Goodbye Darksky!

Yet again, the big guy swallows up the small and highly useful resource.
https://www.engadget.com/2020-03-31-apple-dark-sky-weather-app.html

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You people are Crazy!

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I went to Walmart yesterday...

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My Home Automation Project - 2 Years In

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So, I have two years of projects and ideas behind me. With all of the fits and starts, labored undertakings and successes and failures, what does the next year hold?

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Planning for your new Smart Home build

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So, you're building a new home and want it to be ready for the Smart Home Revolution. Well, not to burst your bubble but, it won't be - not entirely. Until there are standards in place for that future home, you'll just have to make your home as standardized as is currently possible and probable.

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Recent Comments
Guest — Matthew Reis
Excellent read and some great points! I'm in the process of building now and this will definitely help me make some decisions on w... Read More
Saturday, 30 May 2020 15:30
Andrew Hoover
Thank you! I'm glad you find this helpful. It is a question that does seem to come up often.
Saturday, 30 May 2020 15:34
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What is a Life Worth?

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A couple of years ago, I responded to a post on Facebook with a personal story that I have rarely shared. I don't talk about these events in my life often and not because I don't think of them as important or central to my identity but rather, because I do. I have kept it to myself largly because, it is a fundamental piece of me - one that is sensitive and utterly personal.

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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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Active Project

  •   Monday, 30 November -0001
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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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