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December 2001: Home Automation for the Off-the-Shelfer and the Do-it-Yourselfer

December's meeting was a propeller-head homeowner's wet dream.

  • Gary Koenig, an IT consultant for McStain Homes, wanted to talk about all the stuff mentioned in the announcement, but in fact only had time to talk about wiring and home automation with X10 because the audience had so many questions and stories of their own.
    Gary's slides are available.
  • Jim Elliott, who built his own automated home, had the audience in awe of his wiring and C++ code that controls his lights, heating and sprinklers. When the house needs to be re-booted, as it often did before he grounded his chimney, he inserts a floppy disk into his 25 MHz PC with an Intel 386 processor. His low-voltage wiring needs a little tidying, and will hopefully be pictured in his presentation materials.
    Jim's slides are available.

The audience was participating with rapt attention, right up to the last ridiculous question: "Besides this stuff being pretty cool, why would you actually want to do it?" Then we then got thrown out of the room for running overtime.

Our Field Trip to a McStain "Smart" Home

Those FRUUG members who couldn't get enough met Gary Koenig at one of McStain's "Smart" model homes on January 19, 2002. Quite a few people showed up to gape at bundles of wire, X10 lighting controls, a Linux-based home server, and an entertainment system housed in the basement instead of with the TV in the living room (all controlled by an IR/remote). There were lots of questions, and Gary rattled off a list of contacts and URLs that people might find useful... so here they are (e-mail addresses changed slightly to deter spammers):

  • Fixed wireless networks:
    Mesa Networks
    Todd Bergstrom
    todd at
  • Residential Gateway:
    Web Mountain
    Terry Bolinger
    tbolinger at
  • Low Voltage Vendors:
    United Systems
    Tom Whicker
    twhicker at
  • Home Sync
    Dave Tschetter
    dtschetter at
  • Home Tech at McStain:
    Andy Makely
    amm at

  • Some interesting URLs:

Gary has left McStain and will be taking some time off; after a bit he'll be at glk at

Site Map Recruiter Info
February 15, 2009

February 2008: FRUUG Enters Quiescent Phase
After 27 years running, we're suspending operations.

Future Meetings:
None planned

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