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+ - Ask Slashdot: What options are there for cheap Home Automation 2

Submitted by goose-incarnated
goose-incarnated (1145029) writes "I'm looking at cheap and simple home automation. Unfortunately I'm not too clued up on what my options are. There are such a wide array of choices, none of which seem (to me) to be either cheap or simple. I'd like to:

Turn switches on/off (lights, wall sockets, general relays, etc)

Read the status of on/off switches

Read analog samples (for example, temperature sensors)

"Program" switches based on analog samples/existing switches; for example program a relay to come on at 30C and go off at 25C thereby controlling the temperature

Similarly, program switches to go on/off at certain times

Record the samples of analog or digital inputs for a given time

I'd like to do the above using smartphone+bluetooth (for when I'm in the vicinity of the room), or smartdevice+WiFi (for when I'm in the house, somewhere), or even in a pinch, using HTTP to access a server at home from 600km away (which is what I'm willing to do). I'm definitely not willing to stream all my requests/data/responses through a third-party so third party cloud subscription solutions, even if free, are out of the question.

Finally (because I know the Slashdot crowd likes a challenge :-)), I'd like something that is easily reprogrammable without having to compile code, then reflash a device, etc. What languages for embedded devices exist for home automation programming, if any. A quick google search reveals nothing specially made for end-users to reprogram their devices, but, like I said above, I'm clueless about options. If it exists I probably wouldn't find it anyway without your help."

+ - Reference Management in HTML->

Submitted by
goose-incarnated writes "Blog writing should be just as well researched as real writing. It should be well-referenced with proper citations. Unfortunately, I did not find any such library that will easily make linked citations to a references database that can be used when writing material for the browser. So, I wrote my own, at

Feel free to use and distribute — it works well in WikkaWiki with the raw html mode turned on (not a problem, as my particular Wikkawiki is private)."

Link to Original Source

+ - Google with egg on their face?->

Submitted by
goose-incarnated writes "Google Android Developer Challenge motivates devs to write for iPhone instead. See my short blog post about the Google mixup that got Google motivating me to come up with a new and novel mobile "killer-application" that will soon be deployed on iPhones.

Does anyone know if Apple lets African devs sell their apps in the Apple App Store?"

Link to Original Source

+ - Aid in conception, gender choice of foetus ->

Submitted by
goose-incarnated writes "As an aid to conception (and gender selection of the resulting offspring) I offer up this tiny project here. Note that it is still in beta stage, as funding hasn't come through to complete the data gathering (hence no privacy implications until it is modified and recompiled). The proposal paper over here has a bit more detail on what is intended.

Feel free to download and use."

Link to Original Source

+ - FIFA owns South African Flag IP->

Submitted by goose-incarnated
goose-incarnated (1145029) writes "IP Laws going overboard in SA, where a national carrier has been warned off using the South African National flag in it's advertisements by FIFA for the upcoming world-cup event. Reading somewhat like an Onion story, ""They said we cannot depict the Cape Town stadium, we can't use soccer balls, or the word 'South Africa', and the depiction of the national flag is not allowed," said marketing manager Nadine Damen. "

From the "all-your-base" dept."

Link to Original Source

+ - Smoking and Caffeine May Protect Against Parkinson->

Submitted by goose-incarnated
goose-incarnated (1145029) writes "Apparently, there can be some benefits for smokers, if you look hard enough. is one of many articles available that summarises some of the hard research done into tobacco and nicotine. A quick google search shows that this news is not exactly a secret anyway.

"Smoking lowers your chances of alzheimers" — they should put that on the packet of cigarettes :-)."

Link to Original Source

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