| Cult of Mac

Makers rejoice: This massive Arduino library costs just $20 [Deals]


This bundle of 15 Arduino eBooks are a must-have for any Maker.
This bundle of 15 Arduino e-books is a must-have for any maker.
Photo: Cult of Mac Deals

If you’ve got the itch to make things, you probably already know about Arduino. It’s the platform for building all kinds of computer-connected gizmos.

Basically, if you can imagine it, you can make it with Arduino — and books from Make show you how.

Get plugged into the IoT on a budget for the home [Deals]


These deals prove you don't need to be rich to get in on the Internet of Things.
These deals prove you don't need to be rich to get in on the Internet of Things.
Photo: Cult of Mac Deals

If you’ve read about technology in the last five years, you’ve heard about the internet of things. It represents a merging of the physical and digital worlds, where devices of all kinds are network-enhanced.

That futuristic world is already here, and we rounded up some of our best deals on IoT-ready gear so you can embrace it fully. You’ll find great buys on an Alexa-enabled smart clock, an app-connected outlet, a mini vacuum droid and more.

Bizarre HomeKit remote looks like a D&D die


Nanoleaf HomeKit Remote
Can you find the HomeKit remote on this table?
Photo: Nanoleaf

CES 2018 bug The device is called The Remote, but those familiar with the company behind it probably could have predicted it would not look anything like a remote control.

Nanoleaf, creators of smart light-panels that give any room a futuristic glow, unveiled a 12-side geometric table-top object at CES Tuesday that will work with Apple HomeKit-enabled smart home devices.

This pillow is sleep-inducing music to your ears [Review]


Dreampad is a pillow that joins forces with your iPhones to help you sleep.
Dreampad is a pillow that joins forces with your iPhones to help you sleep.
Photo: David Pierini/Cult of Mac

A good night’s sleep could start with a good pillow. But the part of our bed designed to rest our head doesn’t do anything to shut it off.

But what if it could?

The Dreampad along with an iPhone app promises to do just that. The firm and fluffy pillow uses a patented technology that delivers relaxing music through the pillow that can be heard only by you and not the sleeper next to you.

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

This post is brought to you by EdX.

It’s often said that the internet makes it possible for anyone to get educated on any subject. But just as in offline modes of education, the many models of online teaching and learning are far from perfect, with plenty of room for improvement and innovation.

A joint effort between Harvard and MIT — dubbed EdX — is aiming to provide not only a place for learning new skills, but a platform for innovating new ways of teaching and learning over the web. It’s a nonprofit online education platform partnered with nearly 100 of the world’s leading universities and institutions — Harvard, MIT, Microsoft, Caltech, Columbia, you get the picture — to provide students anywhere in the world access to more than 1,000 certified courses. As an open-source platform, it also offers educators an opportunity to design and implement their own modes of teaching.

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

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

Budget-friendly smartbulb wants everyone to have cool lights


Qube Smartbulb
The Qube Smartbulb is taking on more expensive lighting like Philips Hue.
Photo: Qube

I love my Philips Hue smart-lighting kit, but every time I’ve just randomly turned my living-room lights different colors in front of another person, they’ve asked the same question:

“How much did you pay for this?”

And then I just kind of mumble something because while the system has added convenience and versatility to my apartment, I’m still not super comfortable admitting that I plan on paying $60 for a light bulb. Instead, I just say, “It was for work,” and leave it.

But Qube, a new smart-lighting system that launches in April, wants to avoid that kind of awkwardness with bulbs that cost way less than its competitors but offer just as many opportunities for just the weirdest ambience you can design.