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user-managed home automation 2017-10-11 00:45 UTC
I'm starting a new blog topic - home automation - breaking off from the /tech subject because I think I'm going to be posting a lot about it.

This is the first post in the new topic, but I'll probaby go back and recategorize my older posts in /tech for neatness' sake.

So anyway, I've been picking at home automation for a long time. It's gratifying that some major vendors like Google and Amazon are getting into the market. But (!) I decided to avoid what I'll call 'vendor managed' devices long ago - I want all the data to stay in the house (unless I want it to leave and direct it where to go) and I want to maintain complete, unshared control over all the devices. Can I call that 'blue sky home automation' because, because no cloud - get it?

Anyway - I see the benefits of vendor management - makes everything much easier. Which means the way I'm doing it much harder.

But then again: Google's Home Mini needed a software patch to stop some of them from recording everything

One drawback of staying out of vendor control is that all the new technology seems to require it - that is, the vendors are no longer taking the time painstakingly expose and document low level access to their devices, because that's not needed when a higher level vendor managed controller is present - this means people like me will increasingly be using older and older technology, unless things change. There are some exceptions, of course, but I just don't think there's much money in the market for non-vendor-managed home automation devices, and so I expect activity to stay low and maybe get lower.

Apple, I believe, is doing it my way (sans the low level documentation), and so hats off to them for that. I'm not using any of their stuff, though - my impression is that it tries to be simultaneously user friendly and very secure - both laudable goals - and so has a much heavier technology lift than the other vendors. So much so, it seems to me, that that their model is too limited for my purposes, at least right now.

And I believe I'm taking things a little too far in some cases - I generally prefer to write my own code down to accessing serial ports on devices rather than use road-tested and completely trustworthy frameworks like Mister House (although I frequently rip off things from that codebase). If I was a technology manager I would have to fire myself for writing a bunch of code that needs to be maintained and never really needed to be written. Thankfully that's not the story here :)

So what I'm not going to do is attempt to package up and release my code - it's way too site-specific (and incomplete - I only implement capabilities when I need them), and there are a bunch of great frameworks out there already. I will instead post about specific devices, techniques, and experiences.
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not posting enough 2017-10-10 12:35 UTC
I think I figured out why I slowed down so precipitously on my blog posts. It's not because I moved over to social media like I thought I would - I'm not posting there, either (actually, the thought of posting on social media makes me feel apprehensive these days).

Nope - the reason is that there are no physical thumb keyboards on any smartphones that I would want to have anymore. I can type 80 wpm on a real keyboard when I'm good shape, and I can handle the tiny thumb keyboards very well, but I'm close to hopeless with the onscreen touch keyboards.

In 2004, when I started this blog, I was using a Treo smarphone with a keyboard - I did some hacked extensions to to bloxsom (the blog software I'm still using) so that I could easily posts pictures and some accompanying text from my phone. It was so easy that I did it very frequently. Once the Treo went the way of the pterodactyl, I hung in there for a while with Android based phones that had slide-out keyboards, but those fell out of fashion as well, and here I am, typing on a macbook :(
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chris lively - distance 2017-10-09 13:37 UTC
It has been a long time since I've added any posts, music related or otherwise. I woke up this morning with a sense of introversion that I haven't had for a long time, probably because I worked on my home automation system all weekend (more about that soon). Anyway, on the topic of music, I recently worked with Chris Lively on his new release, Distance and I think it came out really well - check it out when you have a chance.
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... 2016-11-10 13:58 UTC
It was pretty easy to see social media taking on the function of the traditional media. But was it as easy to see the traditional media taking on the function of social media?
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wut 2014-05-15 19:05 UTC

why are these notices so frequently in men's rooms?
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