MacTech Cover Article: Automate Your Place

Another announcement. I did quite a bit of writing in the fall. My article "Automate Your Place" (part 1) was the cover article for the January 2007 issue of MacTech Magazine. Apparently there was a large display of it, and was given out at MacWorld, but as I was somewhere on the southeast coast of New Zealand, it made physically attending to see it somewhat... difficult.

The article gives an introduction to location automation, which is more than just home automation, using Apple Mac's. This includes information on what you need to get started, options for hardware and software packages, and a walkthrough on designing a system for use in small office. Learn about the infamous X-10, and the new and upcoming integration options like Insteon and Zigbee.

Next month's article, in the February issue of MacTech, will walkthrough installing and configuring the automation system, and setting up scripts and triggers for when people show up to the office, want to make coffee, and so on.

Automation is really intriguing. Besides just the fact that something you make in software affects the real-world (which is awesome in its own coolness - yeah, I'd go so far as to say that), it also has benefits on saving power for reduced power bills, and environmental energy conservation. Depending on your situation, automation is also useful for physically challenged people who may need assistance controlling their living environment (temperature, lights, security) and alerting others to their situation or status.

I hope you pick up the issue and enjoy the article. Look forward to additional article on more advanced automation concepts like remote control (web browser, mobile device), advanced scripting (retrieve information from web services to make decisions), and gadget integration (Nabaztag/SlimServer/Roomba).

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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.