There are several home automation which I think I would like to do. Something that can open and close the curtains and the windows automatically or perhaps voiced controlled lights that responds to commands spoken in Mandarin. Just trying to buy a bit of convenience for my mum who likes perfection control over the curtains and the windows.

It is not until in the recent few years, with the widespread popularity of Internet of Things and home automation kit, these had become more achievable. The relatively accessibility of microcontrollers such as the Arduino, microcomputer such as the Raspberry Pi and recently, Amazon Echo Dot that has a supreme speech recognition system behind it. Nevertheless, it is still a pretty expensive affair trying to hack an automated curtain opener or closer.

An Arduino set augemented with the TinkerKit Shield that I borrowed from the school

It is in my genes to want to hack something together for quite some time. However, there are three things that will hold me back: a compelling use case, money and time.

Today’s different though. The stars had aligned at last!

  1. Compelling Use Case: Need to look for a replacement for that unstable cloudBits™ that I have been using in the Internet of Things class.
  2. Money: Lend a unit out from the school.
  3. Time: I think I need six hours but I have the entire day. In other words, plentiful.

The requirements for today’s hack is as follows:

  • Configure the Arduino so that it can connect through WiFi.
  • Control the actuators mounted on the Arduino via the Internet.
  • Read the sensors mounted on the Arduino via the Internet.
  • Use a Java programme to control the actuators and read the sensors mounted on the Internet.

And all the requirements are met in 3 hours, half the time I thought I would need!

One hard thing I learnt about myself is that I always seems to be underestimating the amount of time I need to hack new technologies together. This occured too many times, tracing back to school days, often over estimating the amount of time I need by two-fold. Yet, I couldn’t help but build that buffer zone for myself, in case things gone wrong.

And what’s wrong with that you are asking?

Time is one of the factor that will hold me back to do something. If I deemed that I am going to need 6 hours to accomplish this hack, I’m not going to feel motivated to begin on the project unless I have about 6 hours to begin with.

Looks like aside from hacking geeky stuff together, I better learn how to hack into my mind to just do it.