COMPUTER 101–Make Your Home Smart

The Mouse Trap
by Janis Weber

Make Your Home Smart:
Do you already have Wi-Fi in your home? Do you have $30? Would you like to take command of anything that plugs in at home plus have access to Miss Alexa from Amazon? Yes, Alexa can store your information to help her work better for you, but it is super easy to erase this data any time you choose. Currently Amazon has the Echo Dot on sale for $30, down from the normal $60. If the special is not available as you read this article, then watch for the next offer. They run it often. When you have the Dot you can add as many smart plugs anywhere within Alexa’s hearing range as you want. A plug will average $15 each. You can ask her almost any question as well as play music. She is pretty smart. Whatever is plugged in your home is in your control. Love it!

How many times have you run back-and-forth from your car to your home to make sure appliances that could be dangerous have been turned off? And, it always seems to happen when you’re in a rush. If you use a smart plug, you won’t have to worry about this anymore. With the app, you locate the smart plug that a particular appliance is hooked into and just turn off the plug – even if you are out of town and thousands of miles away.
The beauty of a smart plug is, if you can plug a device into a regular wall socket, you can use it with a smart plug. This comes in handy if you just want one device to turn on and off occasionally. For example, let’s say there is a part of your home that tends to catch the sun at a certain time each day and it really heats up the area. If you have a fan, plug it into a smart plug and with your app, just set up a schedule for when the fan should turn on and off. Not only does this keep the area cool, but it also helps recycle stale air.
I use my smart plug to schedule the coffee maker and the outdoor and indoor lights. I can tell my Echo to turn on or off my fan if I am too hot or cold during the night. Cool, huh? Anything you can plug in can be controlled by your voice or smart phone.
Two or more Echoes can act as an intercom and surround sound. Want any lights scheduled to turn on at a specific time? You can do that or touch a button on your smart phone to change it. Love technology, right?
Be careful who you call for repairs on your computer, or anything else for that matter. A reputation speaks best for each item you need help with. Some shops want you to sign an annual contract for help. That is fine if you would use it that much. I believe local service usually is best and comes with local referrals. For example, I had a repair man from Dave Smith Appliance come to my home lately. I will not go into details but if you want the best, friendliest, smartest and most reliable service in Sylvania call them first and tell them I sent you. They may even give you a $15 discount on repairs.
There are a few local computer shops like Computer Discount and Frogtown Computers that are pretty cool as well. Some people actually recommend me, but I am biased.

Next Sylvania Senior Center Classes:
New classes with be held throughout 2020 as soon as the center reopens. Check the SSC newsletter and website for the most current information. Included will be Windows 10 Computers Basics, Facebook, Microsoft Word, Google Docs and iPhone/iPad. If you have a topic and know some folks who are interested, please call the Senior Center and ask for
Susan Jenelle at 419-885-3913.
Limited seating is filling fast so call ASAP to reserve your spot. We are considering an Excel Club. Interested? Call the SSC.

I Make House Calls:
I will come to your home or office and help you with almost any predicament including repairs, upgrades and general software or hardware issues. This Stay Home Order should end at some point. I can be your resident “Geek.” I have an endless amount of patience and knowledge with years of experience. Send me a text or call at 419-318-9112.
Don’t forget to sign up for my free newsletter at Subscribers will get a copy of this article plus added hints, tips and trusted/valuable web-links.

Janis Weber, B.A., owner of Ohio Computer Training & Support, is a professional computer adjunct instructor. E-mail any specific questions or comments to
or call her for assistance at 419-318-9112.
Private tutoring and repairs are just a phone call, text or email away.

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