Home automation-WOW Alexa

Alexa lowrez

I tried automating my home some twelve years ago. It was a disaster so I eventually removed all of the hardware and software that never worked well.

A couple of years ago I tried home automation again. The system from Apple it wasn’t quite as bad. I do a lot of cooking so I use the timer function often. About half the time when I tried to start the timer my Apple Watch would send the message “Wait I’ll tap you when I’m ready”. The only way to get it to work was say, “Set timer to five minutes and thirty seconds you stupid piece of s***”. Then the timer would start but the full message including “you stupid piece of s***” would even show up. But the timer would start. It may seem silly but I don’t like to cuss even at a machine. It was frustrating!

Alexz2 lowrezI didn’t give up but I did try something different for me. In the last year I’ve seen a lot of email from Amazon about their echo system so I chose to give it a try. Late Tuesday I received the Echo Plus I ordered from Amazon. What a difference!

When I set it up after supper I was amazed how easy it was. In half an hour I had a workable home automation system going. I had to force myself to go to bed and stop playing.

In twenty-four hours I still haven’t had to cuss at Alexa. I’ve found things I don’t like hearing someone’s voice when I requested instrumental blues music. That is a minor glitch I am having a blast exploring Alexa. It is fun and easy!

Sansar six weeks in ☹

Willow Samsar Sept 2017 v4There have been some changes in Sansar after six weeks. Now you can add more and even buy attachments and even some clothing. But there is still very little to do except look around unless you are what LL calls an experience creator and have some expertise in external software.

There is more to do in VR mode (I can do both desktop and VR modes.) but it’s still not much unless you enjoy throwing things or re-stacking blocks. It seems like my approximately month between Sansar visits is more than adequate. While there are some changes there aren’t that many.

Things are looking up for dancing since they say you can now stream music into Sansar. It will be a while before the first DJ’s because the only “dancing” is waving your arms around in VR.

I’ve heard talk that something that is done in another virtual world is you can attach sensors to your legs and your avatar can follow your dance moves. Frankly LL I think this is a bad idea for Sansar. Besides I gotten good at office chair dancing.


When Sansar first opened its beta product to any users, I said it seemed more like an alpha product. If I mentioned the basic thing missing like the ability to sit or the lack of in world building tools. Most of the responses had, “It’s early days yet.”

It was early days a year ago! NOT after three years of development from a company that claimed an advantage it had was its experience with virtual worlds. Let see the virtual world of Second Life has been open fourteen years. Did LL just ignore all that experience.

Initial experience with the Oculus Rift

In HMD! lowrez

Tuesday my Oculus Rift arrived. I bought it after I looked at all the experiences it could do on the Oculus web site. https://www.oculus.com/

These experiences will let you do many interesting things what I’m particularly interested in:

  • Nature experiences from BBC Earth like Bear Island
    bear island
  • A recreation of the Apollo 11 moon landing.
    Flight to the Moon lowrez
    Man on the moon
  • A projected trip Mars with Buzz Aldrin (The second man to walk on the moon.)
  • An interactive 3D exploration of the Grand Canyon.’
    Grand Canyon
  • A 3D interactive golf game.
  • There are several free 3D games which are good for learning the new hardware.
  • There are almost a hundred more.

No, I didn’t get the head set to run Sansar but I will probably try it. It surprised me that Sansar wasn’t one of the experiences listed. Alt Space VR was there and even Facebook’s beta VR application.

Facebook VR


The first application I bought was VR Tools. https://www.vr-toolbox.com/

VR Tool BoxIt is a 3D application that lets you run the Windows operating system in a VR office. It even has a virtual keyboard that lets you enter things. Virtual keyboards are slow so if have a lot of entry it’s probably better to get out of VR to do it. An application I  always run is a view from my webcam. It helps to be able to see what is going on around you. Since the Head Mounted Display bock your vision.





VRGolflowrezThe golf game might seem a bit out of place for me as an interested choice. When I was twenty I was good and shot consistently in the low to mid-eighties. I still love the game. I probably have most golf computer simulations. Maybe this is the one!




  • If you also wear glasses to see long distances use them with Oculus head set. If you are lucky and have them wear single vision and not bifocals.
  • Clean your glasses before putting on the head set. You will see every speck.
  • I keep a fan going below me because your glasses will fog up very easily.
  • In HMD2 lowrezHair stays neat-forget it.






  • Don’t try to use the headset for a long time. Take frequent breaks because the Oculus is not very comfortable and the reported nauseous feeling is true.