Harvard and MIT teamed up for this open-source online education platform


Education is easy with EDX's learning platform.
Education is easy with EDX's learning platform.
Photo: EDX

Why you can’t trust ‘lifetime guarantees’ on the Internet of Things

The looming shutdown of Revolv has some home-automation fans questioning the Internet of Things.
Photo: Andrew Stawarz/Flickr CC

Revolv smart hubs will no longer be supported as of May 15. Even though subscribers have known this was coming since February, there wasn’t a lot of attention until an author’s highly critical piece was published on Medium.

That story has spurred conversations questioning investment in the Internet of Things, or IoT, and prompted Nest to consider compensating users who were early investors in the Revolv hub.

Smartplug’s Hue integration is no substitute for Siri [Reviews]


Zuli smartplug smartplugs
The Zuli smartplug and its app have some cool features, but it can't make your living room blue.
Photo: Evan Killham/Cult of Mac

Zuli Smartplug Presence 3-Pack

The Zuli smartplug has been out since September, but starting today, it’s gained some cool new functionality: You can now use its companion app to control Philips Hue smartbulbs.

This joins the device’s existing features like Presence, which turns on lights and adjusts the thermostat as soon as you enter a room, and schedules and tracks power usage of connected devices through the app. But if you have Hue devices and don’t already own Zuli, is its new superpower enough to justify the purchase?

Probably not, honestly. But it has enough going on that you might want to check it out, anyway.

Smart gadgets are getting their own Wi-Fi standard in 2018


A new type of Wi-Fi is on the way.
Photo: Ming Xia/Flickr

With CES, aka the world’s biggest consumer electronics show, coming up this week, we’re about to hear a whole lot more about the Internet of Things and smart, connected gadgets.

Which makes this the perfect time for the announcement of a new type of Wi-Fi called Wi-Fi HaLow, which is an extension of the upcoming 802.11ah Wi-Fi standard, designed to end up inside fitness trackers, home sensors and other smart gadgets.

Siri technology is coming soon to more apps, fridges and even robots


Command your robot to find your cat with just your voice.
Command your robot to find your cat with just your voice.
Photo: Nuance

Your smart life is about to get even smarter with a new set of software development tools that will let coders include world-class speech recognition and natural language processing — the same stuff that powers Siri, Apple’s personal digital assistant — to thermostats, refrigerators, apps and, yes, even robots.

The folks at Nuance have created a new system, currently in beta, to allow any company to include code with language commands that are specific to their hardware or apps. It’s called Nuance Mix, and anyone can sign in and create their own speech-recognition code to work with their apps or connected devices.

“Any developer, big or small, can come in and define a custom set of use cases,” Nuance’s Kenn Harper told Cult of Mac during a demo of the SDK. “You’re going to start talking to everything at home and work — speech is about to get more ubiquitous.”