Ikea Tradfri Outlet with Samsung SmartThings



Samsung’s SmartThings might be one of the smarthome market leaders but its branded sensors aren’t the cheapest by a long way. Savvy SmartThings specialists are constantly on the hunt for cheaper devices from other vendors but these often require custom code (device handlers) or strange steps to get them linked up.

Coming from the other direction, Swedish homemakers Ikea have their own smart home system called Tradfri. It’s currently more of a Philips Hue competitor as it focuses on lighting but it is expanding and has recently brought a smart plug to market….or as Ikea calls it, a wireless control outlet. It uses Zigbee for communication, and best of all, it only costs GB£9 compared with over GB£40 for the SmartThings variant. Let’s take a look.

 

The Tradfri wireless outlet isn’t going to be winning any design awards. It’s plain white plastic all round, with a hidden white LED at the bottom. Right underneath is a small pinhole for resetting the device with a paperclip. There’s no override button to turn the plug on or off, so keep a smartphone or tablet handy. The unit is rated at 13A / 3kW but not for inductive loads, i.e. no washing machines.

 

Enough of what it looks like…can the Tradfri smart socket work with SmartThings? It certainly can! It just takes a little care and some simple configuration via the SmartThings portal. There’s no need for device handlers or any advanced SmartThings tweaking.

The first step is to get the outlet paired with SmartThings. Fire up the SmartThings app (I’m still using Classic) on your phone or tablet and choose “Add a Thing”. The app will start looking for devices and there’s two gotchas here. One, the Tradfri device needs to be reasonably close to the SmartThings hub and two, the device needs to be reset via the pin hole on the bottom of the case. Just push in with a paper clip for a few seconds and the little LED will pulse at the bottom.

Within a few seconds, SmartThings will find a Thing but won’t know what type of Thing it is or what features it has. This is where the SmartThings IDE comes in at https://graph.api.smartthings.com/. You’ll need to login with either a Samsung or SmartThings account.

Once logged, in go to My Locations and choose your place. I’ve had to redact a few items for my privacy.

Now click on devices to get all the devices in the location. Scroll down through the list until you find the Thing. To make it easy, it’s in alphabetical order.

Click on Thing and then Edit to see the device’s current properties.

Change where it says 2015 Samsung Smart TV to ZigBee Switch and then hit the Update button.

The Thing’s revised entry now has ZigBee Switch and Local processing, which is a good thing. Simply it means that any activity by the sensor is processed locally by the SmartThings hub and isn’t handed off for cloud processing.

Returning to the SmartThings app on the phone, the system now knows that the Thing is a power outlet and has updated the functionality.

Tapping on the screen toggles the Tradfri smart plug with the relay clicking almost instantly. Of course, “Thing” can be renamed to something more sensible, like “Fish Tank Lights”.

And that’s it. The Tradfri wireless outlet is now an integrated part of the SmartThings setup and can be used in Automations and SmartApps, and all for only GB£9, which is a total bargain. As a further benefit, the outlet works as a Zigbee repeater which strengthens the Zigbee wireless network. The only downside I have found is that there’s no physical override button to turn it on or off, but that’s a minor quibble.

To summarise…..if you have SmartThings, the Tradfri wireless outlet works perfectly with it and costs GB£9. Get down to your local Ikea and get stocked up.

Or watch my video below for more details.


A Cat Destroyed my Son’s MacBook Pro #1328



Yes, A cat destroyed my Son’s MacBook Pro. You are simply not going to believe this story a curious cat and a series of incredible events caused the utter destruction of my Son’s MacBook Pro which Apple is predicting will cost $700 to repair. The cat is still alive but you’re not going to believe it. My son is utterly devastated on what has happened as there is more to the story then a destroyed MacBook there is potential data loss as well from a series of unfortunate events. The Apple repair guy thought he had heard it all. But hey crazy stuff happens and this is about as crazy as it comes.

To Jump to the Cat Story click the time hack 6:30

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Tumblr has Vanished from the App Store



Tumblr is having an issue with its iOS app. Tumblr confirmed this in a post on its Help Center in which is stated: “We’re working to resolve an issue with the iOS app and hope to be fully functional again soon. We really appreciate your patience as we figure this out, and we’ll update this article when we have news to share.”

Piunikaweb reported that some users said Tumblr search isn’t working (meaning that users were unable to turn off Safe Mode). It also reported that the Tumblr app was not available for download from the App Store, and that some users said that explicit content had been censored.

The Verge also reported that Tumblr’s iOS app is missing from Apple’s App store.

It is unclear exactly why the app is no longer on Apple’s App Store, and this is causing some to engage in speculation. Some think that the app’s removal has something to do with Tumblr’s NSFW content.

This situation is yet another example of why people shouldn’t put all of their original content into a third-party blogging and/or social media website. There is no guarantee that that Tumblr will be around forever. If it goes away, users will lose all the content they put into their Tumblr blogs. Those that put their original content on a WordPress blog, and link it to Tumblr, will still control their own content.

It appears that the desktop version of Tumblr is still there, and this could be an option for some Tumblr users who can no longer access Tumblr through the iOS app. Another potential workaround was posted on Twitter by @diegoveronicat. The tweet includes step-by-step instructions about how to get the Tumblr app back on your phone.


Are Kids GPS Watches Being Tracked? #1327



Are Kids GPS Watches being tracked? If a report from The Register proves to be true I think I would smash my Kids GPS tracking watch into a million pieces but that’s just me and I know already that the majority of us are being tracked by equally bad folks as well from the advertising and data analysis firms. But the kids GPS tracking is much more sinister and could endanger your kids to predators. You need to reach out to the companies and make sure your kids GPS watch is not affected here.

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The New York Times and Facebook Appear to Be Arguing



On November 14, 2018, The New York Times posted a lengthy article titled: “Delay, Deny and Deflect: How Facebook’s Leaders Fought Through Crisis”. Facebook responded on November 15, 2018, with a post of its own, titled “New York Times Update.” Later that day, The New York Times posted an article titled: “Facebook Cuts Ties with Definers Public Affairs Following Outcry.”

One thing that seems consistent between the posts from The New York Times and the Facebook response post is that Facebook ended its contract with Definers Public Affairs the day after The New York Times article was published. Definers is a Washington-based consultant that Facebook started working with in October 2017.

Both The New York Times and Facebook posts indicate that Facebook feels that Tim Cook, Chief Executive Officer of Apple, Inc., has criticized Facebook. In its post, Facebook said it has encouraged its employees and executives to use Android. Personally, I don’t care what kind of phone Facebook workers use.

To me, it appears that Facebook and The New York Times are arguing with each other. I’m having difficulty finding reasons to care about this kerfuffle. It feels like a lot of drama about events that have already happened. The damage has already been done.

I’ve grown tired of the back-and-forth between news media and social media. It feels like both sides are doing little more than providing fuel for those who enjoy being outraged.


Six Hundred and Twenty Two Advertising Partners



If you still think that privacy and data sharing isn’t an issue, then take a look at this…
The other day I was visiting a popular gaming website and up popped the the usual notice about use of cookies. Normally I would dismiss these without a second thought but I  was on a tablet and accidently tapped on the link to their privacy notice. Noodling around, I discovered on this page that they listed all their advertising partners…..and there were SIX HUNDRED AND TWENTY TWO of them.

Here’s just those that begin with “A”.
A1 Media Group, A1platform, Aarki, abilicom, Acuityads, Adacado, Adadyn, Adara Media, Adbalancer, Adblade, ADBOX,Adcash, AdClear, Adclouds, AdColony, Addictive Mobility, Addition Plus, Addroid, AdElement, Adello, ADEX, Adform, AdGibbon BV, adhood, Adikteev, AdKernel, AdLedge, adlocal.net, Adloox, Adludio, AdMaster/LnData, AdMaxim,Admedo, Admetrics, Admixer, Adnami ApS, adnanny.com, Adnetic, Adobe Advertising Cloud, AdPlay, AdPredictive, AdRetarget, Adriver, AdRoll Inc., adrule, Adsniper, Adssets, adTarget.me, Adtelligence, Adtelligent Inc., AdTrader, AdTriba, advanced STORE GmbH, Advanse, Adventive, Adventori, Adverline, Advertserve, Advmaker, advolution.control, Adways SAS, Adzerk, Adzymic, AE Media, Aedge Performance S.L. , AerServ, affilinet, Aidata, Airtory, Akamai, AKTYVUS SEKTORIUS, Alkemics, All In Views LTD, Alooma, Amazon, Amino Payments, Inc., Amobee, Analights, Aniview Inc., Answer Media, AntVoice, APNIC, AppGrowth Inc., Appier, AppLift, AppLovin Corp., AppNexus, Appreciate, appTV, Arbigo Inc., Arrivalist, Art of Click, Artsai, Audience2Media, AudienceProject, Audiencevalue, Aunica, Avocet, Azameo

Recognise many? Adobe, Amazon?

And from the website’s privacy policy, “We share your personal information with our affiliates and with exhibitors, sponsors, media partners, joint venture partners and other third parties.” which can be summarised as “We share your personal information with anyone we like.”

Let me get this straight. I visit one gaming website and my information could be shared with up to 622 other organisations that, really, I know nothing about. Who knows where this data will eventually land?

There’s something very wrong here.

Women Look at Security Cameras photo by Matthew Henry on Unsplash.


MoviePass Marketing Run by an Idiot! #1326



MoviePass marketing is being run by an idiot. It’s obvious that they cannot hire anyone with half a brain with the money they are stealing from consumers in my opinion. The latest email they sent out was so bad that a five year old could have put together a better marketing message. All they did was piss more people off and remind them how horrid their service is. I truly do not understand how they are still in business. I have a pile of news for you today along with some insight into internet based tv services.

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