A few months back, I wrote a column here about how I had tried, and failed, to embrace smart-home tech to solve some problems I had in my house. The story ended with me triumphantly realizing that sometimes, the high-tech solution is not the best one.

Well, I fell off the wagon.

The timer switch I installed for my front-door lights—so they’d turn on automatically at sunset and stay on until 11 p.m.—burned out a bunch of my light bulbs. Just as with my attempts to install a WeMo switch this summer, I was being let down by the 1950s-era wiring in my house.

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