I'm buying my first house and have been planning on starting with a fairly basic home automation setup and expanding from there. After considering MisterHouse in linux, XTension and Indigo on Mac, and HomeSeer on Windows, I have decided to use Indigo 2.0 (and hoping it's in final release before we move!).
Primary uses will be:
* Light control / scenes, for movies, parties, etc.
* Handing when I'm home, away, on vacation, in bed, etc -- turning on or off the right lights at the right times, not blinding me in the mornings by starting off dim, etc.
* An "intelligent" alarm clock to make sure i don't hit snooze too many times and dont' have to remember to turn it off on weekends.
* Making my entertainment system easy for my girlfriend to control.
(I believe it's called "WAF", but I'll have to call it "GAF" or "SOAF")
My entertainment center consists of a plasma TV with serial control, a/v receiver, dvd player, cable box, a mac mini for itunes and video playback, and now a tivo series 3.
The home automation controller (a beige G3 tower i have laying around) will probably be in my server rack in the basement, but the entertainment center will upstairs in the living room. So, here are my questions:
1) I want to be able to control the entertainment center components via infrared and serial. I'm wondering if I connect an IRTrans USB and a serial dongle to the TV's serial port via a USB/Serial adaptor (keyspan etc) to the mac mini, is there any way that Indigo 2.0 on the basement G3 can send commands via these devices on the mini, across the network, using some type of client/server protocol? I'd prefer not to run USB cables upstairs, and the IRTrans Ethernet module seems overkill.
2) Most (well, all) of my infrared devices have a "toggle" style of turning on and off via their remotes. My Indigo setup will involve actions such as turning the receiver on and setting the input. My fear is that I'll forget to turn the receiver off at some point, so when Indigo goes to turn ON the receiver, it actually turns the device off instead. I've seen some creative users of power detectors, light detectors next to power LEDs, etc connected to X10 universal modules to inform HA software of the status of a device, but there has to be "a better way" -- I'm wondering how people have worked around this?
3) I'd also be curious in any creative ways people are performing "alarm clock" related tasks, or any other tips anyone can give to a newcomer. I've read the O'Reilly smart home hacks book (great stuff!!!) and spent a lot of time in the forums.
It's nice to see such an active community here, and I look forward to everyone's input!