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Friday, November 30, 2007

X10: Fun with Home Automation


Quite a few years ago, X10 had a promotion, and gave away their Firecracker kit for almost free. It includes 2 plug-in modules, a handheld remote and a serial connecter transmitter. I have used this in the past to turn on Christmas lights with the remote control.

The serial connector it comes with, the ‘Firecracker’ allows for some very fun things. There are several Linux packages available that interface with the serial transmitter. The one I use is called heyu. It allows you to easily send commands to the X10 units like so: heyu fon A1. So to automate my Christmas lights, I just had to add two lines to crontab for on and off.

Another fun application of this system is alerting me if I have a new voicemail on my landline. I never remember to check for messages on my landline when I come home, so now I have it set to turn on a lamp whenever someone leaves me a voicemail!

Here is how it works. A feature of my voicemail services is that the system emails me a copy of every voicemail when it is left. I use Thunderbird for a mail client and leave it open on my Linux box. I use Thunderbirds filters to move any messages from the voicemail service to a voicemail folder. I use an add-on, Mailbox Alert, that can watch a particular folder, and can run a command when a new message arrives, so I have it set that whenever a new email from my voicemail service comes in it issues this command: heyu fon A2, turning on my lamp alerting me of a new voicemail.


  • I don't get it...

    :) Amber & Josh

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 9:03 PM  

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