Sunday, September 27, 2020

HS3 on Windows to HS4 on Centos 7 migration.

The issue

Fed up with all the Windows 10 issues (just this week alone 3 requiring reboots and the 4th was a memory issue that Windows was masquerading) I decided to bite the bullet and move my Homeseer to one of Linux boxes and figured might as well upgrade to version 4 of Homeseer at the same time. After asking around it appears I can fall back to my Windows instance if I get in trouble.

Steps I did

Basic install

I started from these instructions. These are the instructions I actually used. (I already have a local ntpd server so I did not need that bit.) Note I changed the http and https port since I already had a server running on this PC (10.10.2.197).

yum -y update

yum -y install yum-utils

yum -y install mono-complete

mozroots --import --sync

yum -y install mono-basic

mkdir /home/hs4

cd  /home/hs4

wget https://homeseer.com/updates4/linux_4_1_6_0.tar.gz

tar xzvf linux_4_1_6_0.tar.gz

cd ./Homeseer

echo '<?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8"?>' > /etc/firewalld/services/hs3p.xml

echo '<service>' >> /etc/firewalld/services/hs3p.xml

echo ' <short>HS3 Ports</short>' >> /etc/firewalld/services/hs3p.xml

echo ' <description>HomeSeer 3 Ports needed for the application. HTTP, HTTPS (...future on Linux I am sure...), HSTouch </description>' >> /etc/firewalld/services/hs3p.xml

echo ' <port protocol="tcp" port="8080"/>' >> /etc/firewalld/services/hs3p.xml

echo ' <port protocol="tcp" port="8443"/>' >> /etc/firewalld/services/hs3p.xml

echo ' <port protocol="tcp" port="10200"/>' >> /etc/firewalld/services/hs3p.xml

echo ' <port protocol="tcp" port="10401"/>' >> /etc/firewalld/services/hs3p.xml

echo '</service>' >> /etc/firewalld/services/hs3p.xml

I already had a /etc/firewalld/zones/public.xml

So edit 

vi /etc/firewalld/zones/public.xml

And only added

<service name="hs3p"/>

And restart the service

service firewalld restart

Things got tricky at this point. I needed to set the port and IP address (since I have multiple Config/settings.ini did not exist till after running ./go 

After stopping it I could then edit Config/settings.ini and add

gWebSvrPort=8080

gServerAddressBind=10.10.2.197

Note you also need to change 

C:\Program Files (x86)\HomeSeer HS3\Bin\

to your new bin

For example

ScriptingReferences=System.Data.SQLite;C:\Program Files (x86)\HomeSeer HS3\Bin\System.Data.SQLite.dll,Newtonsoft.Json;C:\Program Files (x86)\HomeSeer HS3\Bin\homeseer\Newtonsoft.Json.dll

becomes

ScriptingReferences=System.Data.SQLite;/home/hs4/HomeSeer/bin/System.Data.SQLite.dll,Newtonsoft.Json;/home/hs4/HomeSeer/bin/homeseer/Newtonsoft.Json.dll

After restarting I still could not access remotely

Accessing via localhost on the PC I found the redirect was bad. You need to go to the register page directly

http://10.10.2.197:8080/register.html

I got as far as step 3 and it hung


09:57:24:8537:[Warning]->Unable to connect to MyHS service, license ID is 0. Please register the system with a valid license.
DoRegisterInternet
DoREgister Response
09:57:29:8699:[Info]->Stopping the MyHS Service...
09:57:33:8724:[Info]->Starting the MyHS Service...
09:57:33:9927:[Info]->System connected to MyHS Service, waiting for acknowledge...
File upload thread started
09:57:34:0435:[Info]->System connected to MyHS Service successfully with license ID ******.
DoRegisterInternet
10:05:12:9769:[Warning]->File does not exist: /home/hs4/HomeSeer/html/bootstrap/css/bootstrap.min.css.map
10:05:13:1402:[Warning]->File does not exist: /home/hs4/HomeSeer/html/bootstrap/js/bootstrap.min.js.map
10:05:13:1441:[Warning]->File does not exist: /home/hs4/HomeSeer/html/bootstrap/js/bs-custom-file-input.js.map
10:05:13:1442:[Warning]->File does not exist: /home/hs4/HomeSeer/html/sm/b0ce608ffc029736e9ac80a8dd6a7db2da8e1d45d2dcfc92043deb2214aa30d8.map
DoRegisterInternet


I finally just skipped the transfer services bit even though it most likely means more work later. On the plus side it means the HS3 instance should continue to work while I sort the HS4 instance.

Next it wants me to create an account. Not sure why since it already acknowledged I'm doing an upgrade. I used my previous login and password which it seemed to take OK so it would seem HS4 is using a diff system.


Not change to settings (last step) except to set location and Finish. And again hit a problem. Probably should have changed settings to not require login locally for now since no login appears to work. I renamed user file

mv Config/users.cfg Config/users.cfg.bak

restart and was able to get in with default/default.

Started looking at setup and first thing I noticed was location was well off. Told it Austin but appears to be Boston. Just under 2000 miles off.


Replaced contents of Config/users.cfg with the the contents from my HS3 copy and all seemed to restore my users which is a good sign.

Next bring over my config

Given the various ways suggested I decided to backup both instance folders plus backup config and events via the HS3 web interface at this point and mount a transfer folder on the CentOS box.

Note the Win share name might not work in fstab. If so try the IP address instead.

Trying to restore a backup from HS3 turned out to be an adventure. After  a good bit of trial and error I've sorted the backup seems to need to be:

  • named like 9_26_2020-16_17_54.zip
  • The timestamp part of the name needs to be newer than the latest backup
  • Contain the files Data.zip, Config.zip, scripts.zip and html.zip at top level.

After uploading a file if something goes wrong there may be no indication other than the list of available backups for restore is unchanged from the last time you tried to restore. 

Also you need to restart for the restore to take affect but before you do you will need update Config/settings.ini again.

gWebSvrPort=8080

gServerAddressBind=10.10.2.197

I also had to do the registration bit again.

Plugins

Note still no plugins showed as installed. I had to install and enable them one by one. I have quite a few.


I started with Z-Wave (used the standard instead of one of the Linux beta ones. Most went pretty smooth. 

Harmony was a bit weird. I had to readd the hubs which created all new objects that will need swapping in on the events.

The JowiHue plugin did not seem to like my old license but the new, version 4 one, was 60% off so not a biggie. Especially as much use as I get from that one. Does not seem be finding any of my 3 hubs though.


Events

My events all seem to transfer without having to export and import them. 

But all the ones with scripts needed their paths changed from absolute to just the filename. If any were not in the scripts folder they will need moved there as well. I clicked the import button it said event_groups.json was missing. I started manually changing all 412 of the script actions before I realized the config import filtered those files. I made a copy and changed the paths to try and import working through the issues. This sorts the script path change. I renamed my exported json to events.hs3.json

sed -e "s?C:/Program Files (x86)/HomeSeer HS3/scripts/??g" events.hs3.json > events.json

It also looks like some of the places virtual devices were getting got set to no device as well.

And some other random values seems messed up. For example Here is the export of one event

{
"mvarGroupRef": 6088529,
"Enabled": true,
"UserNote": "",
"IOMisc": "",
"Last_Trigger_Time": "2020-09-15T17:04:44.1950438-05:00",
"Retrigger_Delay": 0,
"Triggered": true,
"Triggers": {
"TrigGroups": {
"K0": {
"$type": "System.Collections.Generic.List`1[[Scheduler.Classes.EvTrig_BASE, Scheduler]], mscorlib",
"$values": [
{
"$type": "Scheduler.Classes.EvTrig_DEVICE_VALUE, Scheduler",
"ev_trig_dvRef": 451,
"mvarValue_or_Start": -2147483648.0,
"mvarTriggerSubType": 7,
"ValStart": -2147483648.0,
"ValEnd_Spec": 1.0,
"UIMessage": "",
"HasTriggers": true,
"TriggerSubType": 7,
"SubTriggerCount": 10,
"SubTriggerName": "This device had its value set and is less than...",
"IsTimeTrigger": false,
"TriggerConfigured": true,
"TriggerName": "A Device's Value is...",
"TriggerGroupID": 0,
"evRef": 3488,
"TriggerType": 6,
"iTrigMisc": 524288,
"Condition": false
},
{
"$type": "Scheduler.Classes.EvTrig_COUNTER, Scheduler",
"Inc_Dec_Value": 1.0,
"Trigger_Pos_and_Neg": false,
"Trigger_Every_Value": false,
"Trigger_Exceed": true,
"mvarCounterName": "WasherStatus",
"UIMessage": "",
"HasTriggers": true,
"TriggerSubType": 3,
"SubTriggerCount": 8,
"SubTriggerName": "WasherStatus value has exceeded this:",
"TriggerConfigured": true,
"TriggerName": "A Counter's Value is...",
"Version": 2.0,
"TriggerGroupID": 0,
"evRef": 3488,
"TriggerType": 10,
"iTrigMisc": 524288,
"Condition": true,
"Value_Trigger": 0.0,
"Value_Trigger_Set": true
}
]
}
},
"TrigGroupsComp": null
},
"Actions": {
"mvarActions": {
"K0": {
"$type": "Scheduler.Classes.EvACT_SCRIPT, Scheduler",
"mvarScript": "C:/Program Files (x86)/HomeSeer HS3/scripts/SayIt.vb",
"mvarMethod": "sayString",
"mvarParams": "The Laundry has finished washing",
"script_wait": false,
"script_single_instance": false,
"UIMessage": "",
"ActionName": "Run a Script or Script Command",
"Misc": 64,
"evRef": 3488,
"Action_Order": 0,
"Action_Type": 10,
"ActionAdvancedMode": true,
"ActionConfigured": true,
"Script": "C:/Program Files (x86)/HomeSeer HS3/scripts/SayIt.vb(\"sayString\",\"The Laundry has finished washing\")"
},
"K1": {
"$type": "Scheduler.Classes.EvACT_RUN_EVENT, Scheduler",
"run_event_ref": 9262,
"UIMessage": "",
"ActionName": "Run Another Event",
"Misc": 64,
"evRef": 3488,
"Action_Order": 1,
"Action_Type": 9,
"ActionAdvancedMode": true,
"ActionConfigured": true
},
"K2": {
"$type": "Scheduler.Classes.EvACT_COUNTER, Scheduler",
"CounterAction": 5,
"UIMessage": "",
"ActionName": "Control a Counter",
"Misc": 64,
"evRef": 3488,
"Action_Order": 2,
"Action_Type": 3,
"ActionAdvancedMode": true,
"ActionConfigured": true,
"CounterName": "WasherStatus"
}
}
},
"Version": 1.2,
"evRef": 3488,
"Name": "Clothes done",
"VoiceCommand": "",
"sType": "Alert-white",
"EvGroup": {
"GlobalActions": {
"mvarActions": {

}
},
"GlobalConditions": {
"TrigGroups": {

},
"TrigGroupsComp": null
},
"Version": 1.2,
"Group": "Laundry",
"Ref": 6088529
},
"Misc": 0,
"PlugExtraData": {

}
}

Looking at it in HS4 it looks like this and is constantly triggering.

Clicking on edit on the trigger you notice things look more difference than just a face lift.
It appears it has changed from treating each data element of a things as a device if not sees them as properties of a thing like most other home automation systems do. While the above looks correct. just clicking save does not fix the issue. You seem to need to go back through a full setup. When working it it looks the same so something is happening under the covers.





Scripts

VB includes were not working.

Voice assistants and other 3rd party links

As mentioned above the setup hung trying to sort these links so once everything else is working the last step will be sorting Alexa, Google Assistant and IFTTT linkages.

Falling back to HS3

After spending a couple days on this I needed to fall back to HS3 till I can get enough working HS4 to make it reasonable to so I'm falling back. Fortunately for me that means shutdown HS4 and powering up the old PC. It seems like everything is working but it will take some time to see if that truly is the case.


Saturday, September 19, 2020

Quick VNC setup

I started with these instructions. Note the session you get is not what is on the console. It is a separate one like you would get with Windows Terminal Server. This may be a feature or issue given your needs. 

Those instructions boil down to the step below (with added tweaks). Replace <USER> with your user name.

Log out of any X Windows sessions and log in via ssh

You may need to clean up these old files / folders. (See this.) If they exist remove them with rm -fr as in rm -rf /tmp/.X0-lock.

  • /home/<USER>/.vnc
  • /tmp/.X*

Run these commands as root or add sudo in front of each. 

yum groupinstall "GNOME Desktop"

yum install -y tigervnc-server xorg-x11-fonts-Type1

su - <USER>

vncpasswd

exit

firewall-cmd --add-port=5901/tcp --permanent

cp /lib/systemd/system/vncserver@.service  /etc/systemd/system/vncserver@:1.service

vi /etc/systemd/system/vncserver@\:1.service

Instead of their instructions change the file contents to this

[Unit]

Description=Remote desktop service (VNC)

After=syslog.target network.target

[Service]

Type=simple

#Type=forking

# Clean any existing files in /tmp/.X11-unix environment

ExecStartPre=/bin/sh -c '/usr/bin/vncserver -kill %i > /dev/null 2>&1 || :'

ExecStart=/sbin/runuser -l <USER>  -c "/usr/bin/vncserver %i -geometry 1920x1080"

PIDFile=/home/<USER> /.vnc/%H%i.pid

ExecStop=/bin/sh -c '/usr/bin/vncserver -kill %i > /dev/null 2>&1 || :'

[Install]

WantedBy=multi-user.target

systemctl daemon-reload

systemctl start vncserver@:1

systemctl status vncserver@:1 -l

Output should look like 

● vncserver@:1.service - Remote desktop service (VNC)

   Loaded: loaded (/etc/systemd/system/vncserver@:1.service; enabled; vendor preset: disabled)

   Active: inactive (dead) since Sat 2020-09-19 18:29:07 CDT; 6min ago

  Process: 12636 ExecStop=/bin/sh -c /usr/bin/vncserver -kill %i > /dev/null 2>&1 || : (code=exited, status=0/SUCCESS)

  Process: 12563 ExecStart=/sbin/runuser -l dea -c /usr/bin/vncserver %i -geometry 1920x1080 (code=exited, status=0/SUCCESS)

  Process: 12550 ExecStartPre=/bin/sh -c /usr/bin/vncserver -kill %i > /dev/null 2>&1 || : (code=exited, status=0/SUCCESS)

 Main PID: 12563 (code=exited, status=0/SUCCESS)


Sep 19 18:29:04 asusl.dea42.us systemd[1]: Starting Remote desktop service (VNC)...

Sep 19 18:29:04 asusl.dea42.us systemd[1]: Started Remote desktop service (VNC).

reboot (just to be sure it all starts automatically)

Install a client like RealVNC

Note the above instructions leave out the fact you need add the port 5901 in the connection like:


Note too you will probably need to open port 5901 on your clients firewall as well.



Saturday, August 15, 2020

Simple automation controlled siren

 I see posts from time to time wanting a siren controlled by home automation. I tried several "home automation" sirens but they were all feeble. For instance:

Dome Home Automation DMS01 Wireless Z-Wave Battery-Powered Home Security Siren and Chime, White

Aeotec Siren Gen5, Z-Wave Plus, 105dB Siren with Strobe alerts, Plug-in, Backup Battery

What I was looking for was something to encourage any critters that found their way into the shop to leave so needed something LOUD. What I found was the Honeywell Ademco 748 119db Dual-Tone Siren


You do not want to be in the room with this going off without ear protection. To power it I'm using the BINZET DC12V 2.5A 30 Watt LED Power Supply Driver Transformer AC 120V-130V to DC 12V 2.5A Output Voltage Convertor LED Strip Low Voltage Powered LED Light Regulator


All you then need is to stick it into any smart plug you have. The Etekcity WiFi Smart Plugs are a cheap and simple solution for it. The VeSync app makes it simple to control without automation too.


Sunday, April 19, 2020

If you are frustrated with Alexa and are thinking Google

The problem

Alexa has not been talking to Homeseer for most of the last 3 days so I started beefing up my backup controls since opening an app or web browser reduces the usefulness of the non automatic stuff a good bit. I already had a 4 button remote set up for the 4 main voice routines ("Good morning", "Bed time", "Good night" and "Away"). I also have four voice routines backed up with Echo Buttons for things like returning to streaming video from a security camera event, telling selected streamer to start next episode, reset room etc, that I also wanted to work while Alexa is in a mood. So I set up spare 4 button remote to backup those. That was a whole side adventure of its own.

As a "quick" before I did this.

About mid day I tried to add a 4 button remote to back stop my 4 Echo buttons. I found the Z-Net the house (other 3 were fine) was showing as not responding despite clearing being up. Just decided to reboot and found the OS had undone my rollback for the update the causes the system to constantly crash and reboot. (I had been avoiding the Win 7 to Win 10 upgrade till I had time). So had to rollback again. Then decided to make the time to do the upgrade to Win 10. Got that done and port 80 was blocked even though nothing was running on it. The usual stuff did not sort it. Finally found the registry entry to change to sort that, got remote added, labeled and linked to Alexa events just in time for bed so the Google update had to wait till the next day.

On to updating Google Home

First the virtual devices I use to trigger events

One point to start. Google like Alexa only sees a small subset of the devices Homeseer does. In Google's case it only sees 84 total smart devices. Homeseer alone shows 3227 "devices".  Granted in Homeseer a lot of those are multiple data streams on single actual physical device.

Last I counted Alexa saw 348 so still quite a few more than Google.

Adding devices looks simple. But the first issue was just finding them. New stuff is getting dumped at the bottom in a "Linked to you" labeled (no room) section with the full name, starting with location 1 and location 2 making it REAL tough to tell them apart.
So the first thing you need to do is rename them and assign them to a room. Even that proved oddly more difficult than it should be. For example.

When you try and edit it, the name gets truncated.

After retyping the whole name just to get the locations removed you want to put it in a "room" so you can find it easier so you tap add to room and you get to this page. I toyed with the idea here of moving all the shop and barn devices to a separate "homes" but figured but not to add complexity.

Clicking next gets you here, which to me is confusing. All you can do is tap move or quit so I tapped move.

That gets me to where I expected to be.
Note I had added an "Alexa" custom room earlier.

Now this looks better.

Now for the routines

Forget the built ins

Adding or editing a routine looks simple too. First I tried adding the "Good morning trigger" to the "Good Morning" routine. That appears to work till try to save it and you get.

This post "Routines aren't saving" seems to say it is smart home devices that no longer work. I found that hard to believe. Then I tried "Hey Google, Good morning" and it kept running the "Good night" routine so editing the built in did not seem to matter anyway.

Starting from scratch

As one last option to try I created a custom routine called "Good morning sunshine" which seems to be the magic needed. It replies that "Homeseer could not be reached" but the Homeseer virtual did trip and trigger the event.

To do that it I created a routine to use instead of using one of the built ins. Then added an action. Note you do not want to tap the "add an action" button which takes you here.

Instead check "Adjust lights, plugs and more" and tap its settings (gear) icon.

To further complicate things I had to use the "Home trigger" as a test since the "Good morning trigger" did not show in the list of devices.
I assume because it is showing offline for some reason despite them looking the same in the Homeseer interface. It does of course still show in the main device list.

In case you need the config to get yours working

Anyway I could now save the routine. I added a couple other actions match the Alexa routine.



Friday, April 17, 2020

Hat that displays your temperature.

This would seem to be a million dollar idea for someone. It is currently 603 on my todo list if no one else does it be for I get to it around mid 2025. The picture below is what I did as a mock up. The hat with display is a real thing you can buy.  For this mock up I just input what I wanted it to display in the app. The app has a ton of options. I stopped it for the pic but the display scrolls in various directions and even has what they call a snow mode.

This hat has 4 modes:

▶1、Text Mode: Can display up to 80 English characters

▶2、 Music Mode: Music Equalizer display, the phone  song automatically syncs

▶3、 Custom Drawing Mode: DIY editing:, draw the animation you want

▶4、 Animation Mode:  7 fixed animation modes

Product Features

☉ 1、Mobile APP Bluetooth connection (1 mobile phone can connect 2 hats)

☉2、Support language: English, Chinese, German,Spanish, Korean, Russian, Japanese, French, etc.

☉3、 Detachable:  Separate display screen and hat, cotton hat, comfortable to wear, After removing the screen and battery can  be washed with water.

The hat is just Bluetooth device so it should be a minor thing to add this to any tracker app. Optionally it should be pretty trivial to create a hat with a temperature sensor in the hat band though the app makes more sense to me.



Monday, March 23, 2020

And the nerds will inherit the Earth?

I'm seeing a lot of posts about people having a hard time with SARS-CoV-2 (CoVid-19) guidelines though it is pretty much SOP for nerds like me. Following the guidelines ought to be fairly straight forward with tech available to us in 2020. For instance:


Avoid crowds

I tend to avoid people like most who lean toward the introverted. I also have a package drop off box at my gate so deliveries they do not even need to come to my door (with alerts and so I can find where the left them) and a Ring doorbell so I can talk to delivery people if need be but can't get to the door. I also have cameras and sensors that let me see if the thing coming through the gate is a delivery, visitor, wild life or loose livestock and can track them up the driveway but that might be overkill for city folk. But with a long enough driveway it can give time to put on gear if needed too.


Work from home if you can.

I've worked from home since 2013 and off and on long before that doing tech work for every kind of company from start ups to government agencies. Even the places that "did not want me to work from home", almost all expected me to use a laptop so I could work from home "off hours". Don't even get me started on why at least 1/3 of people should be working from home most if not all the time. In short there is no technical reason people that sit at a computer all day can't work from home.

Note musicians are live streaming from homes using online services like onlineconcertthing.com or Facebook so they can earn money and you can still see them perform and support them. Even newscasters are starting to work from home. We need to start asking why go to an office instead of why not and make the world better for everyone. Especially all the people that need to get past all that unnecessary traffic.


Limit trips

See Avoid crowds

I mainly get stuff online. Did you know Sams ships most stuff for the same price as in store? Often way cheaper than Amazon too for food items. The nearest HEB is a 15 minute drive from my gate, much less a Sams so for the stuff I get local I tend to do in batches. And since there is no point in running out for just a couple things I keep 2 to 4 weeks of supplies on hand generally replenished around 50% used or as needed or happen to be out for something else. Efficiency is the key word here. 

Plan ahead.

As people discover the advantages of delivery, the delivery systems are being stressed. HEB curbside pickup much less delivery is booked up weeks into the future. Amazon announced it is blocking all shipments of nonessential products to its warehouses. So plan for what you will need and try to order with plenty of lead time.


Get outside to avoid feeling cooped up but avoid getting close to people.

Kind of depressing to think of people living in homes that depress them but I have pets and other animals to take care of plus other outdoor stuff needing done. I'm letting my garden go wild this year because I just do not have the time for it but if you don't have a garden (plot or pot) why not start now. Seriously if you are local and need a workout I have lots of rocks, limbs and junk that needs moved about. And getting chased by pissed off wildlife or loose livestock is a great motivator.

Keep yourself occupied

Unclear how anyone can get bored these days between free online learning and streaming services being added daily. I have more projects than time plus animals to take care of. If Facebook is not eating enough of your time you could always get on Ancestry.com. But it can be a bigger time sink than Facebook so be sure to surface once and a while to let people know you are OK.


Wash hands well.

Seriously we have to tell people this? 

I wash my hands a LOT and thoroughly. I have pets and wildlife tends to drop by on top dirty chores so just makes sense given the places and amount of fur I've seen. Unless you live in a sterile environment you should too.


Monitor your temperature to know if you are getting sick / safe to be around.

I monitor my health to what some may see as an excessive degree to find patterns and head off getting sick. But working in IT has taught me you can only spot a pattern with enough data and everything you monitor (this includes you) deviates from the norm / average so just comparing a reading to an average is only useful on the macro level. As in if your temp is 100 then there is little doubt you are sick. But if you temp is 99.0 you might be sick or well depending on YOUR average. You could have a fever and be contagious at 98.0 if your normal (average) is 97.0. You need to know YOUR baseline on YOUR equipment. 


Avoid touching surfaces and your face if you do. 

See wash hands well.
Thanks to home automation my home is mostly hands free. Mainly to save time and make life easier, not just because I assume pretty much every open surface has germs (and fur on it (see above)). Does have the added benefit though that I'm touching a lot less stuff.


Stay home if you are sick

This should be common sense and not even an issue if you work from home. But if your company mindset is stuck in the 1900s or your job is not mainly using a computer or phone all day it might be tough. Hopefully one positive we’ll see from this will be companies finally waking up to unnecessary waste and risk (both to employees and the company bottom line) of the 1900s office model and work from home will become the default.


Remember to check on friends and family.

This does not mean pop by. Call, Skype or just check in on social media.

A quick note on baselines and monitoring

People in IT generally get the importance of monitoring for spotting issues. This is why surveillance systems tend toward overkill on data capture as well. Because looking for a pattern, much less a trend in limited data too often leads to the wrong conclusions.

The current CoVid-19 guidelines include taking you temperature twice a day. At first this might seem excessive but here is the deal.

  • 98.6 is a generalized average for humans. But actual people vary a fair bit from that. I remember the first physical I had to have for a job the doctor tried 3 thermometers on me before finally deciding I was fine other than being on the low end of the spectrum. 
  • Then you add to that people's temp varies over the day and thermometers are not near as accurate as most people assume. Take your temp 2 or 3 times in 5 minutes and see for yourself. 


So knowing YOUR normal range with YOUR thermometer is critical to knowing if you actually have a fever. Those with allergies probably already know this as often a fever it the main difference between a bad allergy day and having a cold or the flu.

Personally I use MyNetDiary to log all kinds of health data including how I feel, pills I take, food I eat and even how much water I drink cause when I feel like crap I want to know why. And hopefully how I can work out how to avoid it happening again or at least plan to deal. This can be very useful sorting allergies and controlling weight as well. Being able to see the data in charts really helps in seeing patterns and bad data too.


Note there are lots of online tracking services I like MyNetDiary because it support custom things like temperature. Note they hide these in the diabetes section for some reason I've never sorted. You will notice above I even track the room temperature at the time I take my temperature just to ensure if there is any variance discovered later that might be accounted for by the room temp. Like I said there really is no such thing as too much data. You can always filter or delete later but you can not go back and get data you did not think mattered at the time.

For easy of use it is hard to beat the Withings Thermo Sadly Withings does not show charts for temperature. But then last I checked transcribing into a service like MyNetDiary was the only way to get a chart of your temperature. Maybe after this outbreak that will change.  

Tuesday, January 21, 2020

Things to monitor and control

People often ask for ideas of what to do next. I say if you can count your devices, you need more.

Some of the things I'm doing:



Still on the to-do list:


  • Find smart door locks that can tell me the doors lock status at a reasonable price. The weather is so variable here in central Texas, heat and humidity wise that exterior doors change shape enough that doors tend to need a push or a pull for the dead bolt to align so I've given up on actually being able to lock/unlock them. Wish now I'd wired the dead bolt holes with recessed switches.
  • Open garage door on command though mainly for the "Goodbye" routine that puts the site into away mode only after checking the alarm is ready to arm. Seen too many glitches to feel good about it opening automatically on return.
  • Smarter motion recognition. Ultimate goal is to be able to have it tell me what is sees moving and tell me where a pet was last seen. Would prefer a Blue Iris plugin or similar but might look at a separate system like YOLO I can send triggered images to.
  • Want GPS tracking of pets when practical. Which seems soon.
  • Of course wild critters are getting to be big deal here which accounts for many of the cameras. For example I recently added 4 just trying to find a snake that got in the shop. Lately feral hogs are the thing.
  • Well and water softener monitor so know if the well has tripped, a filter has clogged or a pipe is leaking / burst.

Other stuff some have mentioned but not on my list:

  • Smart or controllable blinds.