Andy's Blog

A handful of ramblings...

Omnibot Shoulder Servo Modification

Omnibot Shoulder Servo Modification

In this project, we'll walk through installing the mounts and making the necessary modifications to the arms of your Omnibot 5402 or Sr for motor control of the arms. My goal was to create a structure to move the arms by the shoulder with minimal modification to the bot itself. It will still require two parts being permanently modified but it could still be reverted back to a cosmetically but not functionally original state.

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Home Automation - Year 4

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I'm really terrible at this whole blogging thing. 😕

Anyway, a lot and a little has been going on since my last home automation project overview. I have been really busy with odds and ends over the last year and a half although, only a little has been spent in any meaningful additions to my sub projects - save one!

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Please Remember the Cost of Social Isolation

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How has this past year been for you? Stressful? Lonely? Maybe a bit of hopelessness?
Now that the vaccines are being distributed, are you feeling a bit more optimistic?
It has been over a year since our society went home to our bubbles of isolation but for people with disabilities or other limiting factors, the pandemic was just more of the same.

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This is getting to be ridiculous...

Remember when the idea of your smart speaker listening to you make you uneasy?

Check this out!

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/11/27/opinion/amazon-halo-surveillance.html

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How a faulty washer may have saved our lives

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Have you ever had one seemingly trivial issue open up a torrent of "opportunity" and possibly may have saved your life? I believe we may have.

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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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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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