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Thread: Welcome to Amazon Sidewalk

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    Welcome to Amazon Sidewalk

    I just heard about this for the first time yesterday...

    Welcome to Amazon Sidewalk
    https://www.amazon.com/gp/help/custo...NXWQKZEG9MDRAM



    Amazon's Sidewalk Network Is Turned On by Default. Here's How to Turn It Off
    https://www.inc.com/jason-aten/amazo...rn-it-off.html

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    Fanatic Member Delaney's Avatar
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    Re: Welcome to Amazon Sidewalk

    It sends chills up my spine...
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    Smooth Moperator techgnome's Avatar
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    Re: Welcome to Amazon Sidewalk

    Quote Originally Posted by Delaney View Post
    It sends chills up my spine...
    Alexa: would you like a blanket? I have found 50 different varieties, including electric heating ones? Would like to purchase one now?

    -tg
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    Super Moderator Shaggy Hiker's Avatar
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    Re: Welcome to Amazon Sidewalk

    A solution in search of a problem.

    I've kept an eye on home automation devices. They always leave me feeling....meh! If you're lazy enough to benefit from them, you're probably too lazy to install them.
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    Re: Welcome to Amazon Sidewalk

    My idea of home automation devices -> Remote ON/OFF switch to a light with three fixtures on it....inside my office. I can grab the remote and turn the lights on without walking across the room.

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    Re: Welcome to Amazon Sidewalk

    I'm a big fan of home automation. Voice control lights, thermostat, TV, Electrical outlets. Maybe because I'm disabled and this saves me a lot of effort but really I think it's because I'm naturally lazy. I don't care if they track me or listen to my conversations.

    Not sure what's going on with this Sidewalk thing. Don't like that they are using some of my bandwidth or adding to my data usage. Not sure how it affects me, they just keep saying it will help people find their lost pet. I don't have a pet. lol If your away from home, most Echo controlled devices have apps. Not sure what the point of this thing is.

  7. #7
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    Re: Welcome to Amazon Sidewalk

    So Amazon discovered raspberry pi and thought to make a few buck out of it.
    ἄνδρα μοι ἔννεπε, μοῦσα, πολύτροπον, ὃς μάλα πολλὰ
    πλάγχθη, ἐπεὶ Τροίης ἱερὸν πτολίεθρον ἔπερσεν·

  8. #8
    Super Moderator Shaggy Hiker's Avatar
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    Re: Welcome to Amazon Sidewalk

    It sounds to me like all their doing is setting up a WiFi relay network. Basically, a mini-network of packet switches.
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    Re: Welcome to Amazon Sidewalk

    Apple has a similar thing. But since almost nobody has the products its network is hilariously spotty to the point of non-existence.

    This is pretty old news, like 2019 old. The only new thing I'm aware of is the recent addition of the Tile tracker fob to the Sidewalk network.

    And no, a Raspberry Pi doesn't really figure into any of it. Those were designed to snag your money and then sit in a junk drawer, rinse and repeat every year or so as another version of the sucker's toy comes out.

    SMH

    "Alexa, play The Logical Song Everywhere."

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    Re: Welcome to Amazon Sidewalk

    How Amazon Sidewalk Works—and Why You May Want to Turn It Off
    https://www.wired.com/story/how-amazon-sidewalk-works/

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    Wall Poster TysonLPrice's Avatar
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    Re: Welcome to Amazon Sidewalk

    Quote Originally Posted by Shaggy Hiker View Post
    A solution in search of a problem.

    I've kept an eye on home automation devices. They always leave me feeling....meh! If you're lazy enough to benefit from them, you're probably too lazy to install them.
    I'm still waiting to join the procrastinators club...
    Please remember next time...elections matter!

  12. #12
    Super Moderator Shaggy Hiker's Avatar
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    Re: Welcome to Amazon Sidewalk

    They'll send you an application....eventually.
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    Re: Welcome to Amazon Sidewalk

    Alexa for Windows isn't as full-featured as the phone apps, but it can come in handy. You can leave it listening for the wake-word, bind it to a hot key (default: Ctrl-Shift-A), or click on a button in the app window to start talking:

    Ctrl-Shift-A "Alexa, cancel Pizza timer"
    Cancels your Pizza timer you had started on your Kitchen Echo device

    Ctrl-Shift-A "Alexa, play Along Came Jones Everywhere"
    Starts playing that 1959 novelty song on all the speakers in your Everywhere group

    Ctrl-Shift-A "Alexa, stop Everywhere"
    Stops playing the song

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    Re: Welcome to Amazon Sidewalk

    Alexa even knows who Vic Fontaine was. Ask to play his music and you get James Darrin tunes.

    But not everyone is familiar with the programs available on Quark's holosuites.

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    Smooth Moperator techgnome's Avatar
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    Re: Welcome to Amazon Sidewalk

    Hmmmm.... I wonder if my Dot is old enough to not support sidewalk. It doesn't seem to be an option in the account settings... unless they've moved it... then again, not sure when the last time the app updated itself.

    -tg
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    * I also don't respond to friend requests. Save a few bits and don't bother. I'll just end up rejecting anyways.*
    * How to get EFFECTIVE help: The Hitchhiker's Guide to Getting Help at VBF - Removing eels from your hovercraft *
    * How to Use Parameters * Create Disconnected ADO Recordset Clones * Set your VB6 ActiveX Compatibility * Get rid of those pesky VB Line Numbers * I swear I saved my data, where'd it run off to??? *

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    Re: Welcome to Amazon Sidewalk

    Backup plan:


  17. #17
    Frenzied Member jdc2000's Avatar
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    Re: Welcome to Amazon Sidewalk


  18. #18
    Fanatic Member Delaney's Avatar
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    Re: Welcome to Amazon Sidewalk

    Name:  192879834_5569061119802874_34181905602268205_n.jpg
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    The best friend of any programmer is a search engine
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    Re: Welcome to Amazon Sidewalk

    I finally found a sensor that can report temperature via Alexa without being a whole "smart thermostat" and uses cheap long-life battery power. 2 AAA cells instead of lithium coin cells or worse.

    Name:  Sensor.png
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    These can (currently) only be queried by voice for the temp, or directly from the Smart Life phone app for both temp & hum, as well as having an LCD display showing current values. Sadly, the displayed temp value is in C (you can't select F) and Smart Life only reports C as well, but Alexa converts to F. I don't expect the display to change, but a firmware update might do it down the road, assuming the LCD isn't showing a hardware C though I think it is. The Smart Life app could also update to give a temp conversion option for F.

    The main use aside from querying one upstairs to satisfy curiosity is to trigger actions or alarms. For example a freezer alarm or activating a garage vent fan. Simple triggered routines are easy enough. I already have a hallway night light triggered on and off based on 15-minute offsets from current local sunset and sunrise.

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    Re: Welcome to Amazon Sidewalk

    I might have to get another temp/hum sensor back out of the box. It worked, but not via Alexa. Perhaps the Smart Life Skill (Echo-to-device adapter profiles are called "Skills") got updated?

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    Re: Welcome to Amazon Sidewalk

    BTW: That smart sensor/display is a Zigbee device, not WiFi.

    That lets it get by with low power, but it does mean you'll need a compatible Zigbee hub. It is a Tuya device, meant for use with Tuya's hub, but it sounds like newer Echo devices with a built in hub can work with these too.

    Zigbee can be frustrating. It feels like one of the most non-standard standards around. But a part of that might not be the protocol as much as device messaging on top of the protocol.

    I found a similar device that costs a bit more but is a little larger, rectangular, and also measures/displays the ambient light (lux) level. Uses 2xAA power which might last a lot longer. I see a few square ones now as well.

    The round one comes with a little "prop up leg" allowing it to sit on a desk rather than sticking to a wall.
    Last edited by dilettante; Jun 13th, 2021 at 12:47 PM.

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    Re: Welcome to Amazon Sidewalk

    The rectangular one that also measure "lux" can be queries via voice for both temp and hum but not lux (as far as I can tell so far). The small round one can only be queried for temp, at least today.

    Of course the Smart Life app on the phone sees all readings for both sensors, as well as history graphs. I assume the limiting factor is what and hasn't has been implemented in the Alexa Smart Life Skill that links the two systems. If so things may improve over time with updates.


    An Echo device with its own built in ZigBee hub might already report more readings via voice query. Most Echo devices only have WiFi, Bluetooth, and of course the newly activated Sidewalk protocol in the 900Mhz band. So to support things like ZigBee and Z-Wave device protocols you need a separate gateway (usually marketed as a "hub") on your LAN.

    But I get the idea most people here either aren't playing with this stuff yet or else it's all old hat and boring to them.

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    Re: Welcome to Amazon Sidewalk

    The "lux level" reading isn't entirely useless for home automation though.

    I have set up a nightlight to turn off and on based on local current sunrise/sunset times. But the sensor's ambient brightness reading (as well as temp or hum) could also trigger similar routines to control a switched device.

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    Re: Welcome to Amazon Sidewalk

    How cool. A major player made an effort to get onboard with the Post-Cloud Revolution:


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    Re: Welcome to Amazon Sidewalk

    Interesting test of some common temp/hum sensor devices. This test is limited to some ZigBee devices, but for sensors the low power consumption makes a lot of sense (compared to WiFi sensors that almost nobody makes anyway).


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    PowerPoster Elroy's Avatar
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    Re: Welcome to Amazon Sidewalk

    Well, I'm not too worried. I've got about 12 Alexa's in my house (even one in the garage and one in the laundry room). But I also live in the middle of 20 acres. I don't even have WiFi passwords (except on stupid devices that require them, like my stupid Rosie-vacuum on which I have a separate WiFi SSID, and a stupid Ubiquiti extender in my garage that mandates a password).

    I figure, if someone wants to lay out in the un-hayed field and steal my WiFi bandwidth, have at it.
    Any software I post in these forums written by me is provided “AS IS” without warranty of any kind, expressed or implied, and permission is hereby granted, free of charge and without restriction, to any person obtaining a copy. Please understand that I’ve been programming since the mid-1970s and still have some of that code. My contemporary VB6 project is approaching 1,000 modules. In addition, I have a “VB6 random code folder” that is overflowing. I’ve been at this long enough to truly not know with absolute certainty from whence every single line of my code has come, with much of it coming from programmers under my employ who signed intellectual property transfers. I have not deliberately attempted to remove any licenses and/or attributions from any software. If someone finds that I have inadvertently done so, I sincerely apologize, and, upon notice and reasonable proof, will re-attach those licenses and/or attributions. To all, peace and happiness.

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    Re: Welcome to Amazon Sidewalk

    I figure, if someone wants to lay out in the un-hayed field and steal my WiFi bandwidth, have at it.
    What's your address? Mind if I bring my trailer?

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    PowerPoster Elroy's Avatar
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    Re: Welcome to Amazon Sidewalk

    You know what's absolutely stupid about all of this? Originally, all the 2.4GHz bands were released to the public because they were noisy bands in the EM spectrum. (I'm not as sure about the 5GHz bands.) Governments didn't think they were good for anything, so they just released them to the public with no licensing requirements. And the rest is "sort of" history.

    But what's so ridiculous is that there are EM bands that are virtually "dark" except for what humans put into them. A perfect analogy is like seeing a lighthouse light in the daytime versus nighttime, and that's actually still the EM spectrum, just the part of it we can see with our eyes.

    Just think about it ... taxi driver radios, police cruiser radios, and even our cell phones work much better than WiFi ... communicating up to 50km without much problem. And we can even think about satellite communications, which are even farther. The reason all of these work better is because they're in a much darker part of the EM spectrum.

    One might think that there's just not enough EM spectrum to go around, but that's not true either. In the past, it may have been true, but we're constantly figuring out how to communicate over thinner and thinner slices of the spectrum (without even getting into multiplexing, using the same frequency for multiple channels).

    It's all just governments and regulations getting everything screwed up.
    Any software I post in these forums written by me is provided “AS IS” without warranty of any kind, expressed or implied, and permission is hereby granted, free of charge and without restriction, to any person obtaining a copy. Please understand that I’ve been programming since the mid-1970s and still have some of that code. My contemporary VB6 project is approaching 1,000 modules. In addition, I have a “VB6 random code folder” that is overflowing. I’ve been at this long enough to truly not know with absolute certainty from whence every single line of my code has come, with much of it coming from programmers under my employ who signed intellectual property transfers. I have not deliberately attempted to remove any licenses and/or attributions from any software. If someone finds that I have inadvertently done so, I sincerely apologize, and, upon notice and reasonable proof, will re-attach those licenses and/or attributions. To all, peace and happiness.

  29. #29
    Super Moderator Shaggy Hiker's Avatar
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    Re: Welcome to Amazon Sidewalk

    I think we should make use of part of the human visible spectrum. Yeah, it doesn't go through walls all that well, but for local applications it would be awesome, especially if it was low-bandwidth communications. Surfing the web could resemble a rave.
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  30. #30
    PowerPoster Elroy's Avatar
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    Re: Welcome to Amazon Sidewalk

    Quote Originally Posted by Shaggy Hiker View Post
    I think we should make use of part of the human visible spectrum. Yeah, it doesn't go through walls all that well, but for local applications it would be awesome, especially if it was low-bandwidth communications. Surfing the web could resemble a rave.
    hahaha. I can see it now ... the more we surf, the more we see lasers shooting all over the place. We'd have to strategically put convex mirrors at doors and corners. *laughs and shakes head*

    It's actually always fascinated me how different frequencies in the EM spectrum have different properties and abilities.

    Light actually works pretty well ... think "fiber optics". But, fiber optics aren't "wireless".
    Any software I post in these forums written by me is provided “AS IS” without warranty of any kind, expressed or implied, and permission is hereby granted, free of charge and without restriction, to any person obtaining a copy. Please understand that I’ve been programming since the mid-1970s and still have some of that code. My contemporary VB6 project is approaching 1,000 modules. In addition, I have a “VB6 random code folder” that is overflowing. I’ve been at this long enough to truly not know with absolute certainty from whence every single line of my code has come, with much of it coming from programmers under my employ who signed intellectual property transfers. I have not deliberately attempted to remove any licenses and/or attributions from any software. If someone finds that I have inadvertently done so, I sincerely apologize, and, upon notice and reasonable proof, will re-attach those licenses and/or attributions. To all, peace and happiness.

  31. #31
    Super Moderator Shaggy Hiker's Avatar
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    Re: Welcome to Amazon Sidewalk

    The opacity differences are particularly interesting. It's mighty convenient that wood blocks visible light. Life would be different if our houses were transparent.

    The most significant difference would be, of course, that the phrase, "people who live in glass houses shouldn't throw stones" would never have been invented.
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  32. #32
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    Re: Welcome to Amazon Sidewalk

    Well we do make use of near-visible IR for things like low data rate "remote control" applications. There are even bridge devices sold to help integrate that into home automation networks.

    Paul here is always amusing:


  33. #33
    Super Moderator Shaggy Hiker's Avatar
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    Re: Welcome to Amazon Sidewalk

    Yeah, but visible would be so much more entertaining.
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