Cataloging our smart-home devices

Last week, I provided an overview of how I’ve introduced automation and control to our apartment by combining various smart-home devices with a robust platform to manage those inputs. My earlier post described, in broad terms, the hardware and software I’ve leveraged, and some of the automations I’ve implemented. Today, in anticipation of releasing the software configurations that make this possible, I’ll inventory the devices used and explain their roles in the overall system.

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Controlling SmartThings’ Smart Home Monitor from Home Assistant

Until recently, one of the few things I couldn’t control from Home Assistant was the “Smart Home Monitor” (SHM)–or alarm–feature of the Samsung SmartThings platform. With the exception of our locks, controlling this was the only other task that required the provider’s app.

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Getting started with home automation

Until a few months ago, I’d suppressed any interest in home automation by assuring myself that, by living in an apartment, I had few options. I also knew myself well enough to recognize that I’d probably become a bit obsessed. An unrelated trip to Best Buy, which landed me in the home automation section, changed things.

I’d gone to Best Buy to pick up something I’d ordered online, and while I waited, I meandered through the section of smart lights, thermostats, and so on. The Philips Hue options caught my attention, but only enough to start me subconsciously planning how they might suit the apartment.

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Sorry VaultPress

PHP’s open_basedir is one way I isolate the various PHP applications running on my VPS. Within the directory that holds this WordPress install, there exists a symlink from when I relocated my presentation slides from https://ethitter.com/slides/ to https://slides.ethitter.com/. VaultPress doesn’t particularly appreciate this:

PHP Warning: file_exists(): open_basedir restriction in effect. File(/.../network/public_html/slides) is not within the allowed path(s).

Letting VaultPress access the directory that the symlink points to would defeat the purpose of using open_basedir, so instead, my VPS continually frustrates VaultPress.

My brother serves; Trump’s treatment of the Khan family horrifies me

I didn’t watch Khizr Khan’s speech at the DNC–I couldn’t; it’s too emotional a topic for me. After all, my only brother is an Army Captain who’s deployed several times.

There’s nothing about Donald Trump’s reaction to Mr. Khan’s speech that doesn’t horrify me. As I think of my family being in the Khan’s situation, I know for sure that my father would be the only person capable of speaking about our experience.

To dismiss a mother’s silence for religious reasons, solely to promote one’s campaign and point of view, horrifies me. To denigrate a family’s mourning to promote a campaign of hatred and divisiveness horrifies me. That this sorry excuse for a leader could become my brother’s Commander-in-Chief horrifies me.

Ezra Klein’s response, drawing from James Fallows’ reactions, expresses my horror and anger far better than I can at this point.

All I know is that Donald Trump knows nothing of sacrifice.


What I Wish I’d Known When I Started–WordCamp Orange County 2016

This morning, I delivered an extended version of this talk, which I first presented at WordCamp Winnipeg 2015. This session explored WordPress functionality that new developers often overlook, as well as some “gotchas” about Core behavior. As a 90-minute workshop, extensive discussion was encouraged, and successful–so much so that I only made it about halfway through the slides. But, as I said at the outset, the slides were more a suggestion to guide the discussion.

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