A Little Hackintosh Based Home Presence

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190EAMG

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A Little Hackintosh Based Home Presence
« on: February 08, 2013, 05:03:21 am »
Hi all,

My name is Sean, I'm a pilot and flight safety analyst, and someone with huge technolust! - Yes, I'm a Hak5 fan! ;) - While flying is my passion, I have always had a strong interest and truly second passion in engineering, computers and robotics.  I happened to stumble upon this site during my explorations of AppleScript coding and found some truely inspiring ideas.  So now that my project is beginning to mature (actual daily use), I thought it was about time I join up!

About 5 months ago I moved into a fabulous apartment in the heart of Downtown Montreal and in setting up my ideal home media center, it has begun to expand into my passions.  I have in the last month been extending its influence throughout the rest of my apartment, linking it into the lighting, the HVAC and whole apartment sound system.  While certainly people can achieve a lot of this now-a-days simply by opening their wallets, I'm on a rather tight budget being a fledgling pilot, so I have been doing as much as I can through my own ingenuity and over the counter parts.

I've only really been working on the automation aspects of my system for a couple weeks and in this time also teaching myself the AppleScript programming language as my system's base, connecting into other languages when needed for functions I can't achieve within the scope of AppleScript.  While I am sure it is often quoted here as an inspiration for their automation project, a lot of my vision for what I would like to achieve is seen in JARVIS from Iron Man.  So far I have managed to provide my system with connection into the local weather from a personal weather station, my iCal calendars, an aviation accident monitoring site (partial implimentation thus far), my Plex media center (partial integration, only control of, no detection of state yet), integration with push notifications for my whole system out to my iPhone and iPad, partial control of the front door access system to my building (as much as I obviously can when it is not my own personal building) and finally my favorite achievement, rather reliable presence detection.  This is also integrated with my Harmony remote I am using for my media center, which now sends commands to open the front door as well as full one button Skype call logic during use of the Plex Media Client (for those not aware, there is no existing integration of Skype into Plex, hence my work to achieve it). While so far my lighting is only using motion and timing, I have a perl API that I am working on implementing into my scripts to allow the Mac to control it directly, but I am still learning how to get this online and controlled through AppleScript (proven to work, but waiting for the API developer to write a little documentation).  There is still a lot more that I would obviously like to achieve, as half the fun of such a project for me is the creation.  So far this is all being run through my old Aluminum MacBook 13" (pre-Pro), however I am slowly investing in the parts to buildup my own powerful mini-ITX based Hackintosh server to eventually take over the whole system and provide ultimately more flexibility, reliability and capability.

Anyways, I have shared a decent amount here for my first post I believe and while no where near a full description of what I have achieved so far in my project or probably even very clearly explained (I am writing this late at night before going to bed after a very sleepless week), I think this gives you all a good idea of where I generally am right now in my project and where it is headed.

Cheers,
Sean "190EAMG"
« Last Edit: February 08, 2013, 06:38:03 pm by 190EAMG »

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Bragi

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Re: A Little Hackintosh Based Home Presence
« Reply #1 on: February 08, 2013, 07:21:29 am »
Hi Sean. Welcome to the site.

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Freddy

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Re: A Little Hackintosh Based Home Presence
« Reply #2 on: February 08, 2013, 11:38:35 am »
Hi Sean and welcome.  First I'm glad you found some interesting ideas here and felt like joining us :)

It sounds like you have done a heck of a lot already, how much time do you think you have spent on your project to get to this state ?  It might give other people an idea on the time investment (although if your having fun you never notice).

I like that you are doing a lot of the work yourself.  I myself am at a point now that rather than looking around or waiting for something to appear, I now start working on things myself.  It's more rewarding in the end I think too.

Anyway, I look forward to reading more from you and feel free to jump into the chat here, some of us have been here a few years now and know each other well.  That should not put you off as we are a welcoming bunch, the more the merrier  :)

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Art

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Re: A Little Hackintosh Based Home Presence
« Reply #3 on: February 08, 2013, 11:42:16 am »
Welcome aboard, Sean.
At some future time a small video highlighting some of your system might be enjoyable and informative if you'd wish to share.
Not a requirement, just a thought.

 O0
In the world of AI, it's the thought that counts!

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Data

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Re: A Little Hackintosh Based Home Presence
« Reply #4 on: February 08, 2013, 11:59:46 am »
Hello Sean, from reading your post I think you will fit in here.

Interesting project and welcome to Dreams  :)

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190EAMG

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Re: A Little Hackintosh Based Home Presence
« Reply #5 on: February 08, 2013, 06:31:23 pm »
Hi all,

Thank you for the very warm welcome, I get the impression that I am definitely going to be enjoying my time here and I will definitely stop by the chatroom sometime this weekend.

Freddy - In all so far I have probably spent about ~100hrs or so on coding and dedicated debugging of the automation scripts as well as learning AppleScript in the process.  If I include in the time I've spent on my first project of the Skype and Plex control from my Harmony remote, I would say that would be an additional 25hrs, not counting the extensive debugging on that first coding project (I've probably re-written half of it since v1.0, not to mention more then doubled the number of lines of code as I've added functionality).  These numbers are all rough estimates, as I have far from kept track, but give a general idea of the work involved.

Art - I'm actually planning to do that very thing in the somewhat near future, I'd like to create a bit of a podcast of some of this work and some how-to videos in the same feel as Iyaz Akhtar's old show This Old Nerd, but in the interm I may try and put something together of what I have so far for you guys to look at.  Perhaps you guys will have some good ideas for additional functionality or logic.

So back to working on flight safety for the remainder of this snowy Friday afternoon.  Thank you all again for the very warm welcome to Dream!

Cheers,
Sean "190EAMG"

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Art

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Re: A Little Hackintosh Based Home Presence
« Reply #6 on: February 09, 2013, 01:36:12 pm »
Sean,

Many years ago I used to fly a Piper, PA28-140, a single engine, 140 hp lycoming. I was also in the Air Force at the time but this was purely an after hours, recreational pursuit of mine which I dearly loved. (That was back in the early 1970's and so much has changed). I no longer fly but do retain those fond memories!

Looking forward to seeing some of your "home automation" projects.

Best,
- Art -
In the world of AI, it's the thought that counts!

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Sybershot

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Re: A Little Hackintosh Based Home Presence
« Reply #7 on: February 10, 2013, 03:46:44 pm »
Sean welcome to AiDreams,  May I ask why you decided to go with Mac and not windows or linux for this project? I only ask out of pure interest, for I am working on similar idea. Also did you get Hal working on your mac or is Hal on a different windows based pc or vm.

I share your interest in Ironman's jarvis, it the best way to describe what I seek and trying to accomplish myself. I even built a car pc for my car, yet to be installed for I need a touch screen, servo control board and another router.

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190EAMG

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Re: A Little Hackintosh Based Home Presence
« Reply #8 on: February 11, 2013, 02:38:13 am »
Art - I've got a number of hours in that type of Piper myself, it's quite the venerable GA aircraft.  It's actually the only type in which I have had a tire blowout at high speed, on landing in my case, but that was not related to the type.

Sybershot - My decision to go with Mac OSX as the basis for my for my home server was somewhat two fold.

  • The first reason, is that even though I slightly stronger background in the Windows world, I switched over to a Mac as my full-time computer around the time of Vista coming to market and it has not really ever been a decision that I regret.  While I will say that the price point for a Mac is rather high given it's computer specs, the product build quality of Apple products is very hard to beat, especially at that time.  I also loved learning a new operating system and have enjoyed the experience OSX has brought to the table for the most part.  Believe it or not, but it is that first Mac, that is currently the computer running my home system at the moment and is probably on par with my Windows desktop machine I built a couple years earlier and while I eventually plan to build a new machine specifically to act as my home server, OSX is what I am running right now.

  • The second reason for using OSX is the software side of things.  By this I mean, both existing software products that I am implementing into my setup, but also the programming language that I am using as my basis.  My system is built around my media center, where this computer is both the server and client, for which I run Plex.  For those of you who are not aware of this software, Plex is a fabulous open-source media center solution based on XBMC, that has a server, client structure.  It's capability is amazing and while it is completely cross platform (OSX, Linux & Windows), I am using a few pieces of software along with it, that I prefer and don't quite have a windows equivalent and even less so Linux.

    On that same point of software, the programming language AppleScript is my main reason, for wanting to stay in a OSX world.  This language's integration with most all programs running on the system has made a lot of what I have done with my system possible and it's natural language basis has allowed me to pick up the language very quickly, when I have only experience with HTML, Assembler, and Basic previously.  Sure some will argue that while the language is simple in its form, but that each program's dictionary of usable commands is like a new language each time, I still say that the equvilent would be me having to write each connection myself or making it human interface control based, neither of which is an appealing prospect in my goals.

I'm sorry for my ignorance, I will use my newbie status as an excuse, but I am unsure what you mean by Hal.  Are you referring to heuristic algorithms?  In any case, this may at least partially answer your question; my entire system is run solely on OSX and iOS.

Considering the depth that this discussion it taking on my setup, I ask the moderators if perhaps it should be moved into a more appropriate project/automation section or remain here?

Also, considering the still lack of a promised guide by the developer for the API that I wish to use to give AppleScript control over my lighting system and other's abilities to use it already without.  Since I am very new to Perl script and integrating it into AppleScript, I may post up over the next couple of days what I am trying to use and ask if one or a few of you could help me understand how to implement it.

Cheers all,
Sean

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Sybershot

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Re: A Little Hackintosh Based Home Presence
« Reply #9 on: February 11, 2013, 04:19:32 am »
Quote
I'm sorry for my ignorance, I will use my newbie status as an excuse, but I am unsure what you mean by Hal.
No need to be sorry 190EAMG I am the one that needs to apologize. I'm sorry, I read this line incorrectly
Quote
Yes, I'm a Hak5 fan! 
I mistakenly read it as "I'm a Hal5 fan" where Hal is a ChatBot/secretary program for a windows os made by Zabaware. It is the program I using to create my home animation project. Though I am using version 6.2, and have not yet to get any of the boards I need that will assist in controlling things such as lights.

My brother has a newer Mac and he loves it, I have only used a couple older models from about 7 years ago. back then I  was not impressed, but cannot say anything about there newer os'es for I have not had a chance to get my hands on one yet. Unfortunately my brother lives down south where as I live up north in the US. 

Thanks for ansering my questions and telling me a bit about AppleScript, sounds fairly straight forward and seems to do a lot for a single programming language.
never the less I'm glad to see more people getting into home animation :D I hope your able to get the code snippets that you need. Wish I could help, but I do not know AppleScript Sorry.

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Art

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Re: A Little Hackintosh Based Home Presence
« Reply #10 on: February 11, 2013, 12:21:20 pm »
Syber,

Yep...don't know why but I read his line exactly the same way. I thought he was a former HAL5 (version 5) fan! I need to get these glasses checked for close up reading!!
I do have a strong, active interest in H/A and have several devices working in and around my house. I'm still a Windows user although I do have a box running Ubuntu quite successfully.
I was never impressed with the high-dollar Apple side of the fence and even today they are quite the minority in the computer world. High prices for hardware and software never appealed to the masses. It was more geared toward the professionals, illustrators, architects, animators, etc., but the Windows world has quickly caught up with that aspect.
I'm not taking sides as it's better to go with what best suits your needs, lifestyle, expansion and pocketbook.
The end...and happily, ever after.... ;)
In the world of AI, it's the thought that counts!

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Freddy

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Re: A Little Hackintosh Based Home Presence
« Reply #11 on: February 11, 2013, 12:41:28 pm »
Quote
Considering the depth that this discussion it taking on my setup, I ask the moderators if perhaps it should be moved into a more appropriate project/automation section or remain here?

Sean, yes maybe, perhaps I should move you into the General Projects board.  It does just as it says on the tin ;)  The question is would you like to continue here with project discussion or start a new thread ?  I would be happy to just move this whole topic across.

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190EAMG

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Re: A Little Hackintosh Based Home Presence
« Reply #12 on: May 09, 2013, 03:40:38 pm »
Quote
Considering the depth that this discussion it taking on my setup, I ask the moderators if perhaps it should be moved into a more appropriate project/automation section or remain here?

Sean, yes maybe, perhaps I should move you into the General Projects board.  It does just as it says on the tin ;)  The question is would you like to continue here with project discussion or start a new thread ?  I would be happy to just move this whole topic across.

Well this has certainly taken me forever to respond, but yes if you don't mind Freddy, I think we can move it over to the General Projects board, rather than duplicate this thread there essentially.

For everyone else, I'm sorry I have not kept you up to date on the progress of my project, it has been moving along fairly nicely and I am enjoying its practical everyday use.  I will try to put together a post this weekend of what I have managed to accomplish.

Cheers,
Sean

 


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