Our house has a few exterior lights. The usual porch lights (front and back) and a security floodlight and sconce light on the garage (as the garage end of the driveway becomes the “pit of eternal darkness” after dusk).
I’ve tried a few different ways of automating when these lights turn themselves on and off. I added photocells to both lights, but found that without direct sunlight the lamps would typically stay on all day. In the case of the garage I added a digital timer, but have to adjust the timing throughout the year to account for sunrise and sunset.
I recently replaced this arrangement for the front porch light with a single Wemo Wifi Light Switch which can be programmed locally according to a schedule, or which can be triggered by the associated If this then that service.
This has worked swimingly so far, and I plan on replacing the photocell/digital timer in the garage with just the Wemo Light switch (this also means I can switch these lights to CFLs instead of incandescents – incandescents were needed for use with the photocell devices to prevent “strobing” where ambient light approaches the on/off value).
As we’ve renovated our new house I’ve taken the opportunity to run wire for both the alarm and CCTV systems whenever I get the chance. More renovations means more coverage for both. The system now, after four years of renos, is really quite substantial.
An early issue was the location of the recording/distribution hardware for the system. I chose a high shelf near an outlet in the basement for convenience. This area has become quite a mess as I’ve run in new cameras and have left long loops of wire (for later relocation) dangling around the shelf.
Our long list of other projects trumpted CCTV as a priority, but I’ve now arranged a proper location for the CCTV system, and have just finished relocating it (hence the picture of the old setup).
We’re not done yet, but it is coming along nicely.
(For the record, the new location is much better organized and looks less sloppy)
The video below shows a few kids breaking into a house just before new years. Not a lot of technical expertise here. Give it a watch, and you’ll see a team of young burglars tackle a residential burlgary on a Saturday night at about 8:30pm.
This looks to be a fairly typical B&E, they ring the doorbell repeatedly and peer in the windows to make sure the occupants are not simply ignoring their efforts. The last thing these guys want is to run into a homeowner. An alarm system would likely not have prevented the burglary, but it would have certainly reduced the kids time on the ground inside the house.
Our most recent Home Media Server upgrade saw us transition from a cludged arrangement involving a pacific rim NAS and external USB drives to a Buffalo Linkstation Duo (4TB). Content is backed up to two USB HDDs every month (a manual process), and we are now hovering at about 75% capacity (3TB).
The Linkstation Duo can handle twin 3TB HDDs instead of the 2TB HDDs presently installed, and you can hang a USB HDD (up to 2TB) capacity off the NAS.
That said I can’t help but find myself browsing through 4 and 5 bay NAS devices with up to 12TB of capacity (and a $700-1100 pricetag). I think I’ll spend some money on the 3TB HDDs, which can always be moved to a larger NAS down the road.
We bought this house three years ago, and the master (or largest anyway) bedroom sprung a leak in the roof over one of the closets almost immediately. The room was relegated to “computer room” as we knew we’d be gutting it before too long had passed.
The room is the largest on the second floor, and has two side by side double windows looking West out towards a nice tree lined side street. Hardwood floors are in good condition, and the lathe and plaster walls were covered with wood panelling (oh yeah, rec room style stuff) completely.
It wasn’t the ugliest room I’d ever seen, but it was really, REALLY close.
We discussed at some length the things we’d like to see from our room, more outlets (old house, each room presently averages two outlets), built in speakers for the TV, extended ductwork for the AC, interior wall insulated for sound, the usual network, telco and cable wiring, an alarm keypad etc etc.
First step is to smash, smash and smash. Wood panelling, plaster and lathe and in the case of the exterior walls insulation has to go. Next step was to bring new wiring up from the basement, then run the wire while each wall comes down.
We’ll eventually have the spray foam insulation guys in to do the exterior walls, then we can get to the finishing.
Ok, ok, ok. We have a lot of techno-gadgets in this house, and the heart of it all is the quasi-network hub in the basement. We have (as with the last house) gone through a few versions of this. At first it was simply a shelf hung by the main electrical panel, and then it expanded and grew and now it has ballooned to fill a small shelving unit tucked away in the basement.
It is about to be upgraded to a proper network rack, but for now this is our home network. Consisting of a dedicated CF-29 Toughbook, router, NAS, VoIP ATA(s), DSL modem, Slingbox and accompanying network media player, UPS and power bars for backup and non-backup devices along with a few External USB HDDs for backing up the NAS on a sporadic basis.
The new rack will also house the telco, cable and CCTV distribution (in fact those looking carefully will see the new rack in the background).
So, on the way home from work the other day I witnessed a collision. It’s hard to make out in the video (occurs at 00:16), but a pickup truck runs a red light and smokes a security cute-ute in the middle of an intersection.
I stopped, called 911 and waited for the city Police to arrive so that I could give a statement. As my brother has pointed out, it’s really not a flattering angle for me (but have some pity, this was filmed coming home from a 12 hour night shift worked with bugger all sleep the day before).
It’s neither graphic or exciting video, within 15 minutes the paramedics had taken the security guard away, fire had dumped kitty litter all over the spilled fluids and I had given a written statement and was on my way.
Dashcams are now just a part of the standard equipment for our cars. It offers nice peace of mind whilst sitting in the middle of the goat rodeo we call everyday traffic.
We’ve gone through a number of different models, with different features (single camera, dual camera, GPS equipped) and have at this time moved on to the “rear view mirror dashcam” as being the best option for us. Generally these rear view dashcams clip/slip/stick to the stock rearview mirror, meaning they take up significantly less real estate than a camera suction cupped to the windshield. An added bonus is that they are less obvious, and would be less tempting to parking lot thieves that might mistake your dashcam for a GPS unit.
We’ve got some abuse testing to do with this unit, but early impressions are favorable. » Read more..
We have a plethora of Media Players (now almost pointless as new TVs are shipping with web browsing and media playing capabilities built-in) arrayed with our home televisions. The players are fed (either through SMB shares or a DLNA server).
Keeping the content current on the media server, however, has always been a bit of a laborious (internet wise anyway) process (keeping track of others shows) and moving the files around. I’m not a big fan of the administrivia involved in home network maintenance.
Thankfully the internet comes to the rescue, ShowRSS allows you (with the use of an appropriate torrent client) to “subscribe” to your favorite shows, and to automate the process of downloading the newest episodes.