When I told Alexa to turn the sprinklers on, a geyser of water shot up six feet in the air from a pipe I hadn’t properly secured. I yelled every Alexa command I could think of to turn it off, but apparently she didn’t like my syntax, and the water kept gushing. I finally just opened the app for the sprinkler unit and turned it off. Also, most people have their sprinklers on timers so they don’t need voice control.
What are your favorite websites, apps or other tech tools for keeping on top of technology news?
I get so much of my news diet, technology or otherwise, through Twitter and, to a lesser extent, Facebook. I have configured my phone to send me a text message every time Jeff Bezos, the chief executive of Amazon, tweets because he’ll occasionally make news that way.
What tech gadgets or apps are you or your family currently obsessed with and why?
Another reason I’m not the most avid Echo user is that I like the sound from my Sonos speaker system better. Roughly 70 percent of the time I’m using Sonos to stream KCRW’s Eclectic24 music mix. The rest of the time, it’s Spotify and KUOW, my local NPR station. I pay for a Spotify family plan, which keeps my daughter’s playlists from contaminating my own and vice versa.
I am a contrarian on the Apple Watch, which I believe has been unfairly maligned by tech pundits. I love mine, and I get pretty frustrated by a lot of Apple products. I’m a runner and cyclist and track all of my workouts with it. I use Siri on the watch to respond to text messages.
Apple somehow managed to create a wearable device versatile enough that you can wear it on a run and with a suit. That’s impressive.
Are there technologies that you’re not crazy about?
I’ve never cared for reading books on screens, even though I almost exclusively read newspapers and magazines on my phone and computer.
I’m also skeptical of most kitchen gadgetry. I bought an Anova sous vide wand, which cooks meat and other proteins at precise, low temperatures in water baths. In most cases, I feel the results aren’t worth the effort. A cast iron pan is much cheaper, will never break and steaks taste better when prepared in one.
You once wrote about taking…