Soul of a new house

I'm trying to determine how best to go about giving my house a soul (good or bad to be determined, but I know where I'm putting my money). Of course, this is a new project after getting O'Reilly's Smart Home Hacks book for Christmas from my sister. She's just fueling the gadget fire. ;)

The first question lies in how I want to approach this. There are a couple of primary things I want the system to handle while accomplishing some small tasks:

  • Web-access - Specifically via my laptop, work, or cell-phone (non-wap)
  • Easily setup & scriptable - I'm tired of fooling around with too low-level hacks and spending all my time just getting them going.
  • Work from a Mac - I primarily use a Powermac G5 that I can begin testing with and then move it to a dormant Beige G3 sitting in the basement. Of course, there is still that rumor of a possibly headless Mac at MWSF
  • Prefer USB
  • Audrey Interface

The options are: Indigo, XTension, MisterHouse for software; and using the PowerLinc USB, PowerLinc Serial, or ActiveHome CM11A Serial computer interface modules.
Nothing appears to meet all my needs yet. I think I prefer Indigo with the PowerLinc USB, but Indigo is (1) Expensive, when compared to free, and (2) doesn't natively provide a web-interface, but requires another ACGI dispatcher for $35.


Package Web Easy Audrey Cost
Indigo - + - -
Xtension + + - -
MisterHouse + - + +

There are trial versions of all the above packages. So I can give them a try. The first step is to get a controller box. For some reason, I'm leaning towards the PowerLinc USB, since then I don't have to buy & deal with a USB-Serial dongle, but that seems to be of questionable support, for some reason. So I'll probably get the CM11A and stay with compatability for the time being.

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About the Author

Andrew Turner is an advocate of open standards and open data. He is actively involved in many organizations developing and supporting open standards, including OpenStreetMap, Open Geospatial Consortium, Open Web Foundation, OSGeo, and the World Wide Web Consortium. He co-founded CrisisCommons, a community of volunteers that, in coordination with government agencies and disaster response groups, build technology tools to help people in need during and after a crisis such as an earthquake, tsunami, tornado, hurricane, flood, or wildfire.