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1. The holidays wrecked me. This was the first year that I felt completely over-scheduled during the holidays. We packed in a ton of family and friends time over Christmas and in the week between Christmas and New Year’s, with something going on almost every day.  By the time we got to New Year’s, I was frazzled and fried and pretty much wanted nothing more than to go to sleep at 8 pm.  I’m not sure there’s anything different we could or would have done – I think that’s just the reality of life with a small kid.  I do know that I’m really excited that I’m going to vacuum the house this afternoon.

2. Smarter than the house. The Philips Hue bulbs are going back to Best Buy. I’m a bit sad about this.  I can’t tell you how much we liked having the ability to change the tone of the bulbs throughout the day, from warm yellow early in the morning to a bluer, daylight color in the afternoon, and back to warm yellow at night. The color part was fun too, although it was hard to get anything to match the color wheel in the green/blue/purple spectrum. Apparently Philips traded in the ability to do true blues for the ability to have more flexibility with whites.* That isn’t why they’re going back, though.  As I mentioned last week, Philips has closed down their ecosystem so that it no longer works with most bulbs or other smart things. In the end, that’s a deal-breaker for us.  I think we’ll be switching to a combination of Z-wave dimmers and Lifx bulbs, and possibly some Hue knock-offs A found on Alibaba.

3. The year of tracking. This is the first year I’ve collected and reviewed stats for the year. I definitely want to do it again, in a somewhat principled manner.  And because it’s easier to decide to do something in early January than it is to actually do it throughout the year, I want to make it simple. That means finding apps that run continually in the background, without me having to do anything about it (Google locations, UP by Jawbone) or that have a ridiculously simple user interface (Clue, the non-pink period tracker).  I’m still searching for a good travel app, and I’d love to see a life tracker type app that let’s me track the “everything else.”

4. I would really like to buy a house with a roof that doesn’t leak. We noticed a wet patch in the ceiling on Christmas Eve, right under one of the solar panels.  The solar company sent someone out to look at it immediately, and he was awesome.  He got all the way into the back of the crawlspace (which is maybe two feet high), poked around, went up onto the roof, did a bit more poking around, figured out where the leak is coming in, and put a temporary patch on it. Unfortunately, it has nothing to do with the solar panels, which means that the solar company won’t cover it.  On my to-do list today:  calling roofers. If you live around here and have a roofer you like, please please please send me their contact info.

5.  We’re taking a toddler to Mexico for week.  I have researched toddler activities (whale watching on a pirate ship! a semi-submersible submarine!), found not one but two babysitting agencies that cater to tourists, and (mostly) penetrated the Mexican rental car thicket. We also bought Z a tapper of her own, a 7″ tablet that will be much less expensive to replace when she breaks it than either of our phones. She’s not one of those kids who will stare quietly at a screen for three hours, but I figure it’s probably good for 30 minute stretches of semi-self entertainment.  Anyone have recommendations for good toddler games?  Especially games that lock the screen so she can’t inadvertently exit out?

Closing Tabs

Questionable Advice and Advertisements put up a fun pie chart of New Year’s resolutions from 1946.

T-mobile isn’t throttling you, you’re just being down-graded.  For all practical purposes, I’m not sure there’s much of a distinction to be made. You’re still getting lower-quality service because we haven’t yet figured out who’s in charge of paying for the Internet.

Season Six of Game of Thrones will be out before The Winds of Winter.  Considering that I stopped around Season 4 of the HBO series, largely because I couldn’t take all the senseless violence any more, I’m not much troubled by this. In happier news, here’s a teaser for season two of Outlander.

CNET compared Philips Hue bulbs to Lifx, and the difference between the two is pretty telling.  If we weren’t already planning to switch, this might have convinced us.

Question of the Week

I got this new poll app, but someone mentioned last week that they were having trouble answering.  I think I’ve got it figured out now, but let me know offline or in the comments if it’s still broken.

This poll is closed! Poll activity:
Start date 04-01-2016 06:10:52
End date 07-02-2016 23:59:59
Poll Results:
What kind of life-tracking do you do?