Monday, December 23, 2013

Silly, cool, oddities.

Still trying to decide if I should pick up the TCP Connected Wireless LED bulbs (they're still wired to the AC). While they seem like a good idea they are a bit expensive (a $17 replacement bulb). I think I may try something else.

While searching around I did find other oddities and 'cool' things (but read the reviews). Under the category of WTF:

  • PSPT1-WH01 Wink Spotter - The blurb: "... lets you monitor motion, sound, light, temperature, and humidity from your smartphone.". Reading the reviews, it's not even close. So it is probably a good idea but a bad implementation. I might see if I can pick up one when they hit the ebay EOL resellers. This could be a useful device and I wouldn't mind getting my hands on a unit to hack around with.
  • Porkfolio - Wink-Enabled Piggy Bank - is the world’s smartest piggy bank. It wirelessly connects to an app on your mobile device so you can track your balance and set financial goals from afar. Its nose lights up in celebration every time a U.S. coin is inserted. Kind of cool but senseless. Again read the reviews. For my needs I can't see this being more than a geek toy.
  • Eggminder Internet Connected Egg Tray - The blurb: "... wirelessly connects to your mobile device to track the number of eggs you have and tell you when they’re going bad. In-tray LED lights indicate the oldest egg, while push notifications alert you when you’re running low. Check Egg Minder while at the store; you’ll never be in a scramble for a good egg again." This one seems a little weird at first but could be useful for those who forget if they have enough eggs. Read the reviews, most people seem to like it ... oh, wait they're not serious. ;-)
  • Nimbus 4-Dial Dashboard - The blurb: "... is a highly customizable 4-dial dashboard that tracks what’s important to you. Personalize each gauge using your mobile device to keep an array of info up-to-date and available at a glance. Nimbus can monitor your commute traffic, weather, email, calendar, social media networks, and more." While the device looks cool I can't find a reason to own one, I mean I need to use the cell phone to use this thing but isn't the cell phone my window on the world? Pop the cell phone in the charger stand next to my bed and I have an alarm clock, phone, radio, MP3 player and camera (but you really don't want to see me when I get up). Hold on, my cell phone is buzzing me ... yup my cell phone agrees (hmmm, need to disable that preference in my Google preferences).

More in line with what I already have:

  • Belkin WeMo - WiFi enabled outlets. Price is a little steep and I know nothing of the security. I'd like to get a few outlets before I write this one off. I think it uses WiFi - don't know if it's B,G or N.
  • Philips Hue Starter Kit - This is very expensive but way cool. I'm not sure my wife would appreciate the different colors or not. I wouldn't mind getting my hands on one of these bulbs but I find it hard to find a spot for the entire kit (3 bulbs). This one will probably wait a bit longer before I can get my hands on it. Philips also has an LED strip that works with the Zigbee base. I'm betting that they have a few other Hue based devices that will work too. I'm not sure of the quality but I have high expectations with Philips and at these prices it better be met. Uses ZigBee but I don't know if it will work with other, non-Philips, ZigBee devices.
  • TCP Connected Wireless LED - I'm not yet sure how this one works but the reports from the folks on Cocoontech is that if you grab the Javascript it's possible to figure out what's going on and communicate with the bulbs. At $50 this one is more in the realm of a hacker's budget though the $17 replacement bulbs are pretty steep. I'm not 100% sure of the amount of light output but I think the 2700k color temp is a match for the American market. I'm still leaning towards getting this one (Can you say waffle? I kneew you could ;-)). Uses 802.15.4, not sure if this will play nice with other 802.15.4 devices (ZigBee also uses 802.15.4).

At least it gives me a good idea of what is out there in ZigBee/802.15.4 land. Also if I can put together a small microcontroller with TCP/IP and a ZigBee interface I might actually have something to build future projects with. For now I have the Digi XBee chips. The number of ZigBee/802.15.4 devices seems to suggest it is a much less expensive interface than WiFi. Let's see what I can find (but no promises). I don't see IP, IPv6 or WiFi being directly used as the HA device protocol in the immediate future. Those protocols don't seem to suite HA directly. It is my undertanding that ZigBee has a gateway with direct mapping of IPv6 to the ZigBee protocol, so that's not what I'm taking about.


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