This dumb old farmhouse gets smart

Hey, Google where is...? Hey, Siri what is...? Alexa, can you...?

A couple of months ago I visited my mother. I found her fluttering about the kitchen in her particular way. Suddenly, she said” Hey Google, play Meghan Trainor,” in her endearing accented English. To my great surprise, the kitchen filled with the singer’s signature swagginess. The sound was shockingly rich for a device the circumference of a large drink.

Excited, I immediately (and rudely) interrupted my mom’s fun little jam session, and asked Google to play me something super obscure and most definitely obnoxious as far as my mother’s tastes go. The room filled with the rhythmic and ambient layered sound of “Dead Voices On Air,” the rarest band that came to mind at the time. My mother rolled her eyes at me and told Google to stop. I smiled at her and told Google Mini to play me five more artists before I was satisfied. Jonas Rathsman, The Acid, Virgin Prunes, Tough Love, and Mark Knight played in succession as quickly as if I was requesting Taylor Swift or Rhianna. I fell instantly in love.

After a little research, I find the device that is right for my home. Amazon’s Alexa was the one for me. I was looking to have voice activated on-demand music fill my kitchen like at my mother’s house. Although the speaker quality is less vibrant than the Google Mini what I ended up purchasing was so much more than I was expecting.

About two weeks ago this unassuming little device arrived at my home. It was so small I was unsure of it, and its ability to do what I wanted much less what I needed. However, within the first hour, I had all my musical playlists, and radio stations in order and ready to play at my whim. I have a playlist to satisfy every mood from disgruntled teenager to posh Miami hotelier. The initial goal achieved. I did dishes bopping around to Katranada Radio and loved every second.

Once my dance floor (i.e., kitchen) was sparkling, I loaded my calendars, created a running shopping list, set alarms, and reminders instantly by slightly yelling at Alexa from the comfort of my living room. I will never forget to buy fish tank filters or pet food again. Then, I enabled news briefings from my favorite outlets, French lessons, and a trivia game. In less, than a day I found myself even more smitten and a little addicted to smart technology. I have stopped myself from asking Alexa to do things for me at work more times than I care to admit. “Alexa, can you add this to my calendar?,” I think to myself now before sighing and manually entering the information to my schedule.

Currently, I am researching new ways to integrate this technology into my home life. My dumb old farmhouse is slowing becoming a smart old farmhouse gaining all the markers of modernity without losing any of the rustic charms. With a little planning and investment, I can control my home’s climate, door locks, and security in ways that I am sure will become indispensable as Gaylord continues to grow.

I am thrilled by the thought of knowing what is happening in my home while I am away. The reduced energy bills from better managing the heater or air conditioning are also pretty compelling. These devices are game-changing, and I am looking forward to seeing where they go.

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