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February 12, 2005

home automation

so this week i've been on a sort of home automation kick. i bought a couple of light timers. i bought some doodads for my outdoor lights that will turn those lights on when it gets dark out. those aren't so good-- the lights are dim. not sure why. nevertheless it's nice to come home to a lit house without having to go through an elaborate morning routine of light turning on (and having lights needlessly burning all day-- my grandpa would be so proud).

now the next thing i'm working on is having some music playing when i get home from work. here is my (yet to be fully thought-through) cockamamie scheme (note that the goal is to avoid all manual intervention and automate this whole process):

1) record radio shows i think i will like using iRecordMusic on the Cube in my office.
2) get them into iTunes (this may require some Applescripting, but I hope I can just save the files to a directory that iTunes will automatically pick up... yet to be investigated.)
3) get an airport express (they are $99 refurbished right now) to send the music from iTunes on the Cube out to the stereo in the living room. (possibly put the stereo on a timer, too, but i'm not so sure about doing that).
4) schedule iTunes to start playing a particular playlist (probably a Smart Playlist that will automatically pick up the latest recorded radio shows) right before i get home. This is easily done with a 3-line Applescript that is fired off by iCal.

if i actually get all of this working, y'all better do some killer radio shows so it's worth it! :)

a programmable thermostat will have to wait til i get a new furnace & a/c; christa says not all programmable thermostats are compatible with all furnaces, and since they're pricey-- around $300-- i don't want to get one now and then have to discard it in a few months.

Posted by lisa at February 12, 2005 07:32 PM | TrackBack


Just wait, I'll get you hooked on X10 and then you'll be totally screwed.

ed: doncha need a peecee to run that stuff?

Let me have a look at the light sensor dodads. Are your outdoor lights just regular incandescents?

ed: gladly. incandescents. i guess they just aren't getting as much wattage now?

Laurie and I drove by that house. She's intrigued.

ed: w00t!

Posted by: jason! on February 13, 2005 02:31 PM

My light sensor dodads weren't getting enough light to them. They weren't in direct light all the time, so they flickered weirdly.

Would podcasting software get the tunes into iTunes? I haven't done enough research on that yet.

Posted by: Steph Mineart on February 14, 2005 06:34 AM

i haven't looked into podcasting software yet, either, so i'm not sure.

Posted by: lisa on February 14, 2005 08:57 AM

X10 has a USB interface, and there is a bit of mac software that does just fine. It all costs more than the PC stuff, but you're used to that.


I'd also imagine that the linux software that works for free could be adapted with adeqate geekery.

One of the things that I find with some lighting controllers is that they don't "snap" on or off (the cheaper ones have this problem). There's also a feedback situation where the light from the controlled device falls on the sensor controlling it.

Posted by: Jason! on February 14, 2005 09:51 AM

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