Why I play around with Home Automation

Hello, I’m posting this just before bed to clear something up. Apologies if things don’t make sense.

When people find out about my smart home setup, the most common thing I get from people next to “was it expensive” is “you’re really lazy”

Its not about the effort I save by not getting up to flick a light switch.

For me, this is my hobby. I take great joy in setting up different systems to work and play together nicely, for example, most of the sensors in my apartment are on a ZigBee network, while most of the lights are WiFi, even the different brands of bulbs, and then there’s a few Z-Wave devices in the mix.

I go to a lot of trouble and effort to set these things up, to maintain them, its very time and effort consuming.

I am learning HEAPS as I go along, about how things work, how different technologies work together, improving my understanding of code and syntax and even learning new languages.

Theres a huge level of satisfaction I get when something I’ve spend hours, even days working towards, finally works.

Such as the other day when I was at work, not even thinking about the weather outside, and I got a Facebook message telling me the temperature in my bedroom had exceeded 27°c.

This reminded me I could set the thermostat to 23°c befoee I left work, so that when I got home my room was nice and cool.

Or when I walk into the kitchen and the light turns itself on when I enter, turning itself back off when I leave again.

Even simple things like all the lights turn themselves off at 1am in case we have fallen asleep and left them on.

Its all these end results that I work hard to achieve.

The feeling of moving aroundy normal life, and having these things just happen when they need to, makes me feel more free, if I want to watch a movie, I select it on my phone, the tv turns on and starts playing the movie, the lights dim while its playinf, then when it’s finished, the tv turns off and the lights come back up, is amazing, it feels so natural, things happening when I need them, not just when I do them.

So next time you hear that I’ve set up my light to be voice controlled, instead of thinking “that’s so lazy” think more about how it can be helpful, like “wow of your hands are full you can still turn on the lights” or even “wow if you’re tired and don’t want to get out of bed, you can turn them off from there!”

This post isn’t targeted, I’m just attempting to convey my point of view.

If it was a matter of being lazy, I wouldn’t go to the copious amounts of effort that I do in order to setup this stuff.

Emergency anti Jacob device

I have a colleague with an unhealthy obsession with rotating people’s desktops using the control alt arrow key combination.

It used up not be so bad, it would occasionally happen when you left your desk too long, but alas the problem grew ever so much worse. He soon learnt that he could spam the keys and it would queue up the rotations, he could make our desktops spin uncontrolled!

But still, this could be avoided by locking the computer it was not in use however Jacob has gotten more stealthy at this and he now rotates the monitors even when you are at the desk and not paying attention.

It is for this reason that I created the anti Jacob device. it activates the windows lock with a single press of a big red button therefore it gives you a quick and easy way to prevent Jacob from rotating your desktop.

At its core, it is an emergency stop button wired to Arduino Pro Micro. A sketch pulls up gpio 2 and watches it. If the pin is then pulled to ground will activate the windows L combination, therefore locking the pc.

This is our strongest weapon in the war against surprise rotating desktops.