Ikea brings voice-activated smart shades to the rest of us

The window on my home’s front door has no curtain or blind, which is something I’ve long wanted to fix since it looks straight out onto the street. There are plenty of basic options that will get the job done, but I’ve been holding out for something a little fancier — and preferably something that I can automate, or control with my voice. I mean, come on. Who doesn’t want to live like a Bond villain?

Like

  • Incredible value compared to competitors like Lutron, Somfy and Tilt.
  • Easy-to-use app covers all of the bases for smart control, grouping and scheduling.
  • Simple, easy to use voice controls vie Siri, Alexa or the Google Assistant.
  • Removable, rechargeable lithium-ion battery.
  • Magnetic wireless remote comes included.

Don’t Like

  • Totally non-customizable design, available only in gray.
  • Slightly ugly metal housing.
  • Gateway device for app and voice controls sold separately.
  • Mounting screws not included.
  • No way to manually raise or lower the shades when the battery is dead.

Enter the budget-friendly home furnishings of Ikea. After initially getting its feet wet with the Tradfri smart lighting system, the Swedish retailer announced in 2018 that it was working on app- and voice-enabled roller blinds to

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Stimulus check 2: Will you get an extra $1,200 payment from the IRS?

How much money the government could send in a second stimulus check is a topic of intense speculation.


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Over the past few days, the question in Washington seems less about if Congress will pass another relief package but how big a second IRS stimulus check could be. Depending on who’s talking, the amount could be a single $1,200 direct payment, a monthly check of $2,000 through the length of the coronavirus pandemic or nothing at all. 

President Donald Trump, for example, while keeping away from specifics, has said he’s in favor of a bigger payment than the Democrat-led House of Representatives passed in May — one that offers a lump sum up to $1,200 per person.

“I support actually larger numbers than the Democrats, but it’s got to be done properly,” the president told Fox Business this week. “So we’re working on that and I’m sure it will all come together.”

“It’s a large-scale package,” said Larry Kudlow, the White House economic adviser, speaking to Fox Business. “Direct checks are probably going to be part of it, as far as the

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