Google Home Hub and Flickr

Google Home Hub + FlickrThere have been several tech reviews saying that one of the Google Home Hub’s best features is as a digital photo frame. Digital photo frames aren’t new, but in my limited experience, they have been a real pain to set up. My sister and I bought one for my mom several years ago, and it was an absolute black hole to select the photos for mom, put them on a thumb drive and then update the darn thing.

I never bought one for myself for this reason, but I did want to try out the Home Hub’s feature. The trouble I ran into, however, was that all of my photos since 2006 are on Flickr. Sentiments about Flickr aside, I didn’t want to move all my photos over to Google Photos (at least not right away). I chatted with a really helpful Google support rep, who gave me these instructions:

When you open the Google Home app, then go to ambient mode, on the list where you can choose Google Photos, there is an option for Experimental. You will see Flicker in the options.

I’m deeeelighted to say that this worked! I was even able to select a particular album/s for display. There are about 650 photos in the album and the rotation seems pretty solid. I’ve added new photos and they showed up right away.

Overall, I agree with the reviews linked above; the photo frame functionality is pretty rad.

 

Qeepsake

Qeepsake app screenshotIt’s an app. It’s a service. It’s a daily prompt-delivering text service to document baby’s development!

From their website:

Empty baby book?
Try Qeepsake.

Use text messaging to store memories about your kids.

Qeepsake texts you questions about your child!

Qeepsake texts you a question about your child. You text back your response, and an entry is added to your child’s private journal.

There are free and and premium plans with three tiers of options, including the number of text prompts sent to your phone, photo uploads and other functions.

I signed up for the free trial in August, used it and really liked it, but¬† was reluctant to sign up for yet another paid service. Now that another three months has gone by and I still haven’t been diligent with that baby journal, I decided to go for it and signed up for the $35.88/year plan.

Ultimately, the feature that really hooked me was the daily prompts.

As always, it’ll be interesting to see how much I actually use the service over the next year. I’ll also keep an eye out for other options to see whether the service is worth the cash.

Stay tuned!

Smart Speakers and Enterprise Networks

I’ve been trying to get my Amazon Echo Dot and the Google Home Hub to connect to the office WiFi for testing. I wasn’t able to get the Dot connected back in August and today I tried again with the Hub, but no go.

According to this webpage, these devices are intended to run on “consumer network routers”, not enterprise networks:

Home Automation/Internet-Connected Devices
Wireless lighting, speakers, or video devices are designed and intended for use in single-family homes using consumer network routers. They are typically unable to connect to enterprise WiFi networks. Examples of these devices include: Phillips Hue lighting systems, Amazon Echo speakers, Nest Cams, etc.

What a bummer!

Thankfully, a very helpful Google Support rep and I worked our way through a possible workaround. I enabled the cellular hotspot on my iPhone (7) and then attempted to connect to the Hub with my iPad (2). This probably would have worked were it not for the fact that I cannot upgrade my iPad to iOS 10 and therefore the latest Hub app won’t work either! Thanks a lot for dashing my hopes, Apple.

Can anyone out there confirm whether this technique works?