Moving to OpenHAB

Ages ago, I wrote that the choice of controller was the crucial thing in a HA system, possibly more important than the choice of protocol. This is still true, despite all the talk of interoperability; manufactures are still launching products that come with their own ‘app’ but little in the way of open API’s or developer documentation. Continue reading “Moving to OpenHAB”

I’m back !

After nearly a year, away, I’m re-joining the Home Automation fray. Quite a few things have happened on the HA front since I last wrote; I’ve changed my controller (I’m now using OpenHAB) started using new protocols (MQTT) and ZigBee, and expanded my system to not only monitor my home, but my car as well.

So now that I’m back, let’s waste no more time and jump into my first article.

Creating a cost efficient Linux Intranet

Like many people working in IT, I have a small server running at home doing various background jobs like sort my Email, provide network drives, monitor my house etc. This doesn’t require much processing power, and there are a great range of small Linux devices out there that are perfect for the job.
However there are times when a bit more power is required. So rather than have a high powered machine running all of the time, I thought of using two. One to do the lower power stuff, and another that kicks in when it’s needed. Continue reading “Creating a cost efficient Linux Intranet”

One box to rule them all?

I’ve just been reading the latest blog by Rory Cellan-Jones (the BBC’s Technology correspondent, in which he talks about Microsoft (Xbox One) and Sony’s (Playstation 4) attempts to give us “the all-purpose device that will give us all the entertainment we need” – one box to rule them all indeed. But I think he’s missed one crucial issue; the problem lies in the massive choice we have… Continue reading “One box to rule them all?”

Kickstarter – HDMIPi

While I’m documenting the various projects I’m doing, I’d also like to highlight some cool projects that other people are working on.

Here’s a KickStarter campaign for a full HDMI screen for the Raspberry Pi, being run by Alex Eames. Take a look and tell me what you think…. Continue reading “Kickstarter – HDMIPi”

The wrong question….

In my last post I talked about watching a talk by Steven Goodwin at Barcamp Berkshire this year. He’s been into Home Automation for quite a while now, and his system is based around a X10 for network. X10 has been around for a while (since 1975 apparently) and despite its critics it still remains one of the dominant protocols used today. But as I knew from doing a little reading, it’s far from the only contender. Continue reading “The wrong question….”

Home Automation – Where to start

For me it all started in June 2013 when a regular meeting at work threw up a random question, “What do you know about ZigBee? What about Home automation?” At the time, I had to admit not much. I’d read up on it of course, (which geek hasn’t) and I’d had Linux servers running my NAS and Email for years – but the hassle of installing X10 devices into UK wiring (more of this later), not to mention the cost had always stopped me going down this route. Continue reading “Home Automation – Where to start”