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Author Topic: Automation with Alexa  (Read 8375 times)

HA Dave

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Re: Automation with Alexa
« Reply #225 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.
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There is a lot more to automation... than turning things on and off.
The use of Home Automation is limited... only by our imaginations.

m82a1pa

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Re: Automation with Alexa
« Reply #226 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.
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HA Dave

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Re: Automation with Alexa
« Reply #227 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?
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There is a lot more to automation... than turning things on and off.
The use of Home Automation is limited... only by our imaginations.

racerfern

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Re: Automation with Alexa
« Reply #228 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.
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dhouston

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Re: Automation with Alexa
« Reply #229 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.
« Last Edit: June 12, 2017, 11:05:36 AM by dhouston »
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Tuicemen

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Re: Automation with Alexa
« Reply #230 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.
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m82a1pa

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Re: Automation with Alexa
« Reply #231 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  #:)
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Tuicemen

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Re: Automation with Alexa
« Reply #232 on: June 14, 2017, 05:02:13 PM »

Glad to see you're back running the way you like!  ;)
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m82a1pa

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Re: Automation with Alexa
« Reply #233 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.
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dhouston

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Re: Automation with Alexa
« Reply #234 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
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racerfern

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Re: Automation with Alexa
« Reply #235 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.

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HA Dave

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Re: Automation with Alexa
« Reply #236 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.     
« Last Edit: June 14, 2017, 10:46:31 PM by HA Dave »
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There is a lot more to automation... than turning things on and off.
The use of Home Automation is limited... only by our imaginations.

dhouston

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Re: Automation with Alexa
« Reply #237 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

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.
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dave w

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Re: Automation with Alexa
« Reply #238 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. 
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HA Dave

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Re: Automation with Alexa
« Reply #239 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.
« Last Edit: June 15, 2017, 09:01:43 PM by HA Dave »
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There is a lot more to automation... than turning things on and off.
The use of Home Automation is limited... only by our imaginations.
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