On Cheap Home Automation; Part 1

Inspired by a recent Lifehacker post, I wanted to write up one of my favorite hardware projects. (My less favorite hardware projects will also get written up…eventually.) Home automation is not cheap. The more robust solutions tend to cost $40-$100 per device or switch. However, most of what the average consumer really wants out of home automation can be done cheaply with off-the-shelf parts - security goes out the window, so this is great for lights and fans but not recommended for locks and alarms.

On Makefiles

Ted Dziuba wrote a fantastic post (on his old blog, archived here) on the merits of make. Go and take a look if you like; specifically, Makefile. 92 lines of Makefile reliably does the following, if and only if it’s necessary: Download and install the various tools needed Build a custom icon font Pull down the latest bits of CSS that power the blog Regenerate the various content pages Combine and compress the CSS Compact the HTML Pre-gzip everything - NFSN doesn’t support on-the-fly compression.