My Dreams of the iPhone Home Automation Application….

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Search Numbers – The March U.S. search share numbers are out.  During march Google dropped nearly half a point to 65% which is unusual as it generally goes up! However, physician Yahoo  gained a tenth of a point, recipe which is not significant and Bing continues to slowly gain higher number with 2 tenths increase to 11.7%.  However, according to BusinessInsider.com “Bing is buying a lot of this share through toolbar and other traffic deals.”

It’s All About Perspective -The folks over at Business Pundit Have come up with what I think is a very accurate and unique chart that shows how we view ourselves, and how we view others with our the Corporate World. Problem is they left out HR!

Frankenstein’s TIVOFrom Engadget – Get ready for an acute case of DVR inadequacy courtesy of SnapStream, which has pieced together what it’s calling the world’s largest DVR, and we’re inclined to believe them. Run a coax in the back and, with a fully configured unit, you can record a whopping 50 channels simultaneously onto over 100TB of storage. The trick is it’s actually five separate rack-mounted SnapStream DVRs that all join together to share storage, work across tuners, and to fight the evil King Zarkon from the planet Doom — or at least to record all the Voltron reruns ever aired, ever. No word on the cost of a fully-configured rack, but given the size of that thing (check out the door in the background for comparison) we’re thinking it might not fit in our entertainment center anyway.

Don’t even think about it – According tot he Irish Times, THE BRITISH government has forced through the controversial digital economy Bill , which it won by 189 votes to 47. One of the major clauses of the new law, allows the secretary of state for business to order the blocking of “a location on the internet which the court is satisfied has been, is being or is likely to be used for or in connection with an activity that infringes copyright”. Don Foster, the Liberal Democrat spokesman for culture, media and sport, protested that the clause was too wide-ranging. “It could apply to Google,” he complained, adding that its inclusion of the phrase “likely to be used” meant that a site could be blocked on its assumed intentions rather than its actions.

How we Spend your Money! –  Not sure how many of you have seen the Federal Giverments IT Dash Board, but if you haven’t you might want to take a look.  According toe the Givernment “The IT Dashboard provides the public with an online window into the details of Federal information technology investments and provides users with the ability to track the progress of investments over time.” The site first went on line in June 2009, and has received over 86 million hits since coming on line.  I wonder how many of those are Giverment employees trying to figure out how much money they have to spend to keep up with the other agencies?

Okay! I know we have all seen the commercial on TV with the couple on vacation who use their iPhone to make sure they turned the lights at home. Personally I don’t take these things at face value. It is not that I am not trusting of Apple, try
I know corporations never lie or exaggerate their products features and usage… I trust them all! But in this case I had to find out if this application existed or not.

For me this would be the application that would make an iPhone worth buying. Being a cantankerous old guy, visit this
it made perfect sense. It would be great for those times when the spousal unit is yelling at me to go home, because she thinks she left the iron on, after we have travel more than halfway to our destination. Instead of hitting the brakes and swinging the Suburban around in traffic, cutting off one those Prius things, I could whip out my iPhone with the home monitoring application and handle it from there! Ahhhh… I bask in my glory. But I digress.

Searching around I found the company who has created a home management application for the iPhone, Savant corporation located in Osterville, MA.  According the Savant, their “…Home Automation Application transforms your iPhone or iPod touch into a personal and portable control device that’s capable of monitoring and running your home theater room, lighting control systems, whole house audio and distributed video system, and any other smart home electronics that make your life easier and more enjoyable.”

Savant, says “There’s virtually no amenity in an integrated home that you can’t control from an iPhone or iPod touch…” From the looks of it I believe them.  Aside from being able to control the HVAC, lighting and my DVR at home, they list a number of other items I can control with the iPhone application, such as security cameras and motorized shades. I could control the temperature in my pool or spa. Hell I can even use it to control playing music and movies from a iTunes® digital media server. Damn, wish I had that stuff!

Based on what I can tell, Savant has a huge array of home automation capabilities that go well beyond the iPhone application.  It looks like the iPhone is a convenient and simple interface for a very complex, yet from the looks of it, highly adaptable system.

I see a lot of possibilities for this technology and I have to ask myself why this technology is not more prevalent than it is. I think in the future this will be more commonplace, as it has become in our cars.  However, for right now the hold back is due to cost, at least for the initial installation. While prices are not provided.  I can only imagine a system that is this versatile and able to handle a number of functions for you that this systems looks like it can, it is probably not cheap. But one would think the security and the green factor might offset some of those costs in the long run.

As for me, well aside from the cost, and having to learn yet more new technology, it would probably just ruin all of my fun anyway. After all, despite what I may say to the wife, I really do enjoy doing U turns in my troop transport in front of those little Priuses. The look on their faces when they look up from texting while driving and see this huge tank pull out in front of them as they drop their phones and try to remember where the brake pedal is located, is priceless. And besides, when was the last time my spousal unit really touched an iron?!

Martin Swinney

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