Smart home

A general term that seems to mean anything from wireless light switches through smart control of the heating to whole-home audio... ...and more in between. The "Smart Home" section here is largely concerned with our application of intelligent controls from Idratek to enable far more efficient heating control. The section also includes related posts about the growing whole-house network and things (email, mp3, file store) running over it. So... "home gadgets" really!

Are the sneaky fellows at Yahoo crippling existing MusicMatch installations?

 So, if you read the above, you'll know I've re-downloaded & re-installed the latest MusicMatch Jukebox.  But are Yahoo pushing out malware that cripples  the installations of  troublesome folk that have resisted the "upgrade" to Yahoo Jukebox or worse... like me.. "downgraded" back the  better features of MusicMatch ?

Long Live MusicMatch Jukebox

Musicmatch JukeboxI've been using MusicMatch Jukebox for years - I think since something like 1998/99.  Anyway, a long time.  It was such a good app that I quickly paid for their "plus" version which even included future upgrades.  Fab.  Happy as can be I kept on upgrading from time to time through till 2007.  But the upgrade to Yahoo Music Jukebox was utter rubbish so I've got rid of it.  Seems I'm not the only one that hated it.

Things to sort out in 2008...

In no particular order, a list of things I want to sort out during 2008...

  1. Last few CDs not yet ripped.  I've been routinely archiving my CDs since the late 90's.  I've never lost the archive (touch wood) and always used MP3 and the higher quality sample rates, so most of the earliest MP3 files are still on the server.  Over the years, I've archived almost all of my CDs (currently 3200 tracks) but I know that a few have slipped through the net.  I've despirately avoided being anal enough to pull every CD off the shelf and check it's on the server, but the absence of the missing few on my iPod is starging to annoy me, so it's time to do it.  It's especially 'needed' now that the archive feeds not only 2 iPods and the desktop PC but also the new Roku/Pinnacle Soundbridge.  This is linked with my next "must do":

Soundbridge .... cooool gadget

Not exactly brand new on the market, infact the Roku device on which this is based (er..oem'd?) is several years old.  However, for under £45 from UK (r)etailers, this unit is a really price for something that till now has cost a lot more. 

Even better,

More messing with Idratek - this time Cortex

Now that the Idratek bits have been running fine in the study for a couple of weeks, I want to move to actual 'trial' the kit rather than just play with it.

For me, the target application is improved control over the heating in the house - especially as it's got colder we've really started to notice considerable differences in heat levels between the 1st floor (which can be quite hot) and the 2nd floor (which stays chilly).

More Idratek... Playing with Reflexes

Whilst "Cortex" seems to be the main 'brain at the centre', one of the slightly different things about the idratek kit seems to be that all the modules are autonomous to a degree... ie they sit on the network and communicate with each other to a certain level.

As at the moment the only Windows machine I have is an old power-hungry & slow machine, I'm not keen to have it running 24/7 while I trial Idratek kit in a couple of rooms... Later on having a low-consumption (ie <20w) mini-itx machine wouldn't be a problem, but for now it's out of time, cost & therefore scope...

First steps with Idratek kit

The box arrived from Idratek exactly as promised .. quickly unboxed to find it all very neatly packaged.

The pack included the temperature sensor (DTS) and relay/button (DRB) modules, along with PSU, power bus module & RS232 interface module.

[i](photo showing a mounting board & pattress/backbox already waiting !)[/i]

New(ish) home... new things to try....

So, getting started on doing some decorating and changes on the new home means that it's also an opportunity to try something new...

Idratek "Intelligent Automation" hardware.