Since I missed the May Home Automation Month, I really need to make up for it somehow. So here’s a quick video of Remoat (http://remoat.com), a little utility I’ve been putting together in my spare time. It’s not really production-ready, but I’ll make the source available for the hackers out there.
Currently it needs/supports the following:
- Windows Media Player: Plays music from your library.
- MiCasaVerde Vera: Allows you to turn on binary devices, such as lights that you’ve got configured.
- mControl 2.X: There’s some old code in the package from when I was running mControl on my WHS box (which had sequential disk failures and in the end killed my RAID –> switched to a QNAP NAS). Unsupported.
- Windows Vista/7 speech recognition: This is required (part of the operating system anyway).
- Windows text-to-speech: You can specify which audio device is used for speech output. This lets you hook up a pair of speakers that are always on and have the PC hooked up to you’re a/V system for better quality playback. Part of the operating system.
The current latest beta build of mControl doesn’t work under Vista. I tracked the issue down to the DLLS being compiled for 32-bit, but the main application for “anycpu”.
If you have the .NET Framework SDK, you can create a workaround as follows:
- Open an administrative command prompt. The Visual Studio 2008 command prompt is a good candidate, since it has the required paths pointing to "corflags.exe" (It’s in C:\Program Files\Microsoft SDKs\Windows\v6.1\Bin or similar).
- Go to the mControl binary folder:
CD C:\Program Files (x86)\Embedded Automation\mControl\bin
- Turn on the 32-bit flag for mControlEditorForm.exe:
corflags mControlEditorForm.exe /32bit+ /force
UPDATE: This issue has been fixed in build 2.1.3306.3
Both the iPhone and iPod Touch let you add bookmarks directly to your device's home screen. Adding a bookmark to mControl's mobile.aspx page makes it quicker to access your home automation, and for that reason I tend to walk around with my phone in my pocket even at home.
I also added a custom icon by creating a 57x57 pixel PNG file named "apple-touch-icon.png" and copying it to the WHS machine's C:\Inetpub\wwwroot folder. The "mHome_ThumbVista.png" file in the mControl directory is a good starting point for an image, though you should make it square without the glassy effect for best results.
For more details on creating icons for sites, do a web search for "apple-touch-icon.png" and you should get all the information you need.
Fake home screen
Embedded Automation's mControl for WHS currently installs an unsecured application under the Default Website in WHS. My recommendation is to immediately make sure that you've turned on requiring authentication for the mControl virtual folder. However, turning on authentication makes it harder to access the web version of mControl from within your local network, such as from an iPhone or UMPC. The solution is to create a second web site under IIS on the Windows Home Server.