How to Reset Your WeMo, LIFX, Philips, Osram/Lightify Light Bulbs

I ran into a wee problem with one of my WeMo LED smart light bulbs.  It was easily cleared up with a reset, but it took me some surfing to find out how to do it.

That got me thinking, you might someday need to know how to do this yourself, and possibly for other bulbs.  So here’s a few smart light bulbs and how to reset them, with instructions from each manufacturer’s website. Continue reading “How to Reset Your WeMo, LIFX, Philips, Osram/Lightify Light Bulbs”

Tim Horton’s cute EH-moji keyboard fails to impress

EHmojiCoffee giant Tim Hortons recently announced that just in time for Canada Day, the company would be releasing a cute Canadian emoji keyboard.  On it, some icons of Canuckism: a beaver, moose, Muskoka chair, a flag, an “eh”, plus Timmy’s coffee cup and Timbit box, among some other icons.

I was excited to add these kitschy visuals to my text repertoire, but was surprised when I found this advisory when I tried to install it:

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“Allow Full Access: Full access allows the developer of this keyboard to transmit anything you type, including things you have previously typed with this keyboard. This could include sensitive information such as your credit card number or street address.”

What!?! By installing this charming passtime I was potentially giving the developers access to my home address and credit card numbers? I decided not to install the keyboard right away, as I felt like this I was giving away my firstborn in exchange for a handful of cute emoticons. But I was curious, so I decided to ask Tim Hortons what gives.

I received a response back from one of their media relations folks a day later, explaining:

“This message is a standard warning that Apple requires for all third-party keyboards and apps. To enable the App, a user must grant Full-Access in order for the keyboard extension to function properly. With this access we can download the latest emojis. While we do track anonymous data such as the number of times a Moose Ehmoji is shared, our App does not collect, store or transmit any personal information such as credit cards or any typing information.”

So despite what the warning says, that’s not at all the case? Seems like an awfully dire warning for it to have no merit.  But trusting the information I recieved from the fine folks at Tims, I decided to push on with the installation to see what I might be missing.

Turns out me, and some other users are rather underwhelmed by this tool.  For starters, it does not work like a regular Emoji keyboard, in that you can’t simply tap on the icon, and it gets inserted into your text. You need to tap the icon you want, the app then copies it to the clipboard, and then you need to paste it into the message field.  So it takes extra steps, and clearly doesn’t work like a standard emoji.

IMG_4844Second problem; the icons are about three times the size of a standard emoji.  WHY, Tim Hortons, WHY?  This is perhaps the dumbest part of this app.  It takes up so much space to send one emoji, and it forces you to split your message into many parts depending how many EHmojis you text.

The fact this app works nothing like industry standard emoji apps is both bizarre and makes for a poor user experience.  Plenty of reviewers on Apple’s App Store agree. It currently gets 2/5 stars (out of +250 reviews), with comments like:

“Awful. Waste of time” -x0pa

“The keyboard is not properly compatible with the iPhone… the fact you have to copy and paste the ehmojis completely defeats the purpose”-Tallushh

“I don’t see the need for Full Access” -kkitkat

“Disappointing” -TaraXlee

While there are some people loving it, I’m not one of them.  Perhaps that is due to an iPhone/Android compatibility issue.  I’ll go back to Tim’s and ask. I’m also going to ask if they plan to work the bugs out for future versions.

For now, count me out of the EHmoji fad, eh?

Review: Honeywell’s Lyric Thermostat Just Doesn’t Stand Up to the Test

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If you’re still running a retro thermostat with only basic controls, you’re missing out on an opportunity to save money each year by controlling the efficiency of your furnace; turning it down when you’re away, or asleep, or at work, and only keeping at at temperature when you’re home actually using it.

I’ve tried a number of programmable thermostats in my home, from the most basic computerized one, to the high-end fully automated Nest. Read my review of the Nest here.
So I was pleased (and had a wee sense of Deja Vu at how similar the Lyric looks to the Nest) when Honeywell’s Lyric thermostat arrived at my home for testing.

The Lyric bills itself as a “reinvented” thermostat, outlining the energy savings you can expect with its “perfectly in tune” device.  It also specifies “no complex menus”, and “one-touch buttons save you time”.  Sounded great to me, however, I’d soon come to feel this was not accurate.IMG_0117

Installation was super easy, despite the fact there are no instructions.  Step one (of only one step) on the tiny paper-doll-folded card was to download the Lyric app, which walked me through which wires to connect, and it was on in minutes.  From there, it walked me through how to connect the thermostat to my home’s existing wifi network, and get it running.  It was connected in a few minutes, but that’s where things started to go off the rails.

To find out how, click here to read the rest of the review on Future Shop’s Tech Blog!