Geek Freely: August 2014

    I got sucked into the internet of things some time ago, Philips Hue bulbs is what sparked my interest. This then turned into checking out IFTTT, which led to Belkin WeMo’s being purchased. I obviously use a media center, so I purchased the Harmony Ultimate – and gained some hue control.

    All these devices and no real common communication between them. Don’t get me wrong IFTTT is nice, but it also doesn’t play with everything. Step in SmartThings hub which can speak to ZigBee and Z-Wave, as well as the Hue hub – things get a little better.

    Having had this setup for months, consisting of the following:

    I can safely say I’m happy and I have a few automated activities setup, but I guess the worst thing is the range right now.

    My router is in my basement and it appears that the network is getting busy – I wonder how much g/n, Z-Wave, ZigBee traffic I can handle on my air-waves???

    I think I am hitting a limit.

    I am currently seeing issues with range in my WeMo’s. If my WeMo insight on my first floor is on, my 2nd floor bedroom devices aren’t detected – if I switch the first floor insight off and give it a minute, I see the previous problematic devices in the app again – I don’t believe this to be Belkin related, just network congestion/interference.

    Belkin decided to use standard Wi-Fi rather than ZigBee or Z-wave, and they “cheaped” out using G over N.  I have considered moving to Zigbee, because while they have a shorter range than Z-Wave, my Hue bulbs use ZigBee – and just list Z-wave, Zigbee creates a besh network for extending overall range.

    It does seem that Z-wave is far more popular than Zigbee.

    I have also considered if making changes at the router, I am wondering if purchasing an AC wireless router would improve anything???  I know I will be still using G, but will my transmission power be better?

    In summary, I’m an early adopter and I am happy with what I have gained. While some of the devices were expensive, I invest to make the future brighter for everyone. Hopefully we learn going forward.  Interested in what Google’s purchase of Nest will have on Google’s future in home automation.

    Does anyone have any tips or experiences about their own automation solutions?

    I’ve used XBMC on several systems in the past 10 years:

    As well as several custom built home theater systems.

    Finally after 10 years XBMC is shedding it’s ties to the original Xbox and renaming itself Kodi – and I embrace this change fully.

    While XBMC brings back old memories of hacking away at an Xbox to get more out of it, it no longer needs the association for exposure.

    Kodi is a strong application in its own right, with a multitude of 3rd party support – and several 3rd parties basing their own branch of software on the core, such as the  and the highly successful  appliaction which even runs on the .

    Read more about this on the official site, which I am sure will be renamed also…

    Congratulations and good luck to the team!

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