Where has HASSCASTS gone?

Where are you, John? I hear you cry.

Well, here’s the deal. I started HASSCASTS in order to try to make a career on Youtube. Unfortunately, I’m not enjoying it, so I’m drawing down on the video side of things (but not stopping videos completely).

I hope instead, to be able to concentrate on the blog side of HASSCASTS. With any luck, if I concentrate on this side of things, it should make it more enjoyable. Mainly, because I don’t need to worry about the cost and continuous setup/teardown of video equipment in the family’s area.

My new plans

I now want to write some posts about how I’m upgrading my system from a stereotypical ‘smart home’. And converting it into what I consider a smart home should be. This, though, is probably going to be a never-ending journey as smart homes are constantly evolving.

What is a smart home, anyway?

When you are first starting out on your home automation journey, the ability to remotely switch things on and off is great. In fact, it’s obviously one of the main selling points, as most of the adverts focus on the simplicity of the product. The people in the advert amazed that they can just click a button on their smartphone & the lamp comes on.

To make the point, here’s an advert for a smart plug, this one happens to be for Teckin smart plug (4pk) on Amazon but I’m sure you have seen many similar adverts.

A typical smart home product advert, featuring a smily woman on her smart phone and a lamp at the side of a smart plug and a chair.

The problem is that if you’re like me, you then get the bug & you want more… and more… and, well – you get the picture!

At some point, it’s possible that you start to think that most smart homes are simply remote controls on steroids. I’ve been at this point for a while, & now I want my smart home to be able to make intelligent decisions about what/when/why it does things.

A Basic Example.

Background
On a night, I sleep downstairs on my sofa bed because I cry in my sleep (because of my PTSD) & my physical problems mean that even when my pain level allows me to sleep, it doesn’t last very long.

Anyway… my dog comes up to my sofa-bed when I’m sleeping so that I can let her go to the toilet on our once lovely garden, now swamp/junk-yard.

Automation Trigger
So that is the automation trigger – my dog waking walking up to my sofa-bed.

Actions:

Example automation flow
Click for a larger view

Obviously, that’s just an example, and I could easily expand on it to take into account all sorts of scenarios.

The funny thing is that I already have the skills/knowledge & equipment to put this example into practice. What I currently lack is a dedicated sense of direction. I have way too many things on my plate at the moment, with varying degrees of importance. This blog will give me a sense of purpose & the mental stimulus needed to undertake the task. It could possibly even allow me to find a way of bringing in some financial income. Maybe, even allow me to regain my dignity, self-respect & start contributing to society again.

Enter NodeRED

A tool like NodeRED is ideal for projects like this. Here’s just a quick flow. For brevity, I’ve haven’t programmed all the data into the flow, this is just to illustrate the example.

Example of how the dog problem could be solved with node red.
Click for a larger view

And that is a smart home?

Well… NO! I don’t believe so. I would instead argue that it is the next level of advanced remote control. Let’s face it, it is still following the same sorts of paths as before – even if these are more intricate.

What I’d like to see is the system taking decisions by itself instead of relying on us for answers.

Maybe the system could reflect on a user’s previous habits in order to get an up to date decision.

Unfortunately, when I put that down on paper, I’ll realise that I still don’t consider it a smart home. Besides, even Google’s search engine – although very smart, has a plan that can be followed from point to point.

Hopefully, I will have greater success at writing posts than I did at making videos. At least I am starting out with the best of intentions & a moderate ability to communicate in English. Perhaps more importantly, I have a vast & ambitious interest in smart homes/home automation.

I do hope that you will join me on this journey as together we delve into the world of making our homes smarter & with any luck – our lives a little easier. If you have any questions, comments or queries, then don’t be afraid to drop a comment down below & I’ll try to answer you as quick as a slow thing trying to be fast can be!

Thanks, John.

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