For a while now, SmartHome has been doing something that I think is, well, smart. They're posting simple tutorials for basic home automation techniques.
Now, unlike Smart Home Hacks, the tutorials all feature SmartHome products. That's understandable, but the reality is that the techniques described can be applied to any type of home automation system.
So not only are these a great resource for INSTEON-based hobbyists, they're useful for the D.I.Y. automation community as a whole.
Here are the some that have caught my eye:
Smarthome continues to introduce all sorts of useful and interesting modules for INSTEON-based home automation. The SynchroLinc is the latest and one of the most fascinating.
In brief, it allows you to know when electronic appliances have been turned on. Normally, this is very difficult (if not impossible) to tie into your home automation system because most electronic appliances (TV, stereo, etc) have "soft power" switches. That is, they're not physically switched on (like a light switch) but put into "on mode" by the logic of the appliance's circuit.
The SynchroLinc works by monitoring how much power the appliance is using, and when it sees it increase, it knows that it has been turned on and it sends an INSTEON event to your automation system. This allows you to, for example, automatically dim the lights and close the drapes when the TV is turned on.
It's great to see a simple answer to this hard problem, I can't wait to add a SynchroLinc to my automated home. Check out the details at SmartHome.
I saw this strange thing at the (fantastic) bookstore in the San Francisco airport. It's a book, and the store has added a bar code to make it easy to buy the digital edition from someone else. This strikes me as ill-advised--making it too easy for customers to take their business elsewhere--but perhaps I'm missing something.
AirBeam is an iOS app that turns your spare device into a remote camera. Perhaps a good use for your old iPhone, should you happen to have one. As the review at AppAdvice notes, however, it's best suited for a baby monitor or casual use.