Authoralanjames1987

Building a $5 Smart Plug

I love home automation and have added all sorts of devices to my home over the last several years. For all the devices I have the most used and most useful are smart lights.

I’ve said many times to not use smart bulbs and to use smart switches instead, but what if you want to control more than just lights? What if you want to control power to something like 3d printers, a soldering iron, or even a flat iron; something that would be dangerous to keep on when away but something that don’t have just one location and thus doesn’t have just one switch to control it.

That is where smart plugs come in.

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The Best 3D Printer?

I had been interested in 3d printing for a while and ordered a lot of things from 3D Hubs over the years and a few years ago I bought my first 3d printer. I’ve used and owned a few 3d printers since and finding what I liked and didn’t like about them I started looking for the printer that was perfect for me.

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Why I Hated My Old Smart Home

I’ve had a smart home for over a year and learned a lot in that time. I’ve added devices, removed devices, and in the end have a nearly 100% different system than when I started.

The Beginning

I started with an Amazon Echo, a SmartThings hub, several Z-Wave light bulbs, and an ecobee 3 thermostat. Each of these devices was a great device to start with but I quickly outgrew them and have swamped them out for something better.

So why did I start with these devices, why did I change them, and what have I swapped them to?

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Understanding Why We Can’t Understand Machine Learning

Describing how machine learning systems work to customers is one of the hardest parts of explaining our technology stack at NeoReach. Customers often think we program machine learning and we know every in and out of the system, like traditional programming, but that’s simply not the case.

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Setting Up a Budget Security System

Several months ago my office was broken into. We lost several thousands of dollars of computers but that was honestly not the worst part. Because all of those computers were used for development they all had SSH keys on them that could be used to access our servers. We encrypt all of our computers and all use very secure passwords but we don’t take changes with security so everyone that has access to servers had to change their SSH keys.

The whole incident was infuriating, mostly because of the wasted time, and not having anyone to blame left us all feeling frustrated. After we got our digital security back in order we decided to take some precautions with physical security and setup a security system.

If you’ve never setup a security system you might think it’s easy. Buy some cameras and plug them in, right? You couldn’t be more wrong.

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Google Home Mini Review

I love Google Assistant, and really love Google Home. I’ve talked about how it’s THE virtual digital assistant you should choose when setting up you smart home and how it’s years more advanced than any of the other competition.

I followed all the leaks and even Tweated about how I was going to buy a Google Home Mini the first day it came out, even though I already had two Google Homes.

Well, unfortunately the Google Home Mini is not what I was hoping for and not because I was expecting too much.

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Upgrading Your Home into a Smart Home Doesn’t Have to be Hard

I’ve had a smart home for several months now and daily I’m reading articles about the advancing field of home automation. Most of the articles make it seem that updating your apartment or house to be smart requires an engineer’s brain and several PHDs in the field of automation, programming, and computer science.

While setting up a smart home CAN be complicated it doesn’t have to be.

I’m going to cover the basics of setting up a smart home, describing what devices you need, what you don’t need, and comparing seemingly equivalent products.

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Best Sublime Plugins

As you can tell from my lack of articles over the last several months I have been very busy. I’ve been in India and San Francisco working like crazy. I will be posting more about what I have been working on in the future, but because of work I have had no time to write any new or interesting articles.

So today I decided to share what Sublime plugins I use to be more productive, help unify my team’s standards, and help the overall collaboration in my team.

I’ve been using Sublime for several years but I was unimpressed when I first started using it. I later found out that the real advantage of using Sublime is the plugin system. You can make Sublime into nearly any type of IDE you want.

Here is my list of best Sublime plugins.

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ECMAScript 6 has been Approved

In the last several days I have been planning for a multi week work trip to India. In fact I’m writing this on the plane to London as it is the first chance I have had to write anything recently.

ECMAScript 6 has been approved!

It was approved on the 18th of June and brings with it many amazing new features. I’m sure I will be writing more about this in the future.

I’ll be celebrating 2 days late and over the Atlantic, but I will be celebrating none the less.

Tinder, the Turing test, and Ex Machina

As I’ve shown with my previous article on Writing to a Future Artificial Intelligence, I’m on an artificial intelligence kick. And I probably will be for the next year, so I’ll be discussing AI in movies, games, and any other form of media fairly frequently.

Given my AI kick, I was excited when I heard about the film Ex Machina, about a young programmer named Caleb conducting a Turing test on an attractive artificial intelligence named Ava. I saw it this past weekend and it was very interesting and well worth watching. Even more interesting was the real-world Turing test the production company performed during SXSW.

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