Feb 122016

iTachIP2IR-medtransDownload this Linux IR learning utility that supports the Global Caché® iTach IP2IR networked IR blaster. A company called Global Caché markets a line of IR Blasters that are controllable across a network. With these devices you can send commands from any networked computer or smartphone to the IR emitters attached to your TV and stereo equipment. This way you can adjust the volume or change the channel from the next room or across the country.

May 102012

The first document I am publishing describes how to install and test the USB serial drivers for Windows, Linux and the Macintosh. You can get started by reading this document entitled USB Drivers for the Home Heartbeat. Once you have the drivers installed and working you are going to want to try out the command set of the Home Heartbeat. The document called Serial Commands of the Home Heartbeat lists all of the available commands and sample outputs returned by the Home Heartbeat.

Apr 192012

Since the demise of the Eaton Home Heartbeat monitoring services back in June of 2011, their customers have been left without any remote notification of their home’s status. Some enterprising hackers have taken up the cause to bring this abandoned system back to life. A few are frustrated home owners with idled Home Heartbeat systems, while others are tinkerers itching for a new project.  They took advantage of the hoards of surplus Home Heartbeat hardware that suddenly came on the market at pennies on the dollar.

Apr 092012
The Eaton Home Heartbeat System

The Eaton Home Heartbeat System

The Home Heartbeat was a monitoring system for your home’s vital signs. Introduced by Eaton Electrical, Inc. at the Consumer Electronic Show (CES) in Las Vegas during January of 2005. It was officially retired on June 1, 2011. Not to be confused with a home control system, the Home Heartbeat ostensibly provided status information about your house. Sensors could monitor doors/windows, movement, water leakage, and power consumption of plugged in appliances. Any trouble detected would be sent to a wireless key fob carried by the homeowner. If the home owner was out of range of the system (60-90 feet), these alerts would be sent via SMS or email. That’s about all there was to it. Now that Eaton has discontinued the product line, the remote notification support no longer works. Continue reading »

Apr 082012

Having been a long time devote of the MythTV DVR, I was lulled into a state of complacency. I came to believe that my home-built DVR was an appliance that would perform its duties ad infinitum. About a year ago, the cable company insisted that I take several of its digital converter boxes. They said that I would need them to continue to get cable service. I put them in the closet, and put it out of my mind. For months, I said to myself, “My cable TV works fine, I don’t need no stinking boxes”. Then, one day, more than six months later, I sat down to enjoy my favorite TV programs, faithfully recorded on my DVR, as had always been the case. The horror of it all, was that there was nothing but snow recorded for many of the programs. The sneaky cable company had switched off nearly all of the channels, without so much as a “how do you do”. Continue reading »