Smart Light Switches

Ever wanted to control a light switch on a schedule? What about turning them on when your Wyze camera detects motion?  Smart light switches are great for automating lights on different schedules, voice commands, and other events such as motion from cameras. Most smart switches work with Alexa, Google Assistant, and IFTTT. If you prefer Siri on iOS, make sure you pick one that supports Homekit. Surprisingly they are affordable at around $20.

My goal was to be able to control lights outside my house to turn on/off at night on a schedule. To do this, I had to replace the dumb switches with a smart switch. This requires some knowledge of electrical wiring such as what is the load, line, negative, and ground wire. You also need to make sure you get a 3-way switch if you have two switches that control the light. Make sure you turn off the power at the breaker!

Tools Needed

If you ever need to control power outlets, check out my guide on custom smart outlets to control lamps.

How to use Chrome Extensions in Opera

Since Chrome, Firefox, Opera and the latest version of Edge are now using the same web extensions API, many extensions will now work cross-browser with little changes. In Opera, you can install the official extension from Opera, that will allow you to install chrome extensions right from the Chrome store. This makes it very easy to try extensions in Opera that have not officially been ported over to Opera. If you are an Opera fan you will defiantly want to try this out! Read More

How to Setup Ecobee and Geofence using Homekit

I recently set up two ecobee4 smart thermostats in my home. I choose ecobee over nest because of the native Homekit integration. The overall installation was not too difficult since I had existing C-wire’s in both of my units.

One of the biggest features smart thermostats give you over a standard thermostat with a schedule is the ability to know whether you are home or away. They can do this by using the built-in motion sensors which exist in the thermostat and remote temperature sensors or a geofence using your phone’s GPS. Geofence is my preferred method because if someone is home and decides to take a nap, the thermostat could go into away mode while geofence knows your true location and can set the thermostat in Home or Away mode. Read More

How to Exclude Files When Zip in macOS

When using macOS zip tool from the command, you may want to exclude certain files by name or extensions. I often need to do this when automating extension bundles for a release. Here is the command I use to exclude __MACOSX and DS_Store files that macOS creates.

zip -r . -x ".\*" -x "\_\_MACOSX" -x "*DS_Store"

The -x flag exlcudes files that match the pattern. Here is a list of other options for the zip command line tool.