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Smart Home Hacks

Book Description

So much of what is commonplace today was once considered impossible, or at least wishful thinking. Laser beams in the operating room, cars with built-in guidance systems, cell phones with email access. There's just no getting around the fact that technology always has, and always will be, very cool. But technology isn't only cool; it's also very smart. That's why one of the hottest technological trends nowadays is the creation of smart homes. At an increasing rate, people are turning their homes into state-of-the-art machines, complete with more switches, sensors, and actuators than you can shake a stick at. Whether you want to equip your home with motion detectors for added security, install computer-controlled lights for optimum convenience, or even mount an in-home web cam or two purely for entertainment, the world is now your oyster. Ah, but like anything highly technical, creating a smart home is typically easier said than done. Thankfully, Smart Home Hacks takes the guesswork out of the process. Through a seemingly unending array of valuable tips, tools, and techniques, Smart Home Hacks explains in clear detail how to use Mac, Windows, or Linux to achieve the automated home of your dreams. In no time, you'll learn how to turn a loose collection of sensors and switches into a well-automated and well-functioning home no matter what your technical level may be. Smart Home Hacks covers a litany of stand-alone and integrated smart home solutions designed to enhance safety, comfort, and convenience in new and existing homes. Kitchens, bedrooms, home offices, living rooms, and even bathrooms are all candidates for smart automation and therefore are all addressed in Smart Home Hacks. Intelligently written by engineering guru and George Jetson wannabe, Gordon Meyer, Smart Home Hacks leaves no stone unturned. From what to purchase to how to use your remote control, it's the ultimate guide to understanding and implementing complete or partial home automation.

Table of Contents

  1. Smart Home Hacks
    1. SPECIAL OFFER: Upgrade this ebook with O’Reilly
    2. Credits
      1. About the Author
      2. Contributors
      3. Acknowledgments
    3. Preface
      1. Why Smart Home Hacks?
      2. What Is Home Automation?
      3. Crossing Platforms
      4. How X10 Works
      5. X-What, You Say?
      6. How This Book Is Organized
      7. Conventions Used in This Book
      8. Using Code Examples
      9. How to Contact Us
      10. Got a Hack?
    4. 1. A Foot in the Front Door
      1. 1.1. Hacks 1–24
      2. Hack #1. Know the X10 Address
        1. 1.2.1. Setting an Address
        2. 1.2.2. Planning an Addressing Scheme
        3. 1.2.3. Addresses to Avoid
        4. 1.2.4. Final Thoughts
      3. Hack #2. Turn On a Light
        1. 1.3.1. Hacking the Hack
      4. Hack #3. Master Your Appliances
      5. Hack #4. Send X10 Commands
      6. Hack #5. Send X10 Commands Wirelessly
        1. 1.6.1. Key-Chain Remotes
        2. 1.6.2. Palm Pad Remotes
        3. 1.6.3. Transceivers
        4. 1.6.4. The Wireless Delay
      7. Hack #6. Keep Watch with Motion Detectors
        1. 1.7.1. Selecting Addresses
        2. 1.7.2. Positioning Motion Detectors
        3. 1.7.3. Other Motion Detectors
      8. Hack #7. Turn On the Lights When You Enter a Room
      9. Hack #8. Turn On the Lights When They're Needed
        1. 1.9.1. The Code
        2. 1.9.2. Hacking the Hack
      10. Hack #9. Ring a Bell to Alert the House
        1. 1.10.1. Hacking the Hack
      11. Hack #10. Sense What's Happening
        1. 1.11.1. Using Dry-Contact Switches
        2. 1.11.2. Using Low-Voltage Switches
        3. 1.11.3. Selecting a Switch
        4. 1.11.4. Connecting to the Powerflash
        5. 1.11.5. Setting the Powerflash House and Unit Code
        6. 1.11.6. The Powerflash Modes
        7. 1.11.7. Robustness Considerations
      12. Hack #11. Control the Uncontrollable
        1. 1.12.1. Setting Up
        2. 1.12.2. Final Thoughts
      13. Hack #12. Groom Your Home for X10
      14. Hack #13. Set Addresses for Modules Without Dials
        1. 1.14.1. HomeSeer
        2. 1.14.2. XTension
        3. 1.14.3. Indigo
        4. 1.14.4. Final Thoughts
      15. Hack #14. Increase the Spousal Approval Factor
        1. 1.15.1. Use Better Modules
        2. 1.15.2. Program for Politeness
        3. 1.15.3. Final Thoughts
      16. Hack #15. Unplug Your Computer
        1. 1.16.1. Advantages of a Standalone Controller
        2. 1.16.2. Programming the Controller
        3. 1.16.3. Hacking the Hack
      17. Hack #16. Add a Brain to Your Smart Home
        1. 1.17.1. What You Need
          1. 1.17.1.1. Computer.
          2. 1.17.1.2. Computer-to-X10 translator.
        2. 1.17.2. Hooking It Up
        3. 1.17.3. Choosing Your Software
          1. 1.17.3.1. Applications for Macintosh.
          2. 1.17.3.2. Applications for Windows.
          3. 1.17.3.3. Applications for Linux.
        4. 1.17.4. Final Thoughts
      18. Hack #17. Get to Know XTension
        1. 1.18.1. Getting Connected
        2. 1.18.2. Adding a Unit
        3. 1.18.3. Adding Pseudo Units
        4. 1.18.4. Events Scheduling
        5. 1.18.5. Responding to Events with Unit Scripts
        6. 1.18.6. Using Global Scripts
        7. 1.18.7. Creating Groups of Units
        8. 1.18.8. Using the XTension Log
        9. 1.18.9. Learning More
      19. Hack #18. Get to Know Indigo
        1. 1.19.1. Getting Connected
        2. 1.19.2. Adding a Device
        3. 1.19.3. Adding Variables
        4. 1.19.4. Scheduling Events
        5. 1.19.5. Responding to Events with Trigger Actions
        6. 1.19.6. Defining Action Groups
        7. 1.19.7. Using Scripts
        8. 1.19.8. Using the Indigo Log
        9. 1.19.9. Learning More
      20. Hack #19. Get to Know HomeSeer
        1. 1.20.1. Getting Connected
        2. 1.20.2. Adding a Unit
        3. 1.20.3. Adding Virtual Devices
        4. 1.20.4. Scheduling Events
        5. 1.20.5. Responding to Events with HomeSeer
        6. 1.20.6. Triggering Sequences of Events
        7. 1.20.7. Triggering Scripts
        8. 1.20.8. Using the HomeSeer Log
        9. 1.20.9. See Also
      21. Hack #20. Sync with the Sun
        1. 1.21.1. Actions at Sunset
        2. 1.21.2. Actions at Sunrise
          1. 1.21.2.1. Sun events and XTension.
          2. 1.21.2.2. Sun events and Indigo.
          3. 1.21.2.3. Sun events and HomeSeer.
        3. 1.21.3. Hacking the Hack
      22. Hack #21. Choose the Right Controller
        1. 1.22.1. Teasers and Appetizer Controllers
          1. 1.22.1.1. The FireCracker (CM17A/CM18A).
          2. 1.22.1.2. The CP290.
        2. 1.22.2. Mainstream Controllers
          1. 1.22.2.1. ActiveHome and HomeDirector (CM11A).
          2. 1.22.2.2. The LynX-10 kit.
          3. 1.22.2.3. Ocelot.
        3. 1.22.3. Expensive Controllers
          1. 1.22.3.1. TimeCommander-Plus.
          2. 1.22.3.2. Stargate.
        4. 1.22.4. Final Thoughts
      23. Hack #22. Maintain an X10 Library
      24. Hack #23. Shop for Secret X10 Devices
      25. Hack #24. Welcome to the State Machine
        1. 1.25.1. Who's Home?
        2. 1.25.2. Environmental States
        3. 1.25.3. Tracking and Changing States
        4. 1.25.4. Final Thoughts
    5. 2. Office
      1. 2.1. Hacks 25–36
      2. Hack #25. Remember Important Events
        1. 2.2.1. Deciding How to Be Reached
          1. 2.2.1.1. An email is sent to one or more addresses.
          2. 2.2.1.2. A message is spoken aloud by your home automation computer.
        2. 2.2.2. Scheduling with Home Automation Software
        3. 2.2.3. Scheduling with Calendar Software
        4. 2.2.4. Sending Email Reminders with iCal
        5. 2.2.5. Hacking the Hack
      3. Hack #26. Keep the Lights On While You Work
        1. 2.3.1. Hacking the Hack
      4. Hack #27. Know Who's Calling
        1. 2.4.1. Final Thoughts
      5. Hack #28. Broadcast Announcements to the Whole House
        1. 2.5.1. What You Need
        2. 2.5.2. Planning
        3. 2.5.3. Examining Your Wiring
        4. 2.5.4. Wiring the Speakers
        5. 2.5.5. Amplifying the Announcements
        6. 2.5.6. Making the Computer Connection
        7. 2.5.7. Putting the Voice Announcements into Action
      6. Hack #29. Announce Events with Recorded Announcements
        1. 2.6.1. Creating a Recorded Announcement
        2. 2.6.2. Playing the Announcement
        3. 2.6.3. Hacking the Hack
      7. Hack #30. Send Pager Messages
      8. Hack #31. Broadcast Messages on Your Home Network
        1. 2.8.1. Hacking the Hack
      9. Hack #32. Control Your Printer from Afar
      10. Hack #33. Phone Your Home
      11. Hack #34. Control Your Home with Phlink
        1. 2.11.1. Installing the Phlink Scripts for Indigo
        2. 2.11.2. Phoning Home
        3. 2.11.3. Custom Status Reporting
        4. 2.11.4. Remote Notification
        5. 2.11.5. Final Thoughts
      12. Hack #35. Forward Phone Calls
        1. 2.12.1. Hacking the Hack
      13. Hack #36. Silence the House when You're on the Phone
        1. 2.13.1. Hacking the Hack
    6. 3. Kitchen and Bath
      1. 3.1. Hacks 37–46
      2. Hack #37. Brew Your Morning Coffee
        1. 3.2.1. Hacking the Hack
      3. Hack #38. Detect the Beer Thief
        1. 3.3.1. Hacking the Hack
      4. Hack #39. Install a Kitchen Terminal
        1. 3.4.1. Final Thoughts
      5. Hack #40. Install a Home TV Server
      6. Hack #41. Control Your Heating Remotely
      7. Hack #42. Monitor the Refrigerator Door
      8. Hack #43. Heat the Toilet Seat
        1. 3.8.1. Hacking the Hack
      9. Hack #44. Detect Flooding
        1. 3.9.1. Hacking the Hack
      10. Hack #45. Monitor the Litter Box
        1. 3.10.1. Hacking the Hack
      11. Hack #46. Avoid Battery Memory Problems
    7. 4. Bedroom
      1. 4.1. Hacks 47–53
      2. Hack #47. Educate Your Alarm Clock
        1. 4.2.1. Hacking the Hack
      3. Hack #48. Put the House to Sleep for the Night
        1. 4.3.1. The Evening's Announcements
        2. 4.3.2. Lights Out
        3. 4.3.3. During the Night
        4. 4.3.4. In the Morning
        5. 4.3.5. Hacking the Hack
      4. Hack #49. Lighting for Insomniacs
        1. 4.4.1. Hacking the Hack
      5. Hack #50. Adjust Lights as the Sun Rises
        1. 4.5.1. The Code
        2. 4.5.2. Hacking the Hack
      6. Hack #51. Simulate a Sunrise
        1. 4.6.1. Hacking the Hack
      7. Hack #52. Motorize Your Window Blinds
      8. Hack #53. Outdo Big Ben
        1. 4.8.1. The Code
        2. 4.8.2. Hacking the Hack
    8. 5. Garage and Yard
      1. 5.1. Hacks 54–68
      2. Hack #54. Monitor Your Driveway
        1. 5.2.1. The Sensors
        2. 5.2.2. Positioning the Sensors
        3. 5.2.3. Reacting to the Sensors
        4. 5.2.4. Hacking the Hack
      3. Hack #55. Know If the Garage Door Is Open
        1. 5.3.1. Hacking the Hack
      4. Hack #56. Control Your Garage Door
        1. 5.4.1. Locking for Security
        2. 5.4.2. Automatically Closing the Door
        3. 5.4.3. Indicating Status
        4. 5.4.4. Opening the Door Automatically
        5. 5.4.5. Hacking the Hack
      5. Hack #57. Control Your Home from Your Car
        1. 5.5.1. Hacking the Hack
      6. Hack #58. See Through Walls
      7. Hack #59. Use Indoor Modules in the Great Outdoors
        1. 5.7.1. Temporary Installations
        2. 5.7.2. Semipermanent Installations
        3. 5.7.3. Permanent Installations
      8. Hack #60. Control Outdoor Lighting
        1. 5.8.1. Making a Smart Light Timer
        2. 5.8.2. Getting Flexible
        3. 5.8.3. Final Thoughts
      9. Hack #61. Track Fuel Consumption
      10. Hack #62. Know When the Mail Arrives
        1. 5.10.1. Hacking the Hack
      11. Hack #63. Mow the Lawn
        1. 5.11.1. Hacking the Hack
      12. Hack #64. Get the Weather
      13. Hack #65. Safely Water the Garden
        1. 5.13.1. Final Thoughts
      14. Hack #66. Foster Green Pastures with a Smart Sprinkler System
        1. 5.14.1. Choosing a Controller
        2. 5.14.2. Setting Up the Hardware
        3. 5.14.3. Scheduling Irrigation
        4. 5.14.4. Hacking the Hack
      15. Hack #67. Stop Watering During Rainstorms
        1. 5.15.1. Feeding Indigo the Weather
        2. 5.15.2. Cleaning Up Nightly
        3. 5.15.3. Scheduling the Sprinklers
        4. 5.15.4. Hacking the Hack
      16. Hack #68. Adapt Sprinkler Schedules and Solar Water Heating to Available Sunlight
        1. 5.16.1. The Hot Water Schedule
        2. 5.16.2. The Irrigation Schedule
        3. 5.16.3. The Code
        4. 5.16.4. Final Thoughts
    9. 6. Security
      1. 6.1. Hacks 69–82
      2. Hack #69. Check for an Empty Home
        1. 6.2.1. Hacking the Hack
      3. Hack #70. Know Who's Home
        1. 6.3.1. Houseguest Settings
        2. 6.3.2. Last One Out
        3. 6.3.3. Welcome Back
        4. 6.3.4. Final Thoughts
        5. 6.3.5. Hacking the Hack
      4. Hack #71. Avoid False Intrusion Alarms
      5. Hack #72. Nobody Here but Us Ghosts
        1. 6.5.1. First Things First
        2. 6.5.2. Setting Up
        3. 6.5.3. The Ghost Walker Script
        4. 6.5.4. Hacking the Hack
      6. Hack #73. Send Notifications of Home Events
        1. 6.6.1. Hacking the Hack
      7. Hack #74. Who's There?
        1. 6.7.1. Detecting Visitors
        2. 6.7.2. Reacting to Visitors
        3. 6.7.3. Hacking the Hack
      8. Hack #75. Secure Your Construction Site
        1. 6.8.1. Driveway Warning
        2. 6.8.2. Fake Headlights
        3. 6.8.3. Video Recording
        4. 6.8.4. Alarm System
        5. 6.8.5. Solar-Powered Security Lights
        6. 6.8.6. A Driveway Gate
        7. 6.8.7. Final Thoughts
      9. Hack #76. Monitor Your Summer Home
        1. 6.9.1. Watching Weather Conditions
        2. 6.9.2. Monitoring for Water Problems
        3. 6.9.3. Monitoring for Power Failures
        4. 6.9.4. Watching for Outside Activity
        5. 6.9.5. Watching for Inside Activity
        6. 6.9.6. Notification Devices
      10. Hack #77. Protect Outdoor Cameras
      11. Hack #78. Know When Windows and Doors Are Open
      12. Hack #79. Bark like a Dog
      13. Hack #80. Unite Your Alarm and Home Automation Systems
      14. Hack #81. Instill Peace of Mind for the Elderly
      15. Hack #82. Monitor Your Home with a Network Camera
        1. 6.15.1. The Code
        2. 6.15.2. Running the Hack
        3. 6.15.3. Other Approaches
    10. 7. Advanced Techniques
      1. 7.1. Hacks 83–100
      2. Hack #83. Improve the Response Time of Motion Detectors
        1. 7.2.1. The Need for Speed
        2. 7.2.2. Improving Wireless Reliability
        3. 7.2.3. Improving Reception
      3. Hack #84. Check for Dead Motion Detector Batteries
        1. 7.3.1. The Code
        2. 7.3.2. Hacking the Hack
      4. Hack #85. Outsmart Motion Detectors
        1. 7.4.1. Location Matters
        2. 7.4.2. React Logically
      5. Hack #86. Improve X10 Reliability
        1. 7.5.1. Electrical Noise
        2. 7.5.2. Weak Signals
        3. 7.5.3. Phase Coupling and Repeating
        4. 7.5.4. Final Thoughts
      6. Hack #87. Avoid Common X10 Problems
        1. 7.6.1. Lights That Turn On Unpredictably
        2. 7.6.2. Lights That Turn On Regularly
        3. 7.6.3. Modules That Refuse to Obey
      7. Hack #88. Streamline Your AppleScripts
        1. 7.7.1. Attachment Scripts and XTension
        2. 7.7.2. Attachment Scripts and Indigo
        3. 7.7.3. Final Thoughts
      8. Hack #89. Harness Your Hamster to Power a Night Light
        1. 7.8.1. Hacking the Hack
        2. 7.8.2. Postscript
      9. Hack #90. Get More Out of Your Motion Detectors
        1. 7.9.1. Hacking the Hack
      10. Hack #91. Track Home Events with iCal
        1. 7.10.1. Hacking the Hack
      11. Hack #92. Chart Home Automation Data
        1. 7.11.1. Getting the Data
        2. 7.11.2. Saving the Data
        3. 7.11.3. Clean-Up Script
        4. 7.11.4. Generating a Plot
      12. Hack #93. Share Your Home Automation Mac with Other Users
        1. 7.12.1. Talking to XTension Using AppleScript
        2. 7.12.2. Hacking the Hack
      13. Hack #94. Remap X10 Addresses
        1. 7.13.1. Hacking the Hack
      14. Hack #95. Control Lights in a Group
        1. 7.14.1. Final Thoughts
      15. Hack #96. Block Units for Easier Scripting
      16. Hack #97. Calculate Elapsed Time
        1. 7.16.1. The Code
      17. Hack #98. Identify Trouble Spots
      18. Hack #99. Control Your Home from a Web Browser
      19. Hack #100. Which Way Did She Go?
    11. Index
    12. About the Author
    13. Colophon
    14. SPECIAL OFFER: Upgrade this ebook with O’Reilly