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LiDL & IKEA

International supermarket chain LiDL recently announced their smart home line of products. Among other things, it includes a Smart Power Socket (a.k.a plug) that works on Zigbee 3.0.

Just like the other Home Automation ecosystems in the market, LiDL has its own smart Gateway that acts as a bridge between the smart devices and a LiDL Mobile App. Furniture conglomerate IKEA also has its own line of smart appliances and its own Gateway. I own an IKEA Gateway and some associated smart appliances. And like many others I hate the idea of buying gateways/hubs even though the devices more or…


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Have faith in WiFi!

There are certain “spaces” in our homes where the WiFi signal refuses to penetrate. What do we do? Simple…respect those “spaces”, call them dead-zones and do everything in your power to stay away from them, like placing the couches on the opposite side! Well, this works until someone in the house begins to walk around with a smart device, expecting YouTube to play seamlessly, especially in the dead-zones! Boundaries are broken, respect is lost and you wonder why your “WiFi Sucks”. Been there, done that?

I have heard these kind of stories from my friends but the gravity does not…


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Best Time Of the Day!

Home Assistant has a number of weather integrations based on multiple open data weather sources. The default weather integration’s data source is MET. I live in Finland and have been using the default integration for weather updates. However as summer approaches, I wanted to derive a “Best Time Of The Day” parameter from the weather forecast. For instance, I would like to know the time of the day, when the temperature is at its highest, with relative humidity between 40–70% and no precipitation. I could plan some outdoor activities around this time. …


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Voice Assistants — Future of user interface!

Title describes the exact use case which motivated me to develop a google action that can guide me with two tasks:

  1. When is the next bus to a certain destination?
  2. When does a certain bus depart for a certain destination?

In both these cases, the source location is my home in Espoo, Finland. My family members use public transport most of the time for their commutes. They have been using the official Helsinki Regional Transport application, for probing the bus timings. However, using the app (including android/ios) is an overkill when you just need to know the departure time of…


In the previous post, we have seen how Xiaomi BLE Temperature and Humidity sensors can be integrated to HASS. In the same post, there was also an example of using RaspberryPi+MQTT to network distant BLE sensors.

Now that the sensors and lights are integrated at one place, I would like to use Google Assistant to further get notifications for these devices:

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Device Map

I have borrowed this picture from my first post, where I integrated the Ikea lights with HASS. Ikea Smart Home App has an integrated support for Google Assistant. This way we can turn on, turn off and dim lights…


In the previous post, we have seen how HASS can be configured to toggle outdoor lights based on sunrise and sunset. In this post, we will continue the journey and see how Xiaomi BLE Temperature and Humidity sensors can be integrated to the same system.

Xiaomi BLE (Bluetooth Low Energy) sensors are cheap with an advertised battery life of 1 year. Besides providing temperature and relative humidity values over BLE, the device sports a tiny display that shows the current temperature and relative humidity values (another reason why I prefer this device). …


Let me begin by saying that I am a newbie when it comes to home automation. During the past few months, I have come across so many tools and devices that I am absolutely fascinated with the potential that home automation projects have. I will start by charting a course in my home automation journey, which isn’t much, but nevertheless, is a good beginning. This is a three part series. In each post, I have tried to focus only on the integration of the systems and have deliberately tried to veer away from information that can be easily followed from…


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Water Pipeline!

Google’s TensorFlow provides a Dataset API that is very useful for importing machine learning datasets. It provides a mechanism to represent, transform and build complex machine learning data pipelines using a collection of iterable elements.

I came across the Dataset API while working on a sequence → sequence problem. My dataset consists of large bodies of plain text and I had been using the traditional way of representing training samples as Numpy arrays. Much of the data pre-processing involving these Numpy arrays can quite comparably be done using TensorFlow’s Dataset API. …


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Helm Of A Ship!

Helm is a package manager for Kubernetes (K8S) that makes it easy for developers to manage, configure and deploy applications and services in a K8S cluster. Helm is composed of a command line client part called helm and an in-cluster server component called Tiller. More details can be found on the Helm homepage.

In ship terminology, helm (or steering wheel) is the handler of tiller (or the rudder). However, a google search of helm gives you the package manager’s homepage as the highest ranked result, while a search for tiller ranks shipping references on top. Anyhow, this post is more…

Anand Radhakrishnan

Technology Enthusiast!

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