Friday, November 26, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving Day!

For those in the US, Happy Thanksgiving and for everyone may you always have plenty to give thanks for.

I've been busy with my preparations for my TCF Home Automation presentation on Saturday, April 2nd. I've been tuning up my MisterHouse (MH) setup on my DollHouse. I'm not sure how I'm going to proceed with the presentation but I'll see if I can present to one of the local user groups before April for their reaction.

I've started putting up the step by step procedures for putting MH on my Sheeva Plug computer. At the moment I've misplaced the script (argh!). It cleans out a lot of extra stuff that is not needed on a Linux based MH install. I still haven't figured out how to deal with the modified MH script (I've commented out a bunch of code). I'm pretty sure the installation of the default script is okay. Obviously further work is needed on the procedures. I've also spent a bunch of time cleaning up my home's automation equipment. I've been having a lot of problems with the operation of my system. I removed a half dozen various controllers, removed a bunch of extra cable in the computer room, cleaned up various code and finally figured out how to deal with MH's floorplan. I've begun documenting Floorplan on the MH Wiki Floorplan page. While MH's floor plan isn't complicated it really isn't well documented either. Back to the hardware, I think I have a bad X10 bridge. I use X10 commands to get around Insteon's stupid protocol limitation of a module being manually turned on and reporting the change. All the Insteon appears to be properly working though some more checking is needed to verify that.

In other news, Electrolux/Frigidaire has a Infinity I-Kitchen (Fridge - BR to EN Translation). Here's the translated description:

"Electrolux revolutionizes the concept of modern kitchen with the launch of the Infinity I-Kitchen, the first refrigerator with an interactive touch screen monitor that brings more than 600 suggestions for the preparation of dishes and drinks. Electrolux's exclusive innovation, the product was fully developed in Brazil and offers a variety of applications and technology attributes to interact with the consumer."

I don't know about Brazilian consumer tastes but this sounds like marketing is trying to sell a reason for putting a touch screen display on a fridge. That doesn't mean I'm against using computers (micro-controllers actually) in the appliances. It's just I don't want to see Android, iOS or some other tablet OS sitting on each one of my home's appliances, TV, Entertainment system and light switch. Look. if the appliance reports useful information such as power usage, current temperatures, open, closed, light on etc. and reports this back to a central server where the information can be processed then I'm all for it. But the recipe and shopping idea has been thrown around for a long time (my 2000 article) and I don't see it's long term value (short term - high geek points, but that wears off quick). And the central server is not the one at Vendor Central (vendor central being the appliance maker) so the company can charge me extra for something (e.q. subscription services) that should be part of the value added. I'm not against most subscription services (I love Tivo) but I should be getting something for my money not some dumb excuse for a subscription. As for a touch screen, well I want an Android tablet that can be moved around to where-ever (I like it in the living room). I don't want it attached to my fridge. That way I can use the tablet to access apps such as, I don't know, perhaps my home automation system?!

Now lets see what's in the fridge, good thing I put that wireless IR camera in the fridge, now I can sit on my couch and stair endlessly at the inside of the fridge. Oh, look, Turkey ...


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