Stuff We Love PrimerOur Stuff We Love posts are not your typical “Best of” or “Top Pick” posts.  Stuff We Love might seem like an odd name.  We get that.  We also know that our headings are a bit, shall we say ‘non-traditional’…  Accepting that our non-standard style and vocabulary might cause some confusion we thought you might appreciate this primer.

Every Stuff We Love post is exactly that: Stuff We Love.  These are the solutions we pick for our needs.  In many cases we own these devices and use them on a regular basis.  In some situations we might have an older version or something slightly different; in those cases the Stuff We Love pick is what we would go with if we were putting our money down now.  

The world of IoT and automation is an ever growing and changing environment with a mind bending number of options to pick from.  As soon as you choose your first automation device or application you begin to build your own unique ecosystem.  What works amazingly for someone may end up causing nothing but problems for someone else.  

We know this isn’t a ‘one size fits all’ world.  We recommend you look at our Big Picture posts and our How To posts for our recommendations for packages of devices and services that work well together in different environments.  We also talk about specific devices that might be a better fit in certain scenarios.

In many cases there is no magic bullet; no solution that works best for everyone in every scenario.  We always include strengths and weaknesses and suggest alternatives or substitutes if we know about other good options.

Here is it outline of what you can expect to find in a typical Stuff We Love post :  

What We Love:

We always start out with what we love.  We keep this short and sweet. If that is all you want to know you can find it quickly and easily in this section and move on.

Why We Love it:

Here we get into all the positives.  We let you know why we feel this is the best option.  We run through key features and often highlight scenarios where we find those features particularly useful.

Hmmm:

Let’s face it: no one is perfect.  Even the ones we love the most have flaws that we routinely overlook.  The Hmmm section covers the quirks and minor character flaws for the Stuff We Love.  These are not deal breakers and can usually be worked around fairly easily.  This section may highlight weak points or areas where a close competitor really shines.

Works Best With:

An automated life works best when all the bits and pieces fit together. In this section we outline where the Stuff We Love works and integrates particularly well.  

Great For:

This section matches the Stuff We Love to the type of environment or user.  In some cases we match a specific problem the solution works particularly well for.

You Might Also Love:

Here is where we list alternatives and substitutes.  We provide the pros and cons usually with a comment about why we did not select this as our Stuff We Love pick.  We also often highlight where another solution works particularly well.

Stuff We Really Like:

These are the friends not the lovers.  That doesn’t mean that they are not great they just fall short in some fairly significant way.  They may lack functionality or they may require additional components to work.  This is also the section where we might suggest something completely off the wall that may not be an obvious alternative to our pick but is a substitute for some piece of the functionality of the Stuff We Love selection.

What’s Not To Love:

These are the real negatives.  These issues may be deal breakers.  The problems will not be issues for everyone but they are the things that if you need them you will want to look at the alternatives because there isn’t an easy or obvious work around.  

When the Alternative Might Be Better:

Sometimes the obvious answer isn’t the best.  Sometimes a simple solution is better than a full featured and complex one.  Sometimes our pick will not work for you.  In this section we share our ideas for alternative solutions. We will let you know some of the common scenarios where one of our “You Might Also Love” options may be a better fit.