I was planning on kicking off a bunch of new features this week, but I'm still on (working) vacation and am direly sleep deprived. Those changes will just have to wait. Thankfully, we've got some good deals this morning.
If you're thinking about upgrading your normal home into a smart home—that is, installing a bunch of gadgets around your home that enable you to control lights, thermostats, music, home entertainment systems and shopping services through one integrated voice- and/or smartphone-commanded system—then now is a good time to make the leap.
To celebrate the third birthday of Amazon's voice assistant service Alexa, they're offering several deals on Alexa enabled smart home devices. You can shop all of them below, but for my money I'm interested in this smart thermostat from ecobee ($209 down from $249), as well as this deal on Amazon's Echo ($99, buy 3, save $50 with the code ECHO3PACK), which would enable you to control all of your smart devices from anywhere in your house.
K'NEX aren't as much the poor man's Lego as they are the crunchy, hippie parents' alternative to Lego intended for overachieving children who either end up burning out or in their teenage years or getting engineering scholarships. Which is to say, they're a lot of fun, but tough. You can get your little poindexter a really cool present like this insane, 639-piece roller coaster for $27.99 (down from $43.68) until the end of the day. Also, Lincoln Logs ($28 down from $46) for the tots.
Sure, grill season is just about wrapping up. But barring freak exceptions like last year's hell storm, Portland winters tend to be fairly mild. You can have a cold-weather grill going without the hassle of deicing your propane tank like you'd have to in the Midwest.
Until the end of the day, Char-Broil is having a huge sale on two gas-powered grills. The first (pictured) is the deluxe, six-burner model, which comes with a side burner plus removable prep-space, $261.99 down from $449.99. Second, is the more modest four-burner, also with side burner and removable storage space, $154.99 down from $269.99.
(Cool Stuff is a new feature at Willamette Week where we feature product reviews, roundups, sales and other commerce and shopping-oriented content. All Cool Stuff reviews are editorially independent, meaning we provide honest reviews and aren't paid by the brands we write about. If you do choose to purchase something after following one of our links, Willamette Week may receive a commission, which helps fund our journalism.)