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Saturday, September 08, 2018
2018 tech check
Listening to:rain and wind
Reading:How to Change Your Mind by Michael Pollan
Weather:rain and wind

Still don't carry a cellphone. I am the last one on earth.

But I did get a battery-powered self-propelled electric lawnmower, a Honda Insight hybrid car, and a Sonos wifi speaker with Alexa this year.

The lawn mower: pretty sweet. Quiet. 1 hr battery life and 1 hr to charge, came with one battery and charger. It's an EGo brand. I heard a smart retired science dude at the Blue Moose talking about how after much research that's what he bought. So I questioned him about a few things, including where he bought it, and went down to fill-in-the-blank big store in Bridgeport and lucky me it was $50 off for end of season and they gave me another $25 off to open a credit account there and charge it. Larry had a mysterious illness for weeks this summer and it really knocked him out, so he has been not feeling up to his usual joy of lawn mowing. My shit is like 18 inches high and it hasn't stopped raining all summer, so it's lush. This mower is knocking it down pretty nicely, and the self-propelled function can even easily haul it up my hills. It has variable speed and if you put it on the fastest you'd be seriously jogging behind it. It folds up, too, so you can just fold, grab a nicely-placed handle, and haul it up the 3 steps onto my covered porch for storing. So far, so good.

The Honda Insight: It's way more tech and luxury than I'm used to, obv, since my previous wheels are a 15 yr old Civic with manual everything (transmission, windows, locks). This Insight is supposed to get 55 mpg. I am halfway through my first tank of gas, I don't see it getting that, but I figured it was not calibrated for these hills. Still, a very smooth ride with lots of screens and tech. Would be even more if I carried a cellphone. Remote start, auto all the everydangthing even the highbeams, no key, multiple cameras. Honda sent me an email with an account for my car and it includes some pretty sweet instructions and videos about how to use the cool new stuff. You can flip through about a dozen screens on the left half of the dash where the tach is on my old Civic, and of course there's a screen in the center of the dash showing the backup camera and all manner of other stuff. Stereo seems decent. I got the EX, the middle trim level (it's just 3 trim levels of choice, not an array of options like they used to do) so I could flip the back seat down 60/40 rather than just the whole thing which is all the cheapest trim level offered. It's white. Pearly. Of course I wanted silver, but I watched the inventory online at my dealer of choice and they just had blue, black, and white for a couple months, so finally I decided to just take the white one. The interior is mixed with light seats, so I ordered funky cool seat covers. So far, so good.

The Sonos with Alexa: I had gotten some Sonos speakers with Alexa and tv sound bar for Miss Livi and found it pretty fun to interact with Alexa when visiting her house. I was particularly interested in having my audiobooks and podcasts voice activated and handy using Alexa, but also having the high sound quality for music that Sonos provides (unlike the Amazon branded Alexa thingies, which have rather lousy audio). It was a little frustrating to get started, though the actual setup was pretty easy and smooth. The skills aren't so easy to get into and don't work as easily as I hoped. Also Sonos environment doesn't function with all Alexa stuff the same as amazon branded stuff. So, for example, Alexa will not read me my Kindle books on Sonos, but she would on an amazon branded alexa device. Bitch. She will play my Audible books, though, and there is at least one podcast player (Anypod) that seems to be functioning reasonably, although it defaults to starting with the most recent episode of a podcast rather than the first one. Alexa will tell ya silly jokes and give you weather on demand and other cool stuff. So far, so good.

Still no cellphone. Maybe in 2019. Probably not.

permalink posted by cat 6:49 PM

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2018 tech check