I have friends. More than one! I also have a home full of smart-gadgets which are controlled by apps. The two don’t mix.
This is yet another complaint about solipsistic app design.
Let’s take my Lifx bulbs. I have a friend staying for a few days, and he needs to be able to turn lights on and off. Lifx make this functionally impossible. The available options are…
- Give my full email address & password to him. This feels suboptimal.
- Allow him on to my main WiFi. Again, suboptimal. This is why my ISP provided router has a guest mode.
Bleugh. Neither is a good solution. Luckily I have an Amazon Alexa hooked up to the lights. But because Alexa’s “AI” is barely above the level of a speak-n-spell, that’s also unsatisfactory.
My guest tried to turn off the hall lights. Only he used the wrong invocation. “Alexa, turn off the landing light” just doesn’t cut it. Such AI, much recognition, big data mood.
In a fit of pique, he asked Alexa what devices it had attached. The response was typical of Alexa’s usefulness:
What a load of bollocks!
There’s an obvious solution to this. Guest accounts.
I know it is a cliche – but Silicon Valley geeks who are too anti-social to have friends and family is a right pain in the arse for everyone else.
Note to commenters
If your solution is “just buy this new bit of kit” or “configure this half-finished library from GitHub” – then you are part of the problem.