July 21, 2019


The second trailer for early 2020’s “Star Trek: Picard” dropped earlier this week and like the classic “80s/90s” Trekker I am, a tear or two formed in my eye when I watched it.

I think I’ve been convinced to get a CBS All Access pass when this comes out early next year. It has a classic-Star Trek vibe, and there were some surprises in the trailer that made me really excited about this upcoming series.

See for yourself. Link to YouTube above.

(I’m crossing my fingers for an appearance from my gal Admiral Janeway sometime during the show).

Addendum: Watching the trailer again, I’m more excited about “Star Trek: Picard” than I have ever been for Enterprise or Discovery. Maybe I don’t speak for all Trekkers, but this is what I’ve been waiting for.

HomeKit, Part 3.

So the conversion to all HomeKit for our Home Automation system continues. The outlier continues to be a Google Home Hub in the kitchen, as Earl uses it for recipe guidance and an occasional YouTube video, but he’s indicated this is simply a luxury right now and he wouldn’t mind if I sold it.

I replaced our two Smart Outlet Plugs with devices that were suppose to be compatible with HomeKit/Siri, Google, and Alexa. I was able to configure them for HomeKit without an issue, which was my plan all along. But getting them to join the Google network has been trickier. I’ve reached out to the manufacturer, VOCOLinc, for assistance, but this has not proven to be fruitful. Since the Google and Alexa integration is a secondary need I’m not pursuing it further, however, I can say these VOCOLinc plugs do work very well on HomeKit. They have both been rock solid.

The HomePod in our Dining Room had a bit of a fit last weekend and forgot about all the devices in the house. Siri would respond to requests for whole rooms to be turned on and off, but it wouldn’t control a specific device, even though we were able to without an issue with Siri on our phones and by using the Home app on iOS and/or our Macs. I restarted the HomePod but that didn’t help the situation; Siri just started behaving normally again after a couple of hours. I don’t know if there was an Internet issue or something else, but Apple constantly has our devices talking to each other in the background, perhaps they just had to have an extra chat.

Today I installed a Lutron Decora Smart Dimmer Switch to control the lights over our breakfast bar. Switches normally need two wires, the hot from the panel and the hot subsequently going to the lamp, as the switch is just turning this leg of the circuit on and off. But smart switches need to be powered as if they were plugged into a wall outlet, so the Smart Dimmer Switch also needed to access the Neutral wire. Luckily, modern homes have the neutral wire where it needs to be, but older homes didn’t follow such standards and there’s a good chance you won’t have a neutral wire in your switch box. I was able to tap the neutral wire without an issue, though, and the setup of the switch was flawless. I love the way it looks and acts.

I’m very interested in the smart control panels by Brilliant Control, which are designed to replace up to four light switches in a wall box. The interface looks good, the idea behind it is awesome, and it would give us the high-tech approach I’m striving for in our home. The issue is they don’t make a HomeKit version at the moment, but according to Brilliant Control it’s in the works. I look forward to seeing what they come up with.

I am making progress with this ongoing project and I’d say I’m around 90% pleased with the results thus far. Earl has remarked that he doesn’t miss Alexa at all and he’s happy with having one “system”, so that mission is accomplished.