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Dec. 22, 2019 — An age-old question

“Alexa, turn on the lights.”
(Dead silence follows)

A few weeks ago, as part of a magazine promotion, I received one of those digital hubs which run off your home’s wireless fidelity signal. I’ve done very little with it except ask for the outdoor temperature before going out for the day.

That is, until I saw an ad in an electronics store for these things called “smart bulbs,” which allow a digital hub to turn them off and on, or adjust brightness.

I wanted to install them in half of my apartment, not the whole thing (just in case of internet outage), and that half is controlled by a single lightswitch.

I put the three bulbs in and consulted the instructions, which were the so-called “quick start” instructions. The instructions, however, put me into a 45-minute cycle when I tried to pair the three bulbs using the cell phone, but I could not pair more than one at a time.

I consulted the Internet for some help. There were a couple of YouTube videos, entries on Reddit, and several threads on the website of the manufacturer of the bulb.

The question entered my mind: How many people does it take to screw in a smartbulb?

“Alexa, turn on Light 1.”
(Two of the three lights blink off)

The way I see it, the answer to that question has to near more than 100 people. There are the inventors of the bulb, the people who write the code, and, of course, former actress Hedy Lamarr, who invented wireless technology.

It also takes users to post their experiences as to what they did and make the instructions relatable to what I was doing.

The problem, of course, is getting all of those people to work together seamlessly, which wasn’t happening. At least until I ran across a Reddit post hidden deep in one of the conversation threads.

Turns out what I had to do was activate each bulb individually, then use the voice app to group the bulbs under one name.

“Alexa, turn on overhead lights.”
(All three bulbs wink on simultaneously)

Ah, progress.

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