I’m a sucker for a good zombie or end of the world story. I’ve recently been picking up some of the cheap kindle books. They average $1-$2 so I’m not heartbroken if they suck. If you’re a fan of the zombie/end of the world genre check out The Purge of Babylon and The Gates of Byzantium by Sam Sisavath. And if you have Amazon Prime then you don’t have to even buy them since they’re free with Prime.
The characters are relatable and his writing style is descriptive enough that I can build the scenes in my head and kind of see what the characters are seeing. For me, it’s a fine line to walk between the author having just enough detail to do that and too much to overwhelm. There is a 3rd book in the works that should be released in the next few weeks. Check out his site for updates on that.
I hardly ever do product reviews on my blog. Usually I’m just happy that whatever latest tech I bought works half as well as advertised. Well, I can honestly say that my new home stereo setup has not only met my expectations but completely exceeded them!
I’ve always wanted a multi room(zone) system. Something that I could listen to in the kitchen or my work room without blasting in the living room. Enter Sonos. I’ve been researching systems on and off for, literally, years. Nothing ever did exactly what I wanted it to do. There are a number of mult-zone home theater systems out there. But they all require running wires and then fiddling with the receiver to get the right rooms the right music.
Sonos simplifies that with their line of wireless speakers. I started out with one Play:1 and a bridge (you only need the speaker but it has to be connected to your home router. With the bridge I can move the speaker anywhere in my house and connect 31(!) other devices). The speaker itself is pretty hefty. It feels very solid and can be placed on a bookshelf or attached to the wall. All the Sonos devices use “SonosNet” which is an AES encrypted mesh network. Adding a device is really simple. You plug in the bridge, plug in the speaker and then open either the Android or Iphone app and click “Add Sonos Component” and then you push a button on the new device. That’s it.
Another great thing about the setup is the ability to put speakers in different rooms and control them independently or put them in “Party Mode” and play the same thing on every speaker. All the group control and volume controls are done from the Android App. You can also “pair” speakers to create a surround sound system through the app. There’s more info on that and how the Sonos software actually adjusts the sound to give surround sound. Here’s a screen shot of my two speakers and how I have them setup. In the kitchen I was listening to 12 Stones from my own mp3 collection while SiriusXM was playing in the living room.
I decided that I wanted to hear the Snoop Dog song that was playing on SiriusXM so I turned the Kitchen and Living Room into a single group aka “Party Mode”
And just like that I was doing my best Michael Bolton impression of Gin and Juice!
There are so many options you can pick from to stream music. I currently have SiriusXM Sat radio, iHeartRadio, Amazon Cloud Player, and my entire mp3 music collection which lives on a Synology NAS. The only downside is that in order to pick up my mp3’s I had to turn on the protocol that Windows uses for network shares but the NAS I have supports it so it was just checking a box to enable. I have ~50gb of music and it was indexed in a couple of minutes and available to play. Here’s a screenshot of what I see when I start the app. There are probably 40-50 other options to stream from.
I’m really, really happy with what I have so far. The plan is to add a Play:5 to the living room and move the Play:1 currently there into my bedroom (I didn’t mention that you can set alarms through the app and use the system as an alarm clock) and then get one more Play:1 for my work room and possibly an outdoor speaker if they come out with one. Now, if Sonos can integrate with ifttt like my home security system I will be in home automation heaven!