Week 2 Update: Squashing Bugs, Possible Features

This week I focused on maintenance and bug fixes for my house, as well as began to experiment with some of my future goals I ha previously outlined. Due to this system being very “hacked together” there is the occasional tendency for part of the system to fail without any indication of what the issue is. Fortunately the community surrounding home assistant is quite large, and a simple chatroom post about my issue was answered swiftly, and I fixed the issue at hand. I want to focus on this interaction in just a few words, since it has been the foundation of learning as I’ve continued with this ever-growing project.

Home Assistant itself is an open-source project, and with it comes a community of individuals, both advanced and beginner, that have been increasingly enthusiastic about the growth and success of this platform. The site admins maintain a “gitter” chat room, which is an unlimited-member chat room dedicated to this project, that allows anyone to ask a question related to home assistant — whether that be feature implementations, errors, installation help, or anything that comes to mind. This alone has personally been the reason I expanded my system so quickly (about 6 months now), since any hurdle I encountered was answered almost immediately. Jumping into the using the system last February, I had little to no knowledge of how to implement anything in my current system. But between the gitter chatroom, online forums, clear documentation, and YouTube tutorials, learning how to build something like this has become easier and easier. I think all community-based projects should utilize a similar networking service, as it’s the closest online equivalent to working with others in a maker space.

Moving back into my project, I took some time to experiment with a future feature of the system, which is building a “magic” mirror. I’ve found quite a few of YouTube videos demoing DIY magic mirror builds, and I’ve gotten more and more excited to try a similar implementation myself. So far it has not been too difficult — I downloaded an existing github project, loaded in on the raspberry pi, and after configuring a few things had a monitor displaying HUD–like daily information. Once I build the mirror itself (binding the monitor with a 1 way mirror) I hope to customize it was information about the house, such as what switches or lights are, on, who’s home, or other relevant information. Depending on how ambitious I am with it, I recently saw home assistant added support for Microsoft Face Recognition. Combining the two software pieces, I could personalize the mirror experience based on who approaches it.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fkVBAcvbrjU&t=1s

In the coming week I hope to seal up any existing bugs or cleanup issues, and begin surveying and outlining other automations that could be implemented to increase the usability and automatic nature of the system.

Thanks for following! & Stay tuned in the coming weeks for a video tour of the house!

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