After 5+ years of using 802.11, I think I'm going to run cable through the house. I want to to do it the right way, by having ethernet jacks in all the main rooms. Some rooms will even have two jacks at different locations.
While 802.11a has served me very well over the years, the reason for the switch is that I see a desire down the road to be able to simultaneously network multiple high definition video traffics. I can get one solid HD feed over 802.11a now, but it saturates the network. 802.11n? Chasing draft-n/pre-n right now doesn't guarantee it will work with formal 802.11n down the road. Even after 802.11n is passed, it is just a new wireless standard that will superceded by something else. That something else will be superceded again by something else....
So,. I think my WLAN is going to become a LAN. I'll keep one WAP running for the open CP and another for little piddly things...
Always did think wireless as just a supplement and just a temporary thing for a LAN until running cables one day. Ten years ago, thought those cables would be fiber optic by now...
BTW: I'm still looking forward to the day of the so-called "smart home". You know, where all your appliances have IP addresses and all that jazz. (Legacy examples: the proverbial coffee pot that not only is networked to your alarm clock, but actually learns your lifestyle. It knows when you are likely to skip a day of work before you do. The smart refrigerator that tells you, based on your lifestyle, what you need to get at the grocery store.) Yes, I agree privacy issues need to be addressed for all this, but all this stuff is possible. All the technology exists already. It is just waiting for someone to integrate it all together seamlessly. Key word: seamlessly. The things that are easy to use are the things that last through time. Thats why the toaster has been around for a century. Software sucks these days. All of it. Windows, GNU/Linux, FreeBSD, OSX, Solaris, you name it -- it all sucks! No effort at is being given to integrate things in a way that is natural for humans.
Think outside the box for a second. Say that you are watching a film in one room and you wish to view it in another room. A way that I envision doing this would be to make a "grabbing" gesture at the TV to "grab" the film that you are watching. When you get to the TV that you want to watch it on, you "throw" it at the TV and playback resumes. Crazy and Star Trek? Nope, the technology exists today. Your watch could have a tranceiver in it that receives/transmits the information of where this film is streaming from when you make these gestures...
Things should be so easy to use by now that they should supplement human living in natural ways, yet we are still screwing around with things using the same mindset for decades.
Careful what you wish for. You may get way you deserve instead.
Once upon a time, I worked on an overly intelligent hamburger vending machine (CompuBurger). I won't go into details but lets just say the average cafeteria worker wasn't ready for assembled on the fly hamburgers. I also worked on various other appliances that died because the average homemaker wanted to do the cooking, not have it all done by the oven. For example, wouldn't it be nice if the microwave oven read the bar code label on the TV dinner and set the cooking controls for you automagically? Well, it was done perhaps 15 years ago and it didn't sell. Nobody wanted it. I had a fiber optic viewer for the inside of my oven perhaps 15 years ago. It great for watching the turkey cook. Too bad nobody wanted to pay for the feature. I'm always amused to read that the RFID crowd now wants to repeat all the old mistakes. That's fine because I suspect home automation may eventually be acceptable, perhaps after the 10th try.
I've lost track of how many home automation communications buses have come and gone. The recent ones have one thing in common. They're all fiber optic to satisfy UL and other safety organizations that nobody is going to get fried. It might happen with CAT5, but only if it's electrically isolated from literally everything.
Incidentally, I have some junk B&W security infrared cameras. I stuffed one in the refrigerator just to see what happens. It filled with water (condensation) and died. Oh well.
In about 1996, I got a service call to fix some computahs at what turned out to be a rather lavish and modern mansion. The house had a voice operated home automation system. The owner would say "Boris Lights On" and Boris (that's the name of the computah) would turn several kilowatts of lights on in the entire house. They could also walk through the house talking on the phone wherever they happen to be. That actually worked well if you didn't mind that neither party could understand the other. Fixing the computer got me involved in tinkering with the voice recognition system. I had some experience way back in 1985(?) setting up a simple voice recognition system for testing some radios I designed. It was cool, but only a few people could figure out how to use it effectively. I spent considerable time tinkering with the voice recognition system and finally concluded that it wasn't going to happen with 1996 technology. Hopefully, there's been some progress in the last 10 years.
Meanwhile, everything has gone wireless. The huge pile of incompatible remote controls is more a symptom than an improvement. One of my friends went to the local big box store and bought 3 identical DVD players. No unit ID. I'm always amazed at how far IR can bounce around the house and unintentionally trigger the wrong DVD player.
Another adventure in home automation was my idea of using a motion sensor to turn on and off my desktop computah. The IR motion detector would sense that I'm home, and turn on the various devices that I always turn on when coming home. When I finally go to sleep, it would detect that I'm gone and turn them off. Well, that's not quite what happened. First the cat would spend the day turning things on and off. I dropped the sensitivity so the cat would trigger it, but this black cat liked to sleep in the hot sun and had the IR signature of a large open fire. If I went for a walk, it would turn everything off. I never could come up with a sufficiently reliable algorithm to do something as simple as turn on/off the computah.
Anyway, I like home automation. When the computer biz is finally trivialized into non-profitability, I'll probably switch to repairing home automation systems as the next frontier of things that don't quite work.
Great stuff! Wish I had more time to reply in more detail...
Maybe on the 11th try they will start getting things right? Kind of like what you said about time once, I think the way that technology should be applied is that you first consider the natural ways that humans interact with each other and object -- and then you bend the technology to fit that. Instead, it seems like humans are bending to fit technology, which I think will eventually reach a limit... Or a breaking point, LOL.
Great stuff! Wish I had more time to reply in more detail...
Maybe on the 11th try they will start getting things right? Kind of like what you said about time once, I think the way that technology should be applied is that you first consider the natural ways that humans interact with each other and objects -- and then you bend the technology to fit that. Instead, it seems like humans are bending to fit technology, which I think will eventually reach a limit... Or a breaking point, LOL.
(Please trim the quotes. I just hate reading my own stuff).
Maybe. My former boss used to refer to home automation as a solution looking for a problem to solve. However, I have supreme confidence in man's abilities to create a sufficient supply of problems with which to keep the solutions fully occupied. It's also a great feeling to know that considerable progress in computing has been to facilitate spam, advertising, porno, copy right violations, and outsourcing jobs. It has also added a new class of crimes to out ever growing criminal codes. Aren't computers great?
Optical fiber is certainly the way to go for home HDTV wiring. However, the standards and interoperability among various manufacturers are currently lacking. It's also expensive and difficult to terminate in the field. The alleged solution is "Wireless USB":
which will do 480Mbit/sec at 3meters and 110Mbits/sec at 10meters.
There's also some push behind WirelessHD:
It can do 2-20Gigabits/sec to 10 meters. Yes, that's giga-bits.