Nucleus Home Intercom Gets Alexa Advantage

2016.08.10 03

The smart home of the future could be a wee bit smarter with the addition of the Alexa-powered connected intercom system Nucleus announced last week.

The Nucleus intercom, which last fall made its debut without Alexa, is a tablet that connects to a home network through WiFi or Ethernet to allow family members to communicate with each other both inside and outside the home.

The inclusion of Amazon’s Alexa technology in the US$250 Nucleus lets it understand voice commands. For example, users can ask it to play music from services like Amazon Prime Music, iHeartRadio and TuneIn. They also can call up the latest weather report by saying, “Alexa, what’s the weather?” or add an item to a list, for example, “Alexa, add milk to my shopping list.”

The Nucleus intercom has an 8-inch touchscreen with 1280 x 800 resolution, a 5-MP camera with a wide 120-degree viewing angle, a microphone for two-way conversations, and stereo speakers for streaming music.

It can be paired with a smartphone through an iOS or Android app.

The promotional material for Nucleus suggests a potential target market for the intercom, observed LSA’s Sterling.

“The reason that multiple generations are featured in its promotional video is that this may be an easier solution for older adults and grandparents than navigating Hangouts, FaceTime or Skype,” he said.

“The appeal for this might be in connecting remotely with people who are technically challenged,” said ABI’s Collins. “They can go to a simple device for a simple application.”

Nucleus Home Intercom Gets Alexa Advantage

Fedora-Based Sugar on a Stick Is One Sweet Desktop

2016.05.01 02

The Fedora 23 Sugar on a Stick desktop offering is an unusually flexible computing desktop for children of all ages, school admins and organizations looking for the best bang for absolutely no bucks on existing computer hardware.

The Sugar environment is both a desktop and a collection of activities or apps that involve user engagement. Activities automatically save results to a journal. Users can add comments and share the activity instances with other users. Many of these activities support real-time collaboration.

As the name suggests, this Sugar desktop distribution fits on a USB drive, but you can just as easily run the ISO file as a standalone live session OS from USB or CD without making any changes to the hardware or removing the existing — possibly outdated — installed OS.

I spent years in the classroom using my own Linux-powered computers and providing students with open source software to facilitate their learning. That was before my school district got its act together by providing computers in the classrooms.

I found that most so-called portable OS offerings are well suited to student use in the classroom and at home. However, students not yet proficient with sophisticated computer use had a learning curve that slowed down their skills acquisition. The Sugar desktop is an ideal problem solver in getting technology and education on an equal footing for youngsters.

Fedora-Based Sugar on a Stick Is One Sweet Desktop