Author Topic: Home automation/ smart homes  (Read 7767 times)

jafr1284

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 91
  • Location: Colorado
Home automation/ smart homes
« on: April 17, 2020, 06:32:04 PM »
Maybe I am just uneducated but I think smart homes deserve to be in the antimustachian wall of shame. I understand the benefits of a smart thermostat but I think it gets out of hand pretty quickly..

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M8d5Wr9au9I
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y8nNy0li7Qg

The_Big_H

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 158
Re: Home automation/ smart homes
« Reply #1 on: April 18, 2020, 01:46:29 AM »
I whole heartedly agree.  When I go on walks and rides I couldnít help but notice the amazon rings pop up seemingly overnight in the neighborhood. Itís like they are telling me ďtrendy spendy person resides hereĒ.  The worst offenders are smart fridges and ranges.  It does not cost $4000 to keep my food cold or make it hot.

Technology for technologies sake is a fools errand. Never Make what is simple complicated and donít add tech unless it has a real benefit.

Example:
iPhones are fairly complicated and expensive. But can do a huge array of tasks that might have required 10 devices previously. Worth it.
Your coffee mug and water bottle. Donít need a single electronic circuit. Worked fine before without it.

For one heck of a good laugh making fun of the whole ďmake everything smartĒ trend. Read ďinternet of shitĒ on Twitter. (Where you can fine the smart thermos and water bottles failing to update their firmware)


Roger D

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 55
Re: Home automation/ smart homes
« Reply #2 on: April 18, 2020, 02:13:16 AM »
Yes! Let me tell you about the home we bought, that was built in 1947 and would have been considered a "smart home" of the time. And NONE of the "smart" features are of any value now.

The main rooms were wired for sound. Each room had a speaker box, and controls for sound and program source. No need to wheel a valve radiio or gramophone from room to room! But of course, the 1960s arrived and people wanted stereo sound, not mono. And, would you believe, the radio selectors had FOUR positions! This is the UK, and at the time the BBC was broadcasting the "First Program", "Second Program", "Third Program" and "Fourth Program". Who could need any more?

And the radio wasn't received "over the air", it was CABLE radio! No pesky interference to the signal. Well, the cable radio companies have long since gone out of business.

The house had THREE telephone outlets, at a time when "one phone in the hall" was the norm. They didn't anticipate that cordless phones would liberate communication from fixed wall outlets.

The main rooms each have a dedicated wired outlet for a clock, with a special type of flush socket so that the clock hangs close to the wall. Well guess what, nowadays the clocks in our house are on the oven, on the clock radio, or on our cellphones.

The bathroom was set up with some fancy-pants combined light/heater/fan device. Of course, spares for such a device (heat bulbs, etc) haven't been available since the maker shut down in, I don't know, somewhere around 1955.

Many of the rooms have two switches for the same light, at opposite ends of the room. But just one big light in the centre of the ceiling. What people want nowadays is multiple forms of lighting, for different moods, not just more ways to switch one light.

The house had a sophisticated doorbell system, with separate circuits for front and back doorbells, and a fancy indicator in the kitchen so that you knew which door to answer. Nowadays, even tradesmen don't use the back door, and my daughter's friends phone her when they arrive so that she can let them in.

Even though the fabric of the house, and the room layouts, are still usable, nothing that used "wiring" has stood the test of time.

In newer houses I see the same thing. In the 1990s, people "future-proofed" their houses by installing early ethernet cables in every room, which are terribly slow by today's standards - and anyway almost all their connections are over WiFi nowadays anyway. Some houses, from the 1960s, had internal intercoms from room to room - but who uses those anymore? In the 1990s these became video intercoms - but who uses those today?

Complex ("smart") systems are interesting, and can be useful for a few years until spares are no longer available, but a much better solution is good passive design, which has no maintenance overhead and never becomes obsolete. If the constraints of the site or of the house mean that good passive design is not possible, then at least go for simple, minimalist, unspecialized, and high quality.

Slow road to freedom

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 132
  • Location: UK
Re: Home automation/ smart homes
« Reply #3 on: April 18, 2020, 02:39:43 AM »
Haha made me laugh hearing about the history of smart homes :-)

I have a non-spendy friend who revels in technology - which is about the only thing he spends money on. He's happy.

I've got two 'smart home' things: recently had a Nest thermostat installed, replacing one from the 1960s. As far as I can tell it does the same job as a timer and thermostat combined, which is fine. I'm sure it will 'learn' all about me, but the low-tech solution is to keep turning the thermostat down and turning off the hot water (it is off most of the time). Nest makes it easier for me to do (listen to the cries of 'Dad!') ...

I've also just splashed out on a smart plug. Just one. The sole purpose to better understand the relative electricity usage of the various things that are plugged in. So far I've discovered that our TV uses a minuscule amount of electricity on standby (it's quite difficult to turn off at the socket), and I will cycle around the various chargers, Humax box etc to see whether I can achieve an economic payback by buying and setting a timer to switch off. I'm also considering changing to a different electricity tariff with Octopus that is far cheaper to run things at night. Our electric bill is relatively high (we have an electric car, company car, saves a lot of money at the moment!).

No fancy doorbell or fancy tech here.

gooki

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 2430
  • Location: NZ
Re: Home automation/ smart homes
« Reply #4 on: April 18, 2020, 04:02:17 AM »
That was quite the informative rant Roger. And youíre right. Donít run wires everywhere. Go for wireless, open, and quality.

For me itís a fun hobby. But I do it on a budget, and itís all wireless. Some of it is useless but the useful ones for me have been.

Adding a smart relay to our garage door, great for letting tradesmen in when weíre at work, and a great back up encase I lose my keys while out and about.

Smart socket on our EV charger, makes sure we charge the car at off peak times. Smart sockets are often cheaper than dumb timers.

Alarm system replacement with motion and door sensors. The added benefit is they look much better than the previous wired alarm, mostly due to them being 1/10th the size, and notifications go straight to me.


BlueMR2

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 2049
Re: Home automation/ smart homes
« Reply #5 on: April 18, 2020, 10:57:10 AM »
If I get a screaming deal on some automation I'll use it.  Generally not a fan though.

Work office is highly automated with smart devices.  You would expect solid state electronics to be more reliable than old mechanical stuff, but you'd be wrong.  Plus, it becomes obsolete so fast.  Can't get replacement parts for lights that have been installed for 7 years.  Have to rip out and replace the whole lighting system for the 2 main bays.  Lose a control module and find out there's no backwards compatibility.  Can't even find spares on eBay anymore.  Rip and replace again.

Can be a fun hobby, but it's expensive and time consuming.  Does not live up to the promise.

ysette9

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 7102
  • Location: Bay Area, CA
    • The Best Is Yet To Come
Home automation/ smart homes
« Reply #6 on: April 18, 2020, 11:16:48 AM »
I adore our wireless thermostat. Iím glad the house came with it because we probably never would have bought it.

I really wish we had a less dumb oven. So frequently I want to be able to program it so I can go on a bike ride or whatever but instead have to stick around until my thing is done cooking.

Come to think of it, Iíd appreciate my washer telling my phone when the load is done. It is in this outside closet so somewhat difficult to get to, and I forget about a load all the time. With the front-load washer if the clean clothes sit around for much they start to smell musty and have to be re-washed.
« Last Edit: April 18, 2020, 11:22:07 AM by ysette9 »

Sibley

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 4653
  • Location: Northwest Indiana
Re: Home automation/ smart homes
« Reply #7 on: April 18, 2020, 05:56:03 PM »
What makes me laugh is the wifi everything. I've heard of washers, dryers, fridges, toasters - all with wifi. It is going to be interesting the day that someone decides to hack into all those things and cause havoc. Plus, the potential for hackers to spy on you. I will pass, thanks.

FINate

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1868
Re: Home automation/ smart homes
« Reply #8 on: April 18, 2020, 06:56:58 PM »
Yeah, it's easy to waste a lot of money on dumb things like "smart home" enabled gun cabinets. It's like guys starting out in biking buying $10k bikes.

I also don't understand WiFi enabled refrigerators, dishwashers, etc. Not necessarily opposed, but have yet to see the value.

Smart home things I've found useful and cheap in small doses:
- Smart Lights: Battery powered wireless motion sensor linked to lights in long dark breezeway -- cheaper and easier than installing similar wired. Along with the ability to have a bedroom light scheduled to turn on slowly over 30 minutes on dark winter mornings.
- Smart Locks: Letting people in remotely, ease of configuring multiple access codes, viewing access logs.
- Smart Thermostats: Not walking my lazy ass down the stairs in the middle of the night if it's too hot/cold. Ability to access remotely if I forgot to turn down before a trip.
- Smart Smoke Detectors and Water Detectors: Wireless interconnect and remote monitoring.

What I really don't get are the people that spend the money on lots of smart home devices and gigabit internet, and then use a cheap ass consumer grade WiFi/router that can't reliably handle the number of clients or make use of the internet speeds.
« Last Edit: April 18, 2020, 06:59:36 PM by FINate »

Papa bear

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1566
  • Location: Ohio
Re: Home automation/ smart homes
« Reply #9 on: April 18, 2020, 07:11:57 PM »
Was talking with some neighbors, one of the guys is bigger on automation and even sells some of the stuff.  The other guy had basically nothing.  I thought about it and fell somewhere in between, but realized I had a lot more than I thought, even telling the guys I wasnít a huge fan. 

3 echo dots 1 main floor for music, one garage for music, one in youngest kids room, used as a sound machine.  Cheaper than an actual sound machine when they ran the $20 echo dots.  Then a wifi tstat, which I only use to change the temp when Iím gone out of town and forget to change before I leave.  And then I bought a smart plug for lights in my garage.  Rather than run a new outlet and switch, climb through the fiberglass and fish wire through walls, one smart plug and I had all of my extra ďshopĒ lights installed.  And whoa, a ring doorbell and 2 other security cameras.  And technically my garage door has it but I didnít want it and never set it up. 

Thinking through it, there are things that I would actually want smart in addition to that.  I have a lot of garden space that I have set up on auto timers to water.  Wouldnít that be nice to have set up so that it tracked the local weather and wouldnít run in the middle of a rainstorm? Or maybe it had sensors to check soil moisture levels? What else? Iím sure Iíd come up with more. 

Point being, this shit crept into my life and I see some of the benefits.  Iím not some crazy fanboy, but i canít say that i havenít enjoyed some of the convenience. 

As for the future proof / wiring. I would LOVE to have cat5e or cat6 cable run everywhere in my house with a hub.  There is so much cool shit you can run off of that.  Wifi just doesnít cut it for some stuff and I ended up running cat6 to certain areas of the house anyway for rokus. Iíve never been unhappy when someone ran extra romex or low voltage wire.  Iíve been pissed when I wanted something somewhere and i had to go wireless anyway. That is to say, thereís no harm in ďfuture proofingĒ a house as a new build or remodel with current tech.  Running wire is cheap and easy.   


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

LetItGrow

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 161
Re: Home automation/ smart homes
« Reply #10 on: April 19, 2020, 01:34:43 PM »

As for the future proof / wiring. I would LOVE to have cat5e or cat6 cable run everywhere in my house with a hub.  There is so much cool shit you can run off of that.  Wifi just doesnít cut it for some stuff and I ended up running cat6 to certain areas of the house anyway for rokus. Iíve never been unhappy when someone ran extra romex or low voltage wire.  Iíve been pissed when I wanted something somewhere and i had to go wireless anyway. That is to say, thereís no harm in ďfuture proofingĒ a house as a new build or remodel with current tech.  Running wire is cheap and easy.   

My main non-exercise hobby is electronics and computer stuff. I play with a lot of wireless modules, but nothing beats the flexibility of wires at times. I agree, relatively cheap considering you canít easily do it later. I like being able to send low voltage as needed through cat-5 cables. Keeps the install of whatever doohickey cleaner for ma often.

GuitarStv

  • Senior Mustachian
  • ********
  • Posts: 16885
  • Age: 39
  • Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Re: Home automation/ smart homes
« Reply #11 on: April 19, 2020, 01:48:18 PM »
I have yet to see any real benefit from the majority of this automation and internet connectivity . . . but there are significant down sides (cost, security concerns).  Seems stupid.

hdatontodo

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 310
  • Location: Balto Co, MD
Re: Home automation/ smart homes
« Reply #12 on: April 19, 2020, 02:58:32 PM »
I love telling Alexa to change the temp on the thermostat instead of my going down the steps.

I love being able to crank the a/c higher from my phone when coming home after a long weekend.

I love being able to unlock my door from the car when I will have an armful of bags.

I love being able to check on my phone to make sure I locked the door.

Sent from my SM-G960U1 using Tapatalk
« Last Edit: April 19, 2020, 08:06:24 PM by hdatontodo »

GuitarStv

  • Senior Mustachian
  • ********
  • Posts: 16885
  • Age: 39
  • Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Re: Home automation/ smart homes
« Reply #13 on: April 19, 2020, 03:10:31 PM »
I love using my colostomy bag rather than taking all the effort to make it to the toilet.


:P

ysette9

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 7102
  • Location: Bay Area, CA
    • The Best Is Yet To Come
Re: Home automation/ smart homes
« Reply #14 on: April 19, 2020, 03:40:24 PM »
I love using my colostomy bag rather than taking all the effort to make it to the toilet.


:P
I drink a lot of water normally and have always woken up in the middle of the night to pee.
I used to think it would be amazing to have a catheter so I wouldnít have to get up all night long to pee but just stay in bed.

Then I experienced bladder damage during the stitch-up operation after my second c-section and had to live with a catheter for two weeks. In addition to the pain and indignity I was crushed to find that I Still had to get up to ďpeeĒ at night because my muscles managed to put themselves back to work around the catheter.

TMI, perhaps, but never assume that what looks like it is easier or better necessarily is. ;-)

DadJokes

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1731
Re: Home automation/ smart homes
« Reply #15 on: April 21, 2020, 09:45:57 AM »
We have smart thermostats (Honeywell) and smart outlets. Both are amazing.

The outlets don't replace our current outlets - instead they just plug into the outlets, and you plug your devices into them. I can then set them on a schedule or just manually turn them on and off, so it reduces phantom energy use. It'd also be practical if we could operate our lights this way, since my wife has trouble remembering to turn lights off when she leaves rooms, but I'm not replacing all of our lights with smart bulbs.

I like the Ring (and other brand) doorbells as a means to stop porch pirates, though that's not really a problem here, so we don't have one.

Otherwise, I don't see much reason for "smart" things around the house.

zolotiyeruki

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3759
  • Location: State: Denial
Re: Home automation/ smart homes
« Reply #16 on: April 21, 2020, 10:09:49 AM »
I figure this is as good a place as any to add this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bwvlbJ0h35A

I've noticed something about life:  as one's standard of living rises, the problems to be solved become smaller and smaller, and the cost of the corresponding solutions becomes larger and larger.  I mean, in the hierarchy of needs, we're way up into the stratosphere of "minuscule inconveniences."

Lights left on?  I ask our kids to turn all the lights off on their way to bed.  Solves the problem and establishes good habits.  Forget to turn down the thermostat while going on vacation? Ok, you'll pay an extra $10 while you're gone, for which privilege you've spent $200 on a fancy thermostat.  Forget to lock your door?  Sure, pay $75 for a smart lock so you don't have to call up your neighbor.  Spend hundreds of dollars more on a washer that texts you when it's done, just so you don't have to set a timer on your phone.

FINate

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1868
Re: Home automation/ smart homes
« Reply #17 on: April 21, 2020, 11:16:37 AM »
I've noticed something about life:  as one's standard of living rises, the problems to be solved become smaller and smaller, and the cost of the corresponding solutions becomes larger and larger.  I mean, in the hierarchy of needs, we're way up into the stratosphere of "minuscule inconveniences."

Lights left on?  I ask our kids to turn all the lights off on their way to bed.  Solves the problem and establishes good habits.  Forget to turn down the thermostat while going on vacation? Ok, you'll pay an extra $10 while you're gone, for which privilege you've spent $200 on a fancy thermostat.  Forget to lock your door?  Sure, pay $75 for a smart lock so you don't have to call up your neighbor.  Spend hundreds of dollars more on a washer that texts you when it's done, just so you don't have to set a timer on your phone.

Agree with the washer/dryer thing.

There's more to smart thermostats, however. Indeed, you can get a cheap thermostat for about $30. It will most likely have an LCD screen and may or may not be programmable. Even if programming, doing so is a PITA. I'm the type of person that enjoys reading manuals, and I have lots of experience navigating "menus" on electronic devices with terrible user interfaces (mostly from the 1980s-1990s). Most people aren't going to take the time to figure this out. And even when I have in the past I find that I don't make changes as life evolves because I forget the magic sequence of button pushes to change the schedule.

Thermostats with touch screens make programming a lot easier and are way more likely to get used which saves money on energy bills while also being better for the environment.

If it has a touch screen then it has a small computer built-in and pretty cheap to add WiFi. For example, the Lennox ComfortSense 5500 is a reasonable little thermostat w/o WiFi (we recently inherited one) that runs about $180. However, the Nest thermostat is about $200. So for an additional $20 you get things like remote access, monitoring, and better historical energy usage data. Not going to replace our 5500, but if I was choosing a new thermostat I would absolutely go for the Nest.

A thermostat should last for the life of the HVAC, or 20+ years. Amortized over the this period that's $10/year for a smart thermostat vs. $1.50/year for the dumb thermostat, but I would argue that for most people they will save more than $8.50 a year on reduced energy usage with the smart thermostat.
« Last Edit: April 21, 2020, 11:30:54 AM by FINate »

zolotiyeruki

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3759
  • Location: State: Denial
Re: Home automation/ smart homes
« Reply #18 on: April 21, 2020, 03:25:30 PM »
There's an assumption that your Nest thermostat's online features will be supported for those 20 years.  I find that highly unlikely.

Yeah, programming a thermostat is a little annoying, but you only have to do it once, and then you're done forever.

Fomerly known as something

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 981
  • Location: Midwest
Re: Home automation/ smart homes
« Reply #19 on: April 21, 2020, 06:19:53 PM »
I figure this is as good a place as any to add this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bwvlbJ0h35A

I've noticed something about life:  as one's standard of living rises, the problems to be solved become smaller and smaller, and the cost of the corresponding solutions becomes larger and larger.  I mean, in the hierarchy of needs, we're way up into the stratosphere of "minuscule inconveniences."

Lights left on?  I ask our kids to turn all the lights off on their way to bed.  Solves the problem and establishes good habits.  Forget to turn down the thermostat while going on vacation? Ok, you'll pay an extra $10 while you're gone, for which privilege you've spent $200 on a fancy thermostat.  Forget to lock your door?  Sure, pay $75 for a smart lock so you don't have to call up your neighbor.  Spend hundreds of dollars more on a washer that texts you when it's done, just so you don't have to set a timer on your phone.

$200, try free.  My natural gas company has a program where they do a free energy audit and it came with a free eco bee.

FINate

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1868
Re: Home automation/ smart homes
« Reply #20 on: April 21, 2020, 06:50:15 PM »
There's an assumption that your Nest thermostat's online features will be supported for those 20 years.  I find that highly unlikely.

Yeah, programming a thermostat is a little annoying, but you only have to do it once, and then you're done forever.

My 2nd gen Apple TV is 10 years old and still chugging along fine, and the demands on it are *way* higher than that of a digital thermostat.

As far as I can tell the Gen 1 Nest (2011) is still supported by Google and receiving software updates. I don't think it's beyond the realm of possibilities for a gen 1 to continue another 10 years.

But for the sake of argument let's assume a lifespan of 10 years. Amortized that's $20/year. Will most people save $20 a year on heating/cooling with a Nest? Yes. Routines change with things like school schedules, summer vacation, and so on. And there are many places where you can save a bundle and help the grid by optimizing for off-peak times. If you want to futz around with an old style programmer for these things then more power to you. I know from experience that I won't. It'll get set it up initially, then I'll forget how I did it and won't change it even though I should.

It's all about where the value is. For me I know it saves me $$$ every year by reducing our energy usage. For those who are diligent about always updating their old style thermostat programs as life changes, then sure there's no need for the fancy ones. The great thing is that no one is free to buy what's best for their own situation.

Travis

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3282
  • Location: South Korea
Re: Home automation/ smart homes
« Reply #21 on: April 21, 2020, 06:50:42 PM »
What makes me laugh is the wifi everything. I've heard of washers, dryers, fridges, toasters - all with wifi. It is going to be interesting the day that someone decides to hack into all those things and cause havoc. Plus, the potential for hackers to spy on you. I will pass, thanks.

That day has already come and gone. There are 10 billion (yes with a B) internet capable devices in the world this year. That number is expected to triple in five years, and many of these devices don't have their own password capabilities. I attend conferences where you walk away looking for a stiff drink due to how much the presenters scare you with real world horror stories. Pacemakers and insulin pumps now have WiFi and Bluetooth with no security. Your 2020 model car is loaded with entertainment and diagnostic features all emitting unprotected signals.  I watched a friend hack another friend's car at a party using the tire sensor which got him into the car's CPU.  The same friend built a device that allowed him to screw with WiFi and Bluetooth-capable televisions from a distance. Walking down the street one day we passed a Starbucks and he reached into his pocket and started changing the settings on theirs.  A couple years ago some guy broke into the controls of a 747 through the WiFi they provide for passengers just to show the FAA it was vulnerable. 

kanga1622

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 315
Re: Home automation/ smart homes
« Reply #22 on: April 21, 2020, 07:13:05 PM »
We have Alexa and use them to intercom between floors at times. But the closest we really get to ďsmartĒ home is our new doorknobs. You can program them with key codes so no keys are needed. No way for us to get locked out now and I donít have to worry about carrying keys when taking the dog for a walk. But the locks arenít wifi so they canít be hacked.

zolotiyeruki

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3759
  • Location: State: Denial
Re: Home automation/ smart homes
« Reply #23 on: April 21, 2020, 08:04:03 PM »
What makes me laugh is the wifi everything. I've heard of washers, dryers, fridges, toasters - all with wifi. It is going to be interesting the day that someone decides to hack into all those things and cause havoc. Plus, the potential for hackers to spy on you. I will pass, thanks.

That day has already come and gone. There are 10 billion (yes with a B) internet capable devices in the world this year. That number is expected to triple in five years, and many of these devices don't have their own password capabilities. I attend conferences where you walk away looking for a stiff drink due to how much the presenters scare you with real world horror stories. Pacemakers and insulin pumps now have WiFi and Bluetooth with no security. Your 2020 model car is loaded with entertainment and diagnostic features all emitting unprotected signals.  I watched a friend hack another friend's car at a party using the tire sensor which got him into the car's CPU.  The same friend built a device that allowed him to screw with WiFi and Bluetooth-capable televisions from a distance. Walking down the street one day we passed a Starbucks and he reached into his pocket and started changing the settings on theirs.  A couple years ago some guy broke into the controls of a 747 through the WiFi they provide for passengers just to show the FAA it was vulnerable.
Yup, and a lot of those devices (millions) get hacked and used as botnets for DDoS'ing sites in extortion rackets.

Travis

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3282
  • Location: South Korea
Re: Home automation/ smart homes
« Reply #24 on: April 21, 2020, 08:45:37 PM »
We have Alexa and use them to intercom between floors at times. But the closest we really get to ďsmartĒ home is our new doorknobs. You can program them with key codes so no keys are needed. No way for us to get locked out now and I donít have to worry about carrying keys when taking the dog for a walk. But the locks arenít wifi so they canít be hacked.

All the apartments and many homes here in Korea have keypad entry. I love it.

DadJokes

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1731
Re: Home automation/ smart homes
« Reply #25 on: April 22, 2020, 06:11:23 AM »
We have Alexa and use them to intercom between floors at times. But the closest we really get to ďsmartĒ home is our new doorknobs. You can program them with key codes so no keys are needed. No way for us to get locked out now and I donít have to worry about carrying keys when taking the dog for a walk. But the locks arenít wifi so they canít be hacked.

As long as no one is using "12345" as their combination...

That's the kind of thing an idiot would have on his luggage.

JLee

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 6197
Re: Home automation/ smart homes
« Reply #26 on: April 22, 2020, 06:18:16 AM »
We have Alexa and use them to intercom between floors at times. But the closest we really get to ďsmartĒ home is our new doorknobs. You can program them with key codes so no keys are needed. No way for us to get locked out now and I donít have to worry about carrying keys when taking the dog for a walk. But the locks arenít wifi so they canít be hacked.

As long as no one is using "12345" as their combination...

That's the kind of thing an idiot would have on his luggage.
That's amazing. I've got the same combination on my luggage.

kanga1622

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 315
Re: Home automation/ smart homes
« Reply #27 on: April 22, 2020, 10:21:28 AM »
We have Alexa and use them to intercom between floors at times. But the closest we really get to ďsmartĒ home is our new doorknobs. You can program them with key codes so no keys are needed. No way for us to get locked out now and I donít have to worry about carrying keys when taking the dog for a walk. But the locks arenít wifi so they canít be hacked.

As long as no one is using "12345" as their combination...

That's the kind of thing an idiot would have on his luggage.

The ones we have can have up to 18 active codes for each lock. So we each have individual codes that are easy for each of us to remember. Plus MIL has a code and a friend that would be able to care for our dog in an emergency. Love that we can add/subtract codes at will. It was interesting to see each personís reason for picking a particular code.

Optimiser

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 711
  • Age: 37
  • Location: PNW
Re: Home automation/ smart homes
« Reply #28 on: April 22, 2020, 11:24:26 AM »
I have really enjoyed the smart switches I have installed for my outside lights. No more fumbling in the dark when I get home late and no one remembered to turn on the outside lights. No more feeling frustrated seeing the outside lights running in the middle of the day. I know that there have been timer switches that can do similar things for decades, my parents had them when I was a kid, but they were a pain in the ass to program and every time the power went out they had to be reprogrammed. Now I just tell it turn on at sunset and off at sunrise; super easy!

I also have a smart plug on my A/V receiver so it doesn't get left on drawing 15w of standby power all night.

Now that I'm working from home in the garage, I've got a space heater plugged into a smart plug so it's not freezing cold when I get out there in the morning and I don't have to worry about leaving it on all night either.

When I plug my ebike into the charger I can quickly set a timer on my phone so the smart plug shuts off the charger when the battery is around 90% full. That keeps my battery from getting damaged from overcharging all night.

I can see how it is easy to go overboard and try to automate everything which can cost a ton of money and add a lot of complexity, frustration, and troubleshooting when something stops working. But the technology keeps getting cheaper and easier to use, and I think there are currently many applications where it makes sense, even for a mustachian.

GreenToTheCore

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 325
Re: Home automation/ smart homes
« Reply #29 on: April 22, 2020, 12:40:18 PM »
Funny podcast episode related to hacking IoT: https://darknetdiaries.com/episode/31/
Summary: make sure your ports are set up how you want them. The default isn't usually the most secure.

We only have a smart thermostat.
It'd be interesting in learning more about the manufacturing/raw material impact of having all these things with microchips.




eta: grammar
« Last Edit: April 23, 2020, 02:28:12 PM by GreenToTheCore »

Optimiser

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 711
  • Age: 37
  • Location: PNW
Re: Home automation/ smart homes
« Reply #30 on: April 22, 2020, 06:29:11 PM »
Around 2014 we had a futurist from Intel come give a talk at my university. He was saying that as the cost of microchips and computing power goes toward zero we will start seeing smart versions of anything and everything that someone can come up with a use for. He gave an example that if someone thinks it make sense to make a smart chair, there will be smart chairs. At the time I thought that sounded absurd, but I think I get it now.

Recently, I wasted a not small waste of time debating if I wanted a sleep tracking mat for my bed. In addition to the sleep tracking, I thought it was so cool that it could automatically tell my lights or coffee pot to turn on when I got out of bed. Fortunately I realized that I can turn on my damn light, or coffee pot, or whatever, and I don't want my coffee pot to turn on when I go to the bathroom, or my light to turn on while my wife is still in bed.

MilesTeg

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1183
Re: Home automation/ smart homes
« Reply #31 on: April 22, 2020, 07:44:12 PM »
As with all things, there are degrees.

I absolutely love all our voice/smartphone activated light switches & thermostat I have installed (slowly, when I find a good deal).

I also greatly enjoy all the sound wiring we have (5.1 in three rooms) and wired internet (10gb) to every needed room that I installed (yay for fishing wire!). Nothing beats a hard line for quality, reliability and speed. Wireless anything is always inferior except in portability. Is it future proof? Nope. Was it worth a few Franklins for the couple decades it will last? You bet. Hell, I'll probably end up spending far less than all the people chasing the latest greatest wifi with all its fake claims, hah.

I'll never, ever install a smart lock or any other security feature which requires internet connection. That's just idiotic.

Travis

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3282
  • Location: South Korea
Re: Home automation/ smart homes
« Reply #32 on: April 22, 2020, 08:18:29 PM »
Around 2014 we had a futurist from Intel come give a talk at my university. He was saying that as the cost of microchips and computing power goes toward zero we will start seeing smart versions of anything and everything that someone can come up with a use for. He gave an example that if someone thinks it make sense to make a smart chair, there will be smart chairs. At the time I thought that sounded absurd, but I think I get it now.

Recently, I wasted a not small waste of time debating if I wanted a sleep tracking mat for my bed. In addition to the sleep tracking, I thought it was so cool that it could automatically tell my lights or coffee pot to turn on when I got out of bed. Fortunately I realized that I can turn on my damn light, or coffee pot, or whatever, and I don't want my coffee pot to turn on when I go to the bathroom, or my light to turn on while my wife is still in bed.

I'm still enthralled at the absurdity/novelty of a heated toilet seat. Now you can probably buy one with a tv screen, USB port for your phone, and a tie-in to the household Alexa.

When the first internet-capable refrigerator was announced with the capability of dialing up the local grocer, one of the guys in my shop immediately rubbed his hands together and start listing the ways he could make the owner's life a living hell.

Villanelle

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3685
Re: Home automation/ smart homes
« Reply #33 on: April 22, 2020, 08:55:10 PM »
Around 2014 we had a futurist from Intel come give a talk at my university. He was saying that as the cost of microchips and computing power goes toward zero we will start seeing smart versions of anything and everything that someone can come up with a use for. He gave an example that if someone thinks it make sense to make a smart chair, there will be smart chairs. At the time I thought that sounded absurd, but I think I get it now.

Recently, I wasted a not small waste of time debating if I wanted a sleep tracking mat for my bed. In addition to the sleep tracking, I thought it was so cool that it could automatically tell my lights or coffee pot to turn on when I got out of bed. Fortunately I realized that I can turn on my damn light, or coffee pot, or whatever, and I don't want my coffee pot to turn on when I go to the bathroom, or my light to turn on while my wife is still in bed.

I'm still enthralled at the absurdity/novelty of a heated toilet seat. Now you can probably buy one with a tv screen, USB port for your phone, and a tie-in to the household Alexa.

When the first internet-capable refrigerator was announced with the capability of dialing up the local grocer, one of the guys in my shop immediately rubbed his hands together and start listing the ways he could make the owner's life a living hell.

We had a heated toilet seat in our rental the first time we lived in Japan.  It was *heavenly*. I'm sure it would always be a pleasant luxury in any cold climate.  But I think it actually is fairly mustachian in this context--no home I was in the entire time I lived in Japan had central heating or cooling.  Homes are built with mini-splits, which is *much* more cost-conscious than heating or cooling the entire home when no one is in 90% of it.  Bathrooms of course don't have those units.  So, imagine it's the middle of the night and you have some digestive distress that means you are going to be in the bathroom for a while.  Even just the initial taking of your seat when it is perhaps close to 0*C in your bathroom (Japanese homes also seemed to all have shitty insulation!) would be pretty damn uncomfortable, much less sitting there for 10+ minutes. 

Sure, one could do without, just as one could do without any central heat.  But if you have to pick which one is cheaper, it's likely the heated toilet seat, by a significant $. 

zolotiyeruki

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3759
  • Location: State: Denial
Re: Home automation/ smart homes
« Reply #34 on: April 23, 2020, 10:59:59 AM »
I'm still enthralled at the absurdity/novelty of a heated toilet seat.
Have you ever tried one?  I have (on a business trip to Japan), and like Villanelle says, it's heavenly.  Would I pay extra for it?  Nah, I can deal.

stoaX

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 605
  • Location: South Carolina
  • 'tis nothing good nor bad but thinking makes it so
Re: Home automation/ smart homes
« Reply #35 on: April 23, 2020, 12:08:46 PM »
The only thing in my house that falls into this category is a programmable thermostat and I don't use anywhere close to all the features it has. I'm not against smart home features and devices, I just don't have enough interest to spend the time and money to go down that road. 

jafr1284

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 91
  • Location: Colorado
Re: Home automation/ smart homes
« Reply #36 on: April 24, 2020, 08:10:23 PM »
I love using my colostomy bag rather than taking all the effort to make it to the toilet.


:P
HAHA yeah this is how I feel about it. Is it that much harder to turn off lights when you leave a room by hitting the switch?

Villanelle

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3685
Re: Home automation/ smart homes
« Reply #37 on: April 25, 2020, 11:06:49 PM »
I love using my colostomy bag rather than taking all the effort to make it to the toilet.


:P
HAHA yeah this is how I feel about it. Is it that much harder to turn off lights when you leave a room by hitting the switch?

LOL.  But I live in an odd old house that has been many things in its life and had many different forms. As such, it is far from convenient or optimized.  For example, there is a light switch in the kitchen on the first floor.  It turns on and off the light on the master bedroom closet on the second floor.  New home generally have light switches in places where one can conveniently use them.  when you have to traipse across a dark room to get to the switches that are located nowhere near the door, these things make more sense.

We've definitely put in a few smart lights.  And use our Echo Dots as a whole house sound system, which is certainly a luxury, but a relatively inexpensive one. 

The_Big_H

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 158
Re: Home automation/ smart homes
« Reply #38 on: April 25, 2020, 11:17:59 PM »
What makes me laugh is the wifi everything. I've heard of washers, dryers, fridges, toasters - all with wifi. It is going to be interesting the day that someone decides to hack into all those things and cause havoc. Plus, the potential for hackers to spy on you. I will pass, thanks.

That day has already come and gone. There are 10 billion (yes with a B) internet capable devices in the world this year. That number is expected to triple in five years, and many of these devices don't have their own password capabilities. I attend conferences where you walk away looking for a stiff drink due to how much the presenters scare you with real world horror stories. Pacemakers and insulin pumps now have WiFi and Bluetooth with no security. Your 2020 model car is loaded with entertainment and diagnostic features all emitting unprotected signals.  I watched a friend hack another friend's car at a party using the tire sensor which got him into the car's CPU.  The same friend built a device that allowed him to screw with WiFi and Bluetooth-capable televisions from a distance. Walking down the street one day we passed a Starbucks and he reached into his pocket and started changing the settings on theirs.  A couple years ago some guy broke into the controls of a 747 through the WiFi they provide for passengers just to show the FAA it was vulnerable.

This is how I know I will become like my boomer parents.  In our youth we looked upon the old people who struggled to use computers, didn't want to text, had no interest in social media, or use smart phone as fossils.  But I can already tell, in a world full of IoT, I will one day be that very same old person that REFUSES it no matter how much my kids or anyone else pesters me to "get with the times" and whatever else they cook up next (brain implants?).

If it becomes impossible to get a "dumb" car, well I guess the mustachian way of riding bikes and using your car sparingly will come in handy as I try to stretch my 2006 "dumb" car to last a couple more decades.  Of course, so little TV is watched that there will never be another need to purchase a TV again in my lifetime so no worries about no new "non-smart" TVs being produced.

DadJokes

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1731
Re: Home automation/ smart homes
« Reply #39 on: April 26, 2020, 06:42:13 PM »
I love using my colostomy bag rather than taking all the effort to make it to the toilet.


:P
HAHA yeah this is how I feel about it. Is it that much harder to turn off lights when you leave a room by hitting the switch?

According to my wife, yes.

Besides being raised in a house where no one turned off lights, sheís very forgetful in general. Not everyone is as mindful as most of us are.

Travis

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3282
  • Location: South Korea
Re: Home automation/ smart homes
« Reply #40 on: April 26, 2020, 07:00:50 PM »
I love using my colostomy bag rather than taking all the effort to make it to the toilet.


:P
HAHA yeah this is how I feel about it. Is it that much harder to turn off lights when you leave a room by hitting the switch?

According to my wife, yes.

Besides being raised in a house where no one turned off lights, sheís very forgetful in general. Not everyone is as mindful as most of us are.

All the lights in my office have motion sensors and will shut off after a while. Is that a thing in homes now?

Wrenchturner

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1260
  • Age: 32
  • Location: Canada
Re: Home automation/ smart homes
« Reply #41 on: April 26, 2020, 09:38:55 PM »
I wonder if this will ever really catch on widely.  The long term quality of "durable" goods is getting pretty low, and obsolescence is a big factor too.  I don't know if people will bother to buy smart appliances and whatnot only to find themselves constantly reconfiguring or dealing with unreliable connections, etc.

Not to mention, all the tooling already exists for regular old coffee pots and lights and small appliances like that.  Will everyone bother to pay the premium to have a toaster that someone bothered to stick a circuit board into?

zolotiyeruki

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3759
  • Location: State: Denial
Re: Home automation/ smart homes
« Reply #42 on: April 27, 2020, 06:59:59 AM »
I wonder if this will ever really catch on widely.  The long term quality of "durable" goods is getting pretty low, and obsolescence is a big factor too.  I don't know if people will bother to buy smart appliances and whatnot only to find themselves constantly reconfiguring or dealing with unreliable connections, etc.

Not to mention, all the tooling already exists for regular old coffee pots and lights and small appliances like that.  Will everyone bother to pay the premium to have a toaster that someone bothered to stick a circuit board into?
Part of the issue, at least with larger appliances, is the ever-tightening regulatory on water and energy usage.  That makes it much more difficult for a simpler electromechanical dishwasher or washing machine to effectively clean dishes or clothes effectively, so manufacturers end up designing electronically-controlled appliances.  And once you've got a microprocessor in there, it's a small step to add a piezo to beep when the load is done, and then to add a display showing how many minutes are left, and then adding a $1 wifi chip becomes trivial, and on and on.

All the lights in my office have motion sensors and will shut off after a while. Is that a thing in homes now?
We've added a couple of those in our house, in places that get a lot of traffic--the mudroom and bathrooms, for example.  At the same time, though, I see value in teaching our kids the habit of turning off the lights as they leave a room, just on principle.

iris lily

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3887
Re: Home automation/ smart homes
« Reply #43 on: April 27, 2020, 11:25:11 AM »
We renovated an 1880ís house down to the studs. Had walls open.

We are not geeky at all  Did not wire for cable tv. Living in Murder City, debated wiring thoroughly for alarm system. Didnt do it.

No none of that matters now because itís all wireless. We still donít have cable TV we just have a flat anntanae.

Our architect is mentioning newfangled heater/cooler  units for a big renovation weíre doing on our weekend house. I donít like newfangled. I want to run vents upstairs for a traditional gas/forced air system.
« Last Edit: April 27, 2020, 03:23:51 PM by iris lily »

Chris22

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3352
  • Location: Chicago NW Suburbs
Re: Home automation/ smart homes
« Reply #44 on: April 27, 2020, 02:19:20 PM »
Was thinking about this over the weekend because I have some smart stuff at my current house, and we are considering moving so wondering what/if Iíd bring with.

Currently the only smart things we have are 3 Ring cameras (driveway, doorbell, backyard) and one Echo Show. I bought them all as novelties with Amazon gift cards I received as gifts so no major $$ outlay. They are toys, and since our area occasionally has an outbreak of car break-ins, there might be some deterrent for theft/vandalism when cars are left outside.

I think in our next house, we will like trim it down to 1-2 cameras, probably doorbell and driveway, and then probably add a smart deadbolt/door lock (house has detached garage so not entering through garage like in current house) and smart thermostat just because it really is nice to come home to a house thatís not freezing cold/stifling hot after turning the HVAC up/down when away for a trip, weíd do that in current house except weíre planning to leave.

The Echo is basically worthless IMO, we use it to give the weather report (could just use phone etc) and occasionally play a game, thatís it.  When it dies I wonít replace it.

zolotiyeruki

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3759
  • Location: State: Denial
Re: Home automation/ smart homes
« Reply #45 on: April 27, 2020, 04:02:53 PM »
The Echo is basically worthless IMO, we use it to give the weather report (could just use phone etc) and occasionally play a game, thatís it.  When it dies I wonít replace it.
Why not sell it and add the proceeds to your army of green workers?

Chris22

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3352
  • Location: Chicago NW Suburbs
Re: Home automation/ smart homes
« Reply #46 on: April 27, 2020, 04:09:36 PM »
The Echo is basically worthless IMO, we use it to give the weather report (could just use phone etc) and occasionally play a game, thatís it.  When it dies I wonít replace it.
Why not sell it and add the proceeds to your army of green workers?

When you buy an Echo itís preconnected to your Amazon account, and Iím not sure how/donít trust Amazon to be able to wipe it clean to being hooked up to my credit cards and such.  Mine is 2 years old and a new version has come out so I have to think I couldnít get much money for it and it it wouldnít be worth the risk.

ketchup

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 4280
  • Age: 29
Re: Home automation/ smart homes
« Reply #47 on: April 27, 2020, 04:12:46 PM »
I've noticed something about life:  as one's standard of living rises, the problems to be solved become smaller and smaller, and the cost of the corresponding solutions becomes larger and larger.  I mean, in the hierarchy of needs, we're way up into the stratosphere of "minuscule inconveniences."
I think this is really the crux of it.  I don't have any "home automation" stuff in my house, but I could see the appeal for limited things like video doorbells or motion sensor lights.  Apart from that it feels like more trouble than it's worth unless it's something specific and purpose built (like to drop a bag of dog treats from the ceiling if the dogs downstairs won't shut up for 30 seconds... hmmm...).

dignam

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 371
Re: Home automation/ smart homes
« Reply #48 on: April 28, 2020, 07:08:14 AM »
Although I don't understand the need for smart fridges/ranges, I will never go back to a non-video doorbell.  I already had wifi security cams (Arlo, with LOCAL file storage), and was waiting for Arlo to put out their video doorbell to compete against Ring.  They did and I actually got it as a Christmas gift.  Integrates seamlessly with my cameras.

Other than that, that's all we really have for home automation.  I considered a smart thermostat, but the old school programming features seem to work fine for what we need.

jinga nation

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1613
  • Location: 'Murica's Johnson
  • Left, Right, Peddlin' Shite
Re: Home automation/ smart homes
« Reply #49 on: April 28, 2020, 08:11:10 AM »
The Echo is basically worthless IMO, we use it to give the weather report (could just use phone etc) and occasionally play a game, thatís it.  When it dies I wonít replace it.
Why not sell it and add the proceeds to your army of green workers?

When you buy an Echo itís preconnected to your Amazon account, and Iím not sure how/donít trust Amazon to be able to wipe it clean to being hooked up to my credit cards and such.  Mine is 2 years old and a new version has come out so I have to think I couldnít get much money for it and it it wouldnít be worth the risk.
This ^.
Especially for Amazon's cheaper devices, they are essentially obsolete 24 hours after you receive them. It costs Amazon for return shipping plus restocking.
I bought a FireTV stick once, installed K0D!, and used it for a couple of weeks, then it stopped functioning. A reset did no good. Amazon customer service gave me a refund and said to put it in electronics recycling. Did some googling, and after a whole bunch of resets etc. at some point it started up like a new device and functioned fine (did not reinstall K0D!).
An ex-coworker who went to work for Amazon said the planned obsolescence of electronics is 18-36 months. In that period of time, new features in hardware and software are released. Eventually updates don't reach your current device is because it doesn't have the new hardware, forcing you to purchase a new device.
I don't have any smart devices in my house. Because if I do, I'd be the unpaid tech support (I do enough cloud and security work in my daily job). And I don't like the security model of "smart devices".
However, I'm considering getting 3 exterior wireless cameras (backyard, front porch, and garage). Have yet to determine if to feed to cloud or store feeds on home server.