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Author Topic: Automation with Alexa  (Read 43320 times)

HA Dave

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Re: Automation with Alexa
« Reply #375 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 And solid evidence of rock-hard and technologically crippling outdated paradigms.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.

« Last Edit: January 19, 2019, 07:46:23 AM by HA Dave »
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JeffVolp

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Re: Automation with Alexa
« Reply #376 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
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JeffVolp

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Re: Automation with Alexa
« Reply #377 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
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HA Dave

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Re: Automation with Alexa
« Reply #378 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!
« Last Edit: January 19, 2019, 08:42:17 PM by HA Dave »
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brobin

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Re: Automation with Alexa
« Reply #379 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.
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HA Dave

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Re: Automation with Alexa
« Reply #380 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.
« Last Edit: January 19, 2019, 10:36:34 PM by HA Dave »
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HA Dave

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Re: Automation with Alexa
« Reply #381 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..... 
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Tuicemen

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Re: Automation with Alexa
« Reply #382 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.
>!
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racerfern

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Re: Automation with Alexa
« Reply #383 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?
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HA Dave

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Re: Automation with Alexa
« Reply #384 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 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.
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HA Dave

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Re: Automation with Alexa
« Reply #385 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/
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Tuicemen

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Re: Automation with Alexa
« Reply #386 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.
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HA Dave

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Re: Automation with Alexa
« Reply #387 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.
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HA Dave

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Re: Automation with Alexa
« Reply #388 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.
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