Deal Alert: Nest Learning Thermostat For $179

Nest-Learning-ThermostatOk, so this is a little off topic. Last year we installed a Nest thermostat in the house. We bought it from Lowe’s when they first hit the stores. At $249 it was very expensive, but showed a lot of promise. In the end we like it a lot.

Today I see that Amazon is offering the first generation Nest thermostat for $179. That’s certainly a much nicer price.

The company has released a second generation of the hardware, which is why they can discount the original device. Nonetheless, it’s been a solid addition to our household.

The device learns the pattern of your life, so there’s simply less need to adjust the temperature. For those times when we do want to make a tweak we especially like the remote control app for Android & iOS devices. We can turn on the air conditioning using a cell phone even as we’re on the way home.

Highly recommended.

Controlling Applications From Asterisk

asterisk1Many thanks to Dave Michels who earlier today passed a link to this blog post from New Zealand’s James Forman about Controlling Applications With Asterisk. James’ project is an excellent example of the sort of thing that sets Asterisk apart from everything else. He used a multi-step process to have DTMF tones issue commands to control a VLC VideoLAN media player.

His approach is very similar to what I had initially envisioned for my home automation project. Where James is dealing with the VLC commands I was going to have the IVR process call AGI scripts that would cause xsend.exe to send predefined commands to various X-10 home automation modules. That was part one of the project.

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Questioning The Future Of Home Phones

Many folks, including Tom Keating, Garrett Smith and Dave Michels are looking for a next generation consumer electronics device. Over the past while I’ve seen some enthusiasm expressed for the Open Peak’s prototype gadget. I hesitate to call this device a phone although the Open Peak prototypes appear to be a cross between a cordless phone system, a tablet PC and an iPod Touch. I certainly agree that it’s really pretty.

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Vera, Z-Wave & I: Day 1

logo-zwaveToday was the day that I finally got around to taking the Vera home automation system out of the box. It was a simple beginning as I have only one Z-wave device to control at present, a Monster Cable lamp dimmer. In about two hours I was able to get Vera on the network and upgraded to the latest firmware. I also had it controlling my one lamp. Woo Hoo!

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It Starts With A Broken Doorbell

There’s been an odd converge of concerns around this place. The SIP-GSM gateway is about to arrive so I’ll be tinkering with Astlinux again. Also our doorbell is broken, which makes receiving deliveries a serious drag.

Doorbell Button 100 pixelThe doorbell is physically located at the gate in the front fence. There’s a zip cord line that runs underground from the house and a simple momentary contact switch in the frame of the wrought iron fence. It seems like there’s a problem with the underground line, not something that is easily repaired or replaced. The rest of the works are located in a central closet, with a second ringer in the office.

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