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All posts tagged "home automation"


Monday, May 7, 2012

Microsoft Welcomes You To Your Home

Posted by Hooch Tan in "Digital Home News" @ 03:30 PM

http://news.slashdot.org/story/12/0...e-automation-os

""More than a decade ago, Microsoft execs, led by Chairman Bill Gates, were touting a future where .Net coffee pots, bulletin boards, and refrigerator magnets would be part of homes where smart devices would communicate and inter-operate. Microsoft hasn't given up on that dream."

Desktop computers, check. Laptops, check. Gaming console, check. Mobile phone, check. Home automation... it looks like Microsoft is intent on offering services for every aspect of your life. Their latest innovation comes to you in the form of HomeOS, a home automation system. Home automation is nothing new, and there are numerous specialized companies ready to offer you fancy, expensive automation systems so you can stand outside your home constantly turning your lights on and off from your phone. If you have an appetite for tinkering, there are more home grown solutions such as LinuxMCE, that while it handles media streaming, also integrates with many other things such as automation and security. Apple is slowly approaching this sort of service as well though right now, it seems mostly just focused on media.

I think that HomeOS could go really well, especially if it integrates with Windows Home Server. It would not make sense if you needed two separate servers to handle your home server-like needs. I have to wonder if there is a great use for this, as them young ones seem to be living a much more mobile lifestyle than before, and whatever you have at home is not as relevant anymore.


Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Home Automation Is Fire Hot!

Posted by Hooch Tan in "Digital Home News" @ 04:00 PM

http://www.ehomeupgrade.com/2012/01...ion-technology/

"As a number of the country’s biggest telecommunications and cable organizations keep making their drive into the home security industry, the usage of home automation technology has increased substantially."

I have been seeing an increasing amount of advertising and solutions coming out that tout home automation and security. It looks as if companies are finally starting to notice that a lot of us like to know what is going on at home while we are away, or even to be able to control things in our homes with a wave of the hand. Of course, the technology has vastly improved over the years. Commercial solutions for home automation components like Zigbee and Z-Wave have risen to replace the old X-10 standard that I not so fondly remember. Costs are still high, but have come down, and the polish on setup and interfaces have improved. Even without going with your cable provider, you also have options such as Logitech. I am certain that in a few more years, home automation and security should be in the reach of most of us without much work. Have you set up your own dream home? What did you use and how did you accomplish it?


Friday, June 10, 2011

Weekend Project: Give Digital Home Server A Try

Posted by Brad Wasson in "Digital Home Talk" @ 04:00 PM

http://www.digitalhomeserver.net/index.html

"As part of my hobby I wrote an application called the "Digital Home Server". The website is http://www.digitalhomeserver.net. I use this software at home, but I make it available to everybody for free."

If you have some spare time this weekend you may want to try out this free home server software. Written for Windows, it supports monitors of any size, touch screens, home automation, and, of course, multimedia. But there's more: radio, podcast and video modules, and even Skype integration, are also included. Authored by Soitjes, this is clearly a hobby project that has grown wildly in size. Based on the developer's release notes, the product has been designed as an extensible platform, and he has plans to expand it further in the months ahead. An interesting future plan seems to involve controlling Digital Home Server with SMS messages. The software is free with no ads or nag screens. Full details available by clicking on the Read link.


Sunday, May 15, 2011

Android and Home Automation: The First Steps

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Digital Home News" @ 02:32 PM

http://www.ehomeupgrade.com/2011/05...e-tv-by-summer/

"This morning was day one of Google I/O 2011. Lots of great new technologies and platform advancements were revealed today, but the three our readers will be interested in is Android Accessories, Android @Home, and Project Tungsten. Oh, and I guess Android Market: Movies (compatible across phones and tablets), which provides the ability to stream with a connection or "pin" a movie for instant download to watch later. By the way... everything is "Android" now and apps will - as we've said before - work across various platforms and displays. In other words, one app can support the phone, tablet, and TV via auto-detection and device specific rendering."

Home automation is, frankly, something that I've never bothered with - I like the idea of a smart home, doing things automatically and being able to optimize energy use, but it seems like so much work trying to figure out which technologies to use. Until the industry settles on a single standard, and cost-effective in-home implementations are commonplace, I'm going to stay away from this part of the technology world. And Google wants to step into this mess? Good luck to them!


Thursday, March 18, 2010

Turning That Digital Home Into a Smart Home

Posted by Hooch Tan in "Digital Home News" @ 02:00 PM

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/03/18/g...en/18smart.html

"But there are certainly things in my apartment that could be smarter. And so, after a talk with a representative of the Custom Electronic Design and Installation Association, I consult the group’s Web site (cedia.net) to find a local expert. I am curious about what is available at three price points: $2,500 or less, $7,500 and You Just Won the Lottery."

One of the claims of technological advance is that it is supposed to make things easier. While that can be argued, I think that it is quite interesting that home automation has progressed at a glacial pace and is guaranteed to lighten your wallet. A lot of movement can be seen with the UPnP and DLNA standards, but that deals more with streaming media and photos. A lot of home automation, like a remotely controlled and programmable thermostat, motion controlled lights and a web accessible security system is not commonly seen. I started with my home automation experiments back in the days of X10. Their modules were large, but useful, though I cannot say that there was much that made them "smart". I check the technology today and while there are new standards, I still feel as if a lot of polish needs to be done. Sure, there are some options that offer a smoother experience where everything fits together like an Armani, but it is also priced like one too. I guess that the everyman will still have to wait until someone decides that home automation can be cheap, easy and popular. Until then, I will curse every time I have to get up and turn off the light.


Monday, June 29, 2009

Is Home Automation the Next Big Thing?

Posted by Chris Gohlke in "Digital Home Hardware & Accessories" @ 11:30 AM

http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews...steon,2308.html

"Many of us have seen sci-fi movies where the characters come home, walk in the front door, and their lights turn on for them. Perhaps they tell the house to switch on the TV or bring up the video phone with its wall-sized screen to call a friend. Unfortunately, we're not quite "there" yet with regard to commercially-available home automation technology. But you might be surprised at how much can be achieved by the enthusiast looking to advance his home into the 21st century. Let me show you some of the shipping protocols and options. Then, we'll walk through the purchase process and installation to see what it takes to turn a house into a modern-day electronic toy."

I've thought home automation was due to be the next big thing for years now, yet it never seems to quite take off. This article explores some of the reasons why as well as guide to setting up some Home Automation. We have some different home automation features in our home, but no real tied-together system. Anyone want to share their home automation successes and/or failures?


Friday, May 15, 2009

HomeSeer Releases 7 Inch Touchscreen Controller

Posted by Hooch Tan in "Digital Home News" @ 11:30 AM

http://www.ehomeupgrade.com/2009/05...red-by-hstouch/

"HomeSeer Technologies announces the release of its new HST-IW07 7” In-wall touch screen unit. The new unit is IP-enabled and features a bright LED-backlit LCD display for better clarity and longer life. This touchscreen is specially engineered for use with all HomeSeer systems and includes an embedded HSTouch™ client. HSTouch is the company’s custom interface design system."

HomeSeer is a store that sells a variety of home automation products, largely based on Z-Wave. As great as home automation is, the interfaces to control things tend to be quite basic. The new touch screen unit brings a new level of control that makes much more sense. The HST-IW07 looks simple and easy to use and I could see several of this sprinkled around the house as being extremely useful. However, at a price of $995.00, you might want to think about what other possible ways you can control your house.


Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Nokia Offers Z-Wave Connectivity

Posted by Hooch Tan in "Digital Home News" @ 01:00 AM

http://www.engadget.com/2008/12/02/...s-on-and-video/

"Since hearing about Nokia's foray into the world of home automation, our curiosity has been seriously piqued. Thankfully, our girl-on-the-scene Drita has captured video of the new software / hardware combo in action on the Nokia World show floor. It looks like a fully decked out system is going to run you a hefty fee (given all the components required), but can you put a price on the extreme laziness it will enable? We didn't think so. Check out the thrilling video out after the break!"

Nokia World 2008 is in full force, and one of their announcements is the launch of their "Home Control Center." Engadget has a video that quickly demonstrates its capabilities. Apparently, the Home Control Center gives Nokia phones the capability to access their Z-Wave enabled devices at home. There's no mention whether it will also interface with X10 and Zigbee devices. While I'm thrilled to see more companies embracing home automation, I get the sense that this is no more than a Nokia specific gateway for their phones to talk to Z-Wave modules. The same sort of functionality can be had, more or less, through an browser enabled phone, albeit not quite as easily. Would this be enough for you to pick a Nokia phone? Or is it just a nice extra feature that you might use?


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