As I mentioned in a post or two ago I recently got excited about my VR goggles again due to discovering YouTube VR. Prior to that I had been rather bored with technology and in a rut checking Instagram, Facebook, the news and writing a blog post or two on an endless loop.
Well, that has all changed and I’m motivated again.
What spurned it was I was tired of my connection dropping every time my wife used the microwave. We have an old Apple Time Capsule that had pretty decent range and we do use the backup function which has been faithful. But in the back of my mind I wanted to find a way to stop that connection from dropping, especially since it interfered with work from time to time. Then I learned of Google Mesh.
I took my time while I studied it because I wanted whatever I bought to not drop connections. I thought if it were a mesh and the primary node was in the office and the other in the living room then the microwave would be in-between and I’d be no better off than when I started. I learned however that you could wire in the nodes if you wanted so that would bypass the microwave. I couldn’t run a line from the office to the living room but I could use the old PowerLine connectors that employs the electrical outlets and sends signals through the electrical system of the house. Perhaps that would work?
So I bought Google Mesh and wired in the node. It did work but upon testing the signal in the family room was very weak and I couldn’t understand why. So I simply tried to use the wireless mesh system and then tested with the microwave on and it worked perfectly! That was very surprising. Well, with that discovery I decided to try wireless for all my PowerLine connections (security cameras and such) and they are faster than before going through wireless!! That was unexpected! The final test will take a few days because I need to see if wireless will continue using the same internal IP or randomly switch. This is an issue because if it switches I’d have to manually update the internal IP on my Synology where I have the cameras keep the recordings. So far so good with only one drop, so hopefully it just needs to be “broken in” a bit. We shall see.
Switching routers was more of a pain than I anticipated however because it took me a day to get the connection to my blogs working again. When using the auto port forwarding on Synology, it kept telling me that Google Mesh was not a UpNp device which it is! So I had to manually port forward using the Google Wifi app. But still it didn’t work. I tried so many different settings like disabling the fire wall, changing internal IP addresses in Synology but my blogs still refused to connect from the internet. Finally, I took a look at where I had the domain pointing in GoDaddy and as it turns out the IP address was wrong. I hadn’t updated it in years and I guess the DDNS in Synology did an internal auto-correct?
I don’t know how it worked before since the domain it was pointing to in GoDaddy hasn’t been correct for a while but it did. All it took was updating the A-Name record to the correct IP and presto, it worked again. That issue really had me stressed out since I didn’t know how long it would take me to figure out the problem.
So now that I have complete wireless coverage even on the patio and driveway I still had one more thing to learn and that was the Google Home Hub. I bought the new version with the screen and think it is pretty cool. I’m not sure how much I’ll actually use it, I guess it all depends on the functionalities I haven’t learned yet. I do like that I can ask for spellings for the jumble I do in the newspaper every morning and I like the translation feature for Japanese words I don’t know. But I am looking forward to diving into more of the functionality and bought a Chromecast which I’ll connect to the TV tomorrow and see what it can do.
One thing I’d really like is if I can get my Doorbird camera to pop up with a live stream when someone rings my doorbell. Apparently Nest is already integrated and would do that but I have Doorbird and not Nest. The reason I chose Doorbird is because it integrates with Synology where I wanted to keep my own recordings in house and not pay for any cloud storage. I see there is a way to make it work but that involves some programming that I know nothing about at the moment.
When I bought the Google Home Hub it came with a Google Mini and “smart light” so you could just ask Google to turn on and off the light. I think that is pretty cool and I might add more smart lights to the house. Unfortunately they are not sold my Amazon since Google Home Hub is a competitor to Amazons own service.
At the end of the day I would like to connect everything such as the garage door, AV receiver and so on but although there are many “smart home” services that can be used with Google Home Hub there are not many one offs such as Doorbird, Craftsman garage door openers or Amcrest security cameras. It would be nice if they would just be integrated otherwise I’ll have to find workarounds or learn some programming.
But with Google Home Hub as well as my awesome new wifi that actually works *all the time* even in my yard I’m excited to be learning about technology again and want to continue to build my smart home. It is a major leap forward and it got me thinking about how quickly times are changing. With this pace of progress those that are not technologically savvy will be left behind as they’ve already started to be in the new information economy. There is so much that is new and thus so much to learn.
I almost forgot! It was also technology that got me excited about my own finances. I’m now using Robinhood, Acorns, the Schwab app and their automated investing feature.
For Acorns, that helps me save tiny amounts of money which it invests. I can also link my payment cards and by using them will earn “found money” which although small is something I think worthwhile.
For Robinhood I love the interface and the fact that they do not charge commission on trades. This removes the roadblock of simply not wanting to pay commissions and thus not trading. So, now I’m watching the market on an almost daily basis and go ahead and buy some stock if I think something looks interesting. I wouldn’t have done this before due to not wanting to pay commissions.
And finally, for my conservative portfolio I have the auto investing and am taking my buddy Brandon’s advice to invest in dividend paying stocks. It is unfortunate that were’re at an all time high in the marketplace but I’ve been waiting for the market to drop for about five to six years now and don’t want to wait much longer. So I’ve invested some more money but still have a lot in cash waiting for good deals to come along.
All of this is very exciting and I’m glad to be motivated with technology again as well as being more active in my financial future. It is also nice to be able to write a post in my shed with a strong internet connection!