Following up on my Zapper: iPod Touch and iPhone Control for Your VDR, don't miss Apple's iPod Touch Can Act as Remote For Music System for discussion about controlling iTunes from within your home.
Google Maps is a great service and I've long been fascinated by how anyone can create a custom map and share it with others. I finally figured out a way to use this feature that I want to share with you.
I've combined my love of magic and Chicago to create a Map of Chicago Magic. It highlights current and historical places of interest throughout the city and surrounding areas. With the help of some friends, I think it's off to a good start. You can reach it via the link on my Chicago Magic Studio page. (The Google map links are unbearably long, so I'm trying to make it easier to remember by providing a jumping-off link there.)
When I created the "map of magic" little did I know that the word Chicago is, in itself, a magic word. As unearthed and documented by my friend and eccentric scholar, Craig Conley. See Magic Words: Chicago for more about that.
It has been a long time coming, but soon it looks like we'll have INSTEON-based motion detectors as an option for smart homes. These aren't shipping yet, so I haven't tried one, but it's good see this important gap in the product line and functionality finally getting filled. If you give one a whirl, please drop me a note and let me know what you think.
My publisher, O'Reilly Media, has announced that 30 titles are now available for Amazon's ebook reader, the Kindle. Smart Home Hacks has also been available for a while now in PDF format, so now you can have an automated and less-cluttered home. See O'Reilly's announcement for more details.
I recently noticed that the US Robotics external USB modem supports Caller ID. It can be difficult to find a modem that actually lists this as a spec (as this one does) so if you've been thinking of adding Caller ID to your home automation setup, this is a handy thing to know.
MAKE magazine, issue 14, features a clever hardware solution that detects the frequency and duration of deodorant application. You can get a peek at the page in Make's Digital Edition. While created as a privacy-awareness spoof, visit the creator's website to learn about the technical details of measuring a real-world behavior and making the data instantly available on the web. Techniques that are easily adaptable to many not-so-frivolous home automation applications.