Using a Nokia Lumia or one of the other windows phones you can now control your lights and other appliances (UK only I think).
The system is using LightwaveRF – no PC required!
Step 1: Buy one of these LightwaveRF Wifi things and plug it into your Wifi router
Step 2: Swap your existing light switch for one of these (variety of colours available):
Step 3: Get the unofficial Home Remote RF app from the market place
I thought pairing the devices was pretty easy (much easier than X10 if you’ve used that and more reliable). LightwaveRF also has the advantage of remembering dim levels.
Read an in-depth review at: http://www.automatedhome.co.uk/Reviews/LightwaveRF-Home-Automation-System-In-Depth-Review.html
Although the app featured in the review is for the official iPhone app not the unofficial WP7 one.
I’ve struggled to find any balanced reviews on any websites of the iPad – reviews of the iPad 2 seem to just compare it with itself or its previous incarnation. For such a new style of device, it seems to be a challenge to find a decent way to score it (app store size, camera – but really who needs to take decent photos with something the size of a placemat, startup time etc.). Needless to say this post makes no effort to address any of these problems or provide a serious balanced review, it’s just my list of reasons why I can’t switchover to my iPad from my Netbook. I’m more than happy to receive “you’re wrong because” comments.
Since I’m relatively new to the Mac ways, I may well get to love this finger-bending sheet of metal. However a few things surprised me that weren’t evident from “reviews” like this IPad 2 review on T3:
- It’s pretty heavy – in my opinion it’s heavier than it looks. I can hold my Kindle standing up on the train and operate single handedly – this would be impossible with an Ipad due to it’s weight and touch screen interface.
- You can’t print without going through hoops – get to a web page and want to print it out? Nah. Make a hotel booking and want to print out the confirmation? Nah… There are solutions like PrintCentral but as the reviews point out, you need to modify the url in Safari (adding a Z) causing it to renavigate to the web site – who wants to do that on a credit card payment confirmation screen. Oh unless you want to fork out for an AirPrint compatible printer.
- No multi user support. At the moment – anyone who uses my iPad can get access to my email – this is not good. There’s no option of having a per-user login and therefore personal bookmarks, cookies, apps etc. This makes some sense on a phone (generally tied to a single person as a communication device) but on a tablet generally left lying around for people/family/colleagues to use – not so much.
- Hard to get movies on it. Getting a movie onto it is fun – by fun I mean painful. Dragging a movie via iTunes seemed to silently fail but recently it has started telling me the iPad can’t play it. Finally managed to cobble together a solution using DVDDecrypter-> Handbrake -> Itunes -> IPad which works for DVDs but getting my camera movies on there is a different matter.
- Copying photos from camera to iPad – i didn’t think you could do this but looks like you can buy a kit (only from Apple of course) but the reviews say it sucks (slow and painful). It mentions H.264 and MP4 movies so I bet it won’t work with MTS files but I wonder if it’ll at least back those files up so I can just take an iPad without needing a netbook.
No Skype. Looks like Skype is at least 11 months off coming to the Ipad 2 and I didn’t think the tone of this post suggests there’s a good relationship between Skype and Apple (Facetime anyone?) Skype is now available natively for iPad!
- No Flash. This has been done to death but it’s particularly stupid when schools start encouraging students to get iPads since virtually all educational tools seem to be implemented in Flash.
- No good as eReader. Give me a Kindle anytime – e-Ink much better than the iPad’s backlit screen – but for a more balanced review – try zdnet or more funny review read Alan Partridge in pcadvisor (although ignore his comment that a kindle doesn’t have a browser as there is on under “Experimental” on the device but for the use he’s referring to, it wouldn’t be suitable). I can stand on a train and hold a Kindle single handed including changing page – that wouldn’t be possible with iPad due to weight and touch screen only control. Also my Kindle fits into a suit jacket pocket, perfect.
- I’m not really a great fan of convergent gadgets (I prefer a camera to be a good camera, a phone to be a good phone and an MP3 player not to drain my phone battery). I guess the exception would be magazines and other more colour reliant media.
- The “extras” are extra – this (and probably all this) has been done to death. But once you get an Apple device, everything must be Apple and costs a premium. Smart cover £35 (essential in my opinion but not included), cables, HDMI converter £35, camera connection kit £25 etc.
- I was surprised to find a stereo jack though that allowed me to use non-Apple licensed headphones – must have been an oversight
- Trial mode on apps doesn’t seem to exist – it’s either free or you pay in advance.
- Just got back from a city break where the hotel advertised Wifi throughout – turns out it wasn’t strong enough to reach our room. Netbook managed to find one bar but too low for use, iPad didn’t find it at all. The hotel response – use the ethernet cable in the room – now I’m not saying an iPad needs ethernet but once again, Netbook won as it had ethernet port. In hindsight though, I should have argued a room upgrade…
Of course this doesn’t cover the good stuff and there is plenty of good stuff like immediate boot up, UI responsiveness – just flicking through photos was a dream, but the above puts me off recommending it or even seeing it as a game changer yet. It could be the start but it’s not the end.