With this $25 gadget, Amazon will finally get you to stop scoffing at the idea of a ‘smart home’

Dave Limp, Senior Vice President of Amazon Devices, introduces the 'smart plug' during an event at the Amazon Spheres, on September 20, 2018 in Seattle Washington.

Stephen Brashear | Getty Images News | Getty Images
Dave Limp, Senior Vice President of Amazon Devices, introduces the ‘smart plug’ during an event at the Amazon Spheres, on September 20, 2018 in Seattle Washington.

Earlier this year, Amazon launched a $25 smart plug that lets you control any outlet in your home by voice with an Amazon Echo. That means you can control any lamp, appliance or anything else that plugs into an outlet by speaking a phrase to Alexa like “turn on the living room lamp,” without having to find a switch. It even lets you add other smarts, like a schedule so the light turns on and off at certain times.

It’s a really easy way to turn a “dumb” home into a smart one that you can control with your phone or by voice. You don’t need to fiddle with complicated hubs or spend too much time trying to get something to connect to your WiFi network.

If you can plug in a lamp, you can get the smart plug working. I’m going to show you how to get the most out of it.

This is the smart plug

Amazon smart plug

Amazon smart plug

It’s very simple. Think of it as a sort of adapter that adds the brains to anything you want to plug into an outlet. It will let you schedule an appliance to turn on and off at a certain time, enable you to turn it on or off even when you’re away from home and let you activate it by speaking to Alexa.

All you need to do is take the smart plug, plug in the appliance to one end —it makes the most sense with a lamp because it’s a simple on/off appliance, but you can use anything from a humidifier to a fan — and then plug it into the wall.

[“source=cnbc”]

A computer will help Somerset mother and son attain educational goals

Somerset resident Matilda Archer, 39, has spent the last 12 years taking care of her son, Dijon Archer, who brings her unimaginable joy.

Many who know her at the Somerville-based Jewish Family Services of Hunterdon, Warren and Somerset Counties say that she is thoughtful and always has a positive outlook on life. Archer and her son are part of the organization’s family mentor program, which provides tutoring once a week for her son, Dijon, who is in seventh grade, has a little trouble focusing, and the program is helping him keep his education on track.

She said her son has a variety of interests typical of a young man his age, including playing sports and hanging out with friends.

Archer said that while his grades have improved since participating in the mentoring program, having a computer would really help him because almost everything they do in school now is online.

This would also help her with her dream of finishing her college degree, as everything is also done mostly online in higher education as well.

Before deciding to go back to school, Archer worked at Player One Amusement Group doing accounting until Aug. 15 of this year.

“We nominated Matilda (for the Courier News Wish Book program) because she was recently laid off by her company, which was very hard for her because she is a single mother working to support her family,” said Young-ln Shin, family mentor coordinator at Jewish Family Services. “She is using this difficult time to better herself and improve the quality life of her whole family.”

“She is looking to go back to community college to finish her associate degree,” Shin said. “This has been a long-term dream of hers to get a degree.”

Archer said that because of her financial situation, she has not been able to complete her accounting degree even though she already has 49 credits. Her current situation has given her a golden opportunity to realize her dream.

“Raritan Valley Community College has a program that helps you go back to school if you’re unemployed,” explained Archer.

“A computer would help my whole family,” Archer added.

Jewish Family Services is a non-profit, non-sectarian, community organization which provides counseling, family mentor programs, senior mentor programs, and programs to help clients prepare for and find better job opportunities.

[“source=forbes]