Dumb Home

Compared to many, I likely live in a dumb home vs. a smart home. That’s not to say that we don’t have modern tech prodcuts in our home. We have an Amazon Echo in the kitchen and in the kids’ rooms. We have a couple of HomePods in various rooms for music and interaction with Siri. We have Apple TV devices and a home security system. We have a smart thermostat that will sense when people are home and adjust things to help save energy. Our garage door opener is connected to HomeKit. We have a doorbell camera and a couple of outdoor cameras that are as well. We have a WiFi mesh network.

The reason I say that we live in a dumb home is that I’ve purposely avoided smart home equipment related to things like lights, light swtiches, home applicances, door locks and window shades/blinds. It isn’t that I don’t see the convenience or geeky angle of how lights turning on and off when you enter or leave spaces or saying a command and things magically happening all around the house at once. I’ve avoided them because they strike me as the type of home tech we’ve been falsely conditioned to think will reduce friction in our lives. I want a purely mechanical door lock that I don’t have to consider if it needs new batteries. I want an oven, refridgerator, washer and dryer that don’t need firmware updates and just consistently do the thing they were made to do.

When I hear people discussing their smart home equipment, it is mostly frustrations with inconsistent performance or incompatibility that is driving more cost, more time and more tweaking. Smart home tech creates more maintenance and tinkering for things that aren’t really that much of an inconvenience to begin with. I don’t find it inconvenient to flip a light swtich when I enter or leave a room. I don’t regret that my coffee kettle can’t alert my phone when it reaches the optimal temperature for brewing a cup. I don’t think that a door not unlocking as I reach for the knob as friction to my entry.

This opinion is mine and I don’t fault others for having a different view or feeling on these things. I just realized that my intentional aversion to many products in the smart home category is ironic given that I don’t avoid modern technology, generally speaking. I think it is an interesting connection point between concepts like slow” apps or single-threaded thinking.

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