How To Video
Light your tree with your phoneUse an Internet-connected power strip to manage your holiday lights using any smartphone.
Hey. I'm Donald Bell for CNET.com and if you want a cool way to make your holidays just a little bit more techie, check this out. This thing is called the Quirky Power Pivot Genius. You get four sockets that you can twist around to fit whatever chunky power adapters you might have and two of them can be controlled remotely by your smartphone. So, if you want it to be able to remote turn on your Christmas tree lights or your holiday lights, you can do that with this power strip, runs about 80 bucks. Now, the first thing you're gonna need to do is to plug this on the power and then download a free app called Wink, that's available for both iOS and Android. Now, when you first set up the Wink app, it's gonna ask you to create an account and then set up a new device. Now, to do that, it's gonna ask you for your local WiFi password and it's gonna try to communicate that information to the power strip and this is where it gets really cool. To do that, it's going to blink that information with the series of light pulses directly to little sensor on the strip, I'll show you what I mean. Here you go, let's now do a countdown. Three, two, holding it over. Success. All right, now that they're talking to each other we can see an image of the power strip on the app and it will toggle switches from the two different sockets. So, I've got the Christmas three here plugged into the first socket and I've got the holiday lights in the background plugged into the other one. So, I can turn on this first socket here and the three should go on. There it goes. And then the second one here is gonna control the lights in the background. Yeah. All right. I can even name them by tapping them. I can actually name them for what they're going to turn on and off just so that I can remember it later on. And if we wanna get a little more advanced, we can hit the little clock icon here and schedule events. Now, this event can either be turning one of the sockets on or turning one of the sockets off. So, I'm gonna say, turn this socket on, in a few minutes hit set and I can repeat the process over again to find a time to turn the socket off. Now, by repeating this process, you can create multiple events that turn the lights on and off throughout the day which is a big advantage over a conventional light timer. You also get two independent light sockets here that can be controlled on separate schedules, which opens up some interesting possibilities. So, there you go. That's a quick and easy way to control your holiday lights with your smartphone. For more How To you can visit howto.cnet.com. I'm Donald Bell wishing you a very happy, very techie holiday.