Chapter 2. Office

Hacks 25–36

Look around a typical home today and you’re sure to see a lot of equipment that, just a few years ago, would have belonged in an office building. Now, at home, we’re surrounded by computers, printers, telephones, and who knows what else. Have you ever wished for an assistant to help you manage it all? The hacks in this chapter will help.

You’ll learn how to teach your house to talk [Hack #28] so that it can announce the name of incoming callers [Hack #27] and remind you of important events [Hack #25]. And, if you’ve ever wanted to make sure you closed the garage door when you left in the morning, you’ll discover how you can reach out and control your home from any location [Hack #33].

Remember Important Events

A truly smart home should be able to gently remind you of upcoming appointments, things you have to do, birthdays, and other events. This hack provides two different approaches to this common problem.

Reminders: we all need them to remember important dates and trivial tasks, but their success hinges on how easy they are to manage and how effectively they get your attention when they become due. In an ideal world, once you create a reminder you can put it out of your mind until your home alerts you about it, at just the right time for you to efficiently take care of whatever it is you’re supposed to do. And because you’re not at home all the time, your reminder system needs to be able to adapt to different situations so that you can be notified in ...

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