Welcome to Do-it-Yourself Home Automation!

In late 2006, I decided to create a home automation system with the stated goal of making it smart enough that it would eventually come to life and attempt to kill me. While the system hasn't quite reached HAL strength, it does do some cool stuff, and home automation technology has come a long way since I got started.

This page exists so that I can share my experiences and offer some useful information to those that are interested in creating an HA system of their own. Check out the menu on the left for specific projects/tutorials, and the blog below/to the right for quicker updates and general home automation news.

Win a Smart Home. No, Like a Real One

Some companies give away “smart home” kits. Maybe you get some X10 products, a couple Insteon switches, a Sonos, and such. Saint Judes, on the other hand, is giving away the whole home. Ok, so the home is¬†located in Mississippi. And it’s not actually built yet. But according to this segment on a local TV channel, anyone who donates $100 to help Saint Judes take care of sick children will be entered into a drawing...
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Fox News Discovers Home Automation

You know something has gone mainstream when even Fox News is covering it. If this recent segment is an indicator, home automation is there. Granted, Fox is not exactly on the bleeding edge of the technology. The product they highlight–a Honeywell system–is kind of the IBM of the home automation world; old, corporate, reliable. And the air of breathless excitement lavished over somewhat pointless functionality (“You can open your blinds using your iPhone!”) smacks of...
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A 404 Page For Your Thermostat

We’ve all had the irritating experience of surfing to a web page, and discovering it was no longer there. Or the server was down. Or our Wifi has crapped out. And those of us with smartphones have, likewise, experienced the joy of having our carrier push out a new software release which breaks some essential app until its developers can scramble to find a fix. With a computer, it’s annoying. But what would happen if...
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VCs Put $468 Million Into Home Automation Since 2012

The Wall Street Journal reported Friday that venture capitalists have put $468 million into home automation startups since 2012. According to the article, this is part of a bigger trend towards investment in the so-called ‘Internet of Things” (a term which has about as much utility as “Web 2.0” or the “Cloud.”) Total Internet of Things funding was a good deal higher, at $752 million. This was spread over 112 deals, for an average deal...
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Building a Wifi-Enabled Dog Treat Dispenser

Last week, my wife and I were Skyping with our 14 year old Bichon Frise, Max. Max lives with my wife’s family in Maryland, while we live in the San Francisco area with our younger dog, Jack. Through the miracle of video chat, we can stay in touch with Max virtually, and watch him do exciting dog things–usually sitting on the couch, or standing on a chair. We love being able to see Max through...
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Shoeboxed: Automatically Digitize All Your Paper Stuff

I just published a new page all about Shoeboxed, an awesome service where you drop receipts, business cards, random papers, etc. in a Netflix-style envelope, and get categorized, organized, date-stamped, searchable digital copies of everything uploaded to your Evernote account in a couple days. I’ve been using Shoeboxed for over a year now, and it’s the perfect tool to indulge/enable my love of digitizing life’s ephemera. Plus it shares our color scheme! It’s not quite...
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Revolv To Launch New Unified Hub Which Supports Nearly All HA Standards

On November 28th, home automation company Revolv will launch a new hub which works with several of the dominant home automation standards on the market. It’ll support Insteon, Wifi and Z Wave at first, with Zigbee and several others coming soon. In a graphic on their website, Revolv shows what your new integrated smart home could look like if you used their product, bought all your furniture at Ikea, and had a strange penchant for...
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Home Automation Market Worth a Ton of Money ($48b)

According to a new report today from the rather tragically-named research firm MarketsandMarkets, the home automation market was worth $19.5 billion in 2012, and is expected to grow to $48.02 billion by 2018. That’s as much as the market for “cloud computing” that people are always making such a fuss about. It’s not hard to guess at the reasons for this rapid growth. Wireless technologies are getting cheaper and more ubiquitous, energy is getting more...
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