• Kristina Browning

How technology can enhance your Holiday

No matter which Home Automation device you own, Echo or Google, keeping a list of tasks will help you cut down on the seemingly never ending list of things to do in no time at all.

When you’re ready for a new task you can ask, “Hey Smart Home Device, what’s on my to-do list?” Use the timer feature if you have multiple things cooking that need different timers set. You can ask, for example, for it to “Set a potato timer or roast timer,” and then find out how much time is left by using the name in your inquiry. The microwave can’t do that. Just sayin.

You can ask your smart home device:

  • Where does Santa Claus live?

  • ...to read Twas the Night before christmas.

  • How many ounces are in a cup?

  • Which side of the plate do the forks go on?

  • “Where’s Santa?”

Your smart home device is primed with all sorts of holiday-related tidbits, including hacks, jokes, and stories. You can also Visit NORAD Tracks Santa by CLICKING HERE.

Yes, you can now FINALLY enable your Echo to hear Samual L. Jackson's voice. To enable this feature, just say “Alexa, introduce me to Samuel L. Jackson” or you can alternately purchase the required Alexa skill manually in your app. What I didn't realize until reading further was that Jackson doesn't replace Alexa's MAIN voice, so you've got to request the voice by saying “Alexa, ask Samuel L. Jackson...” followed by your question. It costs $1 to activate his voice (plus tax), but then you can have Samuel L. Jackson read you the news, the weather, tell jokes and more.

Did you know you can get updates by text? If your children are giddy with excitement, they may enjoy getting updates through texts on your phone about Santa’s progress across the globe. At Jingle Kringle, you can get important updates on Santa’s location AND you can even call Santa (his phone number is shared on the site!)

Google has a Santa Tracker site that's more than just tracking Santa.

The design is beautiful and they can explore, play and learn with Santa's elves all December long.

One last bit of Technology: Download the Hello Vino App so when you are at the store searching for just the right bottle of wine, you can snap a photo of a wine label and get taste details, pairings and ratings from professionals. It takes all the guesswork out of choosing just the right bottles. It uses artificial intelligence to learn about your wine preferences as you rate your favorites, the app will make new wine recommendations based on your activity and settings. Genius.

Do you listen to books? I understand the desire for the tactile physicality of book and the pleasure of sitting down with one to read, but there are so many times you can enjoy an audio book that you can’t a physical book so do both! Perhaps the commute isn’t the only time they come in handy! What about on a walk or at the gym? Thinking of things differently and tweaking your day can add interest. Books can make you think, help your mind grow and challenge you. Alternate subject matter - maybe the audio book is a self growth book and your physical book is fiction. Have you read Educated yet? I listened to this Memoir and highly recommend it. Wowza. It’s a best seller and won’t disappoint. Educated Written by Tara Westover

I have a whole podcast about Winter in your home on the Home Space and Reason podcast, Episode 12. You can find it HERE.

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