Farewell Snips! Another one bites the dust

Snips, a privacy focused locally processed voice agent is being acquired by Sonos. In the deal, the formally open system will be closing their console system. This system is what makes Snips available for developers to create their own apps based on the snips system. Unfortunately, this means that I will have to go back to the drawing board for a couple of my projects and try converting to an alternative - and hope whatever I land on doesn't get acquired and closed.

https://forum.snips.ai/t/important-message-regarding-the-snips-console/4145

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Using Facebook as a Forum

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I'm back on Facebook.
Now, before you get that look on your face, let me also note that I'm a FB Ghost. My profile only contains the items that are required to register and I have zero friends. I turned off all of the available settings to find me and it isn't possible to send me a friend request. So, now that look on your face probably looks puzzled. Let me explain.

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Project S1.6 - Home Information Center

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As outlined in UPDATED: My Home Automation Roadmap, I am working on a information center for our kitchen. This device has a 15.6" touch screen that will display information about our home as well as a common calendar, an interface for Home Assistant, local weather, and other programs and databases.

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My Backyard Weather beta 2

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Well another year of testing has come and gone so, it's time for an update! In short, I'm nearly there. This version is the last one with components mounted to a proto board. This is also the last dedicated version of the software.

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One more reason for local control only...

In a bizarre move by Google, they are closing out their "Works with Nest" program effective at the end of August and have decided that only google products can control google products. So, no more interoperability through open projects like Home Assistant or OpenHAB and possibly no interoperability with things like the Echo or Harmony remotes.

I can't imagine that Google shutting out their competitors isn't going to force their competitors to say "ok, fine, our products work everywhere but in the google ecosystem." In the end either Google strikes a deal with the bigger manufacturers to continue with some kind of special API or they'll suffer the backlash of manufacturers. This seems to me as a very arrogant move. It's like they don't know that Amazon still holds the market on voice assistants. Do you really want to piss off Amazon right now?

https://www.tomsguide.com/us/google-works-with-nest,news-30053.html

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Project S1.10 - Bed Headboard Control

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Sometimes buying cheap can be a blessing in disguise. In the case of our new memory foam bed base, if we hadn't decided to skimp, we may not have realized the joy of an intregrated bed in our smart home scheme.

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Is the cloud worthwhile?

This is an interesting read that is supposed to be a product launch announcement but wound up being more of an indictment of cloud requirements by hardware providers.

https://blog.ui.com/2019/01/09/introducing-unifi-protect/

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Project S1.4 - Control panels

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As I mentioned in UPDATED: My Home Automation Roadmap, I found that controlling lamps with remote switches is an easy and efficient method of bringing dumb lamps into the smart home fold. However, it introduces a new issue, I don't want to have to pull out my phone every time I want to turn one on or off. Imagine needing to get up in the middle of the night and having to find the phone in the dark, blinding yourself when you turn the screen on, finding the app and the lamp in the app and flipping it on ... all while trying to stay somewhat asleep. Enter, control panels.

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33 Days post Facebook and all is very well!

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January 1st at 12:01AM I went through the process of deleting my Facebook account. It's pretty straightforward and easy but FB gives you a 30 day cooling off period in case you didn't really mean it and decide to go back. They are hoping that during this withdrawal period, you'll get too fidgety and will come back to get your dopamine hit. I made it though - 33 days and counting!

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$53 almost smart smoke detector

Ok, the secret to having a reliable, certified, inexpensive smoke detector may be in overlooked option that exists in some industrial smoke detectors - A/C relays. What do you really need in a "smart" smoke detector? For me, knowing which smoke detector went off is what I care about the most. Second is the ability for that information to be used in automation and notification. So, what I really need is a signal wire that tells my system that this particular unit detected something.
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Moes 3-way smart switch in a 4-way configuration - YouTube

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WSDCdUFOj7k
I'm testing the Moes 3-way switch at the power end of a 4-way configuration. It does seem to work but I'm getting an unexpected leak voltage on the load when the circuit is off. Travis at DigiBlurDIY, confirmed that he was seeing similar low load results. It does appear that this is expected behavior and that a higher current load will drive the leaking voltage down.
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[Update: resolved, API reinstated and commitment to keep it around] Logitech Harmony removes local API - Home Assistant

https://www.home-assistant.io/blog/2018/12/17/logitech-harmony-removes-local-api/

If you think that the cloud powered device that you bought really belongs to you, then you might want to check this out.

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UPDATED: Why I'm Done Giving Social Media my Time

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Ok, this one is short and simple. Later Facebook and Twitter! So long and thanks for all the fish!

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UPDATED: My Home Automation Roadmap

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It's a funny thing - what you find when you start a project you think you know something about. If you're doing it right then you'll likely discover that you're not as slick as you thought you were. I suppose that is why I love these projects and goals so much. They make me stretch. On the flip-side, scope creep is real thing and not every project can be a voyage of discovery. So, this is my self-imposed roadmap for the first two phases of my overall home automation goals.

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The Language of IoT

IoT and other Alphabet Soup

Internet of Things, Zigbee, Z-Wave, X10, MQTT, nodes, pairing! What is all of this? In this article, I'm going to go over the common language of home automation and try to help you make sense of all of these terms and concepts. *NOTE* this article is alive and will change as time goes by.

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Anet A8 Notes and General 3D Printing Links

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Since buying my printer early last year, I've had a lot of questions about it, like 'where to get one', 'how good is it compared to others' and 'what kind of prints can I get out of it'. What follows comes from numerous emails and private messages with folks over the last year and a half. This document will change as I find new useful info. 

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Choosing a Home Automation Hub - How Hard Could it Be?

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As I mentioned in the introduction article of this series, there isn't a standard yet for smart home devices to talk to each other. However, the advertising and hype sure makes smart homes look like an easy care free way of life. Well, it isn't. If someone is telling you it is, beware! Snake oil will soon follow!

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8 Months of Home Automation Lessons

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Since February of this year, I've been working on a lengthy project - I am slowly adding digital control and automation to the everyday things in our home. This project, unlike most of the others I've started grew out of a need rather than a want. Sure, the want is there and I'd be lying if I said that this wasn't one of the most fun projects I've committed to but, in this case, this project started with attempting to fill a need. Now that this project has matured a bit, I want to start chronicling my journey so that others with a similar need may find these experiments useful.

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Robotic Arm Arduino Dev Platform

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As I started brainstorming for version 2 of the arm, it became clear that I would need to make some changes so, I upgraded the electronics of my original robotic arm. This will allow me to create more modes of operation and create an I2C secondary interface.

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My Backyard Weather beta1

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It has been over a year and I feel like I have a decently tested version to post. It has been a learning experience to be sure and I am already working on some changes for the official version 1 of this monstrosity. In the meantime, here is My Backyard Weather, beta 1.

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