The Amazon Echo = game changer for my Arduino projects: a voice interface for wifi-enabled ESP8266 devices. Fits the command-based devices best.
Goodbye Particle firmware, hello ESP8266 core
I've been using a small board called the [Oak](http://digistump.com/products/145) from digistump for deploying arduino home-automation devices around the house. The Oak is a great board with good wifi, but the Particle firmware has always been trouble: difficult to set up, random flaky behavior, etc. At heart the Oak is an ESP8266 chip, and these days there's a lot of independent support for ESP8266. So when I found some [notes](http://digistump.com/board/index.php/topic,2718.0.html) in the Oak forum about removing the Particle firmware and using the ESP8266 core directly, I jumped at the chance to try it out.