Five automation ideas to improve your smart home lifestyle

How Complete Beginners are using an ‘Untapped’ Google Network to create Passive Income ON DEMAND

We often talk or write about our smart homes without realizing that some folks don’t understand what it is that a smart home can actually do. That’s partially because there’s such a wide range of things we can automate or control by voice in our homes, that there’s no simple answer: The automations and smart devices I have are likely very different than the ones you have.

Still, there’s merit in laying out some examples for two reasons. First, we might actually be able to better answer the “what is a smart home” question with some practical, real world solutions. And second, sharing a few examples here will (hopefully!) inspire you to add to the list through our comments.

Collectively, we’ll all have nice group of ideas to make life easier in our smart homes. Keep in mind that these are less a set of step-by-step instructions and more of a conceptual list that you can implement or tweak based on your devices and software.

Don’t leave the door unlocked

I’ve mentioned this one before, but it’s and extremely effective solution to a problem I had: My young adult children sometimes come home at night after I’ve gone to bed. That’s not the problem though. The issue is that they don’t always remember to lock the door. Since I have a Z-Wave deadbolt installed in my front door, I decided to have my smart home hub automatically lock the door if it’s been open for five minutes. If you decide to do this, make sure you don’t lock yourself out though. My lock can be opened by my phone or watch, but it also has a keypad entry system.

Start the morning right

For a while I had my downstairs kitchen light go on at a specific time so that my wife wouldn’t walk down to a dark room. Scheduling this by the time is pretty easy but there are some days she sleeps in and some days she wakes up earlier. What she always does before going downstairs, however, is take a shower with the bathroom exhaust fan on. The last thing she does, without fail, is turn that fan off before heading downstairs.

A smart switch for the fan is a simple trigger event for home automation and once that switch hits the off position, the kitchen smart light — not to mention my coffee maker with a smart plug — can be enabled at exactly the right time, every time.

Keep an eye on the kids or pets as needed

We walk our dog so this doesn’t apply to me but Stacey has a small pet door in her home so the dog can go outside. With a webcam in a nearby window, she can keep an eye on the dog, but it may not make sense to have that camera on all the time. Adding a tilt sensor, similar to ones you find with smart garage controllers, to the pet door can trigger a webcam to power on. The same approach could be used for kids going out the back door: Add a magnetic sensor to the door and fire up the webcam to make sure playtime is safe.

Sundown is a great trigger for indoor lighting

One of the first automations I ever set up was to turn on the outdoor lights at or just before sundown. It’s easy to do and although the sun sets at a slightly different time every day, most smart home hub software can adjust for this. It took me months to realize it but sundown is a perfect event trigger for indoor lights too. Sure, you can keep some or all of the  house lights off until you get home and have them light up based on geofencing, a garage door opening or some other mechanism. But why not use the sun instead of some other hardware or device?

Trigger routines and scenes based on calendar events

Stacey had mentioned a routine / scene she created for doing yoga. When asking Alexa or Google Assistant to run the “Yoga” scene, her TV turns on, the downstairs temp lowers to 75 degrees, a Lutron fan and Philips Hue lights both turn on. That’s useful but I took it a step further, and you can too for your own scenes.

Try connecting IFTTT to your Google Calendar and a supported home automation shortcut or scene. I created a 9am Yoga event as a trigger on my calendar to fire up a similar routine. Lights were dimmed and relaxing music was fired up at nine on the dot, but sadly, I didn’t do the yoga part. Not only does this alleviate the voice command, but it makes more likely you’ll actually do the yoga, or whatever event you want to carve time out for.

Stacey on IoT | Internet of Things news and analysis

Cash For Apps: Make money with android app

Five Interesting Mac Apps Worth Checking Out – March 2018

How Complete Beginners are using an ‘Untapped’ Google Network to create Passive Income ON DEMAND

Apps designed for the Mac don’t often receive as much attention as apps for iOS, so we’ve launched a monthly series that highlights useful, interesting Mac apps that are worth checking out.

This month’s app selection, outlined in the video and the post below, includes apps for cleaning up apps on your Mac, finding new wallpaper, reading the news, and more.

Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos.

  • OmniDiskSweeper (Free) – OmniDiskSweeper is a free app from the company behind OmniFocus. It’s designed to show you all of the files that are installed on your Mac in size order, so you can find what’s hogging space on your machine and delete it if so desired. OmniDiskSweeper doesn’t discriminate against critical and non-critical files, though, so be careful when deleting stuff.
  • News Explorer ($9.99) – News Explorer is a simple newsreader app that supports RSS, JSON, Atom, and Twitter, with cloud-based synchronization available between your Mac and iOS devices. It offers a distraction-free interface with a built-in browser and a selection of themes for customization purposes. Offline news is supported, as are smart filters, reader view, built-in imaging viewing, and more.
  • Switchem ($9.99) – Switchem is designed to let you customize your workspace and manage your windows. You can group windows into different types, organize them into tiles and split-screen work views, and switch between open windows quickly.
  • Wallpaper Wizard 2 ($9.95) – Wallpaper Wizard 2 is, as the name suggests, an app where you can find wallpapers for your Mac. It offers a collection of more than 25,000 HD wallpapers in 4K quality that look great even on Apple’s largest displays. New wallpapers are added on a monthly basis, and there’s a feature that’ll automatically switch your background if you want.
  • App Cleaner (Free) – App Cleaner is a minimal application that has one purpose — it’s designed to let you uninstall apps and all of their associated files. Just drag an app onto the App Cleaner interface and it’ll find all of the hidden files so you can get rid of them.

Do you have favorite must-have Mac apps that we haven’t highlighted yet? Let us know what they are in the comments and we might feature them in a future video. Many of this month’s picks came from our forum members.

Make sure to also check out our February list, which covered apps like Unclutter, Dropzone 3, Bartender 3, and Magnet, and if you want some nifty iOS apps worth downloading, check out our separate iOS app list.

Related Roundup: macOS High Sierra

Discuss this article in our forums


MacRumors: Mac News and Rumors – All Stories

Cash For Apps: Make money with android app

In just five years, Facebook, Apple, Amazon, Netflix and Google have doubled their effect on the S&P 500

How Complete Beginners are using an ‘Untapped’ Google Network to create Passive Income ON DEMAND

Their stock rises — and falls — are becoming a bigger deal.

Facebook, Apple, Amazon, Netflix and Google — referred to collectively as FAANG — now make up more than 11 percent of the S&P 500 index. That’s nearly double what they represented in 2013, when Facebook first became part of the index, which only lists the most valuable public companies in the U.S.

These five companies had a total market value of nearly $ 3 trillion as of the end of the first quarter of the year, which means their influence on the index has greatly increased.

That’s because, unlike the Dow Jones Industrial Average, the S&P 500 is weighted according to the value of each company. (The Dow, for reasons passing understanding, weights its 30 stocks by the price of each share.)

It stands to reason more valuable companies would carry more weight on an index of the most valuable companies, but given how quickly major Silicon Valley companies have grown, they’re now having an outsize effect on the health of the American stock market.

In other words, if Silicon Valley is having a bad run, the S&P 500 could have a bad day as well. Indexes like the S&P 500 have become even more important as big investment groups — pension funds, mutual funds and 401Ks — have made large bets on these indexes, which are seen as a modestly safe though aggressive investment. So-called “passive investment,” where investors effectively bet on an index and sit back, have also become popular, adding to the importance of the S&P 500.

Recode – All

Cash For Apps: Make money with android app

Five iOS Apps Worth Checking Out – March 2018

How Complete Beginners are using an ‘Untapped’ Google Network to create Passive Income ON DEMAND

On our YouTube channel, we’ve got a monthly series that highlights new, interesting, fun, and useful apps that we think are worth downloading and checking out.

There are so many apps on the iOS App Store, which makes it hard to find new content, and it can also be easy to overlook great apps that are a bit older. We’ve designed our app lists to include apps – both old and new – that we personally recommend and have used over the course of the month.

Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos.

  • Pocket Penguins (Free) – Here in the Bay Area, we have a great place that’s part zoo, part science museum, and part research institute called the California Academy of the Sciences. The California Academy of Sciences is home to a bunch of endangered African penguins (as part of a breeding program), which you can watch through the Pocket Penguins app. It’s a penguin livestream that’s on 24/7, and it’s a fun second screen activity (there’s an Apple TV app too) or something to do when you need a wildlife breather. If you like the penguins, you may also like the stingray feed.
  • Hop (Free) – There’s a popular game called Hop, but we’re talking about the email app in this week’s video. Hop is a team-based email app that’s designed to make your email more like a chat conversation than a traditional email inbox. It’s supposed to make sending and managing emails much faster for those of us who need some assistance cutting down on the inbox time.
  • Pod Calendar (Free) – Pod Calendar is a free app that’s a simple, light alternative to the standard Calendar app on the iPhone and iPad. It uses color coding for all of your events so it’s easy to see what’s going on at a glance, and it uses natural language for adding new entries quickly. There’s support for multiple calendars, multiple reminders, an interaction history for your contacts, and tools for sending quick emails and messages.
  • Zedge Wallpapers (Free) – As the name suggests, this is an app for downloading wallpapers. When we upload videos, we get a lot of questions about the wallpaper we’re using. A lot of the time, the wallpapers in our videos are from this app. Check it out if you’re looking for a fresh look for your iPhone – there are thousands to choose from.
  • PUBG (and Fortnite) (Free) – Unless you’re living under a rock, you’ve heard of PUBG and Fortnite, both of which are battle royale-style games that are super popular right now. The idea is to kill or be killed, with the aim of the game to be the last person standing. PUBG and Fortnite both came out on iOS recently, with PUBG available to everyone and Fortnite available as a beta. You might not think a battle royale game would work on an iOS device, but both of these games are surprisingly good and worth checking out.

If you have favorite iOS apps, make sure to share them with us. We’ll check out what you have to recommend and we may just include them next month. Want more apps? Check out our February recommendations.

Discuss this article in our forums


MacRumors: Mac News and Rumors – All Stories

Cash For Apps: Make money with android app

US visa applications may soon require five years of social media info

How Complete Beginners are using an ‘Untapped’ Google Network to create Passive Income ON DEMAND

The State Department wants to require all US visa applicants, both immigrant and non, disclose their social media handles to the US government, CNN reports. In documents that the department will file to the Federal Register tomorrow, it proposes that…
Engadget RSS Feed
Cash For Apps: Make money with android app

Android Auto lists five new aftermarket hardware partners

How Complete Beginners are using an ‘Untapped’ Google Network to create Passive Income ON DEMAND

A few new certified hardware partners have appeared on the Android Auto website. All five new additions are aftermarket manufacturers—they make units that are installed after vehicles are purchased.

ASUS-owned UniMax announced its certification last month, but only recently appeared on Android Auto’s site. Its listing there says Android Auto is compatible with stereo model F2-AVX7MX, but we weren’t able to find that model number anywhere else.

Read More

Android Auto lists five new aftermarket hardware partners was written by the awesome team at Android Police.

Android Police – Android news, reviews, apps, games, phones, tablets

Cash For Apps: Make money with android app

Massachusetts halts five ICOs for defying financial rules

How Complete Beginners are using an ‘Untapped’ Google Network to create Passive Income ON DEMAND

It's not just the feds concerned about sketchy cryptocurrency fundraising. Massachusetts Secretary of the Commonwealth William Galvin has ordered a halt to the sale of five initial coin offerings (18 Moons, Across Platforms, Mattervest, Pink Ribbon…
Engadget RSS Feed
Cash For Apps: Make money with android app

Apple’s Services Category Set to Be the Company’s Main Revenue Driver Over the Next Five Years

How Complete Beginners are using an ‘Untapped’ Google Network to create Passive Income ON DEMAND

Apple’s services revenue is growing at a rapid pace and is on track to be the company’s primary revenue driver in the future, according to a note Morgan Stanley analyst Katy Huberty shared with investors this morning (via Business Insider).

Huberty believes that over the course of the next five years, services revenue growth will contribute more than 50 percent of Apple’s total revenue growth. The iPhone, meanwhile, will make up just 22 percent of revenue growth during the same time period, despite the fact that it’s contributed 86 percent of Apple’s revenue growth over the past five years.

Although “over the last five years, the vast majority (86%) of Apple’s 8% annual revenue growth was driven by iPhone sales, it is through monetization of Apple’s Services business that we see the company still generating mid single digit revenue growth,” she said.

Huberty estimated that roughly 60% of revenue growth is now attributable to services. That, coupled with wearables, like the Apple Smart Watch, “will drive almost all of Apple’s growth over the next five years,” she added.

For the last several years, Apple’s services category has been setting continual quarterly revenue records thanks to its rapid growth. In the first fiscal quarter of 2018, for example, services brought in $8.5 billion, up 18 percent year over year.

The services category includes iTunes, the App Store, Apple Music, iCloud, Apple Pay, and AppleCare.

According to Huberty, services revenue is at roughly $30 per device, up from $25 two years ago, but that might not be an accurate reflection of actual spending. Most Apple users do not currently pay for services, which could mean that revenue per active user is well above and “possibly double” the $30 metric.


Just 18 percent of Apple’s total device installed base subscribe to paid Apple services, which means there’s a lot of potential for growth in recurring revenue sources. Apple Music, iCloud, and Apple Pay are all services that Huberty believes have yet to be fully monetized.

Apple Music, as an example, has seen considerable growth since its launch and now boasts over 36 million subscribers. Just 2.9 percent of Apple customers subscribe, however. Apple Pay usage is also low, despite the fact that it’s available in more than 50 percent of retail locations in the United States.

According to Huberty, Morgan Stanley is confident in Apple’s growth through services monetization, with the firm setting a price target of $203 on Apple shares, which are currently trading at ~$170.

As Tim Cook often says, Apple’s services category has already reached the size of a Fortune 100 company, and Apple has set a goal to double its 2016 services revenue by 2020, a target the company is well on its way to hitting.

Discuss this article in our forums


MacRumors: Mac News and Rumors – All Stories

Cash For Apps: Make money with android app