IVB\’s Home Theater and Home Automation

You don\’t have to spend a lot for that smarthome.

Webserver & PDA access to HA really is needed

Posted by IVB on December 21, 2006

Well, i’ve gone from a “yeah, that webserver thing is cute, not really that necessary” to “I must use that and use it more” in a matter of 1 week, and the wife in a matter of 1 hr. Much more so for the value of PDA control.

We’re on vacation now, and I’ve been using the above page to keep tabs on the house and housesitter. Wife thinks it’s very nice to be able to monitor said things, esp given how crime has been on the rise given the holiday season.

Well, we just got a call from NextAlarm saying that the alarm was tripped, they tried contacting the premises, no one picked up, so they dispatched the police.  I happened to be on a work call in the hotel room at the time (don’t they know i’m on vacation), so I quickly hung up, pulled up the CCTV’s on the PDA.  Didn’t see anything, decided to pull up CQC. Regardless of the 2.0 CQC DotNetViewer not yet being released, I can’t actually put CQC on my work laptop. But I could quickly pull up that page, boy does it load fast.

I scanned through the security system, checked out the doors and interior with the CCTV. All looked fine. But that’s still not all – I just got HUGE mileage out of the 10 motion sensors and that “recent activity” logic I coded in ElkRP where it’ll tell CQC if there’s been any motion in any room in the last <x> minutes. Scanned through it, realized there was only one zone reporting recent activity, pulled that up on the CCTV, realized it was fine, must have been some funky false alarm. I’ll check out the ElkRP log when I get back to make sure the Elk threw a false alarm, and it wasn’t a communications or NextAlarm problem.  Apparently there was an earthquake a few hours ago, so that may have thrown some wiring or other electronics akilter.

Anyhow, count the wife (& me) in as one of the “webserver rocks” converted, she actually had me add the bookmark for the above page in her Treo 650P. Both of us were already “PDA access is key” folks, now much more so (although admittedly, today’s activity was all about the CCTV PDA access).

She cannot put CQC on her PalmOS PDA, nor the CCTV PDA software. Hence, she’s stuck with webserver access. However, she’s now contemplating getting the same phone as me so she can pull up the CCTV if I’m unavailable. Hmmm, maybe i’ll get the new Cingular 8525 and she can have my 5 month old 8125.

We wouldn’t have been able to actually do anything had we verified the existence of the bad guys. Honestly, I would have deferred that to the cops anyhow – this just gave us peace of mind that the house is actually fine within the matter of a few minutes, as opposed to the 1-3 hours it would have taken for a relative or the house sitter to finally make it there. (oh, plus avoiding the $250 charge for a false alarm if we weren’t able to succesfully cancel).  That is priceless.


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