for Pandemic Preparedness and Response was never likely to hand down a rosy report with gobbets of praise. Organised by the World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus last May, the panel’s gloomy assessment was grim: the COVID-19 pandemic could have been avoided... More>>

The Conversation: Is Natural Gas Really Cheaper Than Renewable Electricity?

Climate Explained is a collaboration between The Conversation, Stuff and the New Zealand Science Media Centre to answer your questions about climate change... More>>

Keith Rankin: The New Zealand Government’s 'Public Finance Rabbithole'

Last week, out of left field, the government placed a three-year embargo on normal public sector wage bargaining, essentially a salary freeze. While there has been a certain amount of backtracking since, it is clear that the government has been ... More>>