Open the pod bay doors Alexa!

We just bought an Alexa Show 8! I had a hard time justifying the cost to my wife but after a few months of getting to know Alexa, she doesn’t know how we ever managed to get by without one.

The best thing about Alexa devices is the ability to control just about any kind of silicon-based “lifeforms”. Being the hobbyist/hacker that I am, I Immediately got started connecting my home entertainment devices, light switches, window shades, smart toilets (yes, there is such a thing!) doorbells, thermostats and garage doors.

While browsing the internet for the best ecosystem to support all of my smart devices I ran acros an open-source project called OpenHAB which stands for “Open-source Home Automation Bus”. This project has support for almost every kind of device and web services you can think of (and even some that you can’t think of!)

One of my goals was to have full control over my TIVO from a tablet or my mobile phone. Luckily, OpenHAB also offers a user-friendly and fully customizable panel-like UI called “HabPanel” which runs in any standard web browser. But, being open-source, there’s always room for improvement , and I discovered some missing functionality in the TIVO binding.

The OpenHAB project is very well organized and well maintained. I used the Eclipse IDE to code, debug and build my new custom binding. Within a few days of fiddling bits, I had something that actually worked! My HabPanel layout is shown below:

Now I no longer have to go searching under the couch cushions to find the the TIVO remote control – I just have to remember to stop losing my mobile phone under the couch cushions.

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