Thursday, September 18, 2008


The one thing I always struggle with is finding good control terminals. Currently I have an odd mix of access to the system visually. In the living room, I have an N800 displaying the normal Misterhouse webpage. It's ok, although I really need to develop a more concise interface for it. In the bedroom, I have a PPC next to the bed that controls lighting and house modes primarily. It also keeps me up to date on indoor/outdoor temperatures, severe weather, motion status, etc. Not a bad solution, but I really just don't like the PPC. So, on to my new attempt.

I was one of those people who jumped on the Chumby early. For quite a while now, it has sat as an overglorified alarm clock. I think it is time for that to change. My goal is to setup the Chumby first as an informational terminal for night time.

Project Goals:
- Have Misterhouse wake Chumby from Nightmode
- Have Misterhouse display X widget on Chumby.
* Widgets I plan to start with:
Severe Thunderstorm Warning and display local radar
Tornado Warning and display local radar
Outdoor Motion Threshold Exceeded
Indoor Security Compromise

It's a start, then we'll move on to temperature, remote alarms, remote speech, and eventually 2 way control. At any rate, I digress. I think this may be possible thanks to this gem on the Chumby wiki....

"The Control Panel, starting from version 2.7, supports external events to perform some common useful actions. To send an event, a small fragment of XML is placed in the file "/tmp/flashplayer.event", and the Flash Player is signaled with the command "chumbyflashplayer.x -F1". Note that this particular XML parser is incomplete - you *must* use double quotes to surround the attribute values. A typical use of this mechanism is by external scripts that may want the Control Panel to do things based on some external stimulus. For instance, one could create a simple CGI for the built-in web server to control the device over the Internet."

The last line is the perfect kicker... I can easily have Misterhouse call a website to turn off night mode and then change the channel. First I have to build that "simple CGI", then we can work on the widgets. Should be fun....

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