Brains of the Operation, Pt. 1

Brains of the Operation, Pt. 1

Trigger an Alarm

You can take your front-door voyeurism to another level by triggering an alarm whenever someone steps to the front door. For this, youll need Perceptive Automations Indigo 2.0 software ($180), which connects to wireless devices you install around your home. We got all the hardware we needed at the ActiveEye Motion Sensor ($19.95), the W800RF32A X10 RF Receiver ($68.95), and the Keyspan USB Serial Adapter ($31.50). Heres how to get it all working together.


1. Put the Plan in Motion

Unscrew the cover on the motion sensor, install the batteries, and press the On button. A tiny red light will flash. Replace the cover. Mount the sensor near your front door using the included brackets. Now wave your arms or do a little dance in front of the motion detector to make sure the light flickers in response. It might take a few seconds for the sensor to read your movement.


This little guy can detect movement at your front door.


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2. Hook Things Up

Download the Keyspan driver, double-click the file to decompress it, and then install it. Connect the RF receiver to the included serial cable - thats the one thats not a USB cable. Connect the serial cable to the Keyspan USB Serial Adapter, and plug the USB end into your Mac.


You need a USB serial adapter to connect the RF receiver to your Mac via USB.


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3. Set Your Server Prefs

Launch Indigo, and go to File > Server Preferences. Place a check next to Enable RF receiver interface and select the W800RF32A for the interface and KeySerial for the serial port, then close that window. If you havent had your coffee yet, we advise you to caffeinate now before proceeding with the next few steps.


Note the Default house code option - leave it as is unless you run into problems. If so, try a different letter.


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4. Pull the Trigger

Still in Indigo, click Trigger Actions in the left column, and then click the green New button. For Name, type Motion Sensor. For type, select X10/RF Command Received.


Click the Suppress Logging checkbox to skip the detailed log that Indigo displays for every connected device.


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5. Growl Away Intruders

In your Web browser, download and install Growl (free), which is the app that’ll notify you of an intrusion. Indigo has a built-in script for Growl; in Indigo, select Scripts > Reload Attachments just to make sure it’s primed and ready. Still in Indigo, click Actions and select Execute AppleScript. Select the radio button next to Embedded and type this text into the field provided:


Growl("Warning", "Warning - Motion Detected")


Growl is a simple alert program that nicely supports AppleScript commands.


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6. And We Have Detection

Finally, click Run. A message will appear that says “Motion Detected.” To test the motion sensor, have someone wave, jump, or do a jig in front of it, which should trigger the Growl message again. To add additional devices, repeat these steps.


The warning message will disappear after a few moments; it reappears any time motion is detected.


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Indigo: Automation Enabler

Many of the automation projects we present here require Indigo 2 ($180), a home-automation system developed by Matt Bendiksen, a former Macromedia lead developer. Props to Matt, who made sure we got the technical details in this article correct. To test Indigo’s capabilities, try downloading and installing the trial version. We don’t cover all of the amazing things you can do with it, but it’s very powerful - especially with house lighting - so peruse the Help system and website for more info.


To read part 2 of Brains of the Operation, click here.




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"[A]long with the benefits of keeping a wire-free office comes some serious and significant drawbacks. Security expert Seth Fogie looks at one such [device] and highlights several problems that can not only can give an attacker a first-person view into your office/home, but also ensure your wireless camera fails to operate as expected."



for some reason, the URL I added was snipped:

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