Sunday, February 14, 2016

... and there was much rejoicing (yea)

Well the last few weeks have been surprisingly productive. I've spent a good portion of my work hours doing work related training (Agile, API testing etc.) and of course my testing work. The reason I mention it is that usually long hours in online learning means I'm dain bread and unable to do much thinking (like binging on Beavis and Butt-head for a week). Instead I've been preparing for my TCF presentation next month (3/19). I've managed to rustle up a cellular router so my presentation will have access to the internet (and through a VPN, my home). I just did the initial install of SmartThings starter kit (hub, outlet, motion sensor and 2 magnetic security sensors). Now I'm playing with code to allow the SmartThings hub to share it's devices with my local MQTT server. I took a look at several different versions of other people's code and settled on St John's code and Github repo. After a bit if finagling I was finally able to get it to mostly work. I can monitor the devices but I can't yet control the SmartThings outlet from MQTT. Hence today's title. I also still have a ton of presentation work to do and I need to reduce the slides down to a manageable few (I have several hundred).

The was a bit more good news, the SmartThings Shield arrived. I probably won't get to work on that for more than a month but at least I have it. Hopefully I'll be able to sit down with the SmartThings documentation and get a better understanding of how SmartThings works. At this moment I think I understand the Device Type and Smart App I installed but I wouldn't bet on it. I really need to sit down and study the documentation. At least I got my hands dirty with the code. :-)

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Bought a used SmartThings kit

So I've decided that out of all the HA kits/hubs out there that the SmartThings kit will probably be the best to survive. As I expected, the used kit I picked up off Amazon has immediately run into problems. Not really a complaint, as I sort of expected there to be a few problems as it's not a "brand new, out of the box setup". I tried to register it with SmartThings and the registration key is already registered to the previous owner (of course). I sent an email to SmartThings support, they responded back with a request for a picture of the back of the hub and within minutes I was connecting devices to the hub (yea!). So not a bad start.

I picked up SmartThings because I think it has the most industry support. It also has good developer support with it's dev site and Arduino dev boards. The one thing that surprised me is that the kit's sensors have humidity, temperature and battery life sensors. Sensors tend to be expensive so it's nice to have more than just a simple open/close or motion sensor for that expense. I'm hoping that it will also allow my existing HA (Misterhouse, HomeSeer, Node.js and custom scripts) to interoperate without too much cloud API. At this point I'm a bit confused as to what I can do with the Groovy code that, I think, runs in the cloud. I found something that suggests that the hub can access local LAN devices which would suggest that the code is local to the hub. Cool and perhaps a security nightmare! I need to think about this. SmartThings already has IFTTT support so I'm looking forward to playing with that. I've signed up for IFTTT (If This Then That). IFTTT, which are rules that, based on a condition, will execute some rules you've setup. Now it's time to see what this thing can do and how it lets the average user manage the intelligence. I guess I need to play dumb and let the help pages guide me.

In other news the Home Depot is starting to stock some HA devices. Most of what you find online is only online (but they'll deliver to a local store or you home). Lowes only seems to have Iris and Lutron (found that by accident so they might have more), while Home Depot seems to have Insteon, Wink, Lutron and SmartThings. I'll need to visit a couple of local stores to see what they have.