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.

Dave Michels On Teleworking

soundpoint_ip_450Dave Michels, principal of Boulder’s Buffalo Communications, has a great post today detailing recommendations for effective teleworking. His recommendations are backed by some detail about his own home office installation. As someone who has worked from a home office for over a decade his advice definitely rings true.

In fact, I’d like to take a moment to amplify and extend his recommendations based upon my work situation. Most of the things that I’d like to highlight reflect the difference between the occasional teleworker and the full-time home-office dweller.

Continue reading “Dave Michels On Teleworking”

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.

Continue reading “Controlling Applications From Asterisk”

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.

Continue reading “Questioning The Future Of Home Phones”

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!

Continue reading “Vera, Z-Wave & I: Day 1”

Updated Home-Office Network Diagram

I puzzles me how to see how many people find the diagram of my home/office network interesting. Yet it consistently gets a lot of traffic, so here’s an update to the original one I posted in March.

Continue reading “Updated Home-Office Network Diagram”