Extreme HA with a history lesson
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Extreme HA with a history lesson

Recently "ported" my old Misterhouse setup to EventGhost/Tasker. Biggest difference between then and now is that the handheld devices used to be dumb IR or RF remotes. Now that everybody carries around a computer, much of the old "call and response" architecture has been simplified. Also makes occupancy detection a lot easier.

Goal is to be able to communicate with buildings using natural language via voice, Web, SMS, email, phone call, etc. and receive asynchronous responses in the same fashion. Added push notifications and mobile apps in the new incarnation. Dropped AOL and the rest of the old IM services, as well as IRC. Does anybody still use that? Certainly it made a lousy HA interface.

Another goal is to avoid port forwarding. Port forwarding usually means your house is running one or more public Web servers. Who wants to administrate public Web servers just to secure their house? Unless you really need to watch live video feeds when away, you should not need port forwarding. I've never used it here, but the house is certainly in communication while I'm away, as well as vigilant if somebody rings the front door bell or comes barging in unannounced.

There will be a heavy emphasis on the home monitoring side of automation. That's the practical side. The AI stuff has always been dodgy because no matter what sort of wireless or powerline (or combination of both) technology is used, turning on a light remotely is never 100% guaranteed. Lately, cloud-based services have made this even worse by requiring Internet access just to turn on a light with a remote control. Reception of such events is also less than guaranteed, but that is easy to tackle through redundancy. Throw in the obligatory lousy HA software and can imagine the results of more complicated actions. In short, despite the very clear technological superiority of this finished project, you can't throw away your old-fashioned alarm system (it should have far fewer potential points of failure).

Architecture is open to any sort of hardware. Initial examples will focus on X10 and Insteon as that's what I use. Will demonstrate how to tie it in with all of the old MH staples like weather stations, alphanumeric signs and IR devices. All still relevant today, at least around here. Touch screens were always a staple as well and their recent ubiquity makes them the central focus for all manner of user input. Shouldn't be hard to picture, particularly if you have used Misterhouse or similar. If having trouble, there are several "pictures" (screen shots) on Twitter.

Ultimate goal is to generate the various XML, HTML, JS, PY, etc. files that make this thing work. Eventually the "standards" I use will be generalized and formalized as a platform for HA apps. More on that later...