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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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