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  1. #1
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    Do you have a Smart home?

    After initially not seeing the point in a smart home or devices when it first came out I've now fully embraced the technology.

    It started when renovating the house and needed a new central heating thermostat. British Gas were offering their Hive smart thermostat half price so we had it installed. We then got our first Amazon Echo and linked the 2. Suddenly I could see it was useful. Being able to set the temperature or ask what it was by just asking. Turning on the hot water or setting a schedule.

    We then got a couple of Hive's own smart lightbulbs and plugs. One for the hall light so it comes on a dusk, and we have a standard lamp in the lounge where the plug is behind the sofa and not easy to reach

    Since then the amount if smart home things has expanded greatly. Most of our ceiling lights are now smart bulbs. And some table lights. Some other plug sockets are now too. Had Christmas tree and outside Christmas lights set up on smart plugs too.

    2 of our Smart TVs can be controlled by Alexa too.

    And in the log cabin because I ran the home network into it, with wifi, I have smart lights, a smart electric heater, blink security camera and Netatmo smart weather station all working in there.

    Other things include more Blink cameras in the house and a Ring front door bell. Plus a few wifi security sensors.

    And today we just bought something else, which got me thinking about smart homes. My wife was moaning she needed an extension power strip by the bed to plug her hairdryer, straightens, side table light and phone charger into. But said it was still difficult to turn stuff on and off as the wall socket is low down behind the bedside table.

    Solutuon. TP-Link make a smart wifi power strip. You can name each plug socket on the strip and turn them on and off separately using Alexa or the app.

    My next planned job is this year to setup some proper mains lighting down the garden that can be smart controlled. Not sure if I will use smart bulbs or just connect them all to one smart plug. We picked up a really cheap garden lamp-post last year that has 3 lights on it. That will go halfway down the garden. I was then considering a couple of those lower pillar lights along the path. Using smart bulbs would be fun though as could have coloued one so can change colour and brightness.

    I also have to replace the securiry light outside the backdoor. Might look at making that smart too. And the water pump for the pond.

    So do any of you have a smart home?

    If you haven't played a classic game in years, it's never too late to start!


  2. #2
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    We've got some smart bulbs, which is our entry way into smart home stuff. It's neat being able to dim the bulbs without having to install dimmer switches, or to turn just some of them (but not all) off when we are watching TV. Plus, the kids like it when we make them flash funky colours.

    At the moment our heating and cooling systems are in fine health and show no need for replacing, and to my knowledge aren't compatible with nay smart stuff. It would be neat to be able to control that remotely.

    Our coffee machine has bluetooth, so I can turn it on and get it warmed up from my phone, as long as I am at home. I can also get it to start preparing a drink, which I imagine would be dead handy until I find someone has moved my cup from under the machine.

  3. #3
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    I was looking at smart coffee machines in a store the other day. My nice DeLongii expresso machine finally stopped working properly last year so I bought a cheap Amazon basics one to replace it just to tied me over. But wanted to get an all singing and dancing bean to cup machine eventually.

    They make some really cool coffee machines now but some are mad money. Obviously the one I liked the most was 1500. There is a very nice DeLongii one around 300 that does everything I need but isn't a smart one, so will probably get that later in the year, or ask for next Christmas.

    So I'm sticking with the cheap Amazon basics one for the moment. The thing is it looks a bit plasticy (my old one was nice chrome) and it does rattle and vibrate a bit, but it makes perfect expresso and only cost 46. You really can't complain about that.

    If you haven't played a classic game in years, it's never too late to start!


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    We had the delonghi magnifica, it was a good machine and served us well. It still works but periodically throws and error. We'll put in in the caravan. We upgraded to a Dinamica. It seems pretty good but I'll need to fiddle with the settings to get it just right. I like that it has 'user profiles ' so I can set them ever so slightly different for me and Lady T (she likes it weaker but hotter. for example)

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    Sounds the same. My wife always moans I make it too strong and I have to add hot water to hers. And she also moans it's not hot enough.

    It was the Magnifica I was thinking about. Was it worth buying? Although just looked and I can get the Dinamica for not much more.

    We did have one by Dualit initially after my other one failed. I have a Dualit percolator and that's brilliant, and other things they make are always highly rated. It was secondhand but looked brand new. All still in the box with every accessory and all looked unused. Owner said they just couldnt work out how to use it. They sold it for about 50 (RRP was 170). It was the worst expresso machine I've ever used. Only successfully made a coffee 1 out of 4 times. It would either block if you tapped down the coffee slightly too much, or would somehow decide to fire tons of coffee grounds into the coffee. It got binned! Horrible thing.

    If you haven't played a classic game in years, it's never too late to start!


  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Harrison View Post
    It was the Magnifica I was thinking about. Was it worth buying? Although just looked and I can get the Dinamica for not much more.
    The Magnifica served us really well and we got heaps of use out of it (making five or six coffees every single day) so it was a good purchase. We got it about 4 or 5 years ago for about 600 bucks (might have been on special, I can't remember) from an actual shop shop. It stopped us buying takeaway coffee almost completely, and also stopped us using capsules, so probably the savings there paid for the machine itself before long. Back then we were tempted for a fancier one but we decided to start small and give it a few years, and only then if it got good use would we move up the range (which, it did and we did)

    The Magnifica was basic but made great coffee and was really reliable. It was also easy to use. The steam wand is fine, but it's manual so you have to hold the little jug underneath it and swoosh it around. I had to get a thermometer to make sure the milk got hot enough but not too hot, and it's a relatively fine margin.

    The Dinamica basically does all of that for us now. I think there is now a Magnifica that can have the 'thermal milk frother' too, so that particular model sits in between what we had, and what we have now, but it doesn't have as big a drink selection as the dinamica.

    We also liked that this particular model of Dinamica can be made to do a 'jug' of coffee which will be good if we have friends over and need to make multiple cups.

    We got a little delonghi brochure and looked over the specs tables again and again comparing. We could have gone either way really but in the end thought we'd treat ourselves.

    Quote Originally Posted by Harrison View Post
    Sounds the same. My wife always moans I make it too strong and I have to add hot water to hers. And she also moans it's not hot enough.
    A bit of time setting up the profiles on the Dinamica and this would be easy - you can make hers hotter and bigger (!), and your own smaller (). Each drink type is customisable for each profile too so you can customise your lattes without affecting your espressos for example - and your wifes can be different again.

    I reckon the innards are pretty much the same between the models - the infuser looks exactly the same, the water tank is identical, etc. The pump sounds a little different but that could just be cos it's newer. We've only had the new one for 3 days but seems like a good purchase so far.

    - - - Updated - - -

    We probably gave more thought and time to choosing a coffee machine than we did buying our recent new (new to us) car

  7. #7
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    I've never been that fussed with the automation of coffee making in as far as automatically picking a type of coffee. I do quite enjoy the manual traditional nature of making it, and there must be reason barristers still use expensive manual coffee machines over fully automated ones. I would love one of those really expensive italian coffee machines with the pressure gauges. But they are very expensive and need a lot of space.

    I have a really good electric DeLonghi coffee grinder and the coffee machine I have has always basically been an expresso machine where I fill the coffee basket and tap down the coffee manually, then empty and repeat. Always had a manual wand for milk built into them but to be honest I only drink black coffee or expresso and my wife doesn't like cappuccino, so I only ever use it to make hot chocolate. But I haven't been able to drink instant coffee and can only just cope with preground coffee, so I have to have freshly ground coffee.

    I was interested in getting a machine that can do bean to cup to get rid of the seperate grinder and needing to manually fill the basket each time but I'm not that bothered about milk or doing different types of coffee. As long as it makes expresso I can manually make anythingb from that.

    If you haven't played a classic game in years, it's never too late to start!


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    If it's bean-to-cup, the Magnifica we had did a good job. Of course other models and options are available but it worked well for us. For a while I enjoyed the process of making coffee (eg grinding the beans, even using an aeropress when camping) but day to day I just want the convenience.

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    I do still think a completely automated smart coffee machine would be cool though, with Alexa support.

    Have you seen those small coffee machines where they come with a big portable thermos mug so you can make a coffee before going out? I wonder if they make any smart ones of those. Could set it up and ask Alexa to make the coffee just before you leave. And have that in addition to a more complex one.

    If I ever get a bigger kitchen I am buying a proper coffee machine though from Gaggia or Crem.

    If you haven't played a classic game in years, it's never too late to start!


  10. #10
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    Making a nice coffee for the road is important for sure, we often start out big trips this way.

    I would reckon there is such a smart device and if not, there will be one soon. We have some travel mugs that are really well insulated and keep the drink nice and warm for a long time.

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