X10 Community Forum

🔌General Home Automation => Automating Your House => Topic started by: Tuicemen on December 09, 2016, 09:52:39 PM

Title: Automation with Alexa
Post by: Tuicemen on December 09, 2016, 09:52:39 PM
I always wanted to play with a amazon echo and Alexa but couldn't picture spending the amount in Can $.
Now with the Dot second generation at $50 US it is looking better. Still not worth the $175 Cnd some sites are asking.
However with word that one is coming my way so I can create something for the X10 Community my interest has been rekindled.
Using the Ahscript.dll I created a small program which will send X10 commands via RF or PLC.
When used with HA-bridge and Alexa this should be a fun experience.
It didn't make sense creating a new bridge as HA Bridge already has configurations for several protocols

I created the program so end users don't have to write scripts or batch files (the program does that for you)
you still need to type in the name of the file it creates in the bridge setup screen.
The program doesn't have a name yet so I'd like some suggestions from the community, just keep them short.
My Dot should be here next week so I can start testing then.
If anyone else would like to help with testing PM me. Besides the Dot this should work with the echo, tap, or Google Home.
 >!
Title: Re: Automation with Alexa
Post by: beelocks on December 09, 2016, 11:32:05 PM
The program doesn't have a name yet so I'd like some suggestions from the community, just keep them short.

Alex10
Title: Re: Automation with Alexa
Post by: racerfern on December 10, 2016, 12:13:53 PM
Interesting, I got my dot a few days ago and I'm liking it. However, seeing as it seems the X10 protocol is dying a slow death, I just ordered a HomeSeer S2 (starter unit). That way I'll have ZWave and X10 control, or so they say. As the X10 stuff slowly dies, I plan on switching some things to Zwave. However, the X10 items are soooo much cheaper than other protocols, it would hurt to switch for the sake of switching.

I also just bought two new WiFi thermostats that will be able to be controlled from Alexa or HomeSeer, so the future is bright for HA in my house.

Will your program require the SDK for AHP? I've always had trouble with the SDK and don't currently have it installed.

+1 for Alex10
Title: Re: Automation with Alexa
Post by: Tuicemen on December 10, 2016, 03:28:36 PM
If AHP is installed it should work with that.
There are two versions of the SDK if you have the older version it will screw up things installing it especially if you have a version of AHP newer then 2.228.
Also newer third party software won't work with the oldest SDK or if a old AHP is installed.
Title: Re: Automation with Alexa
Post by: Tuicemen on December 13, 2016, 06:05:04 PM
My Dot arrived today! :)% :)%
This thing is frigging awesome!!!
I figured because I'm in Canada setup would be a pain. It wasn't!
I'm not a big fan of cloud base things but this is getting me to take another look.
The stuff this does right out of the box is amazing and fast.
Both my wife and I have no problem speaking to it ( it even got my wife laughing a few times with its responses to her stupid requests) I think my WAF just went up a notch! rofl
Setting up this to trip X10 devices can't get much simpler. Except maybe adding the device in my program and the HA bridge auto seeing it.
That maybe possible if I dig into the HA bridge code to see how the unique Ids are handed out.

Since AHP is on the same PC any macros I have assigned to an address get tripped flawlessly (So Far).
Third party HA software like BVC or PCC also work well with this.
You can also change the attention phrase so it matches these programs which is a nice touch.
You can't change the voice however. At least not that I've discovered yet.
With the Christmas price cut on these everyone should be getting one! -:) Maybe two!
To bad I can't get these threw Amazon.com, they won't ship them to Canada. :(


Title: Re: Automation with Alexa
Post by: Tuicemen on December 14, 2016, 10:55:38 AM
If there are no other name suggestion then I guess it is Alex10.
I'll throw this on a mini PC running Win 10 and see how it runs.  ::) :' Baring no issues I'll make it available.
Hopefully it will be ready to roll out before Christmas!
 >!
Title: Re: Automation with Alexa
Post by: HA Dave on December 14, 2016, 03:11:09 PM
Looks nice! My DOT is supposed to arrive a week from Thursday.

With the holidays soon to be over... and the approaching cold winter weather keeping many of us near home bound... the Home Automation season is almost here.

This could be like the old days... with new ideas and projects coming from all directions.
Title: Re: Automation with Alexa
Post by: Tuicemen on December 16, 2016, 01:53:40 PM
Ok have this running on a mini PC which runs Windows 10.
The biggest obstacle I had was getting Alexa to see that PC with HA-Bridge.
With HA-Bridge setup I only had to say "Alexa find devices" all X10 devices I had configured were found. :)%
Users can download and play with the Free open source HA-Bridge but Alex10 will include it.
Since Alex10 works very well here Ill start a thread dedicated to just it and make it available shortly.
Note: You can always get it sooner with PM or from my forum ;).
 >!
Title: Re: Automation with Alexa
Post by: HA Dave on December 22, 2016, 08:29:29 AM
Wow. That's all I can really say. I am that impressed with the DOT and the capabilities of Alexa.

I had posted elsewhere (I don't know why) about my DOT's arrival and setup yesterday. It was easy-peasy! I went to the Web address suggested in the start-up in my iPhone's browser (not the normal way to install an app on an iPhone). But once there apple recognized what needed done and the app downloaded in seconds. Ran the setup, gave the device the router password. Added my TWO ihome devices (plug-ins with lights one an LED).

The lights come on and go off about as quick as I say it (same with Siri).

I had purchased an ebook (downloaded to my iPhone) from Amazon all about the DOT 2nd gen. I had skimmed through the book... but the app walk-though was complete and easy.... so I didn't need any info in the book (yet). But Alexa/DOT can read the book for/to me now.. I already tested that.... unbelievable... it is NOT an audio book.

I got up early and tried to have Alexa play Christmas music for my wife. The selections it played were crappy. I asked Alexa to play "traditional" Christmas music. That wasn't much better. My wife said.... I wish it could just play the local XXXXX station... that's what I listen to in the car. I said:  Alexa play XXXXX. Alexa said: Playing XXXXX from iheart radio...... BOOM!

Later I paired the BT speaker in the kitchen to the DOT in the living room. That took all of 20 seconds. With the big BT speaker (in the kitchen) on... both the music and Alexa's voice replies comes out the big speaker. When I turn the BT speaker off... the sound switches back to Alexa.

And so far... everything is almost too easy! So darn simple, easy.... intuitive.... it's almost confusing.

I am giving some thought to buying this (https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00N3RFC4G/ref=ask_ql_qh_dp_hza). I've been using a Logitech Harmony remote in my theater for YEARS. The Harmony sends the X10 RF signal.... which I then use the X10 device that decodes the RF to PLC. Harmony still supports the old X10 IR codes (I checked their Site). So the newest hub works with Alexa commands... sends the IR... to the X10 IR543. Any thoughts on this?
Title: Re: Automation with Alexa
Post by: Tuicemen on December 22, 2016, 09:15:54 AM
With Amazon, Google, Apple, and Microsoft working on VR it just keeps getting better.
I still get the odd "I'm sorry" response from Alexa  but nowhere near what I use to from my PC and even that just keeps improving.
The unrecognized response is usually because I wasn't speaking clearly.
Over the holidays Dave you'll get Alexa working with X10 then you'll want more of these, I know I do!

I haven't played with the BT as yet so I'm interested in your experiences with that.
I've heard a big BT speaker improves the sound quality of the Dot. However we don't listen to music that much here.
That's more a car thing now.

 >!
Title: Re: Automation with Alexa
Post by: JeffVolp on December 22, 2016, 09:26:12 AM
For someone who doesn't own iAnything or even a smartphone, what is involved in adding this to our X10 installation?  Our X10 system is run by a totally autonomous Ocelot that is not connected to anything other than the XTB-523 plugged into the powerline.  I assume a PC with an X10 powerline interface has to be dedicated to it 24/7.

Jeff
Title: Re: Automation with Alexa
Post by: HA Dave on December 22, 2016, 09:58:12 AM
....... you'll get Alexa working with X10 then you'll want more of these, I know I do!

Yeah... I was already thinking... if I had one more.... with the Logitech Harmony hub.... I'd be all Alexa controlled.

I haven't played with the BT as yet so I'm interested in your experiences with that.
I've heard a big BT speaker improves the sound quality of the Dot. However we don't listen to music that much here.
That's more a car thing now.

My wife really likes the holiday music... particularly when we have people over (entertain). The big speaker sounds great. The DOT itself is probably all I need for sound.

I haven't had any voice recon problems. Although... I did look at Alexa and said "Hey Siri".... once. Sorta like grandpa forgetting the kids names. Thankfully there is some over-lap in what they do.
Title: Re: Automation with Alexa
Post by: Tuicemen on December 22, 2016, 10:09:31 AM
Since Alexa uses the cloud your x10 setup needs some sort of hub/bridge to communicate with the cloud.
Your router will need to have Wi-Fi capabilities

There are many different hubs available depending on the protocol using some have X10 capabilities from what I understand.
The cheapest way to do this in my opinion would be with an old PC or laptop that has internet Wi-Fi capabilities and a x10 PC interface( in your case it would need to be a PLC interface)
The Alexa setup can be done Via a PC in fact that's how I did mine, no smartphone is required.
The PC needs to have Wi-Fi only for setup of the Amazon dot so a simple USB stick is what I used and unplugged it afterwards as my main PC is wired.

What ever is to receive the Alexa signals only needs to be on when it is to receive Alexa signals so it doesn't need be on 24/7.
Title: Re: Automation with Alexa
Post by: Tuicemen on December 22, 2016, 10:12:48 AM
I haven't had any voice recon problems. Although... I did look at Alexa and said "Hey Siri".... once. Sorta like grandpa forgetting the kids names. Thankfully there is some over-lap in what they do.
rofl Luckily you can rename Alexa and or your PC attention command! easier then renaming the grand kids!
Title: Re: Automation with Alexa
Post by: Tuicemen on December 22, 2016, 10:23:46 AM
I am giving some thought to buying this (https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00N3RFC4G/ref=ask_ql_qh_dp_hza). I've been using a Logitech Harmony remote in my theater for YEARS. The Harmony sends the X10 RF signal.... which I then use the X10 device that decodes the RF to PLC. Harmony still supports the old X10 IR codes (I checked their Site). So the newest hub works with Alexa commands... sends the IR... to the X10 IR543. Any thoughts on this?
I missed this you must have added it after I first read the post.
Since it is possible to send X10 signals RF and or PLC that device isn't really needed unless you just want an upgrade.
I thought you had BVC controlling your theater?  ???
Title: Re: Automation with Alexa
Post by: JeffVolp on December 22, 2016, 10:24:53 AM
The cheapest way to do this in my opinion would be with an old PC or laptop that has internet Wi-Fi capabilities and a x10 PC interface( in your case it would need to be a PLC interface)

OK, I can dedicate the old Compaq Win98 laptop that I used for the XTB-232 development to it.  It has an Ethernet connection, serial port for the XTB-232, and an old installation of ActiveHome Pro (prior to X10WTI's demise).  Our router supports WiFi.  Anything else needed?

Jeff
Title: Re: Automation with Alexa
Post by: HA Dave on December 22, 2016, 10:37:30 AM
For someone who doesn't own iAnything or even a smartphone, what is involved in adding this to our X10 installation?

You will need WiFi. I think home wifi is the standard for this stuff now. Alexa needs wifi (no cat-5 port). Much of the other stuff like the hubs also need wifi. I have/own a somewhat recent big load capable router. I chose to buy and control my own... but some people get one installed for a small monthly fee from their cable/DSL provider.

Although... I am a big advocate of the smartphones... a $40 android tablet (again wireless) would give you all you need for setup and special/additional control. The tablet can be off and stored away... it isn't required for anything other than settings.

Our X10 system is run by a totally autonomous Ocelot that is not connected to anything other than the XTB-523 plugged into the powerline.  I assume a PC with an X10 powerline interface has to be dedicated to it 24/7.

Jeff

Your equipment is top-of-the-line (but you knew that). Ocelot (and the XTB-523) have always been a little pricey for my budget. So I don't know anything about it... to speak of. What Tuice is looking at would require a 24/7 PC connection.... but not much of a PC at all. An old XP laptop, CE, or mini PC device might be plenty.

I've been wanting (dreaming) of getting away from the HA PC. Please... don't judge me... but I even removed my desk from my home office. It's now my man-cave. Although I have TWO HA PC's running 24/7 now-a-days (and have for 3+ years).

But if I get a new $142 Logitech Harmony hub-based remote for my theater.... the DOT/Alexa can talk directly with the Logitech Harmony hub. And the hub would send X10 IR....... you get the idea. This would allow me to shut down my HA PC's.
Although the limited nature of the IR543 would also limit my voice control a little bit... it wouldn't be by much. i.e. One well written macro could shut down every device at bedtime. But like you had guessed... that (macro use) would require something like a CM15A (I have that). But then again..... maybe your XTB-523 handle that... I don't know.
Title: Re: Automation with Alexa
Post by: HA Dave on December 22, 2016, 10:40:31 AM
The cheapest way to do this in my opinion would be with an old PC or laptop that has internet Wi-Fi capabilities and a x10 PC interface( in your case it would need to be a PLC interface)

OK, I can dedicate the old Compaq Win98 laptop that I used for the XTB-232 development to it.  It has an Ethernet connection, serial port for the XTB-232, and an old installation of ActiveHome Pro (prior to X10WTI's demise).  Our router supports WiFi.  Anything else needed?

Jeff

I don't know. I can't recall the what IE win98 used.... but it might be difficult to setup Alexa with it.
Title: Re: Automation with Alexa
Post by: HA Dave on December 22, 2016, 10:49:51 AM
I missed this you must have added it after I first read the post.

Yeah... it takes me forever to pound these posts out.  rofl

Since it is possible to send X10 signals RF and or PLC that device isn't really needed unless you just want an upgrade.
I thought you had BVC controlling your theater?  ???

You are (of course) correct. The old laptop running BVC and AHP (with a CM15A) can do it all now. Or... I could even integrate using the CE laptop running my Melloware server with a CM19A (that allows me to control X10 with my iPhone).

But if I switch to a Logitech Harmony hub.... I can do it all... and not run a PC.
Title: Re: Automation with Alexa
Post by: Tuicemen on December 22, 2016, 10:57:18 AM

OK, I can dedicate the old Compaq Win98 laptop that I used for the XTB-232 development to it.  It has an Ethernet connection, serial port for the XTB-232, and an old installation of ActiveHome Pro (prior to X10WTI's demise).  Our router supports WiFi.  Anything else needed?

Jeff
If you have a Wi-Fi stick the PC will recognize, that's all you'll require for setup as you need to see the amazon Wi-Fi connection during setup.
The Dot setup is realy simple as Dave also mentioned.
The HA-bridge uses Java 8.11 and is a universal OS file.
HA-Bridge doesn't load fully in IE (on my win 7 PC) so another browser like chrome may be needed.
You don't need to use the program I created (Alex10) but it makes things simpler, HA-bridge is include with it.
It is possible to use the ahcmd.exe file included in the SDK but that is flaky.




Title: Re: Automation with Alexa
Post by: Tuicemen on December 22, 2016, 11:12:21 AM
You are (of course) correct. The old laptop running BVC and AHP (with a CM15A) can do it all now. Or... I could even integrate using the CE laptop running my Melloware server with a CM19A (that allows me to control X10 with my iPhone).

But if I switch to a Logitech Harmony hub.... I can do it all... and not run a PC.
The hubs are essentially mini PCs running Linux so your not eliminating a PC.
Most of my HA is now done from a mini (low power) PC which I use for streaming and sits on the back of my TV
It isn't much bigger then a paper back novel, newer ones are about the size of the cm15.
 >!
Title: Re: Automation with Alexa
Post by: HA Dave on December 22, 2016, 11:41:55 AM
The hubs are essentially mini PCs running Linux so your not eliminating a PC.

Well.... today even the wifi crockpots and microwave ovens have more processing power than my 1st (VIC-20) PC had. I have no desire to eliminate processors.... just the PC. I know this might sound odd from an old network admin that was building PC's even before win 95... but it is my goal.

I keep trying to convert over to a tablet.... (I've been using laptops since 2001). And.... I do have several actual PC's as well.

I don't mind using whatever tool I need to use to accomplish what I want. Much of what I've done with X10 and BVC I'd do over again in a heartbeat. But for the last few years I've felt like I am not just using technology to control my automation. But more like I am using enough technology to beat my automation into submission.

Most of what I've done these last 4-5 years has mostly just been subtle little upgrades to stay current. I see some real progress in the products available now. 
Title: Re: Automation with Alexa
Post by: dhouston on December 22, 2016, 12:03:02 PM
I assume a PC with an X10 powerline interface has to be dedicated to it 24/7.

A $35 Raspberry Pi 3 is certain to be more than adequate although it does run Linux. It has Bluetooth, WiFi, Ethernet, a microSD slot, HDMI and four USB ports.
https://www.raspberrypi.org/products/raspberry-pi-3-model-b/ (https://www.raspberrypi.org/products/raspberry-pi-3-model-b/)

You can add one of these to talk with your Ocelot.
https://www.abelectronics.co.uk/kb/article/1035/raspberry-pi-3-serial-port-usage (https://www.abelectronics.co.uk/kb/article/1035/raspberry-pi-3-serial-port-usage)
Title: Re: Automation with Alexa
Post by: Tuicemen on December 22, 2016, 12:16:23 PM
I played with tablets (just oversized smart phones in my opinion)
The idea of a touch screen I liked, having used touch screens a work I was use to them.
However with the advancement in VR even that is slow now.
I rarely have a keyboard or mouse attached to my mini PC and they are wireless anyways.

I understand your wanting to move away from a PC they were always big cumbersome boxes.
These new TV boxes which have dual OS boot options is what I'm looking at next.
This way I can keep my favorite older things and still enable newer stuff.

I've converted my Android mini TV stick to dual boot and may try to control X10 via Alexa with it as the other OS is Linux.
I just wish it was better made, it gets way to hot if left running.
I have in the past sent X10 commands to a cm19 from the Android mini TV stick so it isn't far fetched.
I'm not a fan of Linux, setups always seem to take twice as long as it does in Windows.
being a two finger typer doesn't help either!  ::) :'
 >!


Title: Re: Automation with Alexa
Post by: Tuicemen on December 22, 2016, 12:27:08 PM
I thought of doing a Pi board for HA at my off grid place.
The fact that these use so little power is very appealing, the fact they use Linux isn't. :(
Many use  the Raspberry Pi for HA and are very happy with it.
20 years ago I may have taken a closer look but then it and Alexa wasn't available.  :( ::) :'
Title: Re: Automation with Alexa
Post by: racerfern on December 22, 2016, 12:32:13 PM
This is my 24/7 pc. Low power consumption, not lightning fast, but fast enough. It manages the NVR security camera recording, CM15A for X10 and I could plug a zwave stick into it. I paid $209 a few months ago. You might find some on newegg, ebay, craigslist.

http://www.woot.com/offers/hp-pavilion-mini-intel-1tb-sata-desktop-3


Title: Re: Automation with Alexa
Post by: HA Dave on December 22, 2016, 12:54:04 PM
I played with tablets (just oversized smart phones in my opinion).......
...........I rarely have a keyboard or mouse attached to my mini PC and they are wireless anyways.

..... These new TV boxes which have dual OS boot options is what I'm looking at next.
This way I can keep my favorite older things and still enable newer stuff.

I've converted my Android mini TV stick to dual boot and may try to control X10 via Alexa with it as the other OS is Linux.

A lot of what I think about is..... how can I or how might I use the newer technologies.

I always find it very tempting to turn to the tools I know how to use. Just like welders always grab some steel and a torch, carpenters grab 2X4's and a saw, and politicians grab duct tape and dollar bills.

I try to find unexpected capabilities... and I try look outside myself and my own knowledge base for solutions. After all... this is not a job. For me... this is a hobby. Sure... maybe a bit of an addiction too. But I make a real effort to set aside my pragmatic side and force a little creative imagination to guide me.

But my imagination struggles. In my mind.... Kate(16), Siri, Alexa, and Jerri Ryan.... all look exactly alike?!?!?  ;)
Title: Re: Automation with Alexa
Post by: HA Dave on December 22, 2016, 01:04:17 PM
This is my 24/7 pc. ....... CM15A for X10 and I could plug a zwave stick into it. http://www.woot.com/offers/hp-pavilion-mini-intel-1tb-sata-desktop-3

That does look nice! And I wouldn't have to learn how to write code like I would with a Raspberry Pi device (if I even can learn to code). And... the hub thing I am thinking about would force me to completely rewrite/update my entire AHP set of macros and such.

This is good stuff! So much to think about and strategize about.
Title: Re: Automation with Alexa
Post by: dhouston on December 22, 2016, 01:10:58 PM
And I wouldn't have to learn how to write code like I would with a Raspberry Pi device.

No code needed - just install HomeGenie.
http://www.homegenie.it/ (http://www.homegenie.it/)

PS: I think it's inevitable that Microsoft will release a version of Windows 10 for the Pi 3. They would be foolish to continue allowing Linux to monopolize these low cost, entry level devices.
Title: Re: Automation with Alexa
Post by: JeffVolp on December 22, 2016, 01:21:13 PM
That old Compaq won't hack it.  It was my work laptop before I retired, and I don't think I ever used it to connect to the Internet.  It only has 28MB of RAM and a 4G hard drive.  I couldn't even get it to connect to our WiFi router.  I guess I'll have to pick up something newer.

Our other laptops (Win7) are in daily service, and I don't want to dedicate a spare power hungry tower system to a 24/7 application.  All our towers are normally in sleep mode except when actually being used.

Jeff
Title: Re: Automation with Alexa
Post by: Tuicemen on December 22, 2016, 01:27:32 PM
This is my 24/7 pc. Low power consumption, not lightning fast, but fast enough. It manages the NVR security camera recording, CM15A for X10 and I could plug a zwave stick into it. I paid $209 a few months ago. You might find some on newegg, ebay, craigslist.

http://www.woot.com/offers/hp-pavilion-mini-intel-1tb-sata-desktop-3
This is simular to what I'm looking at.
Ebay has those as well as cheaper dual OS units for under $100.
I need a better streaming TV box.
No code needed - just install HomeGenie.
I played with HomeGenie but I didn't like it.
I'm sure if I stuck with it, it would have grown on me but I'm like HA Dave and don't wish to redo my entire HA setup.
I'd like to just move my current software and settings.
That old Compaq won't hack it.  It was my work laptop before I retired, and I don't think I ever used it to connect to the Internet.  It only has 28MB of RAM and a 4G hard drive.  I couldn't even get it to connect to our WiFi router.  I guess I'll have to pick up something newer.
Jeff
I think you'll want something with at least 2 gigs of memory, luckily E-bay has a large assortment of mini PC.
Title: Re: Automation with Alexa
Post by: Brian H on December 22, 2016, 02:26:21 PM
Well I will not be using an Echo or Dot.
I also have no Wi-Fi enabled on my Frontier 7550 DSL interface or Smartphones.
Title: Re: Automation with Alexa
Post by: JeffVolp on December 22, 2016, 03:03:46 PM
I think you'll want something with at least 2 gigs of memory, luckily E-bay has a large assortment of mini PC.

Just picked up a used Gateway 450ROG with WiFi and a serial port but a bad hard drive for $25 off Craigslist.  It boots off the CD.  I have a spare laptop hard drive, so I should be in business.  (It has 1GB of RAM.)

(I picked up this one because it also has a serial port to connect directly to the XTB-232 without a USB adapter.)

Jeff
Title: Re: Automation with Alexa
Post by: racerfern on December 22, 2016, 04:22:52 PM
Quote
This is good stuff! So much to think about and strategize about.

https://www.amazon.com/HP-Pavilion-300-240-Desktop-Celeron/dp/B016K0AAFI

Since I use Chrome Remote Desktop to access it from anywhere, I can sit at my main PC with two huge screens which makes it much easier to use.
Title: Re: Automation with Alexa
Post by: dhouston on December 22, 2016, 04:32:13 PM
I need a better streaming TV box.

My automation needs are minimal these days but, as I've posted about before, I have a Lenovo Q190 (I got a bargain just as Lenovo discontinued them) which is connected to one of the HDMI ports on my Vizio SmarTV after trying and being dissatisfied with the streaming skills of a couple of miniPCs. Using Firefox to stream is far better than the miniPCs and easier than even the native Vizio apps for Amazon and Netflix. Plus, I can browse the web when desired. And it's ideal for streaming the major network OTA shows that I dozed off during the night before or missed because I watched another favorite on another network in the same time slot.
https://www.amazon.com/Lenovo-Q190-57327830-Dual-Core-Keyboard/dp/B00K5JNJ6S/ref=sr_1_1?s=pc&ie=UTF8&qid=1482442577&sr=1-1&keywords=lenovo+q190 (https://www.amazon.com/Lenovo-Q190-57327830-Dual-Core-Keyboard/dp/B00K5JNJ6S/ref=sr_1_1?s=pc&ie=UTF8&qid=1482442577&sr=1-1&keywords=lenovo+q190)
TV + PC draw is about 100W and neither interferes with X10.

Obviously, it would also make for a powerful HA system if I had the need.
Title: Re: Automation with Alexa
Post by: Tuicemen on December 22, 2016, 05:01:54 PM
I really like my HP t5740 I run at the off grid place it is faster then my Asus Eee box with the same specs.
And for under $40 I'm considering that. ::) :'
http://www.ebay.com/itm/HP-Thin-Client-t5740-Intel-Atom-1-66GHz-2GB-RAM-4GB-Flash-HDD-HSTNC-006-TC-/381761820072?hash=item58e2c715a8:g:TAMAAOSw4q9XTuAc
Those mini pcs are so easy to hide!
 
 
Title: Re: Automation with Alexa
Post by: HA Dave on December 22, 2016, 08:29:52 PM
Well I will not be using an Echo or Dot.
I also have no Wi-Fi enabled on my Frontier 7550 DSL interface or Smartphones.

But isn't the 7550 capable of wifi? Wouldn't it just be a quick settings change?
Title: Re: Automation with Alexa
Post by: Brian H on December 23, 2016, 06:15:57 AM
Well I will not be using an Echo or Dot.
I also have no Wi-Fi enabled on my Frontier 7550 DSL interface or Smartphones.

But isn't the 7550 capable of wifi? Wouldn't it just be a quick settings change?

Yes it is a simple setting. It defaults to On. I turned it Off since until now I have no devices that used wifi.
Title: Re: Automation with Alexa
Post by: HA Dave on December 23, 2016, 08:55:39 AM
..... Yes it is a simple setting. It defaults to On. I turned it Off since until now I have no devices that used wifi.

Until now? I hope that means you might be thinking about a DOT.

The Alexa/Echo family of devices (I am using the cheapest unit the DOT at $39).... can control several different traditional HA devices (maybe with a work-around ALL of them). But that is only one little part of what Alexa can do. Even if no lighting HA products were connected to DOT..... it is still one heck of a bunch of automation.... much like we'd expect to see in a Star-Trek movie.

Many of the features with the DOT (Alexa/Echo family of devices) were thought of, and integrated into my BVC (and Homeseer) years ago. I am sure many realized the potential of voice control right from the imagination of Gene Rodenberry.... and the many versions of StarTrek shows and movies. These features stand by themselves.

Since this is a new product... the features/abilities might be hard for me to explain. And I would hate to represent this great product with my feeble commutation skills. Of course there are always YouTube Videos like this one that demonstrate the echo (https://youtu.be/xenOYWVwkGY). In that video the user when through several things easily done with my 2nd gen DOT (or any of the Alexa/Echo products). Many of the things he said/ask Alexa were out-of-the-box capabilities. Others require a brief setup in the app that is installed on a phone/tablet/PC (like ordering pizza, Uber, or items from Amazon).

There are many things that can be done.... called skills. For which you select an app in your skills selection... Then instruction Alexa to open that [app] to accomplish the task. Like the TV channel finder [skill-app] (whatever it's called)....... I would say Alexa ask TV Finder when the next episode of Snake Island is on. And Alexa would reply with the day, time, and channel. I can then ask Alexa to remind me when it comes on (I hate missing that show!).

I also like asking Alexa... how old is that singer... or how tall is that actress... or when was that movie made.

Title: Re: Automation with Alexa
Post by: racerfern on December 23, 2016, 09:33:10 AM
Quote
(I am using the cheapest unit the DOT at $39

As am I, however I'm seriously thinking of switching to Google Home. As someone mentioned, its "knowledge" is vastly superior to Echo which goes to Bing. If it's the same capability as saying "OK Google" on my smartphone, then it's worth it as long as all the HA stuff also works.
Title: Re: Automation with Alexa
Post by: dave w on December 23, 2016, 10:09:59 AM
As am I, however I'm seriously thinking of switching to Google Home.
Please keep us posted on your comparison of Dot to Google Home. I see many comparisons but none from an X10 user.
Thanks!
Title: Re: Automation with Alexa
Post by: dave w on December 23, 2016, 10:20:07 AM
I'm ready to buy a Dot. Christmas from me to me. But I am running Homeseer 2.0, so not sure how to incorporate Alexa in to Homeseer immediately, but just based on Dave HA and Tuicemen accolades, it sounds too good to pass up. I'm wondering if the illusive X10 WiFi module could be a gateway.
Title: Re: Automation with Alexa
Post by: Tuicemen on December 23, 2016, 10:44:02 AM

I'm seriously thinking of switching to Google Home. As someone mentioned, its "knowledge" is vastly superior to Echo which goes to Bing. If it's the same capability as saying "OK Google" on my smartphone, then it's worth it as long as all the HA stuff also works.
Google home is suppose to work with the HA-Bridge so Alex10 will create the scripts for the X10 device you wish to control (unless you wish to create those yourself).
I'm ready to buy a Dot. Christmas from me to me. But I am running Homeseer 2.0, so not sure how to incorporate Alexa in to Homeseer immediately, but just based on Dave HA and Tuicemen accolades, it sounds too good to pass up. I'm wondering if the illusive X10 WiFi module could be a gateway.
I haven't read a bad review on the second generation Dot(yet) nor do I have anything bad to say(yet)
Homeseer has a skill which is accessible from the Alexa page once you have her setup.
I'm not sure if this is only available for homeseer 3 or if it will work with 2 as well.
Kenrad has been using Alexa with Homeseer 3 for some time now.
I believe to get Alexa to have it work you need to say "Alexa tell Homeseer to........."
Of coarse you could use HA-Bridge so the command would be shorter.
The HA-Bridge is capable of sending a HTTP (web request) so I suspect the X10 Wi-Fi unit (if/when it arrives) will be controllable by Alexa.
I believe that may be the reasoning behind Authinx having me play with this! ::) :'
I plan to add that capability to Alex10 as soon as I can get the protocol.
 >!
Title: Re: Automation with Alexa
Post by: racerfern on December 23, 2016, 11:09:25 AM
There are two versions of a homeseer for Alexa. One of them requires that you say Alexa tell homeseer etc. The other one is more direct Alexa turn on the lights. The more complicated one also has more options and more specific  control.
Title: Re: Automation with Alexa
Post by: dhouston on December 23, 2016, 11:30:02 AM
The HA-Bridge is capable of sending a HTTP (web request) so I suspect the X10 Wi-Fi unit (if/when it arrives) will be controllable by Alexa.
I believe that may be the reasoning behind Authinx having me play with this! ::) :'
I plan to add that capability to Alex10 as soon as I can get the protocol.
 >!

The ESP32 supports the I2S bus (digital audio) and this PDF from Espressif...
http://espressif.com/sites/default/files/documentation/esp32_hardware_design_guidelines_en.pdf (http://espressif.com/sites/default/files/documentation/esp32_hardware_design_guidelines_en.pdf)
has a section called 5.2 ESP32-Lyra Smart Audio Platform which says...
Quote
ESP32-Lyra is a cost-effective smart audio platform, which is specifically designed by Espressif for the IoT industry. With its ESP32 dual-core processor and Wi-Fi + BT capability, ESP32-Lyra features voice recognition, audio playing, and access to cloud services. The ESP32-Lyra platform supports systems of artificial intelligence, voice and image recognition, wireless audio systems, as well as smart home networks.

So far, I've found no further details but even these few bits are tantalizing.
Title: Re: Automation with Alexa
Post by: Tuicemen on December 24, 2016, 01:43:21 PM
Humm, ??? if Amazon started using or is using the ESP32 can person/facial recognition be the next addition to a Dot?
Title: Re: Automation with Alexa
Post by: HA Dave on December 24, 2016, 08:31:37 PM
Humm, ??? if Amazon started using or is using the ESP32 can person/facial recognition be the next addition to a Dot?

I can almost hear Alexa now.....
Title: Re: Automation with Alexa
Post by: Tuicemen on December 24, 2016, 08:37:14 PM
 rofl
Title: Re: Automation with Alexa
Post by: HA Dave on December 25, 2016, 11:48:29 AM
rofl

I tried:  Alexa, open pod bay doors.
Title: Re: Automation with Alexa
Post by: mattyta on December 27, 2016, 12:59:36 PM
I need a better streaming TV box.

I Have a Minix Z64 W10 and it works great running TVMC, AHP, X10 Commander, and OpenRemote.

Title: Re: Automation with Alexa
Post by: dave w on December 28, 2016, 05:19:51 PM
Being a cynic which I can be at times, I wonder if there are plans to start charging for Alexa, Cortina, Home
services after they saturate  us with their devices? Just sayin. :'
Title: Re: Automation with Alexa
Post by: dave w on December 28, 2016, 05:34:52 PM
Yeah... I was already thinking... if I had one more.... with the Logitech Harmony hub.... I'd be all Alexa controlled.
Dave
Are you planning on driving down this road? Do you have a Hub now?

Since I am using Homeseer 2, not AHP or BVC,  the Hub may be my easiest way to enable Alexa to control my X10. As I recall, you are already familiar with creating Harmony macros. 
Title: Re: Automation with Alexa
Post by: HA Dave on December 28, 2016, 06:54:51 PM
Are you planning on driving down this road? Do you have a Hub now?

I've been pondering how the setup might look. (see below)

Since I am using Homeseer 2, not AHP or BVC,  the Hub may be my easiest way to enable Alexa to control my X10. As I recall, you are already familiar with creating Harmony macros.

My Home Theater uses an older Logitech Harmony remote. It is programed on-line through a Web Site/Web Based interface. The user identifies the equipment used.... then selects devices based on what "activity" button is pushed/selected (and I would assume) or spoken to Alexa.

When I push the "watch a movie" button... the blue ray player plays, the receiver comes on, the lights turn off. The Movie Off button turns the receiver, projector, and Blue Ray player off.... and some lights come ON. The setups are simple and easy enough.... but I wonder how effective the "activity's" would be..... for voice control. They would likely be very limited. 

Since you're using Homeseer.... you might just want to enable the "skill" that allows that......
Title: Re: Automation with Alexa
Post by: HA Dave on December 28, 2016, 06:59:48 PM
Being a cynic which I can be at times, I wonder if there are plans to start charging for Alexa, Cortina, Home
services after they saturate  us with their devices? Just sayin. :'

I'd be shocked if I didn't get sales emails from the people/skills enabled with Alexa/DOT. I wonder how much of a [dollar] return is needed for sharing a few bits/bytes of data from time-to-time?
Title: Re: Automation with Alexa
Post by: racerfern on December 28, 2016, 07:00:15 PM
Quote
enable Alexa to control my X10

I'm stumbling along three different paths HA at the moment, the Alex10 solution, home genie and I'm about to try openHAB. I have a Zee S2 with a CM15A plugged into it (for now) and an Echo.

For now, I have enabled the Alexa-Homeseer skill. There are two of them. For the more complicated one you need to say "Alexa, tell Homeseer to XXX". The simpler one is simply "Alexa, turn on the XXX". I have two X10 modules for my front and back XMAS lights, called XMAS Front and XMAS Rear. I can say "Alexa, turn on/off the Christmas Rear lights" and they respond accordingly. I also have other modules that will probably react as they should but since Homeseer handles events I don't need much else.
Title: Re: Automation with Alexa
Post by: Tuicemen on December 28, 2016, 07:40:32 PM
The Alex10 solution was meant to be a simple easy and fast way to get X10 users up and running with Alexa.
It is in no way the best option as it only does X10.

However it uses HA-Bridge which is very powerful once you get the script creation part figured out (that's what Alex10 is for to make it simple)

No matter which way you decide I'd keep the HA-Bridge it opens lost of options. ;)
You can basically turn on of and program on your PC and if they except command lines or web calls then you can trigger them.
I can already trigger any PCC command ;)



Title: Re: Automation with Alexa
Post by: HA Dave on December 29, 2016, 12:37:58 AM
..... I can say "Alexa, turn on/off the Christmas Rear lights" and they respond accordingly. I also have other modules that will probably react as they should but since Homeseer handles events I don't need much else.

I've lived with voice control for about a decade. I think....it doesn't take long to realize that really good home automation.... operates... automatically. After the macros, rules, or whatever are worked out and perfected... the homes seem to operate without any required input. As far as the lighting is concerned.

But being able to voice command on a reading light while opening mail.... is good automation.
Or turning on a porch or driveway light by voice command to quickly welcome guests.
An all lights on command could be handy during an emergency (and a home full of holiday guests).
I really like the radio/music function of the DOT. And the news... I particularly like my daily brief.
I enjoy asking Alexa how old some singer is, or how tall an actor is, or a solution to a math question, or the time in London England.

There are games available through Alexa. I am not a gamer. But as a grandparent I see the value of having a new game available at my request. I also enabled a skill called: meow. I think the two year old.... will love that skill. This is a new kind of automation... but I think it is HA. And I like it.
Title: Re: Automation with Alexa
Post by: dave w on December 30, 2016, 05:31:37 PM
Since you're using Homeseer.... you might just want to enable the "skill" that allows that......
Yeah - I'm running 2.xx and Alexa Skills are only in the latest 3.xx version of Homeseer. Homeseer wants a couple hundred bucks just to upgrade, and the charge you for questions after some short grace period. IMHO Homeseer is killing the golden goose. I bought a Hub today, so may have an Alexa-X10 update next week.
Title: Re: Automation with Alexa
Post by: solareclipse on December 30, 2016, 06:53:40 PM
Homeseer wants a couple hundred bucks just to upgrade, and the charge you for questions after some short grace period. IMHO Homeseer is killing the golden goose.

Seriously?  What hardware is that running on?  I was thinking of going the Homeseer route, but it does seem like they nickel and dime (or ten and twenty) you.  I would have though you'd at least get free or cheap software upgrades once you buy in.
Title: Re: Automation with Alexa
Post by: dave w on December 30, 2016, 09:28:19 PM
Homeseer wants a couple hundred bucks just to upgrade, and the charge you for questions after some short grace period. IMHO Homeseer is killing the golden goose.

Seriously?  What hardware is that running on?  I was thinking of going the Homeseer route, but it does seem like they nickel and dime (or ten and twenty) you.  I would have though you'd at least get free or cheap software upgrades once you buy in.

Before Homeseer 3.0 launched, they offered the Homesser 2.0 users an upgrade for under $100. I did not take as: 1. Homeseer 3 was a clean sheet of paper development. Nothing would import from HS 2.0. All the macros had to be re-written( I have 80 some macros, a couple with 30 modules in the macro), any plug-in had to be re-purchased, etc. and 2. Pay 90 some bucks for essentially the beta version (?). Homeseer IS very powerful, but I only use it for X10 control. I probably only use about 30% of it's total power and that includes voice control, so I did not jump on the "pay for privilege of beta testing Homeseer" upgrade.

If I had to do over now, knowing Alexa has a Homeseer skill, I probably would upgrade, but the "cheap" upgrade offer went away shortly after 3.0 release...as they promised.
I love Homeseer but like I said I think they are killing the golden goose...way too expensive considering the alternatives.
Title: Re: Automation with Alexa
Post by: HA Dave on December 31, 2016, 02:39:11 AM
....... An all lights on command could be handy during an emergency (and a home full of holiday guests).

Rambling....

I am thinking I can create a room in my ihome app/skill? and add another ihome plug-in module. Create a room named "light the House" and add that and the other ihome modules I already have.

In the new module add a 3-way adapter or power cord. In one or two plug-ins add a light. In another of the additional plug-ins add a wall-wart USB powered light also attached/rewired to a Powerflash (in another uncontrolled plug) set to turn on/off another device.... which could/would actually trigger a macro(s) to turn a selection of lights on/off. 

So then I could say to either Siri or Alexa "light the House... ON" And that would trigger my new ihome modules.... as well as trigger a series of X10 lights tuned on via a macro.
Title: Re: Automation with Alexa
Post by: HA Dave on January 01, 2017, 03:01:00 PM
Whether trying out a DOT, Echo, or even just an iPhone with the new iOS (with Home-kit control). I've had good luck so far with ihome device (which work with wink as well). I picked up another device on sale ($25 after sale price and a coupon) at bed bath and beyond (https://www.bedbathandbeyond.com/store/product/ihome-reg-isp5-wi-fi-enabled-smart-plug/1044926250?skuId=44926250&mcid=PS_googlepla_nonbrand_homedecor_&adpos=1o1&creative=43742653069&device=c&matchtype=&network=g&gclid=Cj0KEQiA7qLDBRD9xJ7PscDCu5IBEiQAqo3BxC94ApVhIRHVZUSGKGIsYhIB4UhZ_R2hszAy0VGeaoEaAk1L8P8HAQ).
Title: Re: Automation with Alexa
Post by: HA Dave on January 01, 2017, 10:41:47 PM
I also found a decent deal on the old(er) Wink hub (NOT the hub 2). At Home Depot for $39 (http://www.homedepot.com/p/Wink-Smart-Home-HUB-PWHUB-WH18/206582561?MERCH=REC-_-rv_gm_pip_rr-_-205785810-_-206582561-_-N).
Title: Re: Automation with Alexa
Post by: HA Dave on January 02, 2017, 10:23:29 PM
..... At Home Depot for $39 (http://www.homedepot.com/p/Wink-Smart-Home-HUB-PWHUB-WH18/206582561?MERCH=REC-_-rv_gm_pip_rr-_-205785810-_-206582561-_-N).

I picked up one of the cheap older wink hubs.

Much larger than I had imagined it would be.... it's a s big as my hand.

Setup was easy enough... all through my phone (an app). And a "skill" added via Amazon/Alexa.
 
The Wink hub accepts/communicates with a large variety of devices. But... so does the Amazon DOT/Alexa. The advantage appears as though I should be able to get a few different flavors of products to play well together. Meanwhile.... if nothing else... I have something to build on (or at least didn't waste too much money).

Interestingly! It does appear to be able to recognize Bluetooth devices (like my phone)... and has a setup for building arrive and depart "robots"... the word used in wink instead of "macro".

This is the perfect time of year for this. What I like to call the Home Automation Season. Weather outside (in the Midwest) sucks... and this hobby/activity will keep me busy well into warm weather.
Title: Re: Automation with Alexa
Post by: Tuicemen on January 04, 2017, 06:51:25 PM
With the development of Alex10 looking like it is about to rap up I'm looking at flashing an iTead SOnOff Wi-Fi module (https://www.itead.cc/sonoff-wifi-wireless-switch.html).
I have seen a video of Alexa turning these on and off with a flashed firmware.
Since I have hacked my solar tracker to utilize one of the low voltage versions (https://www.itead.cc/smart-home/sonoff-sv.html), and I have a few others this should make for another nice  Home Automation Season  project for me! ;)
Title: Re: Automation with Alexa
Post by: HA Dave on January 05, 2017, 09:41:49 AM
I've intergraded Alexa into my setup... a little bit... so far.

Of course I can turn a few lights on/off... just tell Alexa to do turn them on/off individually, by room, floor, or all.

I've become very accustomed to getting my morning "flash brief" (about 2 minutes of headline news and todays local weather report) from Alexa. Something we had foreseen here at this forum YEARS ago. It's also nice to be able to just ask Alexa "what is the weather today in --------  ------. And get a forecast where my son or (ageing) mother live.

I will be looking at the Wifi bulbs next. Looks like a cost effective way to automate some lighting. I wonder... if they will also react to switches? You know... like the old current sensing devices?!?!? 

I have a setup that allows for leaving while still dark in the mornings... without turning on interior lights. Yet night-time entry does light up the house. A combo of sensor and timer.

Considering (attempting to) pairing my car (it's a newer car that pairs with phones) with my Wink Hub. Then see what I can dream up as macros/robots/actions.

Thinking of another echo device. Either for the bedroom to use as an alarm clock or in the kitchen as a helping hand (voice) with information... or just music.
Title: Re: Automation with Alexa
Post by: Tuicemen on January 05, 2017, 10:00:55 AM
I just found this Forum dedicated to the Amazon Echo (http://www.echotalk.org/index.php)
It is full of info and easier to navigate then the official Amazon echo site.
 >!
Title: Re: Automation with Alexa
Post by: dhouston on January 05, 2017, 11:12:25 AM
Good catch!

I quickly glanced at the For Disabled/Elderly forum as that's the area that got me into X10 some 20 years ago. There, I came across a device I'd not heard of that should be of interest here.
http://www.ibroadlink.com/rm/ (http://www.ibroadlink.com/rm/)

I may buy one just to see if it's possible to replace the 315MHz RF transmitter with a 310MHz one so it can directly control TM751, RR501 etc.
Title: Re: Automation with Alexa
Post by: Tuicemen on January 05, 2017, 12:56:06 PM
It certainly is cheap enough to play with.
Title: Re: Automation with Alexa
Post by: HA Dave on January 05, 2017, 01:07:26 PM
I just integrated my on-line calendars.

Back in the old days we used the Outlook calendars at work to track events/meeting/etc.. I've been using my phone to collect contact and calendar info for at least a couple years. Because I used outlook for this at work years ago... that is what I've stuck with.

For whatever reason... the folks at Amazon chose Google for the echo's calendar function. So I just switched over to the Google calendar... on my laptop, through Amazon, and as an app on my iPhone.

AWESOME! The integration was instant and seamless. I can Tell Alexa to make an entry into my calendar... and she walks me through it. I can watch it appear on my laptop and phone. The phone can even give me alerts to the appts. 

 
Title: Re: Automation with Alexa
Post by: solareclipse on January 05, 2017, 03:31:55 PM
Here's a good article: https://www.cnet.com/how-to/how-ifttt-works-differently-with-alexa-and-google-assistant/
Title: Re: Automation with Alexa
Post by: HA Dave on January 05, 2017, 11:22:36 PM
https://youtu.be/jCevYKNvixE (https://youtu.be/jCevYKNvixE)

Title: Re: Automation with Alexa
Post by: Tuicemen on January 07, 2017, 08:39:57 AM
I've been looking at the Broadlink RM2   (http://www.ibroadlink.com/rm/)since dhouston mentioned he discovered.
This thing looks very promising and according to the thread on the unofficial amazon echo forum (http://www.echotalk.org/index.php/topic,793.0.html) it is easy to intergrate with Alexa.
Checking around I see adding X10, zwave and a few other flavors of HA are in the works.
If this is the case this little hub will make all others obsolete.
In any case for $30 US I may just order one to play with as well.
Currently it sounds like you need a few extra APPs on an Android device to get everything working.
 >!
Title: Re: Automation with Alexa
Post by: dhouston on January 07, 2017, 10:20:38 AM
1. Skimming thru that forum, it would be nice if there were a non-battery powered Android device since it appears to need one full time. I seem to recall seeing Android ports to RPi.
https://www.cnet.com/how-to/how-to-install-android-2-3-on-the-raspberry-pi/ (https://www.cnet.com/how-to/how-to-install-android-2-3-on-the-raspberry-pi/)
https://www.raspberrypi.org/blog/android-4-0-is-coming/ (https://www.raspberrypi.org/blog/android-4-0-is-coming/)
http://linux.softpedia.com/blog/Run-Android-5-1-Lollipop-on-Your-Raspberry-Pi-2-with-RaspAnd-477655.shtml (http://linux.softpedia.com/blog/Run-Android-5-1-Lollipop-on-Your-Raspberry-Pi-2-with-RaspAnd-477655.shtml)
http://arstechnica.com/gadgets/2016/05/google-to-bring-official-android-support-to-the-raspberry-pi-3/ (http://arstechnica.com/gadgets/2016/05/google-to-bring-official-android-support-to-the-raspberry-pi-3/)

2. From the internal pictures of the RM Pro, even if the 315MHz transmitter is not easily replaced with a 310MHz version for control of X10, one of the seven IR transmitters can be replaced with a 310MHz transmitter by connecting the Data and Vcc lines together. This uses the data line to power the transmitter. I've done this before successfully with X10 RF. The downside may be that all IR signals are also sent as 310MHz RF but this is unlikely to cause any conflicts. Or, it might be simpler to have the Androidized RPi handle X10 RF as well as CM11A & TW523 links. (I recently recommended a serial adapter for RPi to Jeff Volp.)

3. Android/RPi3 + RM Pro will likely make my Ultimate X10 Controller stillborn.
Title: Re: Automation with Alexa
Post by: Tuicemen on January 07, 2017, 10:48:41 AM
1. Skimming thru that forum, it would be nice if there were a non-battery powered Android device since it appears to need one full time.
I received a Android TV box from my son for Christmas A she over heard me talking about getting one.
This will be my non battery power Android device.
But Bluestacks on a PC might work as well.  ::) :'
3. Android/RPi3 + RM Pro will likely make my Ultimate X10 Controller stillborn.
I doubt that, with Wi-Fi you could most likely talk to it directly creating a skill. ;)
Title: Re: Automation with Alexa
Post by: dhouston on January 07, 2017, 01:28:23 PM
This doesn't do RF but I suspect I can add a 310MHz RF transmitter to it. One big drawback is it's size - it will be easy to lose.
http://www.banggood.com/Broadlink-Black-Bean-Smart-Home-Wifi-Remote-IR-Controller-Universal-Appliances-Smart-Control-p-1049494.html (http://www.banggood.com/Broadlink-Black-Bean-Smart-Home-Wifi-Remote-IR-Controller-Universal-Appliances-Smart-Control-p-1049494.html)

Broadlink has other interesting devices. This WiFi controlled outlet/timer/nightlight is FCC & UL approved.
http://www.banggood.com/BroadLink-SP3-SPcc-Contros-Mini-WiFi-Smart-Home-Socket-Timing-Switch-Plug-Timer-Wireless-Remote-Controller-p-1033142.html?rmmds=detail-top-buytogether (http://www.banggood.com/BroadLink-SP3-SPcc-Contros-Mini-WiFi-Smart-Home-Socket-Timing-Switch-Plug-Timer-Wireless-Remote-Controller-p-1033142.html?rmmds=detail-top-buytogether)


Title: Re: Automation with Alexa
Post by: Tuicemen on January 07, 2017, 02:01:18 PM
This doesn't do RF but I suspect I can add a 310MHz RF transmitter to it. One big drawback is it's size - it will be easy to lose.
http://www.banggood.com/Broadlink-Black-Bean-Smart-Home-Wifi-Remote-IR-Controller-Universal-Appliances-Smart-Control-p-1049494.html (http://www.banggood.com/Broadlink-Black-Bean-Smart-Home-Wifi-Remote-IR-Controller-Universal-Appliances-Smart-Control-p-1049494.html)
I looked at the Black Bean but also thought it would easily get misplaced.
Also I have other RF devices which would be cool to control with the  Broadlink RM2 and Alexa.
Being able to get rid of all the remotes sitting around will increase my WAF ( that can never be to high rofl)

Quote
Broadlink has other interesting devices. This WiFi controlled outlet/timer/nightlight is FCC & UL approved.
http://www.banggood.com/BroadLink-SP3-SPcc-Contros-Mini-WiFi-Smart-Home-Socket-Timing-Switch-Plug-Timer-Wireless-Remote-Controller-p-1033142.html?rmmds=detail-top-buytogether (http://www.banggood.com/BroadLink-SP3-SPcc-Contros-Mini-WiFi-Smart-Home-Socket-Timing-Switch-Plug-Timer-Wireless-Remote-Controller-p-1033142.html?rmmds=detail-top-buytogether)
I had noticed those as well but I have other HA stuff (not just x10)  laying around now that aren't in use. ::) :'
Title: Re: Automation with Alexa
Post by: dhouston on January 07, 2017, 02:51:13 PM
The pictures of the Black Bean internals shows what sure looks like an ESP8266 based WiFi board. I wonder if they are also using it for Infrared.
Title: Re: Automation with Alexa
Post by: Tuicemen on January 07, 2017, 05:21:40 PM
I just read a sad bit of info about Alexa skills.
Not only is Amazon charging to use the development platform (which is one reason I decided not to got that route)
It seems Amazon is also charging users that create these a charge for "data transfers". >*<
Depending on how popular a skill becomes the more the developer would be charged.  :o
The amount doesn't sound like much but why charge for something that is already making you money? ??? :o
This may mean some of these popular skills developed may soon be removed unless a company is backing them. :(
Title: Re: Automation with Alexa
Post by: racerfern on January 07, 2017, 05:55:46 PM
I don't see where any of these useful skills, be they hobbyist, utilities or any others make Amazon money. As someone said, the sole purpose of Alexa is to have people order stuff from Amazon. They'll allow anything that gets someone to order from Amazon. And I imagine some skill that doesn't net Amazon any income, will fall back to the developer. In that case, the developer is going to have to sell the skill for a small amount. My 2’.
Title: Re: Automation with Alexa
Post by: Tuicemen on January 07, 2017, 07:23:58 PM
Part of the agreement in the developers skills agreement is you not charge for the Skill.
A skill doesn't directly make Amazon money, true, but if it gets someone to buy something from Amazon then Amazon has made something from that no mater how small. Your Alexa app or alexa.amazon.com advertises different skills every week they then charge the developer data transfer fees that they helped to feed so they are making indirect money from skills even if it is just pennies.
No wonder good programmers and developers are hard to find. ???
They are getting nickel and dimmed to death.  ::)
If I'm going to make something and give it away for free I don't expect to be charged anything for giving it away.
Amazon does offer a T shirt for a submission (this month it is a hoody) If someone were to ask "where did you get that I want one?" and I say Amazon Guess what my skill just got Amazon a T shirt sale too  rofl
Title: Re: Automation with Alexa
Post by: HA Dave on January 07, 2017, 08:07:23 PM
..... Your Alexa app or alexa.amazon.com advertises different skills every week they then charge the developer data transfer fees that they helped to feed so they are making indirect money from skills even if it is just pennies.

I'd guess Amazon is being careful [that] skills don't sell the same products that Amazon itself sells (see image below).

If I'm going to make something and give it away for free I don't expect to be charged anything for giving it away.

Back... in-the-day... we'd get free samples in the mail (snail mail). I am pretty sure the sample providers also paid postage.

Think free sample for an item/service (often a game) that can be purchased in a full version for use on a phone as a paid (often renewable with fees). I have both purchased and fee apps I use on my phone. as far as Amazon idea of fees.....
Title: Re: Automation with Alexa
Post by: Tuicemen on January 08, 2017, 09:45:53 AM

Back... in-the-day... we'd get free samples in the mail (snail mail). I am pretty sure the sample providers also paid postage.
I'm sure they did but the skills aren't samples, the small time developer isn't making a cent from these.
Amazon is asking for these to make their product better but charging developers for the privilege.
I have no problem with them charging for hosting skills which a company is profiting from it, but the little guy that just made a skill to check your mail?
Actually it isn't the hosting part that bothers me because that part is disclosed. What irks me is charging per user that uses the skill
Title: Re: Automation with Alexa
Post by: racerfern on January 08, 2017, 10:25:38 AM
So the little guy pays a price for being a hobbyist, or that person needs to have a business model that they can use the skill to showcase their other talents/products. Perhaps even impress Amazon enough to have Amazon invest in this hobbyist, or any other company for that matter.
Title: Re: Automation with Alexa
Post by: dhouston on January 08, 2017, 11:31:41 AM
How do you prevent this?
https://www.slashgear.com/tv-news-mentions-alexa-ordering-a-dollhouse-echo-speakers-begin-doing-the-same-08470822/?google_editors_picks=true (https://www.slashgear.com/tv-news-mentions-alexa-ordering-a-dollhouse-echo-speakers-begin-doing-the-same-08470822/?google_editors_picks=true)
Title: Re: Automation with Alexa
Post by: JeffVolp on January 08, 2017, 01:45:33 PM
How do you prevent this?
https://www.slashgear.com/tv-news-mentions-alexa-ordering-a-dollhouse-echo-speakers-begin-doing-the-same-08470822/?google_editors_picks=true (https://www.slashgear.com/tv-news-mentions-alexa-ordering-a-dollhouse-echo-speakers-begin-doing-the-same-08470822/?google_editors_picks=true)

Or how about radio or TV commercials tailored to cause Alexa to order their products?  I can see the UPS trucks now...

Jeff
Title: Re: Automation with Alexa
Post by: Tuicemen on January 08, 2017, 01:50:06 PM
How do you prevent this?
https://www.slashgear.com/tv-news-mentions-alexa-ordering-a-dollhouse-echo-speakers-begin-doing-the-same-08470822/?google_editors_picks=true (https://www.slashgear.com/tv-news-mentions-alexa-ordering-a-dollhouse-echo-speakers-begin-doing-the-same-08470822/?google_editors_picks=true)

Or how about radio or TV commercials tailored to cause Alexa to order their products?  I can see the UPS trucks now...

Jeff
rofl
I guess you can go into Amazon and edit your credit card info so it is wrong.
Then correct it prior to actually ordering. ???
Title: Re: Automation with Alexa
Post by: HA Dave on January 08, 2017, 06:05:28 PM
How do you prevent this?

Enter account settings and disable 1-click setting(s).
Title: Re: Automation with Alexa
Post by: dhouston on January 08, 2017, 06:44:27 PM
How do you prevent this?
Enter account settings and disable 1-click setting(s).
As I neither have nor will ever have Alexa/Dot/Whatever I cannot verify this. Can you explain just how this addresses the issue?
Title: Re: Automation with Alexa
Post by: racerfern on January 08, 2017, 08:13:27 PM
1-click settings (which I have always had disabled) allows you to click on an item and that's it. Ordered, shipped, delivered. Otherwise it ends up in your cart and at some point you have to checkout. So at least you get to review your cart and decide if all the cr*p that's in your cart is what you really want (forget need).

This is all cute. Can we get back to resurrecting X10? No? OK, let the cute discussions continue.
Title: Re: Automation with Alexa
Post by: HA Dave on January 08, 2017, 11:02:36 PM
cute. Can we get back to resurrecting X10? No? OK, let the cute discussions continue.

Resurrecting X10? Has your X10 setup failed? I thought everyone could still get everything working... much as it used to...... Except the X10 servers are gone so internet connectivity is gone.

X10 software is now only a near-miss hack.

X10 has publicly announced they had no plans to FIX the mess...

X10 offers up the dream of an interface of some sort... reminiscent of 80's technology (which many X10 users applaud as the way to go).

Resurrect X10? Maybe if we inspire an investor... or setup a go-fund-me (https://www.gofundme.com/?pc=branded_o3&gclid=CjwKEAiA48fDBRDJ24_imejhwUkSJAAr0M5kCYEThOTPkV0RFfGxdCvuoH-eHfvxEVyUK3lFu_od_RoC60Tw_wcB) to build a cloud-based, app-controlled, Alexa and Google compliant hub that can integrate X10.... along with every other Home Automation protocol device for sale today (and like X10... yesterday).

I have no crystal ball. Tomorrow is a complete unknown to me. But I am pretty sure if Home Automation is going to be used in my home in the future... I need to either continue to upgrade the setup I have. Or.... I need to list my X10 devices of Craigslist and start over with new technology.

I remember the 1950's well. That rheostat wall switch that could dim the big 150 watt light build in the middle of the room... was nearly as impressive as the 4foot-by-4foot color TV with a 12 inch screen. But that was a long time ago. I can't go back to the 1950's.

X10 can... COULD.... SHOULD... Resurrect itself!!!! One decent code contract.... and X10 software running on PC's could cloud connect with an Alexa skill. Or connect with an app on our phones.

But until a few weeks ago.... I was insulted and nearly banned from the forum for daring to suggest X10 do anything other than sell-off warehouses of old merchandise. I would never describe HA as "cute". I love this automation stuff! And many who need the technology to assist them with their daily challenges... benefit from us who do this for fun.

Please racerfern... I am on your side... don't be upset with me. It's X10 that isn't doing their part.
 
Title: Re: Automation with Alexa
Post by: HA Dave on January 08, 2017, 11:32:19 PM
You can also just turn-off voice purchasing in the Alexa app.
Title: Re: Automation with Alexa
Post by: HA Dave on January 08, 2017, 11:38:46 PM
More great Alexa stuff/info:
http://www.msn.com/en-us/news/technology/whats-alexa-up-to-at-ces-heres-a-running-list/ar-BBy0XR8?li=AA4Zoy&ocid=spartandhp (http://www.msn.com/en-us/news/technology/whats-alexa-up-to-at-ces-heres-a-running-list/ar-BBy0XR8?li=AA4Zoy&ocid=spartandhp)
Title: Re: Automation with Alexa
Post by: dhouston on January 09, 2017, 08:06:56 AM
You can also just turn-off voice purchasing in the Alexa app.

Thanks for the clarification.

Is Voice Purchasing ON by default?
Title: Re: Automation with Alexa
Post by: Tuicemen on January 09, 2017, 08:59:09 AM
You can also just turn-off voice purchasing in the Alexa app.

Thanks for the clarification.

Is Voice Purchasing ON by default?
Voice purchasing is off by default you have to set it up.
There is a 4 digit access code that you enter which also must be spoken Aloud when making a purchase too(that maybe new with the latest developments)
Title: Re: Automation with Alexa
Post by: racerfern on January 09, 2017, 09:29:21 AM
Quote
I am on your side... don't be upset with me.
@HA Dave, I never thought you were anything but on the good side, just like nearly everyone else here.
Title: Re: Automation with Alexa
Post by: HA Dave on January 09, 2017, 12:07:25 PM
.... There is a 4 digit access code that you enter which also must be spoken Aloud when making a purchase too(that maybe new with the latest developments)

I think you're right... a very recent added feature. I think we're pretty safe from doll house's arriving unexpectedly.
Title: Re: Automation with Alexa
Post by: racerfern on January 10, 2017, 08:55:17 PM
I just asked Alexa to turn all lights on.

Alexa said, please confirm.

I said yes.

Alexa said, "Object reference not set to an instance of an object". And nothing happened. Seriously.

FWIW, these are X10 dimmer switches connected with a CM15A to a zwave controller from HomeSeer. You can't make this stuff up.

Posted again, but on the correct thread this time. I wonder what else makes Alexa crash?
Title: Re: Automation with Alexa
Post by: dave w on January 10, 2017, 09:00:57 PM
.... There is a 4 digit access code that you enter which also must be spoken Aloud when making a purchase too(that maybe new with the latest developments)

I think you're right... a very recent added feature. I think we're pretty safe from doll house's arriving unexpectedly.
Yeah, but I'm kinda interested in the four pounds of cookies.  :'
Title: Re: Automation with Alexa
Post by: Tuicemen on January 11, 2017, 07:16:09 AM
I just asked Alexa to turn all lights on.

Alexa said, please confirm.

I said yes.

Alexa said, "Object reference not set to an instance of an object". And nothing happened. Seriously.

FWIW, these are X10 dimmer switches connected with a CM15A to a zwave controller from HomeSeer. You can't make this stuff up.

Posted again, but on the correct thread this time. I wonder what else makes Alexa crash?

I removed your other post to help avoid confusion.
the Alexa response isn't typical of a HA skill response.
It is a typical programing error however and if the case you should be able to recreate it. ;)
I'm sure Homeseer would love to hear you found a bug in their skill. ::) :'
Title: Re: Automation with Alexa
Post by: Tuicemen on January 12, 2017, 09:13:25 AM
iTead just announced they plan to create an Alexa skill for their products.
They expect it to be ready next month. :)%
Title: Re: Automation with Alexa
Post by: dhouston on January 12, 2017, 11:22:44 AM
iTead just announced they plan to create an Alexa skill for their products.
Unfortunately, they have no date for releasing their Sonoff S20 WiFi Smart Socket (i.e. appliance module) for US style plugs. They may be awaiting FCC and/or UL approvals.

With inexpensive WiFi wall switches and appliance modules the need for PLC  fades into history.
Title: Re: Automation with Alexa
Post by: Tuicemen on January 12, 2017, 11:40:47 AM
With inexpensive WiFi wall switches and appliance modules the need for PLC  fades into history.
I don't believe PLC will totally fade to black. There are still many that fear Wi-Fi and the affects it has on ones health.
http://www.globalhealingcenter.com/natural-health/10-shocking-facts-health-dangers-wifi/
 ::) :'
Title: Re: Automation with Alexa
Post by: dave w on January 12, 2017, 12:18:56 PM
I don't believe PLC will totally fade to black. There are still many that fear Wi-Fi and the affects it has on ones health.
http://www.globalhealingcenter.com/natural-health/10-shocking-facts-health-dangers-wifi/
 ::) :'
Hail yeah! WiFi made my stomach fall, hair fall out and turn white, and, and made me..... uh, I can't remember now.
"Honey, where is the tin foil?"
Title: Re: Automation with Alexa
Post by: Tuicemen on January 12, 2017, 01:45:28 PM
 rofl
Title: Re: Automation with Alexa
Post by: racerfern on January 12, 2017, 03:43:33 PM
Quote
There are still many that fear Wi-Fi and the affects it has on ones health.

Of the minuscule percentage of people that worry about the ill effects of Wi-Fi, what percentage of those have even heard of X10. Sorry, but that sounds like an excuse looking for a failure.
Title: Re: Automation with Alexa
Post by: Tuicemen on January 12, 2017, 04:19:38 PM
PLC isn't just for X10 different protocols use PLC.
Off all those willing to dump PLC for Wi-Fi I don't know.  ::) :'
I do know more people know about X10 then any other protocol, and my statement wasn't meant to be an excuse of any kind. ;)
Title: Re: Automation with Alexa
Post by: dhouston on January 12, 2017, 04:34:07 PM
PLC isn't just for X10 different protocols use PLC.
True.

There are companies that use PLC for control of commercial buildings. However, they use PLC voltages on the order of those used by Jeff Volp's bigger hammers so powerline noise isn't much of an issue for them.

And, it's used for broadband over the powerlines but with frequencies much much higher than 120kHz so they avoid the noise from switching power supplies.

Now, to return (somewhat) to the topic of this thread...
https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/seeed/respeaker-an-open-modular-voice-interface-to-hack?ref=nav_search (https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/seeed/respeaker-an-open-modular-voice-interface-to-hack?ref=nav_search)
Title: Re: Automation with Alexa
Post by: bkenobi on January 12, 2017, 04:48:02 PM
I'm not sure WiFi solves all issues.  My parents house used to be completely plaster walls inside with expanded metal mesh used for support.  This proved to be a very effective Faraday cage with early WiFi.  They have since remodeled much of the house and the majority of those walls are now sheet rock.  I don't know how many people have metal in their walls, but they would have to gut the home to make them WiFi compliant potentially.
Title: Re: Automation with Alexa
Post by: toasterking on January 12, 2017, 07:11:48 PM
I personally won't consider WiFi an option because I can't control its physical medium.  It will remain a nicety, a supplement to my home LAN for convenience, and that's all.  I've had enough issues with WiFi at work and at home that I wouldn't want any part of my home automation system to depend on it.  As part of a dual-mesh solution, maybe, but not on its own.  At 2.4 GHz, all kinds of non-WiFi devices interfere with 802.11g -- microwave ovens, cordless phones, baby monitors, and any other gadgets that use RF and whose manufacturers couldn't or didn't want to go through FCC approval and licensing.  People living in apartment complexes often have trouble with this.  But even in a house at the end of a dead-end road like mine, it can be an issue.

Faraday cages aside, at one point I had trouble getting data through an access point that was 10 feet away in an open space no matter what channel I used.  I borrowed a fancy WiFi spectrum analyzer from work and mapped the signals around my property and discovered that my neighbor across the street was using a 2.4 GHz analog video sender like the ones X10 used to sell.  In that case, the bandwidth is so wide that the signal from a single video sender trounces most of the spectrum for digital signals, and WiFi transceivers spend most of their time doing the polite thing and waiting for the interference to subside, which it never does, prior to transmitting.  The neighbor wasn't willing to help despite my willingness to buy him a different device, so I had to deal with it.  I would have liked to have metal mesh walls on the front of my house at that point.  The offending residence had become a rental by that point, and thankfully, that tenant didn't last much longer.

Then there's the issue that adding more WiFi clients effectively reduces available bandwidth exponentially.

802.11ac adds more channels and makes some important changes to the protocol to deal with client density and noise more effectively in some situations, but it doesn't solve the root problem.  The move to 5 GHz only buys a little time before other device manufacturers all follow suit as the implementations get cheaper.  You can avoid microwave ovens at that frequency but not much else.  We just have to hope that the protocol changes make the noise less crippling than it was before.  I really do admit that WiFi is an amazing technical accomplishment and I'm awed that it works at all, but I'm not sold on its reliability yet.

At least with PLC, I have a lot more control over what's allowed on the shared physical medium and what's not.
Title: Re: Automation with Alexa
Post by: HA Dave on January 12, 2017, 10:30:00 PM
I'm not sure WiFi solves all issues.

There is no perfect single solution for anything... ever.... except for eggs. Eggs seem to be the perfect container for baby bird incubation. But other than eggs.... no one-solution-fits-all exists. :)

I don't know how many people have metal in their walls, but they would have to gut the home to make them WiFi compliant potentially.

My home was built in 1943. The walls are a combo. Some walls are blue board and metal lathe (expanded steel mesh) and plaster. And some walls are dry wall over blue board. The metal lathe does have a faraday cage effect of sorts. Radios (even cell phones) work best near the windows. But WiFi seems to function just fine.

I don't see the modern changes in home automation as solutions. I've been using voice recognition [BVC] with my X10, HA setup.... for around a decade. I didn't need a voice recognition solution. But, the cloud based Alexa works much better at voice recognition than the old Microsoft SAPI5 solution did. The microphone array is helpful too. But Alexa.... even with all the many "skills" available... isn't a complete replacement for my BVC X10 setup. Not yet at least.

Even with ihome, Alexa, the MyQ (Chamberlain) interface, and the Wink Hub......... the functionally of the CM15A with AHP macros (particularly when connected to a running PC) is top notch. X10 is the heart and soul of my HA set-up. But my setup wouldn't be half as functional without the other more modern stuff. 

The new skills offered up with Alexa is one giant leap forward in Home Automation. And that... is just this week. Alexa will have many more skills available next week... and the week after that... and the week after that.
Title: Re: Automation with Alexa
Post by: toasterking on January 13, 2017, 06:21:47 AM
There is no perfect single solution for anything... ever.... except for eggs. Eggs seem to be the perfect container for baby bird incubation. But other than eggs.... no one-solution-fits-all exists. :)
LOL!  rofl  Not so fast, though. Eggs are probably the best solution available, but they're not perfect. They are vulnerable to predation, they often require external heat... I see room for improvement.  ;)
Title: Re: Automation with Alexa
Post by: bkenobi on January 13, 2017, 11:18:02 AM
I don't know, they seem to do a pretty good job of storing my breakfast until I'm ready for it.  I'd definitely consider it a workable solution.   >!
Title: Re: Automation with Alexa
Post by: HA Dave on January 13, 2017, 11:45:10 AM
...... I'd definitely consider it a workable solution.

... I see room for improvement.  ;)

Yep! I agree with you BOTH.

And so goes it with Home Automation (and EGGS). There is nothing wrong with being totally satisfied with the product (and setup) you have. Actually I hope everyone gets the setup they want. But the setup that thrills one person... may not be what some one else wants.

I know my desires for HA may be more aspirational than practical (today). But this stuff is great fun.... and also helpful to have as part of our home too. And I can envision Alexa, Siri, (my X10/BVC) Kate, and whoever-she-is... that talks to me in my car combining and speaking to me with a single voice.... wherever I am. Anticipating my needs, predicting problems... and offering solutions.

I already have BVC reminding us of regular home based events... like running the trash to the curb on trash night. And appointments... told to Alexa... appear on my phone and pc calendar where I can be reminded with an alarm. Next years Ford's will have Alexa available (or so I've read).

There are TONS of new stuff coming down the pike. 
Title: Re: Automation with Alexa
Post by: Tuicemen on January 13, 2017, 12:42:17 PM
There is talk of Alexa getting push notifications.
Once that happens it will open up lots more options and possibilities.
Like you Dave I have my PC reminding me of things and speaking alerts but via PCC.
It is possible to get your BVC, PCC or any PC announcements and Alexa's voice coming threw the Dot. ;)
Using a Bluetooth dongle plugged into the PC and paired with the Dot all sound from the PC will come threw the dot.
You want a good quality dongle the little mini dongles don't work well for this.
So until Alexa gets push possibilities this works for me. ;)
Title: Re: Automation with Alexa
Post by: HA Dave on January 13, 2017, 09:15:07 PM
There is talk of Alexa getting push notifications.....

Whether we stay with Alexa, switch to Google.... or some cloud device not yet known. We are at the very beginning of this technology. 

It is possible to get your BVC, PCC or any PC announcements and Alexa's voice coming threw the Dot. ;)
Using a Bluetooth dongle plugged into the PC and paired with the Dot all sound from the PC will come threw the dot.
You want a good quality dongle the little mini dongles don't work well for this.

I did NOT know this. Nice to know. THANKS, for sharing! I have a Vista laptop I am thinking of trying some "new stuff" on. I love having HA projects again.
Title: Re: Automation with Alexa
Post by: JeffVolp on January 14, 2017, 09:19:02 AM
There is nothing wrong with being totally satisfied with the product (and setup) you have.

So show you how reliable X10 can be, we had a table lamp switch on unexpectedly about a week ago.  I knew my wife had changed the light bulb (incandescent 3-way), so I just told told her she didn't screw it in tight enough.  Sure enough, that was the problem.

Jeff
Title: Re: Automation with Alexa
Post by: HA Dave on January 14, 2017, 01:23:11 PM
So show you how reliable X10 can be........

I've never had any reliability issues with X10 either. Of course... there are some issues with more modern lights like some LEDs or even the (now old) CFL. But my wife and I don't fully use our home like we would if we were a family with kids. So I still have plenty of incandescent flood/ceiling lights. I don't use those lights enough to ever recuperate the cost of a conversion to LED.

I expect my X10 setup to continue to perform for years to come.

But X10.... won't tell me when the ice storm is scheduled to arrive here today. Or report todays headline news, read a book to me that I recently downloaded to my phone, update me on the recent game score, inform me of what day my doctors appointment is, or tell me when the next Oak Island show will air on TV.

I've never had any qualms about mixing HA flavors (protocols). I even own a clapper! How much I will integrate the technologies.... is another question... I don't know the answer to yet.
Title: Re: Automation with Alexa
Post by: Tuicemen on January 14, 2017, 01:42:38 PM
Quote
I've never had any qualms about mixing HA flavors (protocols).
Anyone who limits themselves to one protocol is limiting the growth potential of their HA setup.
My HA setup still remains about 90-99% X10 but I do have several Wi-Fi based devices (Wemo, iTead) as well as Zwave and Bluetooth.
It is nice when everything works together with Alexa which is becoming a more universal controller then anything else out there. ;)
Title: Re: Automation with Alexa
Post by: HA Dave on January 14, 2017, 07:24:47 PM
Anyone who limits themselves to one protocol is limiting the growth potential of their HA setup.

In 2001 I replaced the light switch in the garage with a motion sensor switch. A regular wire-in sensor-switch from home depot or the local hardware. If someone is in the garage....coming or going... the light is on. That is the single handiest bit of automation I have. It works so well I also put one in the laundry room.
Title: Re: Automation with Alexa
Post by: HA Dave on January 15, 2017, 03:41:52 PM
A 12 year old kid told my wife about this app. Called "Reverb for Amazon Alexa". It supposedly allows the user to take the echo/dot Alexa functionality (and voice) around with the iPhone. Sounds like we're getting close to the [halo] virtual companion. It's happening fast.
Title: Re: Automation with Alexa
Post by: Tuicemen on January 15, 2017, 03:58:32 PM
Or how about Alexa on your watch?
https://www.amazon.com/Martian-mVoice-Smartwatches-Amazon-Alexa/dp/B01MDLTZJI/ref=sr_1_6?ie=UTF8&qid=1484513886&sr=8-6&keywords=smartwatch+with+alexa
Title: Re: Automation with Alexa
Post by: HA Dave on January 15, 2017, 04:56:30 PM
Or how about Alexa on your watch?
https://www.amazon.com/Martian-mVoice-Smartwatches-Amazon-Alexa/dp/B01MDLTZJI/ref=sr_1_6?ie=UTF8&qid=1484513886&sr=8-6&keywords=smartwatch+with+alexa

I like that!
Title: Re: Automation with Alexa
Post by: Tuicemen on January 15, 2017, 06:02:31 PM
I couldn't believe the number of manufactures actually having these Alexa compatible watches.
Title: Re: Automation with Alexa
Post by: Tuicemen on January 17, 2017, 07:20:13 AM
I read a new wake word is coming with the next alexa update.
some have already seen this, I haven't so I guess I've yet to get the update.
http://lovemyecho.com/2017/01/15/11617-stupid-alexa-tricks/
Title: Re: Automation with Alexa
Post by: HA Dave on January 17, 2017, 11:45:54 AM
I read a new wake word is coming with the next alexa update.
http://lovemyecho.com/2017/01/15/11617-stupid-alexa-tricks/

Mine hasn't updated yet either. So apparently the update isn't slowed down by a modification allowing for a Canadian accent... hay. I am looking forward to the "computer" wake word. That has been my "attention phrase" for several years now. And... the correct way to address a computer since 1966 (or was it 2260).
Title: Re: Automation with Alexa
Post by: Tuicemen on January 17, 2017, 02:29:42 PM
Nor does it appear to be IP related. ::) :' One user reported out of 4 Dots only one got the update so far.
Title: Re: Automation with Alexa
Post by: Tuicemen on January 17, 2017, 02:52:33 PM
My Dot shows a Device software version of: 564196920
Apparently the version 564197320 is what has the new wake word.
The Version for the echo is different, 4812 is the version for it that includes the new wake word.
Title: Re: Automation with Alexa
Post by: Tuicemen on January 18, 2017, 08:36:08 AM
Yesterday we switched our Phone line to cable.
We have a phone that announces CID and I've always had this available on my PC (first program I ever created provided this)
We very rarely get phone calls with the kids now gone so I forgot about this running on my PC.
Last night the Phone rang and My dot announced Phone Call from .....!
 My wife flipped out "Hey how does she know who's calling?" she asked. rofl
 >!
Title: Re: Automation with Alexa
Post by: dave w on January 18, 2017, 08:44:31 AM
It supposedly allows the user to take the echo/dot Alexa functionality (and voice) around with the iPhone. Sounds like we're getting close to the [halo] virtual companion. It's happening fast.
How is that different from Siri?
Title: Re: Automation with Alexa
Post by: dhouston on January 18, 2017, 01:19:12 PM
I received my BlackBean. While I appreciate their desire to save the forests, these super-miniature user manuals are truly a PITA.

The next problem is to figure out how to get at its innards which may require sawing off the top. If I can add a 310MHz RF transmitter, it could make for a powerful but inexpensive remote.
Title: Re: Automation with Alexa
Post by: HA Dave on January 18, 2017, 02:26:09 PM
It supposedly allows the user to take the echo/dot Alexa functionality (and voice) around with the iPhone. Sounds like we're getting close to the [halo] virtual companion. It's happening fast.

How is that different from Siri?

Siri... was designed around a screen based technology. So you ask Siri a question... and you're often provided with a Web Site/Page or link. But Alexa is "all voice all the time" and replies to questions in a conversational way... much like a companion would.

Not a world of difference. And some may prefer Siri. I really don't mind switching "voice assistants" too much. But the idea of having the same voice helping, answering, always being there day and night... for decades... may appeal to some too.
Title: Re: Automation with Alexa
Post by: dhouston on January 20, 2017, 07:07:54 AM
I received my BlackBean...The next problem is to figure out how to get at its innards which may require sawing off the top. If I can add a 310MHz RF transmitter, it could make for a powerful but inexpensive remote.

I haven't been able to disassemble the BlackBean so I don't think it will be practical (for any but diehard DIYers) to add an RF transmitter to it. Given that Broadlink Support told me their next product (RM-Pro3) will support 310MHz, I'll wait to see that.
Title: Re: Automation with Alexa
Post by: Tuicemen on January 21, 2017, 08:41:12 AM
Sonoff released video of  Alexa control https://youtu.be/WzfgFl70Ee0 
Still on track for end off Chinese New Year (Feb. or Mar.) release.  :)%
Title: Re: Automation with Alexa
Post by: dhouston on January 21, 2017, 03:10:41 PM
How many clouds between the Dot and the lamp?
Title: Re: Automation with Alexa
Post by: Tuicemen on January 21, 2017, 04:58:26 PM
 
How many clouds between the Dot and the lamp?
rofl
I believe it is only one, or two very close together.
 I read itead uses the AWS for their app which is what Alexa uses
Title: Re: Automation with Alexa
Post by: HA Dave on January 21, 2017, 07:37:12 PM
Sonoff released video of  Alexa control https://youtu.be/WzfgFl70Ee0
Still on track for end off Chinese New Year (Feb. or Mar.) release.  :)%

What does this mean? The video shows "Sonoff" working with Alexa. Is Sonoff... X10? Does it use the X10 protocol?
Title: Re: Automation with Alexa
Post by: Tuicemen on January 21, 2017, 07:56:20 PM
Sonoff is Wi-Fi, some modules have RF but it is a 433 MHZ board so as they are they aren't capable of using the X10 protocol.
Dhouston has looked into swapping out the board.
Both of us have made suggestions on their feature request forum for them to add X10 support.
Most of their product line is geared to the DIY sector.
Title: Re: Automation with Alexa
Post by: dhouston on January 21, 2017, 09:56:09 PM
Sonoff & Slampher are Itead Studio Smart Home devices which use the ESP8266 WiFi modules. Both Tuicemen and I have posted here about various of their modules over the past few months. They are adding new modules almost weekly.

Some of them can also be ordered with a 433MHz RF receiver (in addition to the ESP8266) which works with a small 4 button RF remote.
https://www.itead.cc/smart-home.html (https://www.itead.cc/smart-home.html)

If I manage to finish a couple of other projects, I hope to design a 310MHz RF receiver module (that will work with Palmpads, etc.) to replace the Sonoff 433MHz receiver module.

They have just added a US style WiFi Smart Socket. I have one on order but have no idea when it might ship due to their New Year Holiday.
https://www.itead.cc/smart-home/smart-socket.html (https://www.itead.cc/smart-home/smart-socket.html)

Tuicemen and I are also planning to reprogram the ESP8266 modules to allow direct control w/o their eWeLink (cloud based) app. However, their integration with Alexa should make them attractive to those comfortable with cloud dependent control.
Title: Re: Automation with Alexa
Post by: HA Dave on January 22, 2017, 12:45:44 AM
Thanks guys! I am up to speed now.
Title: Re: Automation with Alexa
Post by: dhouston on January 22, 2017, 08:27:44 AM
I should add that they have made the Sonoff/Slampher modules hacker friendly by including a serial interface (you usually need to add a header and a resistor) that allows for reprogramming the ESP8266. It does require soldering and familiarity with the various programming languages that support the ESP8266.
Title: Re: Automation with Alexa
Post by: Tuicemen on January 22, 2017, 11:30:23 AM
Today I pulled out my X10 Powermids and decided to add the ability to turn the TV ON/OFF via Alexa.
My wife never liked me doing that in the past but for some reason now she likes it. ??? ::) :'
Must be the fact that Alexa understands her as well as me. :)%
I'm not sure if I'll add voice channel, or volume control but maybe mute and input ;)
We seldom use the DVD player anymore so I doubt I'll add that but we do use the Android TV box so I'll surely have to add that. ;)
Title: Re: Automation with Alexa
Post by: HA Dave on January 22, 2017, 08:21:04 PM
..... My wife never liked me doing that in the past but for some reason now she likes it. ??? ::) :'
Must be the fact that Alexa understands her as well as me.

That is the same reaction I've gotten in my home. The wife is using Alexa to turn lights on/off and playing music (to a BT speaker in the kitchen). Of course.... the car takes voice directions too. So it isn't just the house anymore. Maybe some of us were just a tad ahead of the curve.

The wife and I have even discussed adding more lights/devices and a couple more DOTs.
Title: Re: Automation with Alexa
Post by: Tuicemen on January 24, 2017, 03:01:18 PM
Alexa seems to be in the news a lot lately and my Dot is fairly close to the TV so I see it getting triggered a lot.
I never did set it up for voice purchasing so I was never worried about that.

I see my Alexa finally got the update with the new wake word so I'll be switching to it. I'm not sure how this will go over with my wife as she just got use to Alexa being in the living room  rofl
I use to have computer as the wake word on my PCs VR but switched to Alexa to keep everything uniform, looks like I'll need to switch it back! B:(
Title: Re: Automation with Alexa
Post by: HA Dave on January 24, 2017, 10:50:53 PM
I see my Alexa finally got the update with the new wake word so I'll be switching to it. I'm not sure how this will go over with my wife as she just got use to Alexa being in the living room  rofl

My wife has also made friends with Alexa. I don't think I could kill off her friend all that easily.
Title: Re: Automation with Alexa
Post by: HA Dave on January 26, 2017, 08:40:56 AM
I switched over to "computer". So far so good.
Title: Re: Automation with Alexa
Post by: HA Dave on January 31, 2017, 10:30:59 PM
I switched over to "computer". So far so good.

"Computer didn't last long..... "We're" back to Alexa now. I may switch the X10 setup attention/wake word to Kate.

I can control my ihome switches with either the Apple home app, The ihomecontrol app, or Wink (and all three through Alexa). My Cree wifi bulb is only controlled by/through the Wink Hub. The Chamberlain garage door I can control via it's app through my phone... or through the Wink Hub.

The only macro (robot) I've managed to create involves the opening garage door turning on lights.... but only during certain hours.
Title: Re: Automation with Alexa
Post by: Tuicemen on February 01, 2017, 08:19:09 AM

"Computer didn't last long..... "We're" back to Alexa now. I may switch the X10 setup attention/wake word to Kate.
I'm still with computer but have been thinking of switching back as well.
Quote
My Cree wifi bulb is only controlled by/through the Wink Hub.
You mean you can't control the Cree with Alexa?
Title: Re: Automation with Alexa
Post by: HA Dave on February 01, 2017, 10:58:58 AM
My Cree wifi bulb is only controlled by/through the Wink Hub.

You mean you can't control the Cree with Alexa?

Alexa does recognize and can control Cree WiFi bulbs. No Hubs or other devices are required to turn the Cree bulbs ON or OFF via a voice command. But that is it... no other control (that I am aware of yet). I also wanted to mention... the Cree bulbs also have local control. So... if [I am] still to sleepy to remember to tell Alexa to turn on my lamp..... turning the switch will work fine too. Then later I can instruct Alexa to turn the light OFF.

But, Apples home app (comes with the Apple phone), or the ihome app, or MyQ app can't "see" (or control) the Cree bulbs.

However.... the Wink Hub "sees" and controls the bulbs... including a dim/bright function... and can also incorporate the Cree Bulbs into schedules, and robot activities (macros). The benefit of the Hubs (as I see it... at this point) is integrating the various flavors and brands so as they work together. As well as the limited robot/macro functions. (X10's macro function is far superior). 

As an example... My MyQ garage door opener works fine with it's MyQ phone app... all my itself. But is not seen by Alexa. But when incorporated with my Wink hub... can do so much more.... like turn ON a mix of (different brand/flavors) lighting products. And/or send email/alerts directly on my (and my wife's) phones (a function from the MyQ app).

Title: Re: Automation with Alexa
Post by: toasterking on February 01, 2017, 01:23:31 PM
the Cree bulbs also have local control. So... if [I am] still to sleepy to remember to tell Alexa to turn on my lamp..... turning the switch will work fine too.
Thinking about this, it seems like kind of the reverse of the way X10 modules handle local control.  An X10 lamp module monitors the current draw downstream of it to determine whether you're toggling a downstream switch to which the load is connected.  Since the WiFi bulb *is* the load (i.e. with no switch to separate the controller and load), it would have to be sensing toggle of a switch upstream of it, a switch that would disconnect and reconnect power to the bulb.

So what's to stop all your WiFi bulbs from coming on whenever the power flickers because every one of them "sensed" that you toggled an upstream switch somewhere?
Title: Re: Automation with Alexa
Post by: Tuicemen on February 01, 2017, 01:59:34 PM
Thanks for clearing up my misunderstanding Dave.
I personally don't like the Idea of having to have all these extra Hubs(mini pcs) running.
I'd like to only have one running, my idea is to use less power not more.
Thankfully the BWS systems guys are constantly actively improving their HA-Bridge. :)


Title: Re: Automation with Alexa
Post by: HA Dave on February 01, 2017, 06:22:12 PM
..... So what's to stop all your WiFi bulbs from coming on whenever the power flickers because every one of them "sensed" that you toggled an upstream switch somewhere?

That's exactly what happens! I hadn't thought about it.... but just tested. I unplugged and re-plugged the lamp while OFF... and it came ON.
Title: Re: Automation with Alexa
Post by: HA Dave on February 01, 2017, 06:55:00 PM
Thanks for clearing up my misunderstanding Dave.

It's all new to all of us (to everyone). I thought if we all share our findings/experiences it would/will benefit everyone.

I personally don't like the Idea of having to have all these extra Hubs(mini pcs) running.
I'd like to only have one running, my idea is to use less power not more.

Yeah. I prefer to use the lest to get the most... when possible. But I refuse to spend dollars to save dimes too. There is no recovery... real or imagined... from lighting control now-a-days. At least not where I buy (and use) my electric. Which would make HA kind of a waste of money.

But the security, safety, and convenience of good Home Automation is priceless... once you've already committed to a modern lifestyle. The time, effort, and money I and others have often invested in a simple automated setup/process is impossible to ever recover. As for many of us... HA is more or less a hobby. But I think our findings can often add real quality of life to others who depend on automation.... if we share what we've learned and done here.

I also like the idea of a single hub and flavor/brand of automation product. It just sounds simpler. But realistically... at this point in time... that just isn't the way it works. If there was another hub out there that could also function with X10... AND even had the function and power of a CM15A... it would still have the flaws and faults inherent with X10.

So... I may continue to experiment a bit with some of the different products. While I wait for the new X10 interface.   
Title: Re: Automation with Alexa
Post by: toasterking on February 01, 2017, 07:36:29 PM
..... So what's to stop all your WiFi bulbs from coming on whenever the power flickers because every one of them "sensed" that you toggled an upstream switch somewhere?
That's exactly what happens!
Good to know, right?  ;)  I hope that there's at least an option to disable this "feature" -- an option that X10 never gave us directly!
Title: Re: Automation with Alexa
Post by: Tuicemen on February 02, 2017, 01:35:58 PM
I finally got round to switching back to Alexa! I could never get use to using computer, funny how not so long ago that seemed so natural.
Any ways I've been looking into some of the new options the HA-Bridge has and looking to be able to incorporate those into Alex10. I think some I'll be able to trigger with Alexa and maybe even map a x10 RF or PLC signal to trigger other devices when not in range of my DOT.
 >!

Title: Re: Automation with Alexa
Post by: HA Dave on February 02, 2017, 10:04:44 PM
Good to know, right?  ;)  I hope that there's at least an option to disable this "feature" -- an option that X10 never gave us directly!

I am pretty sure it's the default. But like you posted... "good to know"... although not a game changer. Particularly since I only have the one Cree bulb (and it only uses a handful of watts).

I finally got round to switching back to Alexa! I could never get use to using computer, funny how not so long ago that seemed so natural.

Not always..... but mostly change seems natural to me. And more often than not it's even welcomed.

I have been a bit surprised at the somewhat limited... control opportunities... of the NEW system(s) I've tried so far. But the control/automation portion of my X10 setup... rocks. But, together... Alexa and it's devices along with X10 and it's macros/CM15A.... this is what the future was always supposed to be. But there will always be room for improvement.
Title: Re: Automation with Alexa
Post by: Tuicemen on February 03, 2017, 07:36:19 AM
I've read the Wink hub will see a hue hub and can utilize it.
The HA-bridge emulates a hue bridge and I've also read reports of HA-Bridge users linking to the bridge with a Wink.
If I couldn't already control all my stuff with Alexa  I guess I'd be looking at a wink. >!
Title: Re: Automation with Alexa
Post by: HA Dave on February 03, 2017, 10:20:10 AM
I've read the Wink hub will see a hue hub and can utilize it.
The HA-bridge emulates a hue bridge and I've also read reports of HA-Bridge users linking to the bridge with a Wink.
If I couldn't already control all my stuff with Alexa  I guess I'd be looking at a wink. >!

Wink does see the Hue (Philips) lights... along with a BUNCH of other flavors/brands of HA stuff. And I only have the original (updated) Wink Hub.... that I got cheap at a Home Depot clearance ($39).

HA Control... is an interesting term. The Hubs work more like the CM15A.... with Alexa functioning more like a super cool, hi-tech, voice controlled, palm pad. I prefer the control function of automation to be programed. But I really prefer voice control/over-ride over other remotes.

i.e. I now have some kitchen lighting controlled by X10 on a timer/sunrise macro. Some other kitchen lighting is controlled by an ihome module. But.... using the wink Hub I can create a similar timer/schedule robot (macro).... so the ihome lighting will mirror the X10 setup. However.... I can always control the X10 lights outside the macro control using a remote/palmpad/BVC or iPhone (app). Whereas... with ihome modules I only have the app (on my phone) or Alexa.

Your plan of using your software, and a mini PC.... to create a X10 bridge is a great idea and way around the lack of an X10 hub. The PC/CM15A..... IMHO... is the best HA control on the market... still.

I continue to shop/look at the stick PC's and read about the various DL's and apps to create a DIY X10 hub myself. And... of course follow your progress. Your way... may be the absolute best/only way to go with at least the X10 side of automation. I just wish X10 would get on the ball and introduce a hub. Or partner with some other hub already on the market.
Title: Re: Automation with Alexa
Post by: Tuicemen on February 03, 2017, 01:22:44 PM
I continue to shop/look at the stick PC's and read about the various DL's and apps to create a DIY X10 hub myself.
I played with the stick PC's but I found they tended to get to warm for my liking if left on 24/7 the mini PCs even the fan less ones have a far better way to handle heat. My Asuss EEE Box is about the size of 2-3 CM15s but my android TV box is about the size of 1 cm15.
Probably by the time I get my mini android TV box running as a x10 hub, X10 will have the Wi-Fi module released. B:(
At least Alexa keeps my mind off that a bit! >!
Title: Re: Automation with Alexa
Post by: HA Dave on February 03, 2017, 08:37:51 PM
............ At least Alexa keeps my mind off that a bit! >!

Yep! IMHO Alexa is a boon to HA. I think we're at the beginning of a new golden age of HA.
Title: Re: Automation with Alexa
Post by: Tuicemen on February 17, 2017, 01:41:51 PM
My Dot got another update which allows outlook calendar integration. it supposedly allows you to sync sound on all Alexa dots/echos/and taps though I don't have a second device to see if that is a actuality.
I did manage to do a firmware flash of one of my sonoff devices which was to make it compatible with SmartThings only it can't be discovered (maybe the modle I tested isn't compatible yet)
In any case I can now control it with out the cloud if that connection ever fails.
I also was able to add it to the HA-Bridge so Alexa can control it :)% so no need for the SmartThings app.

I also read about the RM Broadlink and ordered one hoping to simplify my IR control with Alexa.
This also is to work with SmartThings using a RM Bridge on an android which since my TV box was on 24/7 anyways it could be installed on it.
The RM Broadlink learns all my IR devices except my cable box power button for what ever reason. ::) :'
It will not however learn anything using the online interface which is needed for it to work with the RM Bridge  B:(

The SmartThings approach looks and sounds very promising as no actual hub is required though they do sell one.
Setup with out a hub is a bit of a task and that maybe why I'm having issues as I don't have a actual SmartThings Hub.
However Alexa does see my SmartThings routines and can activate them :o

Title: Re: Automation with Alexa
Post by: Tuicemen on February 18, 2017, 09:33:17 AM
Looking more at the Samsung SmartThings Hub (https://www.smartthings.com/how-it-works) makes me think this may be the Hub to actually get.
The new version has 2 USB ports for future expansion and has Z-Wave and ZigBee radios built in.
There is also a large developer community adding new possibilities regularly.

It is possible to use smart devices with the app and without the hub in some cases.
You can control these devices via Alexa with out the SmartThings hub however the hub would make doing it so much simpler. ::) :'

I see now the firmware I flashed my itead sonoff safe voltage module to requires the hub to work with SmartThings  B:(
There is no code yet to by pass that requirement (yet).
Do I get a new mini dual boot PC to use as a bridge(hub) or get a SmartThings hub both are about the same $ wise. ??? ::) :'
Title: Re: Automation with Alexa
Post by: racerfern on February 18, 2017, 10:34:55 AM
Which dual boot are you thinking of? My mini PC is having trouble keeping up with everything I'm throwing at it.

Last November the smartthings hub was briefly on sale for <$50USD, so hold out for good pricing. I didn't buy it back then but I wish I had. I "assume" the next time the price drops will be just before the 3rd gen comes out. It seems to be a good product for the money.
Title: Re: Automation with Alexa
Post by: Tuicemen on February 18, 2017, 11:09:09 AM
Which dual boot are you thinking of? My mini PC is having trouble keeping up with everything I'm throwing at it.
I haven't narrowed it down to a particular one yet. It seems once I get close something stops me.
I want one with at least 4g of mem and 64g rom.
I just about grabbed one  for a media streamer but my son picked me up an Android 4k TV box for Christmas.
So I stopped looking and have just started looking again though I'm not sure I ever really stopped looking ::) rofl.

The SmartThings hub is currently $99 with a 20% discount at check out so the 3rd gen may just be around the corner. ;)
Title: Re: Automation with Alexa
Post by: HA Dave on February 28, 2017, 10:35:19 AM
Coming soon (?) Voice ID (http://www.msn.com/en-us/news/technology/exclusive-amazon-developing-advanced-voice-recognition-for-alexa/ar-AAnCtiY?li=AA4Zoy&ocid=spartandhp). That would/will be a nice feature. Then... I might feel safe to include my garage door in my setup. Currently... the idea of a grandkid, TV show, or some low-life yelling in the window opening my garage door... seems like a risk.
Title: Re: Automation with Alexa
Post by: bkenobi on February 28, 2017, 10:47:54 AM
Also makes it easier for the NSA to track you since it will just add a name to the text when it sends your log files.  <goes to get tin foil hat>
Title: Re: Automation with Alexa
Post by: Tuicemen on February 28, 2017, 10:53:30 AM
Very cool!
Next will be an added camera and facial recognition. :)

The garage door being opened when I'm home and awake isn't a deal to me.
Having the capability for it to be opened when I'm asleep or away would be.
Same would be for other devices like a thermostat this is why I added the option to turn off/on Alexa control of devices both manually and on a timer in Alex10.
Title: Re: Automation with Alexa
Post by: bkenobi on February 28, 2017, 02:40:54 PM
My modem has an off button outside of the power switch.  So, if I'm going to be out of town, I can turn off access without turning the power off.  Seems like that would be a good thing for these spy HA devices to have.  If we want to link the garage door or front door to a voice command, there should be a physical override IMO.  I know pulling the plug would work, but I don't know what that would do for sync issues.
Title: Re: Automation with Alexa
Post by: Tuicemen on February 28, 2017, 02:57:40 PM
I know pulling the plug would work, but I don't know what that would do for sync issues.
Yep that would mess up the sync. rofl

Title: Re: Automation with Alexa
Post by: dhouston on February 28, 2017, 03:37:34 PM
What will this do?
http://www.usatoday.com/story/tech/news/2017/02/28/amazons-cloud-service-goes-down-sites-scramble/98530914/ (http://www.usatoday.com/story/tech/news/2017/02/28/amazons-cloud-service-goes-down-sites-scramble/98530914/)
Title: Re: Automation with Alexa
Post by: Tuicemen on February 28, 2017, 03:42:38 PM
What will this do?
Makes my dot a not so good paper weight. B:(
But it may keep some in the dark and locked in their house  rofl
 >!
Title: Re: Automation with Alexa
Post by: Tuicemen on February 28, 2017, 04:30:52 PM
I finally got my RM Broadlink able to learn IR code using the RM Bridge software (https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=de.fun2code.android.rmbridge).
Seems I needed a firmware update for my RM Broadlink Pro B:(
The RM Bridge creates url links to learned codes you create.
Placing those in the HA-Bridge I was able to get Alexa to trigger those devices. :)%
Good bye Powermids, my wife likes the look of the RM Broadlink better too!
Cloudy skies may make me get them back out though! rofl
Title: Re: Automation with Alexa
Post by: HA Dave on February 28, 2017, 07:08:16 PM
Also makes it easier for the NSA to track you since it will just add a name to the text when it sends your log files.  <goes to get tin foil hat>

But...  NSA has been converting phone/voice files to MP3... for later voice recognition conversion to a text mega file. With the mega file including the codes that quantify the voice by tone, intent, emotion, accent, etc.. So.... I'd guess if the NSA can't ID your voice now... it's only because the technology isn't there yet. In which case... the sooner we all get a cloud based voice device... the quicker/easier/faster NSA can do their job. It could save some tax dollars if we all participate sooner. 
Title: Re: Automation with Alexa
Post by: Tuicemen on March 08, 2017, 08:44:21 AM
Cloudy skies are here again. :(
Over the last several days there has been several reports of Alexa not working. Luckily that hasn't happened here(yet)
One issue was with a particular brand of lights and the Kasa app. Many users scrambled playing with settings only to render there system useless. The issue was Kasa servers which are now working again however those that messed with their settings had to factory reset their devices and reconfigure them. Other Amazon server outages has cause simular issues in the past.
The thing to take from this is if your setup was working and the next day isn't don't play with your device settings. Chances are the skies at just cloudy. ::) :'
Probably the best scenario is to have devices which can be controlled locally and don't rely on the cloud solely for control. ;)
That way if Alexa won't control it you can test and use the local control.
Title: Re: Automation with Alexa
Post by: bkenobi on March 08, 2017, 10:49:49 AM
This is one of the key reasons I believe network access for HA should be as an added bonus not as the primary means for function.  Everything should be controllable locally and all automation should be done on the local (home) level.  Things that add extra capabilities (remote opening/closing garage door, remote lock/unlock doors, remote arm/disarm alarm system, etc) can be controlled via the cloud if desired (though I still prefer a local server that I connect to).  I'm amazed people are so willing to let all of this control be out of their control (thermostats, lighting, etc).
Title: Re: Automation with Alexa
Post by: dhouston on March 08, 2017, 03:51:09 PM
...I believe network access for HA should be as an added bonus not as the primary means for function.
I agree. There are many areas where the cloud makes sense1 but I think it should always be optional for HA devices.

1Schools are going to Chrome OS computers with cloud storage so that multiple users of each computer can have their own storage area in the cloud.
Title: Re: Automation with Alexa
Post by: HA Dave on March 08, 2017, 09:59:46 PM
With my Alexa.... side to my HA... Alexa is a secondary user. Every unit is either setup through my Hub, or my iPhone, first. Then after my phone either controls the device directly or via an app through Bluetooth or my wifi network and/or the Hub..... then I ask Alexa to discover any new/added devices. After discovery... Alexa can then control the device.

So by default my iPhone is the primary controller. Plus each ihome device has a built-in switch... and the wifi control light bulbs can always default to the switches that would normally be used to switch the light on/off.

If I was to be concerned about any failures... it would be the phone(s). I entire life is wrapped and tied into the damn phone. I really believe the phones are at the verge of becoming virtual companions.

P.S. Even my X10 control (via my iPhone) is done though my home network (Mellowware) and is not (yet) cloud controlled.   
Title: Re: Automation with Alexa
Post by: dhouston on March 18, 2017, 11:26:41 AM
So by default my iPhone is the primary controller. Plus each ihome device has a built-in switch... and the wifi control light bulbs can always default to the switches that would normally be used to switch the light on/off.
Will the fact that Alexa is now available for the iPhone simplify or complicate things?
https://arc.applause.com/2017/03/18/amazon-echo-alexa-ios/ (https://arc.applause.com/2017/03/18/amazon-echo-alexa-ios/)
Title: Re: Automation with Alexa
Post by: HA Dave on March 19, 2017, 10:27:11 PM
Will the fact that Alexa is now available for the iPhone simplify or complicate things?

It can be both. Of course... the single use, single product-line... is always be simpler. And having more choices and options (from mixed brands and programs) does complicate things. But is staying with Siri on an Apple phone to control Alex... single use? Or is running an Alexa app on Apple?

And it gets more complicated. When controlling smart devices from the car (think garage door and interior lights).... do I want to use the cars native hard/software package, or my phones native software, or an add-on app downloaded to my phone. And... do I want the phone to control the home directly... or through the car... or vice versa. I think... I can even use my phones (GPS) proximity to the house to automatically control programed things/actions through a HUB.

I like the idea of using a mix of devices. The HUBS are helpful for integrating the different flavors of automation products. I figure the more options the better... for me to be able to do what I might want to do. But the choices and options are crazy!

The sci-fi idea.... I believe... is a virtual companion. A single voice with AI that learns your choices and habits. Makes suggestions and offers reminders based on past patterns.
Title: Re: Automation with Alexa
Post by: dave w on March 20, 2017, 10:36:12 AM
FWIW

I just coupled Alexa to Homeseer3 and I now have Alexa voice control of 80 some do-dads in the home. The problem is I must remember the precise do-dad name or Alexa plays dumb.

It's still easier to just push the button.  :' 
Title: Re: Automation with Alexa
Post by: HA Dave on March 20, 2017, 11:25:33 AM
FWIW

I just coupled Alexa to Homeseer3 and I now have Alexa voice control of 80 some do-dads in the home. The problem is I must remember the precise do-dad name or Alexa plays dumb.

It's still easier to just push the button.  :'

Congratulations!

You may want to rethink your naming convention processes... and how lights are grouped. I've never used Homeseer. So I don't know what Homeseer calls its setups... programs/macros/receipts/robots... but setup is key to making this all work well together. As (with 80 devices) I am sure you already know.

Even though the light beside my favorite easy chair is in the living room.... it is not in the "living room group". That way I can turn on/off most of the living room lights without altering the one light I normally need/use.

Also the one light by my chair responds to either "table light" or table "lamp".... so as long as I remember that it sits on a table... I am good.

PLUS... not everything is best controlled by voice commands. Or for that matter... not everything is best controlled (directly) by humans. I have an old X10 floodlight that controls a couple things other than just it's own light. But I can't recall even once controlling that light by either voice or remote.

Over the weekend.... a grandchild seemed drawn to a commercial on TV. She didn't care about the advertisement... she liked the few seconds of the music being played. When I noticed that.... I said: "Alexa... play Betty Davis eyes"... as I muted the TV (that was the song). That grandchild doesn't talk yet... but she sure knows how to smile.

I've also found that turning the TV off during dinner... and asking Alexa for either golden oldies, a local (via iheart) radio station, or even just smooth jazz..... makes for a more pleasant dinner with Grammy too.

I spent some time reviewing/trying various different "flash briefings" (in the Alexa skills) and I make a point of starting every day with my little flash briefing. BTW... Alexa is OK with me asking for my "flash brief"... or even just my "briefing".

Spending a little time now-and-then reviewing the Alexa skills (there are new ones all the time) is a easy way to add helpfulness and utility to this new function.

There is a lot more to automation... than turning things on and off.


Title: Re: Automation with Alexa
Post by: Tuicemen on March 20, 2017, 11:30:57 AM
It's still easier to just push the button.  :'
rofl
My wife would agree with you.
I never added Alexa control to all my " do-dads" but still find I'm not saying the correct phrase for some. B:(

 There are some bridges/hubs that allow control based on IP and the location of the Amazon device this way when you walk into a room you just say, "Alexa turn on lights" the bridge/hub knows only to turn on lights in that room. No need to remember specific device names.

 I suspect this will only get better!
 >!
Title: Re: Automation with Alexa
Post by: HA Dave on March 20, 2017, 11:47:43 AM
I never added Alexa control to all my " do-dads" ......

I should have mentioned I am currently NOT controlling any of my X10 devices with Alexa (yet). But have included several ihome, Cree, and my garage door and (one of it's light units) with Alexa. And.... I may be adding the TV soon.... as my current remotes volume button seems to be sticking.

I suspect this will only get better!

I think your right. Soon these things should be able to figure out who is where... and remember what lights they prefer to be on.

But... pushing buttons or even just flipping switches might remain the easiest way to go. I can not even guess how many hours I've spend fishing wires and building my setup. And... I know I hold NO records in that regard. HA has a certain pleasantness and maybe even some safety and security about it. But it can be a lot of work to automate things. 
Title: Re: Automation with Alexa
Post by: HA Dave on March 22, 2017, 12:28:18 AM
Has anyone tried the Alexa Skill: Dr. A.I. by HealthTap (https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B06WRSVQH9?ref=skillrw_dsk_new_gw_2)
by HealthTap Inc.

It's just what it sounds like. Trained by the wisdom of more than 107,000 top U.S. doctors across 141 specialties on HealthTap, Dr. A.I. engages with you in an empathetic conversation about your symptoms and overall health. Powered by the most advanced Artificial Intelligence, Emotional Intelligence, and Deep Learning techniques, Dr. A.I. immediately translates your symptoms into possible medical explanations that are personalized to your age, gender, possible conditions, medications, and other relevant aspects of your health and well being. Dr. A.I. then gives you appropriate doctor-recommended insights as well as the best possible courses of action you can take on the road to feeling good. After sharing your symptoms, if you wish, you can even talk with a real doctor right away!



Title: Re: Automation with Alexa
Post by: bkenobi on March 22, 2017, 10:45:45 AM
Sounds like this is adding a phone tree between you and your doctor.  Now you just need to figure out what combination of menus to drill down through to actually reach a real person!   rofl
Title: Re: Automation with Alexa
Post by: HA Dave on March 22, 2017, 06:13:41 PM
Sounds like this is adding a phone tree between you and your doctor.  Now you just need to figure out what combination of menus to drill down through to actually reach a real person!   rofl

Actually... my doctor is a friend of mine. I could call him at home in the middle of the night... if need be.

Now-a-days (in the USA) doctors run a program that confirms their diagnosis (or not). It's really kind of a pain in the ars... the doctor and/or nurse spend more time typing at the PC than looking at the patient. And I believe... the same [program] coordinates the same info with our CDC (Center for Disease Control (https://www.cdc.gov/)). 

With the Alexa HealthTap app/skill The program.... eliminates the doctor/office call... or alerts the users of important things. With holidays, weekends, and doctors visits eating up time (and in many cases... money). This could be useful.   

I haven't used any of the Web MD like services yet myself. But my daughter has. Texting a baby-rash pic to her insurances... on-line med service. And getting an immediate prescription at the nearest 24-hour drug store... in the middle of the night. This just eliminates the possible error (and much of the cost) of an actual human doctor. 
Title: Re: Automation with Alexa
Post by: HA Dave on April 23, 2017, 12:16:23 AM
I recently added a new-ish re-worked macro-like function to my combo setup.

This is an old macro that I created years ago to turn a bedtime lamp on... that would delay for 3 minutes then turn itself off. Now... it's operation is simpler... even if the setup is a little Rube Goldberg like in it's complexity.

Here... Alexa is instructed to turn the Bedtime Lights Out (Off works too). Bedtime isn't the name of a light... but instead... the name of a "room of lights/devices" in the on-line (cloud) Alexa setup. In the Bedtime room one light is a Cree WiFi automation bulb that Alexa talks to through a Wink hub (on a shelf under my TV). The other light (the small one) is an X10 soft-start that is controlled via a Homeseer Hometroller (in my basement man-cave). Alexa communicates to it via the Homeseer server (cloud) which instructs the Hometroller to tell the CM15A (also in the man-cave) to send a RF signal to a 2nd CM15A which triggers a macro and sends a PLC to the X10 module at the small lamp (it can be seen in the video).

I think this makes a (very brief) and interesting video HERE. (https://youtu.be/8iI_sZRipSQ)

I added more detailed setup instructions at User Created Working Macros (http://forums.x10.com/index.php?topic=29797.msg168454#msg168454)
Title: Re: Automation with Alexa
Post by: Tuicemen on May 08, 2017, 05:16:41 PM
I recently picked up a second dot to experiment with.
After setting the second one up I took one to my off grid place to experiment with.
I needed to tell Alexa to use a new Wi-Fi connection and have read of users using these on the road.
I decided to tell Alexa to discover devices and it picked up one device.
Having nothing configure here for Alexa I was confused.
Going to the Alexa app and clicking discover devices it shows all devices at my city place as alive and connected. :o
Since Alex10 isn't setup for remote access this was also confusing but I have one wemo device which I assume my dot is seeing from the off grid cottage.
If I tell Alexa to turn on or off a x10 device she responds with OK indicating the command was sent from the HA-Bridge to Alex10 at my city place :o
I have to do a bit more experimenting with this but it is looking promising  ;)
My internet connection is much slower here then in the city but you'd never know it with Alexa, music streams here just as well. :)%

Title: Re: Automation with Alexa
Post by: HA Dave on May 08, 2017, 05:57:55 PM
I recently picked up a second dot to experiment with.....
Going to the Alexa app and clicking discover devices it shows all devices at my city place as alive and connected. :o
Since Alex10 isn't setup for remote access this was also confusing

I believe (only from what I have read from one of the many sources)... DOT and Echo are pre-configured at Amazon with your settings. That could explain an innate knowledge of your set-up.

I understand... a new Ford can use the Amazon/Alexa app... as can a recent iPhone (maybe other phones as well... I don't know).

I've considered... or should I say my wife is considering getting an Echo... mostly for the music. But also because so many of the lights are now Amazon controlled.... we almost NEED a 2nd device.
Title: Re: Automation with Alexa
Post by: Tuicemen on May 08, 2017, 08:24:11 PM
Amazon keeps track of all IPs the Alexa devices used.
I figured telling the Alexa at the cottage to discover devices would see all devices already configured.
It doesn't, possible because my x10 setup is not set for remote control (no port forwarding)
What I find very interesting is although Alexa reports only seeing one device it can control all devices at my city place from the cottage and faster it seems then locally.
Yes, I have confirmed this.
This will open some new automation possibilities.
I've considered... or should I say my wife is considering getting an Echo... mostly for the music. But also because so many of the lights are now Amazon controlled.... we almost NEED a 2nd device.
Since you have a good blue tooth speaker it would be cheaper to just get a second Dot or Tap (as they can now be set to hands free mode).
Title: Re: Automation with Alexa
Post by: HA Dave on May 09, 2017, 12:22:12 AM
.... Since you have a good blue tooth speaker it would be cheaper to just get a second Dot or Tap (as they can now be set to hands free mode).

That has been a consideration. The options available now-a-days.... can sometimes be staggering. Mixing and/or sharing a resource like a nice large BT speaker with a phone, tablet, ipod, AND a DOT... could be prove convenient... or be a pain in the rear.

Sometimes... keeping the complex as simple as possible seems almost elegant. Sometimes... it seems like a missed opportunity. Sometimes.... I just have to login to Amazon and click on something... then make it work.     
Title: Re: Automation with Alexa
Post by: dave w on May 09, 2017, 07:30:25 PM
I see Amazon has announced a video screen version for Echo called Show. I think they are aiming at Skype.
Title: Re: Automation with Alexa
Post by: HA Dave on May 09, 2017, 11:47:48 PM
I see Amazon has announced a video screen version for Echo called Show. I think they are aiming at Skype.

I saw that too! A fast, easy way to video chat...huh. Just what we need here.... one more F***ing phone to answer. Like the cell phones and land-line ain't enough. We use iphones to Facetime currently.

But watching a YouTube for instructions/directions would be nice (I use YouTube all the time). It keeps it up with Siri.... (Siri produces internet stuff now). I can see where it would be really handy in the kitchen.

Being able to ask for (home security) camera views might be nice. Not something I do that often though. I am anxious to read reviews and hear how other people find uses for this device. I am already "IN" with Amazon and the Echo/Alexa stuff... I hope this works out well! 
Title: Re: Automation with Alexa
Post by: dhouston on May 11, 2017, 04:36:36 PM
I see Amazon has announced a video screen version for Echo called Show. I think they are aiming at Skype.

They might be aiming higher up the food chain.
http://www.computerworld.com/article/3196158/unified-communications/amazons-echo-show-could-disrupt-enterprise-class-unified-communications.html?google_editors_picks=true (http://www.computerworld.com/article/3196158/unified-communications/amazons-echo-show-could-disrupt-enterprise-class-unified-communications.html?google_editors_picks=true)
Title: Re: Automation with Alexa
Post by: HA Dave on May 11, 2017, 11:01:28 PM
I see Amazon has announced a video screen version for Echo called Show. I think they are aiming at Skype.

They might be aiming higher up the food chain.

I don't think they're aiming so much.... as that's just the direction that technology is taking everyone. It's gotten pretty darn cheap to excite a few electrons. Landline phones at home... have been relegated to folks with plenty of extra money... and the elderly (like myself). I don't know why I still have a "home phone". Mostly it just rings with calls from questionable sales people.

More and more... business and personal I don't even call.... it's just a text. Everyone deals with them in their available time... and for business it provides a paperless digital trail/confirmation.

It's the grandkids that like to Facetime... so they can "see" us. For them it's almost like a real visit.   
Title: Re: Automation with Alexa
Post by: Tuicemen on May 14, 2017, 08:16:51 AM
I see Amazon has announced a video screen version for Echo called Show. I think they are aiming at Skype.
The Amazon App has an update which apparently allows one to place a phone call or call an Alexa device from another one, perhaps this is to work out bugs prior to the Show being released.
From what I've read the option isn't ready for prime time and appears to have lots of bugs.
Unfortunately this seems to be only available in the USA currently.
I've read it could be used as an intercom of sorts however I think each device would be required to be registered to a different user account.
Title: Re: Automation with Alexa
Post by: HA Dave on May 14, 2017, 12:41:51 PM
I've read it could be used as an intercom of sorts however I think each device would be required to be registered to a different user account.

I like the intercom concept! I hope that works out.... a great reason all-by-itself to own another/more echo/dot/Alexa. 
Title: Re: Automation with Alexa
Post by: Tuicemen on May 14, 2017, 02:05:12 PM
I like the intercom concept as well.
Even the voice messaging or SMS sounds cool, making phone calls not so much.
Title: Re: Automation with Alexa
Post by: dhouston on May 24, 2017, 02:24:59 PM
What do you think of this?
https://techcrunch.com/2017/05/23/alexa-dont-talk-to-strangers/ (https://techcrunch.com/2017/05/23/alexa-dont-talk-to-strangers/)
Title: Re: Automation with Alexa
Post by: HA Dave on May 24, 2017, 03:26:07 PM
What do you think of this?
https://techcrunch.com/2017/05/23/alexa-dont-talk-to-strangers/ (https://techcrunch.com/2017/05/23/alexa-dont-talk-to-strangers/)

Completely true. Even "Alexa" said on TV... or a name that sounds similar can put my DOT into listening mode.

My garage door (a Chamberlain) is Internet connected and remotely controlled with an app on my phone.... and it is Alexa/DOT/Amazon compatible (can be voice controlled). I have chosen NOT to link my door to Alexa. It doesn't automatically enable... a skill must be activated/turned-on. Although I do know a family that has linked their garage door with their Echo... with NO problems... I wouldn't do that myself.

I've also chosen to turn off (that is currently the default) function that allows voice-Amazon-purchases. As far as Internet searches.... those have all been monitored in America... for years now. Alexa should not alter not personal stats. 

I guess someone could always shout into an open window.... and cause my smart home to turn a light on or off. But then my home is also monitored by cameras... so the activity should be recorded.
 
Title: Re: Automation with Alexa
Post by: Tuicemen on May 24, 2017, 09:10:16 PM
Like Dave there are things I will not allow Alexa to do.
And since Alexa records all commands it hears there is a record of attempts .
That coupled with video like Dave has it could be used for prosecution.
I also use the Alexa silent time and the device hide from Alexa option (available with HA-Bridge)

 For those looking for the Alexa voice recordings they can be found in the history of the Alexa app ;)
Title: Re: Automation with Alexa
Post by: HA Dave on May 25, 2017, 09:50:37 PM
.... And since Alexa records all commands it hears there is a record of attempts .
That coupled with video like Dave has it could be used for prosecution.

Don't do the crime... if you can't do the time. (https://youtu.be/5HNWhVXcjV8?list=RD5HNWhVXcjV8)
Title: Re: Automation with Alexa
Post by: dhouston on May 30, 2017, 09:06:06 AM
Here's something that might be of interest since it can be controlled by Alexa.
https://www.amazon.com/Wowfeel-Multi-function-Switch-Outlets-Extendable/dp/B06Y2PQ9N3/ref=sr_1_29?ie=UTF8&qid=1496149460&sr=8-29&keywords=amazon+power+strip (https://www.amazon.com/Wowfeel-Multi-function-Switch-Outlets-Extendable/dp/B06Y2PQ9N3/ref=sr_1_29?ie=UTF8&qid=1496149460&sr=8-29&keywords=amazon+power+strip)
It would be more useful if you could control the outlets individually.
Title: Re: Automation with Alexa
Post by: bkenobi on May 30, 2017, 11:42:06 AM
That is cool!  As is, it's pretty sweet to be able to turn on anything connected remotely.  If they broke it out to control all 6 outlets independently though...   -:)
Title: Re: Automation with Alexa
Post by: dhouston on May 30, 2017, 11:58:08 AM
If Authinx was with it they would design lamp & appliance modules controllable via iOS, Android, Alexa, etc. It gets away from powerline issues and is the best thing going until I perfect telekinetic control.
Title: Re: Automation with Alexa
Post by: racerfern on May 30, 2017, 03:45:03 PM
I've pretty much drifted away from X10 and gone to z-wave. Five individually controllable outlets from z-wave and/or Alexa.

https://www.thesmartesthouse.com/collections/zooz/products/zooz-z-wave-plus-power-strip-zen20
Title: Re: Automation with Alexa
Post by: HA Dave on May 30, 2017, 04:57:25 PM
I've pretty much drifted away from X10 and gone to z-wave......

I am thrilled with your old Hometroller!

I think... guess... might be a better word. That the old single brand Automated Home might be a thing from the past. There as so MANY different brands/flavors of Home Automation devices.... why limit our setups to just one brand. Even the idea of what automation is (or does)... seems to be up for grabs.

I really think we are well on our way to the virtual companion. 
Title: Re: Automation with Alexa
Post by: dave w on May 30, 2017, 05:18:53 PM
If Authinx was with it they would design lamp & appliance modules controllable via iOS, Android, Alexa, etc.
If Authinx was with it, they would get the WiFi module on the market. Apparently they have not thought far enough ahead to realize the WiFi module would stimulate their bread and butter sales of PLC modules and wall switches.   >*<
Title: Re: Automation with Alexa
Post by: HA Dave on May 30, 2017, 06:53:33 PM
If Authinx was with it, they would get the WiFi module on the market. Apparently they have not thought far enough ahead to realize the WiFi module would stimulate their bread and butter sales of PLC modules and wall switches.   >*<

IMHO.... the CM15A is heads and shoulders above any other [sensibly] priced HA product.

If Authinx was to update the CM15A into a wifi HUB that could also communicate/work with several of the other brands/flavors of HA products maybe even add IR control (along with the old tech X10 modules).... they could then profit from the worlds smartest (and most compatible) HUB. Then update the X10 modules over time (call the new modules X10.2). Everyone would win! (except maybe the competition). 

Most of my X10 setup is currently controlled by a (racerfern's old) Zwave Hometroller (merely a raspberry pi unit with software/firmware and a server/cloud connection) using a CM15A as a "plug-in". Of course.... that forces me to use a 2nd CM15A connected to a PC as well.

But my X10 is flawlessly controlled from anywhere in the world on my phone... or through my Alexa (via voice command). And my macros still function perfectly as well.
Title: Re: Automation with Alexa
Post by: racerfern on May 30, 2017, 08:07:43 PM
Quote
IMHO.... the CM15A is heads and shoulders above any other [sensibly] priced HA product.

I agree, however how many years has it been since there hasn't been official software support? Instead we need to rely on tuicemen coming up with whatever combination he can to make various plug-ins work. It's a joke and we're the brunt of the punch line. Authinx has the audacity to offer a new CM15A without software to run it. I guess there is a sucker born every minute.

This could all be resolved in a month if the powers that be really wanted to button up the loose ends. The story of the servers that couldn't be accessed is old and tired. Any one of a number of people that participate in this forum could probably have straightened out this mess.

For reasons beyond me, Authinx doesn't seem to have any interest in fixing anything, never mind moving forward with new exciting products. We're being strung along...

Although my X10 usage is shrinking, I would gladly resurrect some devices if they could function properly through all the noise generators, LEDs, etc. But I'm not going to be the guinea pig this time 'round.

Title: Re: Automation with Alexa
Post by: HA Dave on May 30, 2017, 09:42:41 PM
.... how many years has it been since there hasn't been official software support? ... It's a joke and we're the brunt of the punch line. Authinx has the audacity to offer a new CM15A without software to run it. ....

This could all be resolved in a month if the powers that be really wanted to button up the loose ends....... Any one of a number of people that participate in this forum could probably have straightened out this mess.

For reasons beyond me, Authinx doesn't seem to have any interest in fixing anything, never mind moving forward with new exciting products. We're being strung along...

You're absolutely correct!

As much as I have rant and raved about the Luddites of the world refusing to step forward and embrace new technologies. As much as I have berated those whos refusal to accept modern technologies.... I've blamed for holding back our nations economic progress. I have allowed my own emotional attachment to this (my original HA technology).... to color my thoughts about what might be

True... Authinx could throw some money, manpower, and creativity at this... and being small and unencumbered by the bureaucracy that plagues large corporations.... could make a virtual companion that could be highly desired cross-platform. The same product could have a simple Wi-Fi OFF switch.... which might pacify those who don't wish to use the Internet for automation.   

But Authinx won't! They won't do anything. Maybe they'll just sell off the remaining warehouse of X10 stuff bought for penny's on the dollar. 
Title: Re: Automation with Alexa
Post by: Tuicemen on May 31, 2017, 06:18:36 AM
This thread is getting way off topic:

Authinx hasn't introduced a new cm15 this is the same unit x10 WTI sold. One reason it is still being sold is I convinced the owner that there were users still wishing it and I had got around the software registration issue.
You may remember it on their site as out of stock when I asked about that I was told the fact was they had plenty but no software. The wifi module fiasco has held up any possible work on a new cm15

As for them doing nothing!
Thought it may look like it, that isn't the case. Several modules have been improved and reintroduced.
A band aid solution some of you may say but it is something.
They could have ignored users issues like x10 WTI but haven't
I asked about the old two way modules recently and the reason X10 stopped these was a law suit over a patent which Leviton supposedly held. If that patent has expired we may see a return of those.

Lets get back to the topic Automation with Alexa and stop bashing Authinx.




Title: Re: Automation with Alexa
Post by: bkenobi on May 31, 2017, 11:07:48 AM
The WS469 looks like a really nice improvement.  I haven't had any of my WS467's fail or else I would have bought one or two.  If they removed the ramp on startup, I'd probably replace all of my WS467's.  If they made it with a switch like the ToggleLinc and it was more affordable than those, I'd definitely be in!

The CM15A is a great product that others have figured out how to use.  If that hadn't happened, X10 would not be used today IMO.  The fact that other HA software can utilize this great piece of hardware makes utilizing X10 a no brainer IMO.  The components are cheap and relatively reliable and are already installed in many cases.  The WiFi stuff is great, but I see no reason to retrofit as long as my CM15A links to the same HA software that I control other systems with.  >*<
Title: Re: Automation with Alexa
Post by: Brian H on May 31, 2017, 01:20:41 PM
WS467 is a dimmer type X10 module. Is a two wire X10 module. Steals power through the load.

WS469 is an On/Off relay X10 module. Just On and Off.
It does not steal power through the load and needs a Neutral power connection in the switch box.
Similar to a ToggleLinc On/Off relay model.
Title: Re: Automation with Alexa
Post by: bkenobi on June 01, 2017, 10:50:25 AM
Right, and it works with LED/CFL/etc.  I know it's not identical, but the older version of the relay module was a decora style which didn't work for me.  This one uses the quiet relays and is the same small push button style.  It's not ideal like the ToggleLinc in look, but it's better than the big pad IMO.
Title: Re: Automation with Alexa
Post by: dhouston on June 10, 2017, 10:51:54 AM
Here's a market for Alexa and other voice activated devices that I hadn't considered.
https://www.amazon.com/p/feature/arn39fp3k67f8ft?pf_rd_p=c96bfc3e-e239-45a3-8938-9304225e0e00&pf_rd_r=KZWJ9446Q53XGD0ZDKHA (https://www.amazon.com/p/feature/arn39fp3k67f8ft?pf_rd_p=c96bfc3e-e239-45a3-8938-9304225e0e00&pf_rd_r=KZWJ9446Q53XGD0ZDKHA)
Title: Re: Automation with Alexa
Post by: m82a1pa on June 10, 2017, 11:53:53 AM
When/if the X10 people release the wireless CM15A I'm curious how they'll get it to connect to AHP which expects a USB connection.  Seeings how they don't have any/most of the original source code.
Title: Re: Automation with Alexa
Post by: Tuicemen on June 10, 2017, 06:46:58 PM
The new wi-fi module isn't a new cm15 (not a PC interface) and won't use AHP( it was never intended to ).
It will have its own software which will be onboard.
Triggering AHP timers & macros is already possible via Wi-Fi so this should still be possible if a PC interface is connected. It is to have more memory then the cm15 so it shouldn't need AHP timers or macros.

Since the new device will connect to ones network integrating it with Alexa should be a easy task and creating an Alexa skill should be easy for anyone wishing to create one.
Title: Re: Automation with Alexa
Post by: m82a1pa on June 10, 2017, 08:21:18 PM
I didn't know it'd come with new software.

How can AHP timers & macros be triggered on a CM15A via Wi-Fi?  Or are you talking about something else?
Title: Re: Automation with Alexa
Post by: Tuicemen on June 11, 2017, 07:06:29 AM
Alexa uses Wi-Fi which can talk to several different protocols as long as there is software or a bridge to interpret the signal. Since the cm15 will see any x10 signal, one sent from another device that is a macro trigger will fire the macro. AHP timers are in the cm15 and these are triggered by time changes.
Title: Re: Automation with Alexa
Post by: m82a1pa on June 11, 2017, 12:11:14 PM
Alexa uses Wi-Fi which can talk to several different protocols as long as there is software or a bridge to interpret the signal. Since the cm15 will see any x10 signal, one sent from another device that is a macro trigger will fire the macro. AHP timers are in the cm15 and these are triggered by time changes.

I guess that's where I'm confused.  My CM15A is connected to the PC running Alex10.  Alexa successfully controls the lights defined in HA-Bridge.  When the CM15A is connected, the lights work as they should.  When the CM15A is disconnected, nothing is controlled.

So, is there some wireless X10 device I can plug into the PC that will communicate to the CM15A?
Title: Re: Automation with Alexa
Post by: Tuicemen on June 11, 2017, 12:40:24 PM
You could use a cm19 plugged into your PC it would send x10 commands which the cm15 would see.
I've yet to test a cm17 ( fig newton firecracker)with Alex10 nor have I heard from anyone using one.
Currently there is no wi-fi x10 device which will work with Alex10.
There are other hubs that will send x10 signals which the cm15 would see, no PC required.
I think a Zwave hub is one that will do that.
Title: Re: Automation with Alexa
Post by: m82a1pa on June 11, 2017, 01:00:39 PM
I just ordered a CM19A.  We'll see how that works.
Title: Re: Automation with Alexa
Post by: HA Dave on June 11, 2017, 10:41:30 PM
You could use a cm19 plugged into your PC it would send x10 commands which the cm15 would see.

I had used a similar setup with a tiny (ce) laptop to run the Melloware server program.... (with the Mellowware app on my phone). The CM19 wasn't more than 2-3 feet from my CM15A and it all worked great.

I was thinking of using the same laptop and CM19 to try the alexa10.
Title: Re: Automation with Alexa
Post by: Tuicemen on June 12, 2017, 07:22:17 AM
I know the CM19 works well with Alex10.
There were some issues with the SDK and the way it expected to see signals from the CM19 but those have been worked out.
You must tell Alex10 to use PLC even though the CM19 has no PLC capabilities ::) :'
Title: Re: Automation with Alexa
Post by: HA Dave on June 12, 2017, 08:45:04 AM
I know the CM19 works well with Alex10......
You must tell Alex10 to use PLC even though the CM19 has no PLC capabilities ::) :'

Nothing wrong with a little work-a-round. I know there must be multiple ways for X10 users to get their systems on-line an Google or Amazon connected. This could be a really good one. And these two Internet giants are driving the technology towards cloud connectivity. I certainly wouldn't want to give-up my Amazon Echo/DOT/Alexa.
Title: Re: Automation with Alexa
Post by: m82a1pa on June 12, 2017, 08:58:04 AM
The Cloud - where your stuff is on someone else's server.  No thanks.  I'd rather it be on my PC and/or NAS.
Title: Re: Automation with Alexa
Post by: HA Dave on June 12, 2017, 09:13:55 AM
The Cloud - where your stuff is on someone else's server.  No thanks.  I'd rather it be on my PC and/or NAS.

I understand. A lot of users/people have a resistance to the new technology. Of course I am no-longer surprised.... but I find it odd to see such resistance at a Home Automation forum. As HA has always been a cutting edge tech... solely dependent on the latest technology.

One of the original reasons to have a computer at home... was for Home Automation.
One of the original reasons to be broadband connected at home.... was for Home Automation.
One of the original reasons to use voice controlled devices at home....  was for Home Automation.

And of course.... all these advances were met with Luddite-like resistance. But the cloud is the future... like it or not. Like it or not... EVERYONES earnings, savings, tax records, entire identity is recorded.... NO LONGER ON PAPER... but as mere data on a cloud server.

But it would be scary to have a cloud-based program remember to turn a nightlight on... or off?
Title: Re: Automation with Alexa
Post by: racerfern on June 12, 2017, 10:21:28 AM
Show me an email account that isn't in a cloud somewhere. AFAIK only Outlook will download a permanent copy which of course it gets from a cloud server, but that's it. Every web based email I know of, just displays what's stored elsewhere.

One of the reasons I like the Homeseer system is because the data is stored locally. Yes, it can be accessed through their server and also does some other pretty cool stuff through the cloud, but the actual data, coding, entire HA process is self-contained at your home just like X10/AHP.
Title: Re: Automation with Alexa
Post by: dhouston on June 12, 2017, 10:42:45 AM
Show me an email account that isn't in a cloud somewhere.
I use softhome.net and Pegasus with it set to delete the copy on the server once I have downloaded it.

And, I don't think anyone here has objected to cloud servers if they are optional features. It's when loss of the server cripples operations as it did when X10 went bankrupt and their servers were shut down that folks find objectionable.
Title: Re: Automation with Alexa
Post by: Tuicemen on June 12, 2017, 11:34:47 AM
Show me an email account that isn't in a cloud somewhere.
Exactly! Cloud based servers are nothing new.
Though if you consider the internet new then I guess it is.

Companies have just started to use the cloud for software more.
Why? Because it is easier and cheaper to create and manage the software.
Even Cloud based HA isn't new, more and more people are just using it. The same old issues with cloud based servers still exist. When they go down if your using it your down.

With Alexa, Amazon cloud servers are just as venerable.
She has been down a number of times on me though this doesn't affect my HA, only voice activation using my Dots. My HA info is stored locally as well with Alex10, AHP, and a few other HA programs.

There are some companies still selling HA stuff which are solely cloud based controlled.
When their cloud goes down there is a big up roar.
Remember when the Nest cloud went down?
Luckily no one froze to death.

No one gives a second thought when a email server goes down.
Though when your using it for HA it is different.
Usually servers aren't down for long unless a company goes under.
Title: Re: Automation with Alexa
Post by: m82a1pa on June 14, 2017, 12:30:49 PM
You could use a cm19 plugged into your PC it would send x10 commands which the cm15 would see.
I've yet to test a cm17 ( fig newton firecracker)with Alex10 nor have I heard from anyone using one.
Currently there is no wi-fi x10 device which will work with Alex10.
There are other hubs that will send x10 signals which the cm15 would see, no PC required.
I think a Zwave hub is one that will do that.

I just got the CM19 today.  It works like a champ with Alexa.  The CM15A is back upstairs untethered  #:)
Title: Re: Automation with Alexa
Post by: Tuicemen on June 14, 2017, 05:02:13 PM
Glad to see you're back running the way you like!  ;)
Title: Re: Automation with Alexa
Post by: m82a1pa on June 14, 2017, 05:46:29 PM
I did run into a strangeness.  When I had the CM15A attached to my PC, Alexa would turn off my table lamp in the den.  When I used Alexa to turn it on, she said it was on but it wasn't.  Using the CM19a, Alexa successfully turned it off and also could turn it back on.  Go figure.
Title: Re: Automation with Alexa
Post by: dhouston on June 14, 2017, 06:34:24 PM
Show me an email account that isn't in a cloud somewhere.
Exactly! Cloud based servers are nothing new.
Though if you consider the internet new then I guess it is.
Equating email servers with the cloud is quite a stretch.

I've used Pegasus from the early '90s when the Internet was still in its infancy. It supports POP3 + IMAP (i.e. web mail) and allows users to delete copies on the servers.
https://support.office.com/en-US/article/What-are-IMAP-and-POP-ca2c5799-49f9-4079-aefe-ddca85d5b1c9 (https://support.office.com/en-US/article/What-are-IMAP-and-POP-ca2c5799-49f9-4079-aefe-ddca85d5b1c9)
Title: Re: Automation with Alexa
Post by: racerfern on June 14, 2017, 07:49:41 PM
Quote
Equating email servers with the cloud is quite a stretch.

Obviously I don't want to start an argument and certainly not with an esteemed member of this forum such as yourself, however...

Where's the stretch? Your stuff is either stored on a server you don't own (cloud) and can't control, or on a server you either own or completely control with no one other than a few selected individuals having access (company server). You may be able to delete your server copies but where do they go? Recycle where they sit for awhile? Do they get rummaged through electronically?

I set up an email address on gmail and never used it. I never got any spam. As soon as I started using it I started seeing a few spam emails. Somehow (I'm not sure where the link is) somewhere, somehow, someone, some computer, sees this trail of emails and suddenly the spam starts.

Title: Re: Automation with Alexa
Post by: HA Dave on June 14, 2017, 10:40:44 PM
I get the impression some people have real resistance issues with the current technology advances. They're mild phobia's really! It isn't a big deal. In most cases.... people become acclimated to the new conditions or ideas in a few months.... and life goes on. Some people however get stuck between their paradigms and their phobia's... and become paralyzed in thought.

Being stuck in yesterday's Home Automation... isn't so bad. It's still decades ahead of most people who have no automation at all. After all... 1.3 Billion people on Earth don't even have access to electric.

There is no sense in wasting time worrying about the safety of servers. Our entire lives are totally and completely dependent on this technology. Like it or not... it hardly debatable.     
Title: Re: Automation with Alexa
Post by: dhouston on June 15, 2017, 07:20:52 AM
I've used POP3 email servers for the past 25 years or so. I use POP3 because it does not keep copies after I download my mail. Here's a good explanation of the POP3 & IMAP protocols.
http://www.pcworld.com/article/2838189/two-good-reasons-to-stick-with-pop3-email-over-imap.html (http://www.pcworld.com/article/2838189/two-good-reasons-to-stick-with-pop3-email-over-imap.html)

Most ISPs offer both POP3 and IMAP email servers but after a few changes in ISPs with the accompanying change in my email addresss, I went to Softhome in order to maintain the same email address regardless of ISP.

GMail, Yahoo, Outlook, etc. use IMAP which keeps copies of your emails by default (although they may allow you to delete them).

Most of us understand The Cloud to refer to the fairly recent gigantic server farms of Google, Amazon, Microsoft, IBM, et al which offer remote storage and enormous computing power to companies. And these are The Clouds used with Apple, Google & Amazon voice recognition being discussed here. And some users have all three intimately involved in their HA setups so that nearly everything they do in HA is processed out there.

I first got involved with HA in the mid '90s (as 16-bit PCs were being displaced by 32-bit PCs) when I wrote some software that enabled those who had lost the ability to speak (from ALS, CP, etc.) to use  text-to-speech engines  to communicate. Many also needed ways to interact with household lights and appliances so I added X10 support. All of the processing was done locally so there were no worries about cloud servers going down. While it had an option to use speakerphone modems for phone calls, many users preferred to use the PC speaker with a regular speakerphone because it gave a more natural feel with the normal background noise of the household. Once TTS became ubiquitous there was no longer a need for my software so I'm no longer involved directly but, as my spinal cord injury has gotten worse, I'm even more sensitive to the needs of the disabled community who could be in serious trouble if their cloud-dependent assistive technologies go down during a cloudburst.

Windows 10 has local VR built in and its even available on the Raspberry Pi via the Windows 10 IoT Core. While it's not Plug'n'Pray like Siri, Alexa, OK Google, etc. it does offer TTS & VR that are not cloud dependent.
Title: Re: Automation with Alexa
Post by: dave w on June 15, 2017, 04:05:53 PM
We just had a cloud burst. Nasty storm took down trees, poles and lines in several areas near us. Our power flickered and then stabilized. However our cable supplied internet and phone went our. Cable TV was ok.
Alexa couldn't understand anything.
My Homeseer DNS service was dead.
WiFi cameras was dead
In the house, Homeseer and all automation was fine. But anything cloud based was dead.
Internet and phone was restored in a little over 24 hours. But last night I needed to get a quick message to a bank by today and had figured I would just send an email early this morning. With no internet this morning I had to resort to pounding out an old fashioned letter. Printing it out. Addressing an envelope, and taking the letter to the post office.  Obviously the bank will not get the message today.

This morning my wife told Alexa three times to turn on a light, which of course did not happen. She then told Alexa to open the drapes, which did not happen again. I had to remind her that we used the X10 Maxi controllers sprinkled around the house before there was Alexa.  B:(

All this makes one cognoscente of much we depend on the internet. Being a conspiracy nut and a devout pessimist I am convinced there is a cloud burst coming that will last more than 24 hours. 
Title: Re: Automation with Alexa
Post by: HA Dave on June 15, 2017, 08:59:54 PM
We just had a cloud burst. Nasty storm took down trees, poles and lines in several areas near us. Our power flickered.........

All this makes one cognoscente of much we depend on the internet. Being a conspiracy nut and a devout pessimist I am convinced there is a cloud burst coming that will last more than 24 hours.

Yep. I had a car break down once... and it took 2-3 days to get the parts shipped in. We DO get dependent on things.

I lost all power a couple days ago myself. It was only out a few hours. I didn't even fire-up the generator. But a few years ago... our neighborhood was without power for 6 nights and 7 days. No power... no nothing! But we have also had a cable problem here too. The cable company even installed a new underground cable to my house to fix the problem.

Besides the generator.... I have workarounds.

I have a portable power converter for my car 12V to 120V AC... that will recharge my laptop. And my cellphone will also provide/function as a hot-spot. So even if conditions were city-wide massive.... I could drive a few miles and get out a few emails and/or Facebook posts (or even old fashion phone calls). If it isn't a massive big problem.... and I just need a quickie Internet connection.... I can log-in at the nearest Hospital or McDonalds. 

BTW... I can even use voice recon to create documents (like word-looking PDF's) on my phone.
Title: Re: Automation with Alexa
Post by: dave w on June 19, 2017, 08:09:30 PM
http://www.cbsnews.com/news/cell-phone-internet-outages-reported-across-the-u-s/

The comment about NK whacking us with an EMP has been something I have been thinking about. The little fat guy just launched a heavy lifter a couple of weeks ago that reached 50 mile altitude. A number of "experts" contend until he miniaturizes a nuke and perfects reentry, we don't have worries. But an EMP does not need entry into thicker atmosphere. I think we may be underestimating LFG. 
Title: Re: Automation with Alexa
Post by: HA Dave on June 19, 2017, 10:54:51 PM
...... The comment about NK whacking us with an EMP has been something I have been thinking about.

I would add.... that sooner or later someone will nuke somebody. But the fact is: Old Harry Truman already did that back in 1945. So... we can rest assured that sooner or later it will happen again.. But Nuclear war only happened once in my Dad's lifetime... and never in my older brothers. Hopefully neither my son, grandkids, or I will see it.

It never hurts to stock provisions for any and every possible emergency. But carrying around a "bugout bag" (full of EDC (http://www.artofmanliness.com/2015/06/23/beginners-guide-to-edc/) items) and having a hidden encampment in the mountains MIGHT be over-doing it. But then again.... maybe not.

Either way. Whatever the future may bring. I plan to make things as pleasant as possible. Today (and today is the only day we are ever alive) I plan to enjoy my HA. 

Title: Re: Automation with Alexa
Post by: dave w on June 21, 2017, 09:08:27 AM
Either way. Whatever the future may bring. I plan to make things as pleasant as possible. Today (and today is the only day we are ever alive) I plan to enjoy my HA.
That is a good plan. I am too old and blood too thin to look in to Montana.  ;)
Title: Re: Automation with Alexa
Post by: Tuicemen on June 21, 2017, 10:30:57 AM
It maybe time to stock up on tinfoil!  rofl
Title: Re: Automation with Alexa
Post by: HA Dave on June 21, 2017, 02:32:44 PM
It is normal to resist change. ALL humans have an aversion to change. It doesn't really matter if the change will cause (predicted) desirable results or less desirable results. People inherently want things to just stay the same.

[Possible] Nuclear war... or cloud-processed, improved Home Automation.... has the same emotional response with our human feelings.

The world became a much better place than ever before after old Harry Nuked Japan. And my HA has evolved into a much better setup than it likely would have ever become if the X10 norm had remained in place. It all works out.

Title: Re: Automation with Alexa
Post by: dave w on June 21, 2017, 03:12:55 PM
It maybe time to stock up on tinfoil!  rofl
No, I have plenty. But thanks anyway.
Title: Re: Automation with Alexa
Post by: dhouston on June 25, 2017, 07:38:28 AM
I set up an email address on gmail and never used it. I never got any spam. As soon as I started using it I started seeing a few spam emails. Somehow (I'm not sure where the link is) somewhere, somehow, someone, some computer, sees this trail of emails and suddenly the spam starts.
There's no real mystery. Google, with its enormous computing power, scanned (i.e. read) your emails in order to determine what ads were best aimed at you. Following complaints from corporate email customers, they have just announced they will no longer do this.
https://www.nytimes.com/2017/06/23/technology/gmail-ads.html?ref=business (https://www.nytimes.com/2017/06/23/technology/gmail-ads.html?ref=business)
I doubt that smaller ISPs and dedicated email services ever had the computing power (or the motive) to do this.
Title: Re: Automation with Alexa
Post by: racerfern on June 25, 2017, 07:52:02 AM
Oh I understand the ads showing up because I began using the email address. I am aware of Google's policy. However, I would not expect spam (Nigerian, FBI, etc) emails, just ads.
Title: Re: Automation with Alexa
Post by: HA Dave on June 25, 2017, 09:25:11 AM
Oh I understand the ads showing up because I began using the email address. I am aware of Google's policy. However, I would not expect spam (Nigerian, FBI, etc) emails, just ads.

Email addresses can not be encrypted. So any email sent over the Internet is visible to anyone with a desire to monitor such things. Our good friend.... the Nigerian Prince (that we're helping to smuggle his fortune out of the country) may not be able to read your email but he see's the addresses.

The idea that there is some level of privacy on the Internet.... has always been false.   
Title: Re: Automation with Alexa
Post by: HA Dave on June 26, 2017, 10:42:07 AM
Oh I understand the ads showing up because I began using the email address. I am aware of Google's policy. However, I would not expect spam (Nigerian, FBI, etc) emails, just ads.

I've been thinking about this....

In regards to a Home Automation user wanting to....say....  setup email alerts from his home to his phone.

I think I would use two separate [phone] apps... one for regular and/or work related emails. Then a 2nd app to receive email form a home server/PC/hub/cloud/device. On the 2nd app (for HA email alerts)..... I would only list one address... the address of my Home Automation sender. Then I'd set the spam filter to only receive emails from senders listed in my address book.
Title: Re: Automation with Alexa
Post by: Tuicemen on June 27, 2017, 04:18:30 PM
Amazon is to start rolling out a intercom feature for the Alexa products.
I'm sure this will be more popular than the Phone call option which still isn't available on my phone here in Canada. B:(
Title: Re: Automation with Alexa
Post by: HA Dave on June 27, 2017, 06:36:22 PM
..... the Phone call option which still isn't available on my phone here in Canada. B:(

Canada has phones now? Well.... I am sure as soon as Amazon finds that out they'll include you guys too.  :)
Title: Re: Automation with Alexa
Post by: Brian H on June 27, 2017, 06:39:02 PM
I saw the added intercom features. In a thread over on the UDI forums. Where they have incorporated Alexa products support.
Looks interesting.
Title: Re: Automation with Alexa
Post by: raleman on June 27, 2017, 08:57:54 PM
Hi Everyone! I just found this thread.  I'm using google assistant with X10 via IFTTT.com.  Because I have X10 ActivePhone set up and public facing I can take advantage of IFTTT webhooks.  You can use it with Alexa as well.  They have more advanced modules you can build that allow javascript filters which permit me to use case statements.  I have triggers for turning things on, off, and dimming.  These triggers take in wild cards which I do string searches for in the case statement to figure out which device I'm referring to.  So I can say "Turn on $" and then I look in that $ for words like "bedroom light", "living room fan" and so on, and then construct the proper webhook URL to hit the API that ActivePhone comes with.  I'd be happy to elaborate with pictures and stuff if people are interested.
Title: Re: Automation with Alexa
Post by: HA Dave on July 27, 2017, 11:46:46 AM
I saw the added intercom features. In a thread over on the UDI forums. Where they have incorporated Alexa products support.
Looks interesting.

Just opened the Alexa app (on my iPhone) and tested the intercom function. Very cool.

Ideas on how this newer ability can be used and exploited... are running through my mind. (I could chose between my dot or my Echo)....
Title: Re: Automation with Alexa
Post by: dhouston on July 28, 2017, 01:41:37 PM
For all Alexa fans...
https://www.pcmag.com/news/355254/help-fund-this-alexa-powered-terminator-speaker?source=google-editors-picks&google_editors_picks=true (https://www.pcmag.com/news/355254/help-fund-this-alexa-powered-terminator-speaker?source=google-editors-picks&google_editors_picks=true)
(https://assets.pcmag.com/media/images/549307-ac-worldwide-terminator-t-800.jpg?thumb=y&width=810&height=454)
Title: Re: Automation with Alexa
Post by: Tuicemen on July 28, 2017, 02:10:41 PM
 rofl it had to happen!
Title: Re: Automation with Alexa
Post by: dhouston on July 28, 2017, 02:19:42 PM
rofl it had to happen!

I think they should call it Alexanator.
Title: Re: Automation with Alexa
Post by: Tuicemen on July 28, 2017, 03:10:22 PM
At $499 it is out of my price range, even the kickstarter offer of $300 is  :'( However very 8)
Title: Re: Automation with Alexa
Post by: HA Dave on August 04, 2017, 01:19:06 PM
My wife just informed me the Bed, Bath & Beyond (https://www.bedbathandbeyond.com/store/?mcid=PS_google_brand_brand_&adpos=1t1&creative=116839273838&device=c&matchtype=e&network=g&gclid=CjwKEAjwtpDMBRC4xebfxpzu8mUSJAA4c-TuuJhewbsZD9skWO03AfwV2EsbBY3y1yDHni7ZQhlQ6RoCWYvw_wcB) is having a 50% off sale on the Echo and $35 on the DOT.
Title: Re: Automation with Alexa
Post by: HA Dave on August 15, 2017, 06:49:08 PM
I had purchased the original WINK Hub while on clearance at Home Depot for $39 bucks. But WINK continues to update and expand it's abilities (http://blog.wink.com/wink-blog/2017/8/10/vxvftq172o9vnh7z0jpjhmcnxvxwke)
Title: Re: Automation with Alexa
Post by: HA Dave on August 30, 2017, 04:35:15 PM
And more integration seems to be on the way:

Cortana, Open Alexa,’ Amazon Says. And Microsoft Agrees. (http://www.msn.com/en-us/news/technology/%E2%80%98cortana-open-alexa%E2%80%99-amazon-says-and-microsoft-agrees/ar-AAqYrAz?li=AA4Zoy&ocid=spartandhp)
Title: Re: Automation with Alexa
Post by: HA Dave on September 03, 2017, 06:17:07 PM
Here's a new idea! Use the DIY Google Assistant using a raspberry pi (http://www.instructables.com/id/Hands-Free-Google-Assistant-for-Raspberry-Pi/?utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=email).



link:  http://www.instructables.com/id/Hands-Free-Google-Assistant-for-Raspberry-Pi/?utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=email
Title: Re: Automation with Alexa
Post by: HA Dave on September 27, 2017, 10:50:57 PM
The bad thing is..... I own a Billy Bass.

Alexa in a Billy Bass:  Here (https://techcrunch.com/2016/11/04/finally-at-long-last-someone-hacked-amazons-alexa-into-one-of-those-singing-fish/)


actual link:  https://techcrunch.com/2016/11/04/finally-at-long-last-someone-hacked-amazons-alexa-into-one-of-those-singing-fish/
Title: Re: Automation with Alexa
Post by: dave w on September 28, 2017, 08:50:08 PM
Here's a new idea! Use the DIY Google Assistant using a raspberry pi (http://www.instructables.com/id/Hands-Free-Google-Assistant-for-Raspberry-Pi/?utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=email).
Man, I am glad I have Alexa! Google Assistant sounds like my ex.
Title: Re: Automation with Alexa
Post by: Tuicemen on September 29, 2017, 07:31:21 AM
Amazon is actually launching some new devices (6) along with a new echo with better speakers, perhaps to better compete with Apples voice assistant entry:
 https://www.macrumors.com/2017/09/27/amazon-new-echo-speaker-better-sound/

I particularly like the new spot though I think the price is a bit high.
https://youtu.be/_DAUmz188l8
All six new devices (echo, echo Plus, spot, echo buttons, fireTV, & Echo connect) are now on the Amazon.com site
 ;)
Title: Re: Automation with Alexa
Post by: HA Dave on September 29, 2017, 03:18:14 PM
Amazon is actually launching some new devices (6) along with a new echo with better speakers, perhaps to better compete with Apples voice assistant entry:
 https://www.macrumors.com/2017/09/27/amazon-new-echo-speaker-better-sound/

I particularly like the new spot though I think the price is a bit high.
https://youtu.be/_DAUmz188l8
All six new devices (echo, echo Plus, spot, echo buttons, fireTV, & Echo connect) are now on the Amazon.com site
 ;)

I saw that too (got an email notice from Amazon) also saw this release on MSN (http://www.msn.com/en-us/news/technology/which-is-the-best-of-amazons-new-echos-for-you/ar-AAsCmS0?li=AA4Zoy&ocid=spartandhp&ffid=gz)


actual link:   http://www.msn.com/en-us/news/technology/which-is-the-best-of-amazons-new-echos-for-you/ar-AAsCmS0?li=AA4Zoy&ocid=spartandhp&ffid=gz
Title: Re: Automation with Alexa
Post by: BackAgain on October 01, 2017, 06:49:56 AM
Sorry gang, I am not of the Borg mentality and I will NOT be using any AMZ device.  I'm beginning to move away from the company as a whole.  Really don't care for their practices in some areas.


I am interested in an X-10 alternative and am seeing a number of other automation devices, but many of them still want a distant hub/server which I am not interested in.  I have found a few ChinaNoBrand items that claim to work without a server/hub using only your own router for communications.  I could live with that IF they work.

I'm not interested in doing anything while away from home.  I only want to set schedules for devices with low wattage LEDs for lighting.  I would prefer to do it from a PC, but using a phone might be OK.

But NO device from AMZ.

Title: Re: Automation with Alexa
Post by: racerfern on October 01, 2017, 09:57:32 AM
Quote
I am interested in an X-10 alternative

I've rolled from X10 to z-wave via HomeSeer. Like AHP, the HomeSeer functions reside only on your computer. You can gain access to your system through their server from nearly anywhere and you can access your own system from almost anywhere via their mobile app, but you don't have to.

Just don't register the system with the server and don't install the app. Very simple. All events (macros) are stored locally as are device information, etc. It's every bit as independent as AHP but it is being developed and improved all the time. The events are more powerful than X10 macros only because X10 stopped being developed years ago. I'm sure if the X10 business debacle hadn't happened, it would still be the premier HA system.

BTW, the HomeSeer system, plays pretty nicely with X10 so it's not like you're throwing out an entire system, you're just taking it to the next level.
Title: Re: Automation with Alexa
Post by: HA Dave on October 01, 2017, 10:02:59 AM
Sorry gang, I am not of the Borg mentality and I will NOT be using any AMZ device........

You don't want to be part of the collective? I've always heard... resistance is futile. But to each his own.

I know the change involved with Amazon (and other on-line ventures) can be enormous... and not always immediately all good either. Change... just keeps on changing. And it leaves a lot of broken lives in its wake too.

I am interested in an X-10 alternative and am seeing a number of other automation devices, but many of them still want a distant hub/server which I am not interested in.  I have found a few ChinaNoBrand items that claim to work without a server/hub using only your own router for communications.  I could live with that IF they work.

Your joking right? You're "not interested" in a cloud based server..... but would [give] permission to a Chinese base/made product to use your own router/network?

I'm not interested in doing anything while away from home.  I only want to set schedules for devices with low wattage LEDs for lighting.  I would prefer to do it from a PC, but using a phone might be OK.

I enjoy doing things while away from home... like bicycling. Although I don't do a LOT of stuff with my home lighting while away. But this automation stuff is WAY TOO COOL to only have and use at home. Maybe we should differentiate personal automation, home automation, and just plain automation? 

But just plain on/off schedules can be accomplished with old fashion clockwork timers. Easy peazy. 

I fully understand the future shock involved with the new high-tech versions.... of the old high-tech. But setting rules for what you don't want... (as opposed to looking at what you can have) doesn't seem really productive. There is a lot of function and service to be exploited from the new technologies. I think we might all be better off if we boldly go forward... disregarding our fears... and embrace these new technologies.   

racerfern posts the truth! He got me into Homeseer (literally). You can also do a phone app on a PC and phone for X10 (at home only control) using:  http://melloware.com/x10commander/
Title: Re: Automation with Alexa
Post by: BackAgain on October 01, 2017, 01:35:57 PM
"I enjoy doing things while away from home... like bicycling. Although I don't do a LOT of stuff with my home lighting while away. But this automation stuff is WAY TOO COOL to only have and use at home. Maybe we should differentiate personal automation, home automation, and just plain automation? "

I don't need the ability to control things while away from home since I very rarely am; seldom more than a few hours a month.

For me 'automation' of lights is a convenience thing since I forget to turn them on or off, or I simply don't feel like getting up and going to another room to do something.  Most of what is 'automated' are curio cabinets or outside lights just to give the house that 'lived in' look from outside.


Old fashioned plug in clock timers would do part of that, but they didn't keep time well and there was that DST thing.  And they weren't very good with the whole 'dusk to dawn' bit.  Photocells are flaky with low wattage LEDs and cost as much as some of the WiFi modules now.

Title: Re: Automation with Alexa
Post by: HA Dave on October 01, 2017, 04:05:42 PM
....... Most of what is 'automated' are curio cabinets or outside lights just to give the house that 'lived in' look from outside.

Yep. I do the same with some low wattage lighting in cabinets and corners and such... otherwise a task or table lamp causes a room to have a cave-like look/feel. I've always preferred additional indirect lighting to remove shadows and "lighten" the look... and I prefer that part to be automated as well.

I believe we call that theme lighting now-a-days. But it doesn't matter what it's called that is old fashion easy to do "timer-like" lighting... and can be done with a clock timer, PC and X10, or Internet cloud operated devices. Mine are mostly LED (one CFL) and controlled via an old XP laptop, with AHP, connected to a CM15a. It's been running along without fail for over a decade. I reboot the laptop maybe twice a year. I think converting over to a miniature, or stick PC would be the next step with PC based automation.

That's great automation. But there is also a lot more available. And there just isn't any reason for me... to not to enjoy the extras that automation has to offer. Heck just having a smart garage door (MyQ) notify me on my iphone when my garage door goes up and/or down has probably paid for itself in saved gasoline.... From the times I would have driven around the block to make sure I had remembered to close the garage door. And the MyQ hub allows for other remote phone-based automation as well.
Title: Re: Automation with Alexa
Post by: Tuicemen on November 16, 2017, 04:07:39 PM
I've been playing with Alexa's routines for a while now very cool simular to grups or scenes i guess but you trigger them with a phrase like "Alexe good morning." Flashbriefings and such can also be added to the routine. Problem was i couldnt add a local weather report.
Finally with the announcement Amazon was to distribute alexa devices to Canada i decided to check the app and can now set my location to one outside the US. :)%

Routines still need some adds like conditionals speak a phrase, delays and order of triggering but I'm sure these will come.
Title: Re: Automation with Alexa
Post by: Brian H on November 16, 2017, 05:54:32 PM
I saw that Amazon was now going to start selling in Canada. On the UDI Forums.
A few have already prerecorded theirs.
Title: Re: Automation with Alexa
Post by: HA Dave on November 17, 2017, 11:02:45 PM
..... Problem was i couldnt add a local weather report....

I love the Echo's (and have always loved voice control). I can ask for a weather forecast in Canada (or any city in the world) I just have to ask for weather (or weather forecast) in the city, county by name.

I don't know if.. or when... Amazon or Google gadgets will become all that real home automation followers would want. I think... these products are mass-market designed. It could (maybe rightfully) be decided (in the marketing department) that too techie, could be intimating to their customer base. One of the newest Echo's even has it's own hub now.

But otherwise.... I think Amazon (and by extension Google) are willing to let the true hobbyists accomplish more using various other hubs and IFTTT.   
Title: Re: Automation with Alexa
Post by: Tuicemen on November 23, 2017, 03:58:25 PM
..... Problem was i couldnt add a local weather report....

I love the Echo's (and have always loved voice control). I can ask for a weather forecast in Canada (or any city in the world) I just have to ask for weather (or weather forecast) in the city, county by name.
 
I could do that and was, but the flash briefing would report the Alexa configured locations weather, which previously had to be a US location.

With the ability to add device control to Routines I decided to popped for another RM Broadlink Pro.
I just loved that function at the cottage and left the other one there. :-[
Well just one more thing I don't have to worry about transporting.  rofl
Title: Re: Automation with Alexa
Post by: HA Dave on November 23, 2017, 11:00:22 PM
..... I decided to popped for another RM Broadlink Pro.
I just loved that function at the cottage and left the other one there. :-[
....

Just added the RM Broadlink Pro to my list to be mailed to Santa.
Title: Re: Automation with Alexa
Post by: HA Dave on November 29, 2017, 08:27:39 AM
They're giving this stuff away!

I was doing some shopping on-line (due to the holiday season).... and couldn't help but notice the seasonal deals. Wifi light bulbs for $10 (https://www.amazon.com/Sengled-Dimmable-Compatible-SmartThings-Assistant/dp/B01N7I4X94/ref=pd_rhf_dp_s_cp_0_1?_encoding=UTF8&pd_rd_i=B072M5RT6L&pd_rd_r=EWEHBP388249MCTYG8VP&pd_rd_w=5DiTM&pd_rd_wg=fxa7w&refRID=EWEHBP388249MCTYG8VP&th=1), these wifi plugs for $12.50 (https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B06XSTJST6) (whereas I ordered a couple to try at the lower price... it has since gone up slightly).
Title: Re: Automation with Alexa
Post by: Tuicemen on November 29, 2017, 09:35:46 AM
I love the no Hub required stuff. One less hop to make and one less place for the command to get missed. ;)
Alexa and Google home have really contributed to a surge in HA interest and a price drop in a lot of AH stuff.
Title: Re: Automation with Alexa
Post by: HA Dave on November 29, 2017, 02:27:30 PM
I love the no Hub required stuff. One less hop to make and one less place for the command to get missed. ;)

I am fine with hubs. When you consider the complexities of handshake and hyper text protocols as well as 16bit package exchanges.... it would seem like it's a wonder anything like the Internet or wifi could ever [reliably] work. Yet this wireless Interweb stuff seems to be working OK around here.

I am actually trying to see how complex my setup can be made. I firmly believe.... theses things can be made virtually 100% compatible. We should be able to mix-and-match any-and-all flavors and brands of HA devices..... of course.... with the exception of Microsoft products. I don't know how much longer Microsoft will be supported.

Some thing do change.
Title: Re: Automation with Alexa
Post by: HA Dave on December 11, 2017, 10:24:06 AM
Being an Amazon prime member I get a lot of special notices (pronounced: SALES emails) from Amazon. LOTS, if not all, of the Alexa devices are marked down for the holidays season. It's a great time to buy-in to voice control.... particularly with the announcement of the new X10 wifi device nearing release.

I've already decided to use the sales to expand my Alexa's reach with a 3rd device (another DOT @ $29). But the remote device (great for noisy areas) is also only $29 bucks as well. And interestingly.... the Amazon small (Alexa enabled) tablet is now only $29. It's a tap/push and speak device... so no worries about Amazon listening in. The table could be a great way to stick-a-toe into voice control.

I am excited about the new X10 wifi device being released.... and the explosion of Home Automation advances being made with X10 and elsewhere. 2018 promises to be ground zero of a new golden age of Home Automation.   
Title: Re: Automation with Alexa
Post by: Tuicemen on December 11, 2017, 11:42:18 AM
Quote
I am actually trying to see how complex my setup can be made. I firmly believe.... theses things can be made virtually 100% compatible. We should be able to mix-and-match any-and-all flavors and brands of HA devices..... of course.... with the exception of Microsoft products. I don't know how much longer Microsoft will be supported.
Actually with Cortana and the  Harman Kardon Invoke there may still be life in Microsoft. Some developers are creating small Window IOT Core boxes and using Cortana for Home control. Even some DIYers are playing with it.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EpUYCxRUn-8

Quote
LOTS, if not all, of the Alexa devices are marked down for the holidays season.
Amazon may have missed the window here in Canada Google minis Have been going for $39,  Dots $79.
However I still prefer my Dots for most things over the Google minis. I suspect these giants will be the winners in the voice assistant market.

Quote
2018 promises to be ground zero of a new golden age of Home Automation
So true! I suspect we'll see a lot of new hardware from different manufactures as they fight for a piece of the Automation market Alexa and Google home have brought to the spot light.
Title: Re: Automation with Alexa
Post by: HA Dave on December 11, 2017, 03:17:01 PM
Actually with Cortana and the  Harman Kardon Invoke there may still be life in Microsoft.

Yeah.... I should have used a funny emoticon.... I was poking fun of Microsoft... sorta. With an ever increasing number of android/Pi devices... and Apple stuff (like my iphone) I find less and less of a need for MS. I find myself wondering about a Raspberry Pi, running windows 10.

Amazon may have missed the window here in Canada Google minis Have been going for $39,  Dots $79.
However I still prefer my Dots for most things over the Google minis. I suspect these giants will be the winners in the voice assistant market.

OMG. I had no idea Canada levied such onerous import tariffs. The full-sized Echo is only $79 here (DOTs are $29)... with the Echo show being only $149. Googles littlest device is also $29 bucks.   

.... I suspect we'll see a lot of new hardware from different manufactures as they fight for a piece of the Automation market Alexa and Google home have brought to the spot light.

I sure hope you're right. I feel the same myself! But I also have my reservations. Back-in-the-day.... we used to describe HA as a niche market. And I certainly believe HA has now exceeded anything that could be considered a "niche". But of all the people I know... I don't know of anyone who has entered into a smart home lifestyle... other than forum members and myself. But I am still expecting big things to come.

Title: Re: Automation with Alexa
Post by: Tuicemen on December 11, 2017, 05:04:33 PM
OMG. I had no idea Canada levied such onerous import tariffs. The full-sized Echo is only $79 here (DOTs are $29)... with the Echo show being only $149. Googles littlest device is also $29 bucks.   
There is no tariffs on these things amazon just hadn't lowered their price here yet.
the difference is due to the currency exchange and shipping.
Amazon just lowered the dots to $49 but I would have thought they'd at least tried to match the google mini ::) :'
Title: Re: Automation with Alexa
Post by: HA Dave on December 11, 2017, 06:42:28 PM
..... the difference is due to the currency exchange and shipping.

I hadn't realized the "metric dollar" ;D had slipped (I just googled it). I have thought about converting all my liquid assesses into silver. Then I found out our dimes aren't made of silver anymore  :(   :'
Title: Re: Automation with Alexa
Post by: HA Dave on December 13, 2017, 09:36:19 PM
Amazon delivered an Alexa echo remote today ($29). It was an impulse buy on my part (just the other day) while ordering a Christmas gift. I hadn't seriously considered one before... mostly because I wasn't sure what it did/does. Basically... it's a Amazon remote... for use with the echo. It will allow me to control volume and play lists (music) played over an echo. But it does more.

The remote uses Bluetooth to pair with any (except the TAP) echo device. Then by pushing the microphone button.... it will transfer my voice to the echo (I used a DOT) device. Where it really excels is in a loud, noisy environment.... like in my Home Theater or in just about any room in the house during the holidays and everyone is here.
Title: Re: Automation with Alexa
Post by: Tuicemen on December 14, 2017, 05:34:49 PM
I had read a while back where Amazon and Microsoft were in talks to combine Alexa and Cortana's abilities.
So try this: Say "Alexa ,Hey Cortana!" 
It looks like the talks haven't stalled! :)%
Title: Re: Automation with Alexa
Post by: HA Dave on December 15, 2017, 12:04:17 AM
I had read a while back where Amazon and Microsoft were in talks to combine Alexa and Cortana's abilities.
So try this: Say "Alexa ,Hey Cortana!" 
It looks like the talks haven't stalled! :)%

Cool. It would be nice is Siri would relay messages to Alexa for me.
Title: Re: Automation with Alexa
Post by: Tuicemen on January 19, 2018, 01:15:09 PM
It looks like after a recent Alexa update many of us will need to rename our devices. B:(
It is now recommended not to add room names to the device. ::) :'
if so you could get the "I'm sorry several devices share that name ,which one did you want?" reply
I've started to get that with the lamp I called livingroom lamp, I haven't got it for office light (yet)
interestingly I do have a couple lights in my livingroom but I do not have a room configured in Alexa called livingroom. B:(
Also the lamp is the only one with livingroom in the name.

So now Alexa has issues with room or numbers in device names :o B:(
Title: Re: Automation with Alexa
Post by: HA Dave on January 19, 2018, 04:44:26 PM
It looks like after a recent Alexa update many of us will need to rename our devices. B:(
It is now recommended not to add room names to the device. ::) :'

More of a reason to adjust the letter space to 22 letters.
Title: Re: Automation with Alexa
Post by: HA Dave on January 21, 2018, 09:30:02 AM
Was looking at the "Scenes" section of the Amazon app. Interestingly.... it searched my hubs for "Scenes". Of course without X10 WM100 WiFi HUB being on-line... without a skill as of yet... X10 "Scenes" weren't discoverable (not that I've created any yet). But it looks like real possibilities are just around the corner.
Title: Re: Automation with Alexa
Post by: HA Dave on January 21, 2018, 10:19:10 AM
Thought this was funny:

https://youtu.be/JepKVUym9Fg (https://youtu.be/JepKVUym9Fg)
Title: Re: Automation with Alexa
Post by: dave w on January 21, 2018, 01:37:52 PM
Thought this was funny:

https://youtu.be/JepKVUym9Fg (https://youtu.be/JepKVUym9Fg)
Well, I should have donned a Depends before watching that. Hilarious!
Title: Re: Automation with Alexa
Post by: HA Dave on January 25, 2018, 08:47:01 AM
I bought one of the voice remotes for Alexa (https://www.amazon.com/Alexa-Voice-Remote-Amazon-Echo/dp/B01E9AHU8Q/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1516897077&sr=8-2&keywords=alexa+voice+remote) (not for the TV), they can be great in a noisy environment. I got mine for the Home Theater. But it should be a lot of fun with the wife, grandkids, and visitors too

This should make a great prank:  https://youtu.be/aLaRexgB0OI (https://youtu.be/aLaRexgB0OI)

Or this:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XOSdWlH4Lfs (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XOSdWlH4Lfs)
Title: Re: Automation with Alexa
Post by: dave w on January 25, 2018, 05:21:30 PM
A little off topic but the local radio station has a commercial for themselves where the announcer tells Alexa to tune to the radio station and Siri hears the command and it leads to a verbal throw down between Alexa and Siri. Seriously funny  rofl
Title: Re: Automation with Alexa
Post by: Brian H on January 26, 2018, 03:43:32 AM
One of my local TV stations is also pushing access with Alexa.
I suspect all the others will be close behind.  :'
Title: Re: Automation with Alexa
Post by: HA Dave on February 09, 2018, 02:40:36 AM
And now.....Alexa print my shopping list (https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/technology/alexa-can-now-control-your-hp-printer/ar-BBIDijH?ocid=spartandhp)?

Although.... I am not sure why I'd ever want to do that. Because the main reason of a digital/cloud shopping or todo list is always having it with you... on your phone. But somewhere, somehow, this must have value, to someone.
Title: Re: Automation with Alexa
Post by: Tuicemen on March 05, 2018, 09:47:38 AM
I've been helping test a new HA-Bridge version with Broadlink RM support.
Today I finally used it with Alexa to turn on/off my TV and other IR devices  :)%
I may move my HA-Bridge now to a TV stick running Linux.
Time to dig that thing out again as you can't get much smaller then it! rofl
Title: Re: Automation with Alexa
Post by: HA Dave on March 05, 2018, 10:47:24 AM
.... I may move my HA-Bridge now to a TV stick running Linux.
Time to dig that thing out again as you can't get much smaller then it! rofl

There is a lot of value/automation possibilities in the tiny PC (or Raspberry Pi) and/or HUB + a phone. Add in a little cloud control (like with Alexa and/or some Hubs) and we've never had it so good.

We've had [almost] everything before now... heck many of us have had Voice Control. But this AI stuff with Amazon or Google is simply amazing.
Title: Re: Automation with Alexa
Post by: Tuicemen on March 09, 2018, 01:37:27 AM
The new follow up mode for Alexa was just announced.
http://myitforum.com/amazon-adds-follow-up-mode-to-allow-strings-of-alexa-requests/
Many may find this usefull. ::) :'
Title: Re: Automation with Alexa
Post by: brobin on March 09, 2018, 03:01:45 AM
Thanks for the tip... just tried it and it works great. :)% #:)
Title: Re: Automation with Alexa
Post by: Tuicemen on March 09, 2018, 05:33:52 AM
I've yet to test it out but I can see there being many places it will come in handy.
Title: Re: Automation with Alexa
Post by: HA Dave on March 09, 2018, 09:38:33 AM
I am sure the programing and AI responses will continue to improve. As well as newer features will also require newer devices (like ones with screens). I don't know who... or which product... will win the race to best AI. But history would hint that we will continue to have two or three competitors for some time.

It pays to review new Echo uses and "skills" available from time-to-time.
Title: Re: Automation with Alexa
Post by: dave w on March 09, 2018, 11:57:58 PM
FWIW I just bought a "Mokcao Power + " speaker/battery for our Echo Dot. The Mokcao has a 5 amp battery, so will power the Dot and play music for five or so hours (I have not verified this) before needing a charge. It does not sound as good as the Echo or Echo 2 (less base), but is still pretty good. Prior, I had bought an "Alexa Enabled" cordless speaker from Menards and found out, you have to push a button on it to get it in the Alexa mode. Pretty useless when listening to Pandora in the shower and wanting to skip to new song. Which prompted the quest for a device that uses a true Echo as the AI. There are also battery packs for your full size Echo to make it portable, but I had a Dot which wasn't getting much use. 
Title: Re: Automation with Alexa
Post by: HA Dave on March 10, 2018, 12:43:00 AM
FWIW I just bought a "Mokcao" speaker/battery for our Echo Dot. .......... Prior, I had bought an "Alexa Enabled" cordless speaker from Menards and found out, you have to push a button on it to get it in the Alexa mode. Pretty useless when listening to Pandora in the shower..........

The Dot also has a speaker-jack.... that I believe I've read... is supposed to connect to computer-type speakers. That might be a decent solution that even allows for some adjustment of bass levels.

But, as loud as these little devices can be.... I'd think a full sized Echo could service most bathrooms, even with a shower running. I've thought about (both) a bath and a bedroom Echo/Dot. I've already bought 3 (living room, dining room, and man-cave).... plus I have the Alexa remote (great for noisy environments) I keep in the Theater.

I've also thought about the Amazon tablets with built-in Alexa. And... have followed Knightrider's posts about setting up wall mounted tablets loaded with the WM100 app. It might be nice to have a hands-free (Alexa enabled) tablet in the kitchen... that could control lights either by voice command or touch/selection.   
Title: Re: Automation with Alexa
Post by: dave w on March 10, 2018, 01:28:17 AM
The Dot also has a speaker-jack.... that I believe I've read... is supposed to connect to computer-type speakers. That might be a decent solution that even allows for some adjustment of bass levels.

Yeah, the Mokcao uses that plug for audio from the Dot and supplies power to Dot via the micro USB. Computer speakers is good idea, but portability (i.e patio, garden, etc) is out the window. When trying to decide on different speaker there was a competing "Vaux" speaker and in the Amazon reviews one reviewer said Alexa has a built in, three band, equalizer and used it to boost base response on the Vaux.  I have been hollering "Alexa, increase the base!!" also using "...turn up...") but can't get it to work, so far. Also checked the App but found no mention of EQ. If there is Alexa EQ, that would solve the weak base or no highs on a lot of these add-on speakers. I'll keep trying. 
Title: Re: Automation with Alexa
Post by: HA Dave on March 10, 2018, 09:44:46 AM
.....I have been hollering "Alexa, increase the base!!" also using "...turn up...") but can't get it to work, so far. Also checked the App but found no mention of EQ. If there is Alexa EQ, that would solve the weak base or no highs on a lot of these add-on speakers. I'll keep trying.

I don't think either the Dot or the Echo had adjustable... anything (bass included) other than volume. IMHO the Echo has too much bass and the Dot... nearly none at all. Alexa [Amazon] has every song I'd ever want to hear... ready and waiting for my request. But audio quality? I don't know about that.
Title: Re: Automation with Alexa
Post by: dave w on March 11, 2018, 04:17:05 AM
I don't think either the Dot or the Echo had adjustable... anything (bass included) other than volume.
Yeah, I agree. I am pretty sure there is no EQ capabilities built in the Echo hardware. But is odd that someone would claim that Alexa has adjustable EQ. Last night a synapse sparked and I wonder if the claim of Alexa EQ is true if streaming (only) from Prime.  I have a couple of Prime friends (pun intended) and will ask them to check.
Title: Re: Automation with Alexa
Post by: HA Dave on March 11, 2018, 04:57:32 AM
..... Last night a synapse sparked and I wonder if the claim of Alexa EQ is true if streaming (only) from Prime.  I have a couple of Prime friends (pun intended) and will ask them to check.

I tried it here (being prime)... and Alexa had no idea what I was asking [I don't know that]. Seems like Amazon version of "Sorry Dave, I can't do that".

I am no audiophile myself. But.... I've always been under the impression that streaming mono-audio might not be of the highest quality. I know I don't exactly get lost into "dark side of the moon ~ Pink Floyd" like I did in the old days. But I don't think it's due to a lack of.... bass  :'
Title: Re: Automation with Alexa
Post by: dave w on March 11, 2018, 06:56:50 AM
 rofl
Title: Re: Automation with Alexa
Post by: HA Dave on July 24, 2018, 08:25:45 PM
And now.... Alex has an equalizer:  https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/technology/amazon-adds-an-equalizer-to-its-echo-speakers/ar-AAAktLZ?ocid=spartandhp (https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/technology/amazon-adds-an-equalizer-to-its-echo-speakers/ar-AAAktLZ?ocid=spartandhp)


This option should be helpful!
Title: Re: Automation with Alexa
Post by: Tuicemen on July 25, 2018, 05:29:20 AM
This will be good news to music buffs. :)%
I rarely play any music from these and when I do it is from a radio station.
I suspect I'll play with this once but it wasn't on the top of my wish list for Alexa.
Title: Re: Automation with Alexa
Post by: HA Dave on July 25, 2018, 07:11:34 PM
…… I rarely play any music from these ….

I've never been a big "music man" myself. Back in my working days... we used to leave a talking head on (mostly local stuff)… I think that's all gone now-a-days.
 
But it is nice to have some sort of metered sound... that puts passing time in a perspective. And.... there is almost endless media available on those Amazon devices. I've been trying to re-train myself to exploit new technologies.... which uses aren't part of my old (pre-cloud) habits.
Title: Re: Automation with Alexa
Post by: Tuicemen on July 28, 2018, 11:38:39 AM
I first read about a magic mirror in  a post on this forum several years back since then there have been a few more.
I had originally brushed these off as simple conversation pieces.
The other day I found a You Tube video for a production built bath room vanity one.
This got me a bit more interested in possibly creating one with a SBC
I found several DIY projects even one using a touch screen which peeked my interest even more. then I found this:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t-gSjdJX5HY
 >!
Title: Re: Automation with Alexa
Post by: brobin on July 29, 2018, 01:06:29 AM
I just watched that video and my Alexa made a dentist appointment for me for tomorrow.  rofl ::)
Title: Re: Automation with Alexa
Post by: HA Dave on July 29, 2018, 01:45:23 AM
I first read about a magic mirror in  a post on this forum several years back ……... then I found this:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t-gSjdJX5HY

Nice.

I feel confident (like I'd have anyway of actually knowing) that we're rushing towards the Halo concept of a virtual companion. A voice/digital entity... that is always with us... ready with alerts, advice, answers, and even plain old conversation and companionship. I am hopeful that the old "chat bot" algorithms will be integrated with cloud-smarts and even current and social media events. So... like the mirror (in the video link) birthday reminders (and such) for friends and co-workers... would be automatic (not requiring any data entry).

Currently.... I have found that I direct certain questions to Siri, and others to Alexa. And I know I need a Google [digital assistance] device... because Google is smarter. Which makes me wonder.... do I really want a single [one person, one voice] virtual companion. Or would a group of virtual friends/advisors be more desirable? There is a Alexa app (I think) that could follow me on my iPhone... and by connective extension... on my car's speakers.

Of course... all this means/requires a total and trusting embrace of cloud computing (like there's really other kinds today). So some of our fellow Home Automator's may not be able to make the transition. 

I myself look forward to the advancing AI technologies..... and the robot helpers (or overlords) that will be sure to follow.
Title: Re: Automation with Alexa
Post by: HA Dave on July 29, 2018, 01:49:59 AM
I just watched that video and my Alexa made a dentist appointment for me for tomorrow.  rofl ::)


And that's the problem with these devices. If they were really smart... they would know full well.... you can't make a dentist appointment in the middle of the night for a next-day appointment on a Sunday.  :)
Title: Re: Automation with Alexa
Post by: Tuicemen on July 29, 2018, 07:03:22 AM
I just watched that video and my Alexa made a dentist appointment for me for tomorrow.  rofl ::)
Atcualy Alexa was asked to add dentist apoinment for tomorrow at 3 she just added the info to the calendar and didn't make the appointment.
It would be cool if she could make the appointment for me. rofl
Title: Re: Automation with Alexa
Post by: HA Dave on July 29, 2018, 03:40:31 PM
Atcualy Alexa was asked to add dentist apoinment for tomorrow at 3 she just added the info to the calendar and didn't make the appointment.
It would be cool if she could make the appointment for me. rofl

There is no reason that can't be done! In business integrating calendars has been around for a long time (more than a decade?). Some schools already share school schedules via parents calendars and/or social media. There is no reason why doctors, dentists, can't be integrated into our calendar schedules. Let the computers (servers AKA "the cloud") check and compare available time slots and pick mutually available times.
Title: Re: Automation with Alexa
Post by: Tuicemen on August 02, 2018, 12:07:22 PM
While looking into software for my Smart Mirror project I found this
https://pimylifeup.com/raspberry-pi-alexa/
Definitely worth playing with for anyone with a PI  ;)
Since I only have one Dot at my off grid place this is something I'll be playing with.
Hope it doesn't load down the PI to much with everything else I wish to run on it. ::) :'
Title: Re: Automation with Alexa
Post by: HA Dave on August 02, 2018, 12:23:23 PM
While looking into software for my Smart Mirror project I found this
https://pimylifeup.com/raspberry-pi-alexa/.....

That does look interesting!

P.S. My thoughts on a talking mirror.... would lean more on the side of a robot. We have a Christmas decoration (https://www.amazon.com/Life-Animated-Dancing-Santa-Realistic/dp/B00PSVKF7Y/ref=sr_1_fkmr2_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1533226581&sr=8-1-fkmr2&keywords=singing+life+sized+santa) that sings (and mouths the words) of songs or even just speaking through it's microphone. I think harvesting the mechanics from Santa would work great in a robot-prop. I've been looking for a yard sale Santa.... instead of disassembling ours. But all this is getting over my head anymore. 
Title: Re: Automation with Alexa
Post by: Tuicemen on September 23, 2018, 08:28:35 AM
Amazon has announce a few more devices to their echo line up.
https://www.engadget.com/2018/09/20/amazon-vs-apple-google-sonos/
And even Amazon has realized (finally) the need for local control with the new Echo Plus :)%
Voice control without a cloud connection. I'm sure there will be lots of limitations when the internet is down but at least it won't be dead in the water.
Title: Re: Automation with Alexa
Post by: HA Dave on September 25, 2018, 05:03:53 PM
Went to the doctor today. I have acute laryngitis. But Alexa still understands me and complies with my requests. Otherwise.... I'd be back to using remotes. Which ain't so bad.
Title: Re: Automation with Alexa
Post by: dave w on September 25, 2018, 05:24:51 PM
Voice control without a cloud connection. I'm sure there will be lots of limitations when the internet is down but at least it won't be dead in the water.
As long as you are running ZigBee. To me, going with ZigBee standard does not make a lot of sense. I think Z-Wave is much larger (manufacturers adopting the standard and device variety).
Title: Re: Automation with Alexa
Post by: HA Dave on September 25, 2018, 05:53:09 PM
Amazon has announce a few more devices to their echo line up.

It all reminds me of the television..... in the mid-50's. It only took a handful of years..... before TV's replaced the big old wooden cased radios. But nobody wanted to lose the radios either. Living room furniture was moved around to get the best viewing areas (similar to the way theater setups are rearranging living rooms today). Radios were moved to the dining room or the home office. I know one great aunt.... died with her (still working) big stand-up radio still in her dining room... in the 1970's.

It's pragmatic to keep localized control over our automation. It's pessimistic to deny the great advantages of cloud-based automation.
Title: Re: Automation with Alexa
Post by: Tuicemen on October 05, 2018, 08:59:55 AM
The Alexa app is getting a rework and a new face lift!  :)%
https://www.theverge.com/2018/10/5/17940260/amazon-alexa-app-redesign-october-2018-devices-tab
My app has yet to update with the new version but it does sound promising.
Title: Re: Automation with Alexa
Post by: HA Dave on October 05, 2018, 04:28:00 PM
My app has yet to update with the new version but it does sound promising.

Neither has mine. (Yours may be held up later if the pending treaty doesn't pass quickly.) I don't know if non-Amazon-Alex users realize that this AI stuff just gets better and better.... constantly improving. Even some new devices (and steep discounts on older models).
Title: Re: Automation with Alexa
Post by: Tuicemen on October 05, 2018, 04:36:15 PM
The voice assitance of all flavors really are new at HA thier apps have alot of improvement room.Luckily there are lots of HA software apps for them to get Ideas from.
Title: Re: Automation with Alexa
Post by: Tuicemen on October 05, 2018, 04:48:48 PM

Neither has mine. (Yours may be held up later if the pending treaty doesn't pass quickly.) I don't know if non-Amazon-Alex users realize that this AI stuff just gets better and better.... constantly improving. Even some new devices (and steep discounts on older models).
Well mine arrive so looks like th USMCA deal had nothing to do with it  rofl there now is a house Icon bottom right on main page  so I'm  off to explore.
Title: Re: Automation with Alexa
Post by: Tuicemen on October 06, 2018, 04:00:34 PM
There realy is only one cool add I see and that is the Hunches. Alexa watches for devices that are left on longer then normal so if you forget to turn someting off it will notify you.
This may come in handy when sometimers strikes.
 >!
Title: Re: Automation with Alexa
Post by: dave w on October 07, 2018, 05:30:31 PM
There realy is only one cool add I see and that is the Hunches. Alexa watches for devices that are left on longer then normal so if you forget to turn someting off it will notify you.
Cool. Did not know about "Hunches". So does Alexa simply watch for a deviation from a routine which she learns?
Title: Re: Automation with Alexa
Post by: Tuicemen on October 07, 2018, 06:16:34 PM

Cool. Did not know about "Hunches". So does Alexa simply watch for a deviation from a routine which she learns?
Since this is a new option there is limited info on it.
I would assume it would be based of a learned routine but how many days it takes into account for the routine I don't know.
Title: Re: Automation with Alexa
Post by: HA Dave on October 13, 2018, 01:11:55 PM
Stopped in Home Depot the other day (looking for new Halloween Decorations/ideas). For all those that thought that Home Automation products (and cloud based units) were waning in popularity or store interest. Not so at "the depot".

Title: Re: Automation with Alexa
Post by: Tuicemen on October 18, 2018, 06:14:38 PM
Cameras have always been a good part of any good HA setup. Even controlling them remotely is not new nor is controling them via voice or using them as an intercome.
Years ago when I got my first Foscam IP indoor cam I was using it as a way to talk to my wife from the cottage to the city. I could also control it via voice and PC software.

The video door bell some companies are now offering are just comerial marketing of things users did years ago.
If 3D printing was available back then  these things would be obsolete by now.
Funny how some tech developes at lightening speed and others are so slow to come of age.
Title: Re: Automation with Alexa
Post by: HA Dave on October 30, 2018, 10:01:04 PM
Now the "new feature" is whispering. Alexa gets smarter almost by the week. The whisper feature... allows a user to whisper to Alexa... and she whispers back. And awesome late night feature.

Years ago... I had attached a SS13A Slimline Switch to the wall of my man-cave (then my home office). Now as I am moving more-and-more to the cloud based AI technology.... I am finding myself "removing" the old tech. Sometimes pulling wires or patching and painting.... my chronic laziness (Home Automation)… causes lots of extra work.

Spackling and preparing the wall for repainting after removing the SS13A Slimline Switch.
Title: Re: Automation with Alexa
Post by: Tuicemen on October 31, 2018, 07:12:10 AM
Now the "new feature" is whispering. Alexa gets smarter almost by the week. The whisper feature... allows a user to whisper to Alexa... and she whispers back. And awesome late night feature.
the only time I've had alexa wispper is when I ask her if she can whisper and I found her whisper creepy.
She does hear me whisper but does not respond in a whisper (yet) B:(
I hope your not pulling out to many wires just yet it is nice have a backup plan when wireless fails. It may only be for a few hours or mins but that could be at a critical time.
Title: Re: Automation with Alexa
Post by: HA Dave on October 31, 2018, 01:06:33 PM
……. the only time I've had alexa wispper is when I ask her if she can whisper and I found her whisper creepy.

I hear that a lot. A form of automatonophobia...  loosely defined as the fear of wax figures, humanoid robots, audio-animatronics, etc. Only rarely does the fear become a full-blown phobia, but it is still relatively common to experience the creepiness you mention

I hope your not pulling out to many wires just yet it is nice have a backup plan when wireless fails. It may only be for a few hours or mins but that could be at a critical time.

I was a grown, adult, marred, man with a child.... before we ever had TV "wired in". Wireless... always seemed pretty reliable. And that seems to also be the direction we're heading with broadband too (in the USA). Actually... using the same RF band once used for TV broadcasts. Now I have 6 or 7 wired-in cable TV outlets.... and most people are streaming TV from their cable company provider's broadband. I will be disturbing RF digital TV from my own antenna through the same coax cable once used to deliver the signal to the cable box setting on/by the TV's.

Most people have given up the old "phone company" hard-wired phones too. But will it be years before builders stop installing phone plugs. I don't know?!

I remember (as a child) in the 1950's.... occasionally seeing a home with the old gas lights still protruding from the walls. I never saw one... in use.

It's hard to guess which wires.... belong... and which wires are redundant extras.

I can't imagine (as much as I Loved the old SAPI5 driven, BVC voice recognition automation)…. that I'll ever need/use wired in speakers again. Bluetooth has killed that old tech (except for uses like my Home Theater). But I did recently expand my CAT6 wiring to get faster streaming speeds (again for the theater).

Many of the homes in my area... have basement rooms once dedicated to storing coal for heating. Converted into bomb shelters in the early sixties, then safe rooms, now many are actual walk-in safes. None of this home stuff... is ever static. 
Title: Re: Automation with Alexa
Post by: HA Dave on November 01, 2018, 07:21:50 PM
The new alarm I had ordered arrived.... so I pulled up (most) of the old X10 alarm.

Back in 2006.... X10 had a YouTube video contest. I joined YouTube, created and shared my X10 video... and won. The prize purchased my X10 alarm system. I found two of my three large sirens and one of my two small ones. Still more wires, parts and peices to find and remove.

I am sure there will be scraping, cleaning, hole patching and painting involved as well.

The new system talks to me, tells me when it arms and disarms. Can be used with old-fashion fobs (old guys should like that part), keypad, RFID, a phone app, OR... my favorite via Alexa. The great part is the WAF. The wife never did like the X10 alarm.

Some of my gathered parts and pieces.




Title: Re: Automation with Alexa
Post by: brobin on November 01, 2018, 08:15:44 PM
So tell us what you got and how you like it.
Title: Re: Automation with Alexa
Post by: HA Dave on November 02, 2018, 08:59:57 AM
So tell us what you got and how you like it.

I don't think I want to get too in depth with my selection on the forums.... as posts don't get lost in the traffic as they once did. But most modern systems I found on Amazon and elsewhere on-line.... just have so much more to offer now-a-days. I DID consider popularity when buying as apps are dependent on a products continued investment. I get "push" alerts on my phone as well as emails (also on my phone)… even a phone based siren (kind'a cool).

The alarm "talks".... (the wife loves that part). It even has a cellular (phone) and several hours of battery... built-in. I think this new alarm is one of the best buys I've made for my home automation setup since the new smart (MyQ) garage door opener.

Very few alarms integrate directly with X10 anymore.... but many make the connection via the Alexa app (once the X10 system is on-line through Alexa). Speaking of which.... I just PRE-ordered Alexa for my car.


Introducing Echo Auto - The first Echo for your car
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Connects to Alexa using your phone, is ready in seconds, and plays through your car speakers. Includes Echo Auto Dash Mount.
With eight microphones and far-field technology, Echo Auto can hear you over music, A/C, and road noise.
Use your voice to play music, check the news, open the garage door, find the nearest gas station, and more.
Play Audible books, stream podcasts, or listen to Amazon Music, Spotify, Sirius XM, or NPR.
Make calls, set reminders, add items to your shopping and to-do lists, or manage your calendar.
With over 50,000 skills and counting, Alexa is always getting smarter. Skills are like apps and let you do more with Alexa.
Set location-based routines—automated actions Alexa can start when you leave the office or get home.
Ask for directions and Alexa connects to supported apps like Google Maps, Apple Maps, or Waze on your phone.
Title: Re: Automation with Alexa
Post by: HA Dave on November 02, 2018, 09:29:50 PM
I went through my two plastic tubs of X10 parts today (I've been re-doing my man-cave). Now....  I wonder if I am developing a "hoarder tendency". But I did dispose of enough stuff to get down to just ONE big plastic tub of parts and pieces (although it is well packed).

My favorite finds.... of stuff I forgot I had... a VCR commander. That I am considering using to activate my Roomba. And I found a complete (software CD and serial to USB adapter included) Active Home.






Title: Re: Automation with Alexa
Post by: dave w on November 03, 2018, 10:12:55 AM
I am considering using to activate my Roomba.
Roomba poopy. Neato go-o-o-d. <big grin>
Title: Re: Automation with Alexa
Post by: Tuicemen on December 08, 2018, 07:29:30 PM
I've really missed my voice notification/anouncements so I started to create some which I can send to my Dot, here is a sample.
It's just my first attempt so it needs a bit of work. Rename the file to a wav extension before attempting to open
Title: Re: Automation with Alexa
Post by: HA Dave on December 09, 2018, 05:32:31 AM
Rename the file to a wav extension before attempting to open

I apparently don't know how to convert the file extension/types.
Title: Re: Automation with Alexa
Post by: Tuicemen on December 09, 2018, 07:00:19 AM
You don't have to convert any thing just rename the file from "GarageDoorWarning.wav.txt" to "GarageDoorWarning.wav"
Title: Re: Automation with Alexa
Post by: HA Dave on December 10, 2018, 12:43:59 AM
You don't have to convert any thing just rename the file from "GarageDoorWarning.wav.txt" to "GarageDoorWarning.wav"

My setup won't allow me to change the file name (extension). It's stuck as a text file for me. 
Title: Re: Automation with Alexa
Post by: Tuicemen on December 10, 2018, 07:13:24 AM

My setup won't allow me to change the file name (extension). It's stuck as a text file for me.
Setup?  ??? what did you download to? In Windows you right click on the file click rename all but the extension gets highlighted but you can still delete the .txt part. Just tap the up arrow on the keyboard and move the cursor to where you wish to delete from highlight and hit delete.
Title: Re: Automation with Alexa
Post by: dhouston on December 10, 2018, 07:43:26 AM
Windows 10, Firefox recognizes it as a .wav file and among the options offered is to open it in Windows Media Player.
Title: Re: Automation with Alexa
Post by: Tuicemen on December 10, 2018, 07:47:32 AM
My Windows 10 doesn't recognize it as a wav file till I rename it.
But I do recall previously running files like this with out renaming on a older windows version but it may have been from a browser like firefox as well.
Title: Re: Automation with Alexa
Post by: HA Dave on December 12, 2018, 09:02:23 PM
Getting offers for holiday deals. The latest offer from Amazon has their (little puck sized) 2nd generation for $19. Or their Amazon plug-in module (see image below) for $19. OR BOTH for $17.49 each (plus tax). What a great chance to check out Alexa... if you haven't done that yet.


Title: Re: Automation with Alexa
Post by: HA Dave on January 05, 2019, 12:28:28 PM
And now (drum-roll please)….. Worlds first Amazon Alexa bike (https://ebiketips.road.cc/content/news/worlds-first-amazon-alexa-enabled-bikes-will-be-hitting-halfords-stores-this-summer?fbclid=IwAR3MTPT52rjVF0-Owp15kQYlM1ioRkcGKBhQaSnWJavlQ6LFXr9eUVSGffA)

So much for my plans to have the first Alexa enabled bike. Using a 12v power source, my mobile phone as an Internet hot-spot, and the new (to be released soon) Echo for a car (I am on the waiting list).

The virtual companion isn't getting here soon enough. He/she/they/ It will increase human productivity, prevent injuries, and maybe even save lifes.







actual link:    https://ebiketips.road.cc/content/news/worlds-first-amazon-alexa-enabled-bikes-will-be-hitting-halfords-stores-this-summer?fbclid=IwAR3MTPT52rjVF0-Owp15kQYlM1ioRkcGKBhQaSnWJavlQ6LFXr9eUVSGffA
Title: Re: Automation with Alexa
Post by: brobin on January 05, 2019, 01:24:08 PM
WOW! What a technological breakthrough!  They built a cellphone holder into a bike frame!  -:) AND, they included the cell phone!  :)%
And when the bike is parked the screen flashes STEAL THIS BIKE!!  rofl
Title: Re: Automation with Alexa
Post by: HA Dave on January 05, 2019, 05:30:29 PM
….. And when the bike is parked the screen flashes STEAL THIS BIKE!!  rofl

My plan is a backpack mounted setup (like Sergeant Johnson's).

Of course... it's silly.... as with the right apps the virtual companions will use the phones we already carry... and nothing more. The need for Amazon or Google or any addition PC-like device will just be redundancy. The cloud will handle everything.... more and more as it does now. 
Title: Re: Automation with Alexa
Post by: dhouston on January 05, 2019, 06:51:53 PM
Soon you won't need the phone.
https://www.infowars.com/a-chip-in-the-head-brain-implants-will-be-connecting-people-to-the-internet-by-the-year-2020/ (https://www.infowars.com/a-chip-in-the-head-brain-implants-will-be-connecting-people-to-the-internet-by-the-year-2020/)
Title: Re: Automation with Alexa
Post by: brobin on January 05, 2019, 07:19:10 PM
Soon you won't need the phone.
https://www.infowars.com/a-chip-in-the-head-brain-implants-will-be-connecting-people-to-the-internet-by-the-year-2020/ (https://www.infowars.com/a-chip-in-the-head-brain-implants-will-be-connecting-people-to-the-internet-by-the-year-2020/)

In the 60's it was called LSD.
Title: Re: Automation with Alexa
Post by: HA Dave on January 05, 2019, 09:01:51 PM
Soon you won't need the phone.
https://www.infowars.com/a-chip-in-the-head-brain-implants-will-be-connecting-people-to-the-internet-by-the-year-2020/ (https://www.infowars.com/a-chip-in-the-head-brain-implants-will-be-connecting-people-to-the-internet-by-the-year-2020/)

The retro future (from October 30, 2013) which was 3 years past the Al Gore predicted 2010 future of a water-world ocean covered Earth.

I was at the Bank the other day.... stood in line behind a man with a Cochlear implant. The very 1st time I've ever seen one of those new fangled hearing devices that all my hearing impaired friends seem to think are somehow.... evil. And BTW.... they were invented about 40 years ago.


Title: Re: Automation with Alexa
Post by: HA Dave on January 12, 2019, 12:21:02 AM
Is everyone getting, reading the "What's New" email updates for Amazon? The most recent one I received lists some nice (and new features) like:

"Alexa, remind me to pick up the dry cleaning when I leave work tonight."
Now you can create location-based reminders to get a notification when you arrive at or leave a location.
……….
"Alexa, read a sample of Educated from Audible."
Listen to the unforgettable memoir that dozens have named one of the best books of 2018.
I've used Alexa to read me (digital) books I bought at Amazon... that I otherwise read on my phone.
"Alexa, did the Saints make the playoffs?"
"Alexa, announce that I'm running late."Make an announcement to all your household devices while you're out, from your Alexa app.
I've used the drop-in function to get an immediate reply to a text.
...……..
"Alexa, start 7-Minute Workout."
"Alexa, do you like cats or dogs?"

START OFF THE YEAR ORGANIZED

"Alexa, when is my dentist appointment?"
It's now easier to remember upcoming or past events and tasks. To start, connect your calendar in the Alexa app.
"Alexa, remind me to change my toothbrush in three months."
"Alexa, what's on my to-do list?"
I've been using a digital (Google) calendar for sometime. The only way to go... merged with Alexa... is even better. 
Title: Re: Automation with Alexa
Post by: brobin on January 12, 2019, 12:40:44 AM
...and in other news from Amazon today...
https://nypost.com/cover/covers-for-friday-january-11-2019/?
 rofl rofl rofl
Title: Re: Automation with Alexa
Post by: HA Dave on January 12, 2019, 12:44:41 PM
The funny part is... his new woman looks a lot like his wife. For $68 billion... and upgrade might be nice.
Title: Re: Automation with Alexa
Post by: brobin on January 12, 2019, 05:16:59 PM
Mid-life crisis. Most guys will buy a sports car but I'm sure he already has a fleet of those. In fact, for half his fortune he could buy a fleet of bimbos too! (...and maybe he already has!) "Alexa, which girlfriend is closest to me?"
Title: Re: Automation with Alexa
Post by: HA Dave on January 12, 2019, 05:42:30 PM
Mid-life crisis...………..

I would guess it was his infatuation with sitting up day and night..... listening into homes with Echo devices around the world. Wife's don't like that kind'a stuff (they just don't understand Home Automation  rofl).

Or realistically... more likely his wife was the business brains behind Amazon. And she's dividing up the accesses to put a stop to the move to NYC. I think most people see that move as the beginning of the end for Amazon. Akin to the Sears Tower move for Sears and Roebuck.
Title: Re: Automation with Alexa
Post by: HA Dave on January 14, 2019, 10:28:51 PM
And now.... drum roll please..... Alexa for windows 10. Available at the windows app store (it's free)  https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/p/alexa/9n12z3cctcnz?cid=A4PCLP10&rtc=1&activetab=pivot:overviewtab (https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/p/alexa/9n12z3cctcnz?cid=A4PCLP10&rtc=1&activetab=pivot:overviewtab)




Title: Re: Automation with Alexa
Post by: HA Dave on January 16, 2019, 10:18:04 AM
Alexa ain't no AHP Pro yet.... but it keeps getting better.
 
Now, into the 2019 "Home Automation Season"... (the time between holidays and spring mowing)…. I am exploring new ways and things to automate. I have a mental list of new stuff including the X10 Pi-Hub, and more geo-fencing. Plus I'd like to find use's for geo-location (which might be easier if I had an employer).

Of course.... as part of the reimagination of my setup I am always looking to dump more of the work off on the cloud. I mean... why should I care for and feed a processor driven program if I don't have to? It's not like it's a dog or something! Home Automation will never love me back.

So looking at the new Alexa app upgrade... I actually was actively looking for a way to add a timer. And found the "wait" icon (see below). That's it. So I removed/replaced my last remaining CM15A Macro, Called "Bedtime". The Bedtime Macro turned on a small low wattage lamp (along with all other lights I'd normally shut off), and delayed for a period before shutting off. The delay gives me time to walk to the bedroom.

I still have a CM15A working as an interface off a Homeseer Hometroller. But, the PC programmed (2nd) CM15A.... is now off-line.


Title: Re: Automation with Alexa
Post by: JeffVolp on January 16, 2019, 01:03:13 PM
A warning for those of you who rely on the cloud:

ROGUE AI Alexa DOWN – Amazon helper stopped working, ‘ignored users’ and wouldn’t turn off.

What did Alexa users have to say?

One user on Twitter wrote: "Anybody else's Alexa ignoring them this morning?

"It played my local radio station after a while, but won't do anything else. Just ignoring me. Won't even turn off."

Another Brit complained: "Anyone else got a problem with Alexa this morning? Refusing to talk to me, just a spinny blue light and then goes off."

On Down Detector, a user complained that he couldn't control his smart home: "Won't turn up the heating, and is thinking long and hard about whether to turn lights on or off."

https://www.thesun.co.uk/tech/8205649/alexa-down-not-working-amazon/

Jeff
Title: Re: Automation with Alexa
Post by: HA Dave on January 16, 2019, 05:10:40 PM
A warning for those of you who rely on the cloud:
ROGUE AI Alexa DOWN – Amazon helper stopped working, ‘ignored users’ and wouldn’t turn off.

OMG!

That's hilarious. Thank you for sharing the SUN news link. Americas National Inquirer just doesn't spin the news yarns like the Brit [digital] newspapers do. I had a great laugh.

At this point... AI "is" Home Automation. And the people who still fear it are part of an ever shrinking group.
Title: Re: Automation with Alexa
Post by: brobin on January 17, 2019, 02:26:12 AM
Just because one doesn't embrace the "cloud" as the be all, end all venue for HA doesn't mean that one is afraid of it.  I use the "cloud" for lots of things, Alexa control being my favorite. But I use it as an access point to my Stargate which I control and program how I see fit.  I had an Alexa skill for the MyQ "cloud" based garage door controller - till Chamberlain/Liftmaster put the kybosh on it without notice.  Someone in the "cloud" arbitrarily changed the rules. No problem - I programmed my Stagate to control the garage doors and use my PiAlexaHub so I can still use the "cloud" for control but the controller remains within my domain.  I store a lot of stuff in the cloud but also have it all backed up right here on HDD's.  So if a cloud based provider accidently dumps my files (as has happened) I have them right here.
Title: Re: Automation with Alexa
Post by: HA Dave on January 17, 2019, 08:30:21 AM
Just because one doesn't embrace the "cloud" as the be all, end all venue for HA doesn't mean that one is afraid of it.

It's impossible to define something by saying what it's NOT. Future shock, fear of the unknown, resistance to change.... all these things are well known and fully understood. I know some people can't get past the negative connotation to the word "fear"... but it is the correct word.

I use the "cloud" for lots of things, Alexa control being my favorite. But I use it as an access point to my Stargate which I control and program how I see fit.  I had an Alexa skill for the MyQ "cloud" based garage door controller ………………...

Yep. In the olden days..... Mom kept a grocery bag full of receipts (for tax purposes) and a shoe box full of photographs. For mature adults... "data management" is a relatively new word. But in the modern world.... where like it or not, is where we all live (with.... the "cloud" as the be all, end all)… data management is an important part of day-to-day adulting.

The Internet isn't a fade. The technological revolution changed things a few years ago. And my saying (or posting) so... didn't make it happen. Nor will any number of denials make it UN-happen.

I saw a clapper (https://youtu.be/Ny8-G8EoWOw) for sale at the drug store the other day. It's a new design this year. The clapper is Home Automation too. I think we all accept that there are different levels of automation. I don't think X10 has to be reduced to clapper (https://youtu.be/Ny8-G8EoWOw) status.

I think we need to embrace the newest technology available for the benefit of X10, and X10 users everywhere.
Title: Re: Automation with Alexa
Post by: JeffVolp on January 17, 2019, 10:34:16 AM
Just because one doesn't embrace the "cloud" as the be all, end all venue for HA doesn't mean that one is afraid of it. 

I'm not "afraid" of it.  A year ago with Tuicemen's help I did get Alexa working with X10.  And it was pretty neat to just yell out to turn something on or off.  But after the novelty wore off we were back using conveniently located PalmPads like we had for decades.  It is faster to just reach over and press a little white button.  Alexa has become mostly a music source for us using free Pandora.

My point was that "relying" on the cloud can be dangerous.  An example is the fellow who could not get his heat turned on while Alexa was down.

Maybe after designing highly reliable systems during my career I expect the same level of reliability for my home.

Jeff

Title: Re: Automation with Alexa
Post by: Tuicemen on January 17, 2019, 11:03:55 AM
My point was that "relying" on the cloud can be dangerous.  An example is the fellow who could not get his heat turned on while Alexa was down.
Anyone totally relying on the cloud for important functions like heat is living life dangerously.
Some people enjoy living life dangerously and that's great but don't complain when it comes back and hits you in the face.
The internet is full of stories of users being totally lost when a cloud service they solely depended on goes down and these are not just Alexa releated.
I preferer not to live life dangerously, this doesn't mean I don't use and enjoy cloud based services, I just don't depend on them totally. I may be fearful of things but change is not one of those the cloud just isn't reliable enough for me to fully embrace. Maybe someday it will be but I doubt I'll it will be in my life time.
Title: Re: Automation with Alexa
Post by: brobin on January 17, 2019, 01:41:23 PM
I find the cloud is a very convenient supplement to much we do in daily life. Accent on supplement. I use it, enjoy it, but can live happily, albeit somewhat inconvenienced, without it.  When hurricane Irma hit here in 2017 those without generators had no power and internet was only accessible via mobile for some.  Those stores that opened were cash only because their POS terminals were dark. Within the confines of our property it was business as usual with full power, HVAC & lighting automation (sans Alexa) and OTA TV.  I bank online but still keep the latest hard copies of monthly banking/financial statements because it's the ONLY evidence I have of what's in my accounts and that those accounts even exist.  I have no hesitation in using the cloud - just in relying on it.
 
Title: Re: Automation with Alexa
Post by: HA Dave on January 17, 2019, 11:05:06 PM

My point was that "relying" on the cloud can be dangerous.

Anyone totally relying on the cloud for important functions like heat is living life dangerously.

We Americans must just love danger. As our entire grid is cloud based. Wait.... didn't Jeff used to live in America?

………... I may be fearful of things but change is not one of those the cloud just isn't reliable enough for me to fully embrace. Maybe someday it will be but I doubt I'll it will be in my life time.

Oh come on. You guys keep cycling through your same old paradigm fears. Afraid of servers.... as you post on-line.... ON A SERVER. My electric (and gas) distribution, my phones (hardwired and mobile), my Broadband, and cable TV, thermostat control, alarm, garage door.... and yes even the little AI devices and associated programs that control a lot of stuff here (and everywhere).... are ALL based on cloud appliances, servers, and software. Just exactly like it was supposed to be in the future (a couple decades ago).

This is.... (like it, hate, fear it).... life in the modern world. I didn't make it that way. And covering your eyes and pretending not to see it won't make it go away.

I am NOT trying to push anyone into current technology stuff. And I am so sorry so many have so much trouble embracing the current state of tech. But let's just stop posting these silly fears. It reflects poorly on X10 users. Computers work, the Internet works, the cloud works. Everything breaks, dies, vanishes, whatever. Nothing is invulnerable... except for Superman (when no kryptonite is around). 

But even if real fearful cloud dangers did exist...… MILLIONS of new Home Automation users are embracing it. I'd like to post to, and for, those NEW Home Automation users who found out about this stuff and would like to have it in their homes too. After all.... isn't that in part what this forum is for?   
Title: Re: Automation with Alexa
Post by: JeffVolp on January 18, 2019, 01:11:19 AM
As our entire grid is cloud based. Wait.... didn't Jeff used to live in America?

Yes, and that is a concern I have.  For short term interruptions we have a 2200VA pure sinewave UPS on 4 KWH worth of batteries powering the critical electronics circuit and some lights.  An emergency switch panel can also route that power to the refrigerator, freezer, or furnace.  On more than one occasion we were watching TV and had no idea power was off.  A generator is available for longer term outages.  And for an extended interruption - days or weeks - we have a bank of solar cells to provide enough for refrigeration and limited lighting.  Like the cloud, the grid provides convenience.

Jeff
Title: Re: Automation with Alexa
Post by: Tuicemen on January 18, 2019, 08:12:09 AM
But even if real fearful cloud dangers did exist...… MILLIONS of new Home Automation users are embracing it. I'd like to post to, and for, those NEW Home Automation users who found out about this stuff and would like to have it in their homes too. After all.... isn't that in part what this forum is for?
Having and posting about ones concerns does nothing to intimidated new users from using new things (Home Automation).
 Debating the pros and cons of anything doesn't mean either side is fearful.
Posting about having backups for just incase situations is being informative and not about trying to discourage users from embracing a new tech.
 The forum is for sharing info not for attacking who is concerned (afraid) of what!
 >!
Title: Re: Automation with Alexa
Post by: bkenobi on January 18, 2019, 11:21:59 AM
I don't get how making a conscious decision to protect one's interests is a negative thing or an attack on someone else's approach.  HA Dave likes the cloud and relies on it for his HA...great!  Others have stated they prefer to have things performed locally without requiring network access or relying on someone else maintaining servers in a way that keeps things status quo...awesome!  The power grid has network control to make sure things stay up and running to some degree (maybe this is a cloud, I don't know)...that's cool too!

If one person has a need to guarantee no power interruptions (e.g., medical device) and decides that they need a whole house backup generator, that doesn't mean that they think the cloud is evil (since the grid has some cloud capabilities).  It simply means they have a specific need that applies to them and they are addressing it.  Another person doesn't have that need and should have no reason to claim the first person is against the cloud because they decide to remain self sufficient.  But hey, whatever...

 >!
Title: Re: Automation with Alexa
Post by: HA Dave on January 19, 2019, 07:08:57 AM
The forum is for sharing info not for attacking who is concerned (afraid) of what!
 >!

Fear.... is as much a part of the human condition as breathing. Rarely do we address any of the more-or-less cerebral aspects of Home Automation. And obviously for good reasons. I've attacked no one. But fear of flying saucers, Big Foot, rouge bits of code, and the internet.... whereas viable, and for many very real... has little or nothing to do with Home Automation. 

Internet exposure absolutely DOES expose people to fractionally tiny bits of risk. But in my home... I am the adult supervision. I am not particularly concerned.

P.S. This is pretty much how ALL the pro-modern Home Automation posts are deliberately destroyed. With the "we aren't afraid... dangers are real" stuff.
Title: Re: Automation with Alexa
Post by: HA Dave on January 19, 2019, 07:36:48 AM
I don't get how making a conscious decision to protect one's interests is a negative thing or an attack on someone else's approach.

Thanks for your post.

Have you ever read much on paradigms? People create in their minds.... the way things are supposed to be. These "worldview's" (another term with similar meaning) are a short cut for human thought... and a very important part of the human intellect. But... as helpful as human paradigms are... they don't serve us well in new, unfamiliar environments.

HA Dave likes the cloud and relies on it for his HA...great!  Others have stated they prefer to have things performed locally without requiring network access or relying on someone else maintaining servers in a way that keeps things status quo...awesome!  The power grid has network control to make sure things stay up and running to some degree (maybe this is a cloud, I don't know)...that's cool too!

To say that I "like" the cloud... although true... sounds like a preference. Or like I've abandoned all local control. I've even been accused [here] of "having a huge carbon footprint" and unable of making sound financial decisions. It's just silly stuff. And solid evidence of rock-hard and technologically crippling outdated paradigms.

I use the cloud... as we all do. There is NO WAY it can be avoided. Even if I setup a tent in the backwoods... I could NOT escape the cloud (nor would I want to). I also have back-ups in my home automation setup along with total local control, and a generator (and more as well). I am FAR from unprepared (I am closer to being a prepper). And my "carbon footprint" is tiny. I am merely pragmatic enough to see some aspects of the world for what it is. And no... that did NOT come naturally... it took training.

Title: Re: Automation with Alexa
Post by: JeffVolp on January 19, 2019, 11:01:02 AM
There is a difference between being fearful and being prepared.  When designing fault-tolerant computers we spend a lot of time considering "what ifs".  I carry that philosophy over to my life.  We usually have several months of food in the pantry.  (Case lots are cheaper.)  We have electrical and cooking propane backup, but not yet water.  Since we moved here there have been several occasions when turning the water on was met with a loud sucking noise.  (We are at the top of a hill.)  I had considered adding an emergency storage tank in-line with the water feed, but for now the hot water heater is our emergency water supply.  We have had numerous Internet interruptions over the years - one lasting for over a day when a main fiber optic link was accidentally cut by a backhoe.  So there is no way I would "rely" on anything cloud related.  Maybe that makes me a "prepper", but I consider it trying just to increase the reliability of our home, like I did with XTB for X10.

Jeff
Title: Re: Automation with Alexa
Post by: JeffVolp on January 19, 2019, 11:08:49 AM
I use the cloud... as we all do. There is NO WAY it can be avoided. Even if I setup a tent in the backwoods... I could NOT escape the cloud (nor would I want to).

There was not even cellphone access when I hiked the Kalalau Trail on Kauai for several days solo.  That is often the case when out in the boonies, such as on the Arizona Strip.  The only "cloud" are those in the sky.  Everything I need is in my backpack.

Jeff
Title: Re: Automation with Alexa
Post by: HA Dave on January 19, 2019, 08:38:33 PM
There is a difference between being fearful and being prepared. …….. We have had numerous Internet interruptions over the years - one lasting for over a day when a main fiber optic link was accidentally cut by a backhoe. So there is no way I would "rely" on anything cloud related. 
Jeff

There was not even cellphone access when I hiked the Kalalau Trail on Kauai for several days solo.  That is often the case when out in the boonies, such as on the Arizona Strip.  The only "cloud" are those in the sky.  Everything I need is in my backpack.
Jeff

I was in the Army. I know for a fact.... backpacks don't carry everything we need. I hope your luck holds out.

Well based on these two posts….. an occasional outage would mean you can't "rely" on much of ANYTHING.... which would probably include electric (or any form of automation… X10 included). Or maybe.... the actual "difference between being fearful and being prepared" (that you mentioned) is being able to discern the difference between an incident from an event or an inconvenience, or an emergency. 

Everything breaks! Electric (even natural gas distribution), cable TV, Hardwired Internet, mobile Internet, phone lines, bridges, hearts, lungs, EVERTHING. Nothing lasts forever. Most failures in life are minor incidents... and mean nothing. Some are fatal catastrophic emergency's. We have all seen the scary stories.... about people hacking the Internet... or our cars... or our refrigerators... or whatever. I don't understand people who spread such rubbish (and most of those stories ARE rubbish). Not that there isn't risks in life. But click-bait, fake stuff, is wasted on me.

This is the modern age. Pretending it may fall apart... is just silly. The infrastructure is enormous!
Title: Re: Automation with Alexa
Post by: brobin on January 19, 2019, 09:06:45 PM
I'm not sure what your point is anymore. We've all agreed that the cloud is useful - even necessary - in modern living and we've all said, including you, that we like having backups for local control and even power generation.  We may vary in our preferences for maintaining schedules in the cloud or on local devices but a lot of those decisions are based on what we already own. Clearly, if one were to start from scratch different decisions would be made based on the products available at that moment.  When I see a problem to be solved or a convenience to be added I first look at what I have on hand and compare it to what's available in the market.  In the case of garage door control I used the cloud because it would be easier to implement and the cost was trivial.  It worked great - until some bean counter or lawyer decided it shouldn't and they unceremoniously shut it down.  Do I 'fear' the cloud because of that. Nope, but I don't trust it as much.
Title: Re: Automation with Alexa
Post by: HA Dave on January 19, 2019, 10:29:45 PM
..... We may vary in our preferences for maintaining schedules in the cloud or on local devices but a lot of those decisions are based on what we already own. Clearly, if one were to start from scratch different decisions would be made based on the products available at that moment. 

Yeah I know. If I (or anyone else) was just discovering Home Automation today... would I chose or consider X10?

I'd like to think I would and maybe should encourage the use of X10 to others as well. True.... X10 with it's current limitations... has some serious limitations and problems. But those problems can be fixed. Jeff has worked signal problems to death... resolving most of those issues. And several forum members are currently working on a X10-Pi-Hub. There are still thousands, maybe 10's of thousands of X10 users out there. And I believe if the new X10 owners would make an effort to update our products... we could all have modern working setups for some time to come.

Using a HomeSeer Hometroller and other hubs and such.... I've easily made a decent sized X10 setup very cloud friendly.

But instead of our forum members collectively efforting towards a cooperative future.... we get post after post of the Internet is scary. Almost everytime I post something where I mention using X10 in a modern setup... I get a barrage of posts that try to bash the Internet. Mostly silly stuff... by capable grown men who know better.

PLEASE NOTE: this thread is titled,  Automation with Alexa

I was very active on the X10 forum long before X10 closed their doors, shut down their servers, and walked away. I would like to see the NEW X10 succeed. But I don't think selling off a warehouse full of NOS is what I'd call a success.

Home Automation.... makes every user a system engineer of sorts. That won't/can't change. This simple fact is what limits home technologies. So... IMHO... many of brands of the lighting control products available today.... won't be here tomorrow. But AI... is HUGE! I mean enormously HUGE. And anyone... can setup a little AI automation... and it just works. Of course some areas can't really depend of WiFi today. But over 90% of Americans are fully WiFi covered with no problems whatsoever. 

Now.... WiFi, mobile phone/devices, G5, high speed broadband, and the cloud.... along with AI devices.... have completely changed Home Automation. Home Automation is about a lot more than (the 1974 concept of) lighting and water sprinkler control. If we... and X10... don't embrace the new idea of Home Automation we will become nothing more than an obsolete technology.

X10, and X10 users need a vision for X10's use in a reasonable future. My posts... merely reflect my own vision, of using my X10, in my setup, in the near future. Other peoples future visions may... and should vary. I understand the future scares the crap out of a lot of people. But that isn't my fault.
Title: Re: Automation with Alexa
Post by: HA Dave on February 01, 2019, 10:22:17 PM
I think about once a month..... I get an Amazon Echo update email. I am sure I must have signed up (or failed to opt-out) for this news letter at one point. But I am glad I get it. Rarely have I failed to learn something "new" about the current state of the Alexa devices. This AI stuff.... literally... gets better every month.

What caught my eye this month.... "Now you can create location-based reminders to get a notification when you arrive at or leave a location."


NOTE: these reminders can and will remind you by voice if at home and with a "banner" and chime on a mobile phone. The really great part is, to setup a reminder you simply tell Alexa: Remind me...….. 
Title: Re: Automation with Alexa
Post by: Tuicemen on February 01, 2019, 11:56:27 PM
I check the Echo (Alexa Forum) daily to see not only what's new but what isn't perfected just yet.
Its nice to see the USA users are all beta testers while the rest of us can only watch on the side lines.
At least the new features should be working by the time the rest of the world gets a chance to play. ::) :'


Seriously I've been able to test some of these new features as soon as they're made available in the US and Alexa just keeps getting better. Most of the issues are minor but the locations thingy does need a lot of work but noting is perfect.
>!
Title: Re: Automation with Alexa
Post by: racerfern on February 02, 2019, 07:44:19 AM
I asked Alexa to remind me to get more Google home minis and a new Google home hub. Should I have asked Santa?
Title: Re: Automation with Alexa
Post by: HA Dave on February 02, 2019, 10:00:32 AM
… Its nice to see the USA users are all beta testers while the rest of us can only watch on the side lines.
At least the new features should be working by the time the rest of the world gets a chance to play.

Yeah.... I am sure there are lots of regulatory hoops Amazon needs to jump through when releasing such things. But... I don't think... the delay is all that long for our Canadian X10 - Amazon counterparts. 

I believe... the geo-fencing and geo-location features are HOT.

I have always looked to the forums for ideas and inspiration on using the various automation functions.... from cameras to CM15A macro flags. I know racerfern is a geo-location user and I hope to more fully exploit this new tech myself. Currently.... my Nest thermostat (https://nest.com/thermostats/nest-learning-thermostat/overview/?gclid=Cj0KCQiAnNXiBRCoARIsAJe_1crhDacViXRrFK6W4kQYjBA29jAIsoErRSQKM8Nq9FZQKPcEoWDDJrYaAkYhEALw_wcB&gclsrc=aw.ds) has used the geo-fencing function the most..... saving me (slight) effort and some money. As the thermostat will notice a lack of activity and my wife and I's phones missing from the house...… and default to a maintenance temperature setting. Then monitor us and reset on our arrival. That ONE function by itself is pretty darn slick.

There is also similar stuff that can be done with the alarm, lighting, notifications.... who knows what an avid imagination can come up with the added function of geo-location. I am thinking.... a geo-location setting that would notify my wife when I am bicycling (and the text blocking function is set). Maybe... give her an idea of how far out (time/distance) I am if she needs to contact me. Or maybe.... just a "heads-up" over the Echo devices when I am nearing home.
Title: Re: Automation with Alexa
Post by: HA Dave on February 14, 2019, 03:05:05 PM
It seems as if every time I check the Alexa app has added new improved Home Automation control. I honestly believe that "someday" the Alexa app will have serious programable skills.

I hadn't even thought that 3rd party apps may someday exceed Alexa programing as well as unify other Hubs and cloud services as well. Then I ran across this. But I haven't tried it yet. https://www.simplecommands.com/ (https://www.simplecommands.com/)
Title: Re: Automation with Alexa
Post by: Tuicemen on February 14, 2019, 03:18:03 PM
There are and have been apps out there like this for some time.
You just have to find what works best with what you have.

For me the HomeGenie Plus app interfaces with all my HA Protocols and some I don't use.
The app doesn't use Alexa but voice control which is google powered. Alexa control has been rock solid since having HomeGenie on my pi interface with her.
Title: Re: Automation with Alexa
Post by: HA Dave on February 16, 2019, 07:05:49 AM
…. You just have to find what works best with what you have.

Fer sure. But I am enjoying watching the "skills and abilities" of these apps approaching what once took serious thought and effort by the person setting up the automation. And we all know.... we are at the very beginning of this new-age of automation.
Title: Re: Automation with Alexa
Post by: HA Dave on March 01, 2019, 10:54:41 PM
From time-to-time I get the Amazon Echo.... "things to try". As Amazon seems to never sleep or rest in an effort to continually improve the AI experience. Just one of the noted changes/added abilities this week is:

"Alexa, rename the living room plug."
Rename your smart home devices and organize them into groups so you can control them more easily. Just ask to rename a device or add a device to a group.


It can be a time consuming hassle sometimes.... modifying rooms, groups, and improving/changing the names  of various lights and/or device. Or... it used to be. Now.... just tell Alexa what changes to make..... and it's DONE.
Title: Re: Automation with Alexa
Post by: Tuicemen on May 15, 2019, 05:39:55 PM
Echo guard is the latest feature to show up on my alexa app. Ok so it has been there for some time now but I was un sure how it actualy worked. Seems it is on a US roll out  not  fully implemented so here is how it is suppose to work. https://www.theverge.com/2019/5/14/18622968/alexa-guard-amazon-echo-security-how-to-get
Looks realy like a must have for those not cloud paranoid. ::) :'
 >!
Title: Re: Automation with Alexa
Post by: HA Dave on May 16, 2019, 10:53:36 AM
Echo guard is the latest feature.......
Looks realy like a must have
 >!

YES. A simple little server-software addition. But one that functionally expands and/or doubles some my security alarm protections.... at no cost to me.

Of course. As I've said for YEARS... alarms don't prevent fires and thief. Alarms just warn us. But still nice stuff... and early warnings are the best way to avoid walking into a break-in.... in progress
Title: Re: Automation with Alexa
Post by: HA Dave on June 12, 2019, 11:18:41 PM
..... Of course. As I've said for YEARS... alarms don't prevent fires and thief. Alarms just warn us.

I've installed and am using the new Alexa "Guard" or "Smart Alert". And I now wonder if this wonderful little device might not be able to at lease prevent fires (with it's smoke detection) or even burglary's with it's glass breakage detection. 

I set the alarm before I leave the house.... as I tell Alexa "I am leaving". Then every echo-Alexa device in the house (I have 5) listens for an alarm or breaking glass. If anything happens Alexa will let my phone know. Even just disarming the Alexa Smart Alert (telling Alexa I am home)..... causes a notification to my phone.

Since my Alarm also works with Alexa (I have to say a password).... no key fob, or button pushing on a panel is required.
Title: Re: Automation with Alexa
Post by: bkenobi on June 13, 2019, 11:00:09 AM
That's pretty cool.  I mean, since she's listening all the time anyway, she might as well be helpful!
Title: Re: Automation with Alexa
Post by: petera on June 13, 2019, 11:43:30 AM
That's pretty cool.  I mean, since she's listening all the time anyway, she might as well be helpful!

Who knows. With her level of AI she might even play this tune too https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=JhvjTcPRYy4
Title: Re: Automation with Alexa
Post by: HA Dave on June 14, 2019, 08:19:31 PM
That's pretty cool.  I mean, since she's listening all the time anyway, she might as well be helpful!

She? I am pretty sure Jeff Bezos identify's as a HE. And I am sure he listens to all of the millions and millions of those units HIMself. Otherwise.... the programmers at Amazon would have to develop (what every technical mind on the planet calls) that AI stuff. And the consensus around here is.... that just ain't so.  ;D   rofl
Title: Re: Automation with Alexa
Post by: dave w on June 16, 2019, 06:33:52 PM
And I am sure he listens to all of the millions and millions of those units HIMself.
Yes, this is correct. Now you understand. Prior to this acknowledgement,  I thought you were a denier. Welcome aboard!
Title: Re: Automation with Alexa
Post by: HA Dave on June 16, 2019, 11:40:09 PM
......I thought you were a denier.

NEVER a stink'in denier! I am a believer..... in the AI technology. Because I was here... as processors got faster.... and faster. And programs got bigger and more cleaver. I never had to accept that had happened..... because I watched as it came to fruition.

Ned Ludd may have been histories first... or at least the first recorded (and iconic) leader of his namesake Luddites. But his army sized battalions of followers are reinforced every generation. Maybe... those that drag down society's technological progress are genetically predisposed to have negative feelings about progress. I don't know. But, I've lived with voice controlled automation for well over a decade. It's not magic, scary, or creepy, to me.... and I don't think there are "people" at the other end of the wires. It's good home automation.
Title: Re: Automation with Alexa
Post by: bkenobi on June 17, 2019, 12:35:44 PM
Are you suggesting that BVC was AI as well because there was a voice who spoke to you?  Alexa (a female voice) has only been around for a few years (November 2014 initial release).  Since Amazon released the first and only smart HA controller, that industry has only been around for ~5 years which is not quite a decade.  I don't think BVC would be considered AI and it certainly wasn't connected to Amazon/Google/MS servers to record your commands for posterity.  With local control and user decisions on how/where the recorded actions are used there's certainly nothing "magic, scary, or creepy" involved.
Title: Re: Automation with Alexa
Post by: HA Dave on June 19, 2019, 10:51:38 PM
Are you suggesting that BVC was AI as well .....

No. But NOT "because there was a voice who spoke". I have never once suggested such a silly thing. I don't know why you would post such a silly idea.... I REALLY don't.

BVC was a sweet and simple program... that exploited a larger MS program. But it wasn't AI.... because the international experts all agreed that SAPI5 was NOT AI. Period. It doesn't matter what You, me, Bill himself..... or some random poll thought was, or is, AI.

We can all have opinions.... every human has opinions. But few have expert opinions. The experts are all calling Alexa AI. So... consider yourself the "greater expert" if you wish.... if your ego is that hungry.
Title: Re: Automation with Alexa
Post by: bkenobi on June 20, 2019, 10:55:44 AM
Your post speaking about AI also said you have been using voice control for over a decade and that we shouldn't consider AI "magic, scary, or creepy".  I was simply pointing out that if you are linking the two together with the goal of saying voice control is not "magic, scary, or creepy" then you are saying current tech (Alexa) is simply voice control OR that BVC was AI.  If that wasn't the case, then the "magic, scary, or creepy" statement makes no sense.

If I rode a bicycle for 5 years and then a motorcycle for the next 5 I could say I have ridden for a decade.  But, it would not be true to say as a blanket statement that I have 10 years experience with riding when referring to motorcycles.  They both have 2 wheels and you can be killed on either however, one is a bit different than the other.
Title: Re: Automation with Alexa
Post by: HA Dave on June 22, 2019, 12:43:16 AM
........ then you are saying current tech (Alexa) is simply voice control OR that BVC was AI.  If that wasn't the case, then the "magic, scary, or creepy" statement makes no sense.

If I rode a bicycle for 5 years and then a motorcycle for the next 5 I could say I have ridden for a decade.  But, it would not be true to say as a blanket statement that I have 10 years experience ..........

I've been driving and riding..... for over half a century. And whereas many deaths occur with both.... I'd say both are also relatively safe. And I'd feel comfortable saying the experiences of each and both (riding and driving) cross-over at some points. 

Many people that reject "talking devices" which CAN include AI but are NOT inclusive of ONLY AI.... find the experience creepy. The tortured logic you try to use to confuse similar issues of different technologies makes no sense.

AI is (and has always been) the logical progression of the industrial revolution. And... of course.... whether it was old Need Ludd himself... or one of the millions of clones that followed in his footsteps the Luddite movement has remained with us. The Luddites cause recessions, depressions, poverty, and conflicts. Luddites have historically kept the living standards and general welfare of people low. There is NO benefit to be a drag on progress.   
Title: Re: Automation with Alexa
Post by: bkenobi on June 25, 2019, 11:29:20 AM
I find it fascinating that Alexa is able to be so useful that she can read you a book on Ned Ludd when you asked her about "Need Luddites".  I searched Google and it wasn't able to come up with any results until I gave him the correct spelling of the guys name.  Using Google, I also had to read the article myself whereas Alexa would have done that for me.  I guess I have been wrong this whole time and Alexa's AI is truly top notch!
Title: Re: Automation with Alexa
Post by: HA Dave on June 26, 2019, 10:08:02 PM
I find it fascinating that Alexa is able to be so useful that she can read you a book on Ned Ludd ...... I searched Google and it wasn't able to come up with any results until I gave him the correct spelling of the guys name.  Using Google, I also had to read the article myself  I guess I have been wrong this whole time and Alexa's AI is truly top notch!

I was under the impression (from reading and one demo) that Google had the "smarter, more knowledgeable) AI device. Amazon... maybe because of it's history with book sales... has allowed book reading via my iphone.... long before Amazon had the Alexa product line.

There is a whole education in itself in the study of ole Ned Ludd. Mainly because it is more about the industrial age... and the human mind. Much more so than anything about an old time home weaver who (unsuccessfully) when to work at one of Europe's early factories. At that time when garments were so expensive... the poor literally wore rags or went naked in the streets. Ned saw a factory creating more than a [home weavers] lifetime of work... in a single shift.

Simultaneously.... devaluing Ned's mental image of his own self-worth, while increasing his wage, and elevating both his own and the living standards of all Europeans. It was too much change for Ned (and many others) to take. And it hasn't stopped yet.

The industrial revolution has been replaced by the technological revolution.... and the changes once again make men reevaluate the "worth" of what is new. And peoples resistance to change today.... has the same affect as did the original Luddite's (who were actually murderous thugs).

So as the world re-structures the modern work place(s)..... we will wait a generation for the wonders that we could easily have today.