Why Google Home Caused Me to Switch to Spotify

I love Google Home. We have it controlling lights and locks and anything we can. But by far the main thing we use it for is to play music. So when we started, I reviewed who had the best music streaming service and the winner is Google Play Music. In just about every way Google Play Music is better than Spotify. I won’t go into all the details as you can find plenty of articles comparing the services but briefly some keys differences for me are # of offline devices is 10 with Google and 5 with Spotify and the # of people on a family plan is 6 with Google and 5 with Spotify. And I assumed Google Play would work best with Google Home…makes sense, right? Ironically it doesn’t!

Part of the Google Home integration does work better. I loved being able to say “Hey Google, I like this song” and it would automatically be added to my ‘thumbs up playlist’ (Spotify makes thumbs up so hard but that’s another story). What didn’t work is getting Google Home to play the playlist you want on Google Play Music. Sometimes a playlist that had worked for weeks will just stop being recognized and Home instead plays some album that has a name somewhat similar. You can find lots of posts from people with this issue. Rather than giving your playlist the priority, for some reason it’ll choose an album or person first. People have tricks like naming your playlist something simple like “first”, “second”, “third” or something unique like “octopus” or “asparagus”. The simple names helped but still wasn’t flawless.

Then if you’re a country music fan, they just broke that all together. What I would call the “main” Country playlist was called Hot Country. I could say “Hey Google, play playlist Hot Country” and it worked like a champ for months. Then all of the sudden Google didn’t know what I meant. I checked online and it was now called “Today’s Country Hits” but Home wouldn’t recognize that either. I opened 2 tickets with Home support but got nowhere. I think the name change killed it as in the Stations it’s Today’s Country Hits’ but if you save it to your library it appears as the old name ‘country hotlist’. I opened two tickets with Google Home trying to help them fix it but finally gave up.

This totally broke my routine as now something easy to play my music required me to start it on my phone and cast it to Home. If I’m not hands-free on this, what’s the point.

So I switched back to Spotify, set it to primary music service and now I just say “Okay Google, play Hot Country” and it works like a champ. Not sure if others had the same experience but for me it was actually Google Home that caused me to switch to Spotify. I’ll be curious if YouTube Music works better but switching isn’t as easy with a family plan as everyone gets tired of being yanked around after getting their favorites and playlist setup the way they want. So for now, we’ll stick with Spotify and Google Home.

Sophos XG DHCP Scope Not Working for VLAN

I have been fighting with implementing a voice VLAN on Sophos XG for months.  We’d set the vlan to ‘voice’ on the switch and the phones would go to the voice vlan with not problem but then some phones just would not get a DHCP address.  I had been searching and searching but somehow today I got lucky and found Sophos XB article123952.  The issue for me is that the phones had been on the LAN DHCP scope and so XG wouldn’t give them a new IP on the voice VLAN.  I have no idea why some phones we could just bounce from VLAN to VLAN without issue and others we couldn’t but the fix makes that a moot point.  The key is to set STATIC ENTRY SCOPE to global.  Issue this command from the Sophos CLI.

system dhcp static-entry-scope global

For me that was an instant fix.  I rebooted the phones and everything worked as expected.  And while I say this is the fix (and it is) the reason isn’t 100% clear.  Today I had a phone had no entry in DHCP on the LAN scope but it would not get a Voice VLAN IP from DHCP.  But as soon as I set the static-entry-scope to global, it immediately worked after a reboot.  XG doesn’t give you a way to flush DHCP which I really don’t like.  As DHCP is one of the least developed areas of the XG gui (seriously, we can’t set DHCP options in the web gui!) my guess is even though the mac and IP aren’t showing up in the web gui somewhere in XG’s internal DHCP table the record is still there.  That’s just a guess…and again…the key is this should fix your issue.