Chris Wiegman Chris Wiegman

All Tech Is Garbage

I had started a post this evening on the project I was working on but, alas, our home tech had other ideas. This time it was our Phillips Hue lights which decided they were simply going to stop responding.

We went with Hue about 5 years ago, not because we wanted smart-home features (we don’t) but because they were the only way to add usable light switches where we need them without a lot of work rewiring the house. For example, when you walk in our main door the first switch you see is an outside light and then, about 2 feet from the door, the garbage disposal. To actually turn on an inside light you have to cross 1/2 the kitchen. Our bedroom isn’t much better. There’s a switch to the ”den” (what they called it, but really just a 10 food hallway) behind the door to the bedroom but the only light switch to the bedroom itself is all the way through the hallway and 1/2 way across the room, about 20 feet total. In both cases, and plenty more, coming home after dark was a bit challenging when we first moved here.

We did get quotes to fix the switches, 3 quotes with the smallest being $7,000 considering all the rewiring that would be needed. It seemed ridiculous so we went with Phillips Hue and, today, have 18 bulbs and 7 switches throughout the house. As most such projects go, the lights were our gateway into smart-home tech. Today we also have a handful of outlet switches, an Ecobee thermostat and a security system as well, all of which really did come in handy when we were traveling a lot but now makes me want to pull my hair out.

All of that tech seems great on paper but every device has one fatal flaw, you cannot rely on it. Combine that with non-existent support and, about once a month or so, I find myself losing an afternoon or evening resetting whatever it is failed that day. Today’s fun was the Hue lights which, to get working, required me to fully reset the bridge which lead to about 2 hours of setting each light, switch, scene and automation back up so that we could use our lights again.

Oh how I long for simpler tech that doesn’t have these issues. I know we’re long past that point as a society but I don’t think most of what we have today is actually better, just slightly more convenient or a bit cheaper up front. More and more I don’t think that trade off has been at all worth it.