Archive for the ‘Shion Cookbook’ Category

Shion Recipe #3: Share the Remote

June 1st, 2009

I first encountered the phrase “spouse acceptance factor” (also called “wife acceptance factor”) when reading through Gordon Meyer’s Smart Home Hacks. Apparently the term has been around since the 1970′s, with a more recent push to make it gender-neutral. Wikipedia provides a good definition:

The Spouse Acceptance Factor (SAF) is the playful estimation of the acceptance or refusal of a new acquisition or project by the significant other. It relies on the cliche that men are driven by a certain geekiness when it comes to acquisitions like home theater or PCs, disregarding the stereotypically female aspects of aesthetics, design and practical/financial considerations, let alone ease-of-use. The first known SAF reference was in a 1989 article about wives rebellion against “oversized loudspeakers.”

The following recipe shows one easy way to mitigate your significant other’s resistance by letting them control the Shion system as well (without co-opting your own computer).

Shion Recipe #2: Dealing With Failures

May 29th, 2009

Sometimes, even despite our best preparation and attention, things go awry:

Shion: Hardware Error

We’ve worked hard to make Shion as robust as possible, but despite our best efforts, there are a circumstances where Shion will fail and give you a message like the one above. Perhaps you have an overeager puppy who pulled the USB cable from a PowerLinc, you received a faulty controller from the factory, or we did not find a hidden bug in our code.

This recipe shows you how you can configure Shion to respond to these events by taking action to let you know what’s going on.

Shion Recipe #1: Lights Out

May 20th, 2009

Welcome to the inaugural recipe of the “Shion Cookbook”. Every week or so, I will post a short blog entry that describes how to use Shion to solve a problem.

I have a problem. Starting a business, wrapping up graduate school, keeping up with the family, and everything else in my life keeps my mind busy and I often overlook the simple and basic things. For example, on Monday, I retired to bed early in order to get a head start on the next day, while my wife chatted with an out-of-state friend on the phone. Since she was still up, I left three lights on in the living room, assuming that she would turn them out herself.

Now, my wife’s conversations with her friends can be somewhat lengthy, and when I awoke the next morning to find the living room lights still on. I hadn’t told her that I left them on, and she went to bed herself after wrapping up her conversation.

Given that I had three (3) 60 watt lamps on for an extra seven (7) hours that night, we consumed an unnecessary 1.26 kWH at a cost of at least $0.13 (rates derived from a Chicago Reporter article). While thirteen cents may not be a lot of money, over many months, it adds up. Furthermore this cost does not include related expenses such as the decreased lifespan of the bulbs, the power required to cool the room to offset the heat generated, an increased carbon footprint, and so on.

Using Shion, I made these forgetful moments a relic of the past using the simple technique described below.