We’re building a home

After living in a ~550 sq/ft apartment in downtown Seattle for close to two years, we decided to accept the commute and take the plunge into home buying.  We used Redfin to book several home tours (~30-40) over the course of several weekends.  Our experience was that it the Redfin associates were hit and miss.  Some of the associates went above and beyond, knowing the neighborhoods, comps, and even doing a lightweight inspection of crawlspaces and attics looking for signs of fire/water/rodent/structural damage.  Others sat quietly aside while we walked the house.  In the end, I’d recommend Redfin to those window shopping, familiar with neighborhoods/location, or veteran home buyers.  I appreciate that they’re not paid on direct commission so their feedback is more honest and real than the conventional real-estate agent.  The downside to this is that Redfin associates may not be as driven to find the right house for you.

After touring countless homes and driving around for hours every weekend looking at open houses, we came across a builder with model plans available to tour.  Immediately after seeing the models, we knew we’d found what we’d been looking for.  A few more open houses later (for due diligence), we decided to go back to the builder to see if we were still as excited by these homes as we were.  At this point, we engaged a realtor to ensure we had someone giving us the right advice and counseling.  We compared floor plans and locations for hours on end before reaching full agreement on all aspects of our build.


Exterior rendering of our build

Tomorrow morning, we’ll take our first step by putting up some earnest funds, confirming our build site, and agreeing on the details of our build with the builder.  Here’s hoping we’ll break ground around April 10th!


Logging router traffic and other changes

It’s been a slow couple months between the holidays, travelling, and work.  I did manage to accomplish a few things with the Home Dashboard project, though.  I redesigned the UI to move away from an exclusively mobile interface as the amount of data and type of data I’m including in the project now simply don’t all make sense to squeeze into a mobile UI.  Sometime in early January, the system broke the 2 millionth record milestone — I’m unsure what I’ll do with some of the data I’m collecting at this point but I’ve learned a lot through collecting it and I’m sure I’ll learn more analyzing it at some point in the future.
_statsThis brings the list of events I’m collecting to:

  1. Indoor temperature and humidity
  2. Amazon Echo music events
  3. DirecTV program and DVR information
  4. Cell phone location and status details
  5. Local fire and police emergency events
  6. Home lights and other Wink hub events
  7. …and now home network information

Analyzing home network information

The biggest change was the addition of network event logging.  After seeing that a foreign IP was accessing my LAN, I started logging each request to or from my home network until I was sure I had fixed the vulnerability.  After that, I found the information interesting so I just kept logging it.  For example, I was able to discover that an app on my phone was making repeated calls (~2,000 per day) to an app monitoring service (New Relic) which wasn’t doing my phone’s battery life any favors.



Collecting additional phone data

After launching Location to HTTP, I’ve been tinkering with additional data collection from my cellphone such as Bluetooth, WiFi, GPS, battery, and screen status.  After collecting this information for a month or so, here are some useless data points from the most recent 30 days:

  • I’ve actively used my phone for 104.5 hours (3.5hrs per day – I need to cut back on the work email…)
  • Average battery level: 61%
  • Average free memory: 516MB (12.6%)
  • Average location accuracy: +/-31FT
  • Average altitude: 154FT
  • Average speed: 1MPH
  • Average uptime: 153.3HRs
  • Maximum uptime: 437.4HRs


I also improved the location history mapping to show different color map markers depending on the age of the record and phone details at the time the record was made:


Improved home climate visuals

I added some simple graphs of MoM temperature and humidity and also updated the heat-mappings for the daily climate information.  These are a bit easier to read that those I had in the previous UI.  It’s interesting to see the effectiveness of thermostat automation and our daily routines.

More detailed emergency event

Lastly, I expanded on the emergency event information to surface the top event types and the total number of events by type: