If you’ve always dreamed of turning on your lights by screaming at the wall, Amazon has a product for you. The Amazon Smart Plug ($24.99) is a compact dongle that plugs into an existing electrical outlet in your home or office. Any light, appliance, or other device that you plug into the dongle can then be controlled using Amazon’s Alexa smart assistant (and only Amazon’s Alexa smart assistant — more on that below).
Want to retrofit an existing desk lamp so you can control it with your voice? Hook the lamp into an Amazon Smart Plug, plug it into the…
Smart assistants come with a lot of baggage.
I like the idea of having a smart screen on my desk. It’s a decidedly sci-fi concept: A little dashboard that’s specifically coded to display up-to-date information from all different sources that I want to see, without distractions or extraneous features.
But I don’t want a device with a microphone or a camera on it. I don’t want Amazon or Google to set what’s on my device, and I don’t trust them with an audio feed in my home.
So, I built my own.