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Author Topic: Automation with Alexa  (Read 54321 times)

HA Dave

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Re: Automation with Alexa
« Reply #405 on: December 27, 2019, 11:27:01 PM »

Been setting up my new (Alexa compatible) Home Automation hardware. God I wish X10 would jump on board with a skill for their wifi device.   

Arthur C. Clarke famously claimed: Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic. (In other words, the only difference between technology and magic, is that the one is something that we understand today; the other something that we do not yet understand, but eventually will.)

So whereas there in no actual magic... Amazon is making this stuff behave very closely to what I'd expect magic to be like.

I am now running two of the cheapest Alexa compatible brands of wifi cameras (which means the camera integrate with the Alexa [phone] app and cloud based server-software. I think.... it would be much better/easier/more functional to stick with Ring brand hardware... if dollars isn't an issue.

Of course... the "NEW tech" seems to be more geared towards monthly fee's for cloud services than out-right purchase price. I really doubt if I am alone in not enjoying this concept. But... even without "cloud fee's" I can get a real force/effect multiplier by adding a couple wifi cameras with short cloud video and memory card video to my wired HD-DVR cameras. AND... I can ask Alexa to "show me "the back yard" or "garage" and Alexa displays the video on the little screen that's part of the Amazon-Alexa device.

Pretty cool... but there is a logon lag... it takes a few seconds (NOT magic). 

But the Ring motion sensing... so far... seems (if not flawless) at the very least exceptional. And I have voice/location announcements back (gone since I took BVC off-line). And Ring can trigger little routines/programs/macros/robots/events (whatever you want to call them). It should take too much of a if-this-than-that to maybe get a camera-pixel-motion-sensor combo event/robot/macro/program/whatever setup.
« Last Edit: December 27, 2019, 11:37:17 PM by HA Dave »
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brobin

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Re: Automation with Alexa
« Reply #406 on: December 28, 2019, 01:15:41 AM »

Been setting up my new (Alexa compatible) Home Automation hardware. God I wish X10 would jump on board with a skill for their wifi device.   


While X10 seems asleep at the wheel when it comes to Alexa/GH devices, I've mentioned the Smartenit Harmony product that has a properly implemented and supported Alexa Skill (as well the equivalent for GH) plus apps and a web portal.  The basic unit, the P2, supports X10 & Insteon using a 2412 or 2413 S or U PLM as well as ZigBee devices.  The P2 connects to your network via Ethernet and only costs $50 (plus $25 for the 2412U PLM if needed).  That's at least $35 less than the WM100 and it does more. 

The Pi Alexa hub worked great but I also wanted an app and liked that there's an 'official' skill that stays current.  I didn't jump on the HG train as my trusty Stargate does everything I want and after 20 years I can program it in my sleep. 

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Tuicemen

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Re: Automation with Alexa
« Reply #407 on: December 28, 2019, 08:54:15 AM »

Been setting up my new (Alexa compatible) Home Automation hardware. God I wish X10 would jump on board with a skill for their wifi device.   
Saddly the only thing Authinx has that controls x10 over the internet is the WM100. And although the developer did state they would create skill for it that hasn't happened.  :(  Authinx saddly can't  make a skill with out that developer.
Not all skills are easy to setup nor work 100% of the time so given the state of the WM100  WiFi app I'd suspect its skill would be the same. There are several ways to get Alexa control of ones X10 devices without a deadicated x10 skill there are at least 8 skills capable of doing x10.

 On another note my wife has been after me to get a fit bit for a couple of years now. Yesterday I broke down and ordered one with Alexa abilities as several stores had boxing day sales making them attractive. I've not worn a watch since retiring 10 years ago so this will be like a step back but two forward  rofl
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HA Dave

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Re: Automation with Alexa
« Reply #408 on: December 28, 2019, 12:59:31 PM »

.... I've mentioned the Smartenit Harmony product that has a properly implemented and supported Alexa Skill (as well the equivalent for GH) plus apps and a web portal.  The basic unit, the P2, supports X10 & Insteon using a 2412 or 2413 S or U PLM as well as ZigBee devices.  The P2 connects to your network via Ethernet and only costs $50 (plus $25 for the 2412U PLM if needed).

Yes... you have mentioned that (and I am glad you have). You should mention it often. And I should mention that I use a Homeseer (Pi) device connected to a CM15A (for an X10 interface) more often than I do as well.

I really don't mind... mixing and matching the various protocols and flavors of Home Automation products. But... I really sorta wish X10 was still a one-stop-shop as well.

...Saddly the only thing Authinx has that controls x10 over the internet is the WM100. .......
.....There are several ways to get Alexa control of ones X10 devices without a deadicated x10 skill there are at least 8 skills capable of doing x10.

 On another note my wife has been after me to get a fit bit for a couple of years now. Yesterday I broke down and ordered one with Alexa abilities as several stores had boxing day sales making them attractive. I've not worn a watch since retiring 10 years ago so this will be like a step back but two forward  rofl

It's important to keep trying new things. I like the idea of a fit bit! I've been looking at the Alexa earbuds... and the Jabra earbuds (that are also Alexa capable). But a fit bit might be a better idea.
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Tuicemen

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Re: Automation with Alexa
« Reply #409 on: December 28, 2019, 01:14:19 PM »


It's important to keep trying new things. I like the idea of a fit bit! I've been looking at the Alexa earbuds... and the Jabra earbuds (that are also Alexa capable). But a fit bit might be a better idea.
I'd love to be able to try new things as often as I did when working but then I'd have a few more boxes of obsolete devices. rofl
I tend to stand back and watch things develop a bit now, preferring multiuse items as more and more devices are becoming smarter. That was the reasoning behind getting the flex over another Dot. One of my Pi ZeroW boards is running from the USB port on it now.
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brobin

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Re: Automation with Alexa
« Reply #410 on: December 28, 2019, 03:57:30 PM »


I really don't mind... mixing and matching the various protocols and flavors of Home Automation products. But... I really sorta wish X10 was still a one-stop-shop as well.

Once I had the Smartenit Harmony running it encouraged me to try a few ZigBee bulbs and dust off some Insteon stuff I have.  Using a 2413U PLM it works perfectly with the Insteon wireless open/close sensor which I installed on my package drop box...  IF the delivery people use it!  Interestingly, UPS & USPS almost always use the box while FedEx and Amazon drivers almost never do even though there are two signs asking them to use it.  There's an MS-16A on the porch too so at least I know when they come.  When either are triggered I get a text and email.  And if I'm home the dog barks his head off before anyone even gets near the door.  rofl  BTW, my dog loves HA too.  He has a transmitter on his collar that unlocks his doggie door.  He walks up to it, waits for the click and he's on his way in or out!

I did have one issue with the Insteon sensor. Every 23 hours or so I'd get a false alarm which is actually a "heartbeat" signal that the Harmony saw as an activation.  I emailed Smartenit about that and within a few days they pushed a FW release candidate for me to test which ultimately fixed it.  With the engineers/developers based in the good ol' USA the response was quick.
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Tuicemen

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Re: Automation with Alexa
« Reply #411 on: January 03, 2020, 09:41:12 AM »

I've been playing with my new Fitbit Vera2 and Alexa, This has no speaker just a microphone so unlike the apple watch it doesn't respond with a voice. That's ok I'm not sure I could get use to my wrist talking to me.
It still feels strange talking to my wrist. I love the reminders from Alexa which I get with a subtle vibration on my wrist (still getting use to that as well).
Like the echo tap this doesn't have the always listening ability of other Alexa devices. You press the button then speak the request, the response is displayed on the screen for you to read.
I've turned on & off my X10 devices with this and it works, just a little slower then my Dots .
I looked at different face displays for this (must be over 100) but I like the default one it comes with. So if the display isn't to your liking there are lots to choose from however not all are free.
There are also 100s of compatible apps for this but I'm happy with the Alexa, weather, text and phone messages that display. I'm not happy with my failing eye sight as I need glasses now to read these notifications. Since these are coming from my phone I can retrieve them on it which is easier to read without glasses.
 Alexa on this requires the Alexa app on my phone and since I have no data plan Alexa capabilities are limited to when my phone is connected to Wi-Fi. However I like the fact that I don't have to carry my phone around the house for it to work, the BT range is very good. I had thought about getting a couple more Amazon Flex units but this eliminates the need for those.
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HA Dave

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Re: Automation with Alexa
« Reply #412 on: January 05, 2020, 11:33:23 AM »

I've been playing with my new Fitbit Vera2 and Alexa, This has no speaker just a microphone so unlike the apple watch it doesn't respond with a voice. That's ok I'm not sure I could get use to my wrist talking to me.

That's says a lot for the earbuds. They would be more like talking to ones self and... hearing voices.  rofl

..... I'm happy with the Alexa, weather, text and phone messages that display. I'm not happy with my failing eye sight as I need glasses now to read these notifications. Since these are coming from my phone I can retrieve them on it which is easier to read without glasses.

I have to carry readers with me... everywhere. I've found a kind that can/could even attach to the phone.



Alexa on this requires the Alexa app on my phone and since I have no data plan Alexa capabilities are limited to when my phone is connected to Wi-Fi. .....

Hoping to be G5 wireless everywhere here soon. I don't know what Canada's plan for G5 is. 
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Tuicemen

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Re: Automation with Alexa
« Reply #413 on: January 05, 2020, 11:46:01 AM »

I've been playing with my new Fitbit Vera2 and Alexa, This has no speaker just a microphone so unlike the apple watch it doesn't respond with a voice. That's ok I'm not sure I could get use to my wrist talking to me.

That's says a lot for the earbuds. They would be more like talking to ones self and... hearing voices.  rofl
I've not read any reviews for the ear buds that made me even remotely contemplate getting a pare.
I also could never find ear buds prior that would stay in.
 I also most likely would lose them before I had a chance to fully learn their capabilities first hand. rofl
Quote
..... I'm happy with the Alexa, weather, text and phone messages that display. I'm not happy with my failing eye sight as I need glasses now to read these notifications. Since these are coming from my phone I can retrieve them on it which is easier to read without glasses.

I have to carry readers with me... everywhere. I've found a kind that can/could even attach to the phone.


I usually have a pair of reading glasses in my coat and at least a dozen pairs around the house.
These usually all end up in the same place by end of the day  rofl
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