Brains of the Operation, Pt. 2

Brains of the Operation, Pt. 2

Lights Out (No Clapper Needed)

Remember the Clapper? Your Mac handily takes the place of that cheesy As-Seen-on-TV invention, thanks to the Indigo 2 software. In addition to Indigo, you’ll also need some hardware from Insteon, including the LampLinc V2 Dimmer module ($34.99), a pair of SignaLinc RF Signal Extenders ($69.99) to enhance the signal in your home, plus the PowerLinc V2 ($69.99), which attaches to your Mac with a USB cable. All Insteon products are available from www.smarthome.com or www.machomestore.com.

 

Before you get started on the lamp connection, plug the PowerLinc into a wall outlet next to your Mac, then connect the USB cable to the PowerLinc and to your Mac. Indigo 2 will find the PowerLinc automatically, since the driver comes preinstalled.

 

1. Make Contact

First, write down the six-digit code that should appear on the LampLinc, near the plug prongs. Plug a lamp in your bedroom into the outlet facing down on the LampLinc. (The outlet on the front is a “passthrough” that you can use for items that are not controlled by Indigo.) Plug in the LampLinc. Turn on the lamp, and head to your Mac. In Indigo, go to File > New Device. Type a name like “Bedroom_Lamp” and select INSTEON in the Type pop-up. Click Define And Sync, type in the LampLinc code you wrote down, and click Start. (Oops, got an error? Make sure you wrote down and typed in the correct LampLinc code, and that the PowerLinc is properly connected.)

 

If you add more lamps, name them succinctly: Sofa_Lamp, Front_Hall_Lamp, Lava_Lamp, and so on.

 

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2. Schedule Your Actions

In Indigo, click Time/Date Actions. Name the trigger something like “Turn Lamp On and Off.” Under Time/Date Trigger, set up the schedule for when the lamp should turn on and off. Now click Actions, and select Control Light/Appliance under Type, Turn On under Action, and Bedroom_Lamp under Device. (Yup, that’s the device you added in step 1.) Click Auto Off and set a timer for when the lamp should turn off.

 

The Actions pane also has a Speak field, if you want your Mac to say, “The bedroom lamp is now on.”

 

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3. Test It Out

Finally, test out the trigger. Place a check next to the “Turn Lamp On and Off,” click the Execute Actions button, and check to see if the lamp is on. You can also click Devices, select Bedroom_Lamp and turn it on or off that way.

 

Only those actions with a check will execute when you click Execute Actions in Indigo.

 

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Wake Up, Little Suzie

Alarm Clock Pro ($20) lets you configure your morning alarm in lots of different ways: with a song or entire playlist that fades in, with a daily news podcast, or with the Mac saying “Go ahead, sleep all day, ya dweeb” or other spoken text.

 

Once you’ve installed Alarm Clock Pro, click New to set a new alarm. In the Regular pop-up window, select Relative so you can set a recurring alarm. Set the time, and click the days you want it to go off. Then, under Events, select the podcast, song, playlist, or other wake-up call. (You have to double-click to configure your option.)

 

Alarm Clock Pro even lets you open up a webpage or send an email automatically when the alarm goes off.

 

More...

 

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