Smart Thermostats

Last year (Nov. 2013) I decided to upgrade the old Honeywell relay thermostat in my office. I work in a 100 year old farmhouse. It still has the old registers and original duct work,register

but is powered by a high efficiency natural gas furnace. I looked around at time and found a cheap, but Wifi-capable thermostat. I picked the Motison Cyberstat. I have no affiliation with Motison; just a happy customer.

It has a web app interface on the website. You can create a shortcut link on your mobile phone.

My problem was that I never remembered to turn the heat down or the air conditioner off when I left work. Sometimes I don’t know if I’m going to go back to work or if I’ll end up just using a computer at home in the evening. I needed an automatic method for my thermostat to sense my presence. I downloaded IFTTT and found that it has channels for Honeywell and Google Nest, but nothing for the Cyberstat. IFTTT has a closed architecture. I posted a request, but the support pages are a black hole. Besides that, I think I have made a solid and exciting application.

There is a wordpress workaround that I considered using. There are several on github. It seems hacky. I wish there was an open source alternative to IFTTT or at least an open channel model.

I’m in the Android camp for my phone. I develop for iOS to pay the bills, but I have not owned one for anything besides testing since the original iPhone was released.  I’m still agog about my Galaxy S5.

I have a sample app that will accept SMS messages sent from IFTTT and then fire off a cgi-bin on a server to control my CyberStat. This method works, and just requires you bounce a message through the phone company and have your own server. I decided instead on a single App Android solution. For this problem Wifi triggers works well.



Hello world!

Photo taken from the top of my office July 16. The house in the distance is where I live.

I’m finally getting around to starting a blog to share code and ideas. This also gave me a good excuse to start using Amazon Web Services. I have had server co-located at LiquidWeb for years running several Xen instances. This gives me a chance to explore easier to maintain solutions. This blog is running on a t2.micro in US East. I decided to try the Amazon Linux AMI.