Monday, December 05, 2005

Home Automation 101

For my automation projects I'm using X10

X10 is an industry standard for communication among devices used for automation. It primarily uses powerline wiring for signalling and control, where signals involve short radio frequency bursts representing digital information. A radio-based transport is also defined.

Automation Controller
Misterhouse (Free) -
  • Perl Based Automation Program.
  • Runs on Linux, Unix, Mac OSX and Windows
  • Serial CM11A Adapter... sends signals from the computer over the powerline
  • W800RF32A X10 RF receiver. It receives:

    * All 256 house/unit code addresses
    * All regular X10 RF commands (on, off, dim, brighten, etc.)
    * Extended 32 bit RF commands, such as those transmitted by X10's “Entertainment Anywhere” remotes and X10 security modules such as the DS10.

    Activehome Pro ($49.99) -
  • Windows Based Automation Controller
  • Controls modules based on time, date ,and state of other modules
  • USB X10 CM15A Power adapter.. sends signals from the computer over the power line
  • Monitors cameras.. records video when motion is detected, pictures are snapped and sent to my cell and email

    Automation Server
  • Pentium 4 3.0 GHz Server, with 1GB of Ram, 300 GB hard drive with additional 1TB of storage using NFS and Samba with other hard drives on the network and more with the card slot readers on the computer
  • Case
  • Processor
  • Memory
  • Hard Drive
  • Dual Layer CD/DVD Burner
  • Redhat Fedora 9 OS
  • PVR Form Factor
  • Digium X100P FXO Card interfaces the voip line with the Asterisk PBX
  • Win TV PVR350 Capture Card to record television. Outputs to it's own unused cable channel
  • HDHomeRun - Networked Digital HDTV Tuner. I can watch/record unencrypted digital and hdtv content using mythtv and/or VLC.
  • Mythtv to coordinate television recordings and scheduling. I used another computer with a cheaper capture card to record programming on another channel when the PVR 350 is in use.
  • Misterhouse Home Automation Program
  • Provides: DHCP, Firewall, DNS, File/Music/Movie Shares, VPN, Web Server, Email, Database


    I've wired most of the jacks in my house for telephone, ethernet, and cable tv. This was accomplished by using what is called bundled cable or speedwrap. In a 1" diameter cable contains 2 coax cables and 2 cat5e networking cables. I'm only using one of the coax cable connections but I was only going to wire the entire house once so why not prepare for the future. One of the cat5e cables is used for data and the other is used for telephone. All the cable collect at a structured wiring media cabinet. The Leviton company makes these neat telephone and ethernet connectors where you just lie the exposed ends of the cable, punch them in and insert them into the wall outlet.

    Automation Modules
    I can't get into all of them but I have modules that turn on an off and dim lights. Make my thermostat think that it's hotter than it is in winter or summer to turn on and off based on certain conditions. Say in the winter.. fool it to think that it's hotter than it is during the day and stay off for energy savings while I'm away and then turn off 30 minutes to an hour before I get home and the heat will turn on. In the summer it makes the thermostat think that it's hotter than it is to make sure it's cool inside when I come home.
    Other modules turn on/off the my ceiling fan motors and dim the lights. That rocks and I can use them year round. I just have to flip the switch on the fan to reverse the spin. And motion detectors to turn off lights that I've left on after I leave the room.

    I want a relay switch connected to my hot water heater to turn off while I'm sleeping and at work and an override for days I'm working for home or have guests over.

  • I use ATT Callvantage VOIP for home phone service. I can make free calls to the US, US Territories, and Canada. And very low rates for international calls

  • Inside I use the Asterisk PBX for handling calls based on time of day, caller id information, and making calls from home when I'm not at home.

  • Skype for calls to friends and family who use skype. I'm in the process of purchasing a Skypebox. It's a box that lets you use skype over your existing home phone telephone wiring. It plugs into my home automation server that is running skype 24/7 and another end connects to the phone line. You need to dial special commands like #*# and then a preset speed dial to dial out using skype and calls coming in ring normally on your phones with skype caller id.

  • Free World Dialup (FWD) Another Voip product. All my FWD calls are sent thru Asterisk and ring normally on my home phones. Also I have numbers from arround the world that ring to my FWD number and then get forwarded to Asterisk. I have a number setup in Washington State 360-488-0822 and one in the United Kingdom +44-871-3093242. My FWD Number is 668650. Feel free to call me

  • The phone punchdown will be converted to a leviton cat5 punchdown where I will terminate each telephone jack to an FXS port on a Xia 308. This way each telephone can be using a different line out to dial and I can finally have my fax on it's own extension and automatically answer on the first ring because it will always be a fax going to that extension.

    I use a simple central video distribution panel where all my inputs and outputs are in one place. One neat thing that I have in place is a channel modulator. I have security and recorder and live tv from my PVR broadcasted on two unused cable channels. Ring the doorbell and I turn the channel to see who's at the door.

  • Bi-directional Amplifier For My Cableboxes

  • 1 in 2 out RF Splitter/Combiner

  • Two-Channel Modulator

  • Data
    Cat5e wiring to a 110 Punchdown going to a 100Mb Switch. Crossover cable from 100Mb Switch to a Gigabit Switch that's 1000Mb. From Gigabit switch Cat6 server that has a Gigabit Ethernet card inside. Technically Cat5e is rated at gigabit speeds but I just wanted to max it out while I could afford it.


    • Cheap Whole House FM transmitter broadcasts music and announcements from the server to FM radios on my own radio frequency. It solved a $1000 speaker nightmare.
    • Logitech Squeezebox Duet This was my first foray into the world of Networked Streamed Music Players. So far so good.
    • JVC UX-N1W Micro Component Audio System I have 3 of these playing music and speech announcements sent over the audio output on my server via a fm transmitter.
    • MPD or the Music Player Daemon. Not only does mpd allow me to play music controlled via my home automation, but It's also streams the output as well to my icecast server so I can listen to my music that is at home.. while I'm at work. The output is also networked via Pulse Audio so I now have multi-sourced, multi-roomed whole house audio

    Can't tell you everything, but there are cameras, motion detectors, and other sensors and they all integrate with my security system and home automation system.

    Biometric Door Locks
    Complete X10 HVAC
    Individual Room Temp Monitoring.. to turn fans and/or heat based on occupancy and season with iButtons
    More Security Stuff
    Energy Monitoring
    Irrigation Control
    Plant Watering

    Sunday, October 23, 2005

    Blogging from my Ipaq

    I can blog on the go now with my ipaq rx3715. Isn't life wonderful

    Saturday, October 01, 2005

    Spawn of Jay-z and Beyonce

    I love me some Beyonce and Jay-Z but I though this was hilarious and had to post

    In the midst of all the controversy in regards to Kanye West's comment towards George Bush, he's got another problem on his hands.

    Mr. West was in another car accident late yesterday afternoon, just outside of Chicago.

    Witnesses say it was a hit and run incident, involving a white pick up truck.

    Mr. West was struck while crossing a street adjacent to his mother's home.

    Luckily, a bystander at the scene managed to snap a picture of the white truck.

    Police have released this picture below:

    If you or anyone you know recognize the individual in the attached picture, please contact the Illinois State Police at 1.800.878.9900.
    New Kids Food Pyramid

    The Food Pyramid Game

    An interactive computer game where kids can reach Planet Power by fueling their rocket with food and physical activity. “Fuel” tanks for each food group help students keep track of how their choices fit into MyPyramid.

    I got a certificate!!! I want my gold star too :-P
    Getting hip with Voice Over IP (VOIP)

    I absolutely love VOIP. I use ATT's Callvantage VOIP service and I love it. It provides unlimited local and long distance phone service for $29.99. It uses my internet connection provided by my cable company to provide me with a dialtone. As long as a I have a broadband internet connection I can theoretically plug it in anywhere and be able to use my Voip Service.

    Another Voip Product that I use is Skype.
    It harnesses the power of my internet connection again. The difference with this is that it uses a software client that connects to a Peer-2-Peer (P2P) Network of Millions of Users. You can dial other Skype users or landline numbers (for a small per minute fee like .02 USD)

    Skype in a nutshell.

    Our software’s quick and easy to get started with. Download, register, install, plug in your headset, speakers or USB phone and start calling your friends. The calls have excellent sound quality and are highly secure with end-to-end encryption. You don’t even need to configure your firewall or router or any other networking gear. It just, you know… works.

    There's a 3rd party hardware program for Skype that allows you to make and answer skype calls on your regular home phone.

    Another product is Free World Dialup (FWD)
    What FWD Is . . .
    FWD is the largest open network service provider for person-to-person, advanced, real-time IP communications.
    FWD enables anyone with a broadband connection to communicate by IM, Voice, or Video and share their presence over the internet.

    The Arm

    This is the arm from this Weeks Desperate Housewives. Is this person black/white? Male or female?

    First Federline Family Portrait

    Houston Summers Eye

    From the Wayback Machine 2/4/05

    R&B Singer Houston Gouges Eye Out After Apparent Suicide Attempt

    Singer attempted to jump out of hotel window.

    by Rashaun Hall, with additional reporting by Sway Calloway and Joseph Patel

    After being thwarted in a suicide attempt in a London hotel room, R&B singer Houston gouged his own eye out.

    On Thursday Houston attempted to jump out of a 13th-floor hotel window but was stopped by his security personnel, sources close to
    the singer said. He was moved to a lower floor and locked in his room, where he injured himself. Additional details are still coming to light, and photographs of his injury are circulating online.

    The Los Angeles native, born Houston Summers IV, was overseas for a series of performances when the incident occurred. He scored a hit last year with "I Like That," which featured Chingy and Nate Dogg and was used in a McDonald's commercial (see "Houston Scores Club Hit With Help From Chingy, Nate Dogg"). His debut album, It's Already Written, was certified gold a month after its release in August.

    "Our thoughts and prayers are with Houston during this tragic time," a Capitol Records spokesperson said.

    Los Angeles radio station KKBT-FM's K-Sly, who appeared in the "I Like That" video and is close to Houston's camp, said the singer had been under psychiatric care last year for manic depression. Another source corroborated that claim, adding that Houston had also struggled with PCP.

    "I was told he wanted to commit suicide and stabbed his eye out," K-Sly said. "He was telling people he was Jesus and wanted to go home to his Father."

    The singer is now back in Los Angeles.

    Upon hearing about Houston, Bushwick Bill of rap group the Geto Boys felt compelled to speak out. In 1991, Bill forced his girlfriend to assist him in a suicide attempt, and she shot him in the eye. "Fame will make you crazy," Bill said in a statement. "Fame isn't for everybody. There are people who have a fear of fame, those who want fame, and those who don't understand fame. It drives them crazy, because it is a lot of responsibility to be all things to all people, and you can lose yourself in the shuffle, where there are no longer 52 cards in the deck."

    This report is provided by MTV News

    Bushwick Bill 'Rap' About Houston
    By Clover Hope
    Date: 2/3/2005 1:45 pm

    After hearing reports yesterday (Feb. 2) that hip-hop artist Houston gouged his eye out in an apparent suicide attempt, rapper Bushwick Bill of the legendary Geto Boys has expressed his empathy and condolence.

    Bill, too, was compelled to kill himself one night back in 1991,losing his eye in the process. "I want Houston to know that he is in my prayers, and that I will ask God to give him peace of mind and peace of heart," says Bill in a statement, "and I hope his eye heals as well as his mind and his emotions."

    According to reports, Houston tried to leap from a balcony at a London hotel while on tour, but was stopped by his security. The singer then reportedly locked himself in a bathroom, where he gouged out one of his eyes.

    Bill attempted the deed with the aid of his girlfriend, who reportedly shot him in the eye. At the time, the rapper said the act was in order to obtain insurance money for his mother. That graphic scene was later depicted on the cover of the Geto Boys album, We Can't Be Stopped. Members Scarface and Willie D are seen wheeling a bandaged Bill on a hospital gurney.

    "I wouldn't wish that on anyone else – to force the hand of death," says Bill. "Fame isn't for everybody. There are people who have a fear of fame, those who want fame, and those who don't understand fame. It drives them crazy, because it is a lot of responsibility to be all things to all people, and you can lose yourself in the shuffle, where there are no longer fifty-two cards in the deck."

    Houston's hit song "I Like That," featuring rappers Nate Dogg and Chingy took off, landing the singer a gold album and a nomination for "Best New R&B Artist" earlier this month by the 2004 T M H Honors. But Bill says success is not always pretty. "There is the added insanity of having a big selling record and fame, yet somehow, you don't have any money to match what you have accomplished. You are going through that misery with your label, and it makes utterly no sense," says Bill, who also lends advice to other artists who may be facing dilemmas similar to Houston's.

    "Since God wanted you to be an entertainer, you need to look to God more and less to yourself, because we as artists are confused as human beings," says Bill. "You are put in the position where you have to smile when you are sad and be gracious when you are depressed, and not everybody knows how to play the roles that fame requires….When some people can't handle that, can't cope, they start to fall apart."

    After realizing this himself, Bill rhymed on "Everclear" off his solo album Little Big Man, "I had to lose an eye to see clearly." MTV reportedly banned the music video ending, which featured Bill removing his glass eye and dropping it into a glass of Everclear.

    The Geto Boys reunited for their latest release, The Foundation, released last month. Bushwick has also signed a joint deal with Adex Records and will release his solo project, Gutta Mixx on March 29.

    Tuesday, August 02, 2005

    Hi guys.. I'm going to start blogging again.