Monday 18 January 2021

Worth a Watch: DCX MMXVI

I don't really do content reviews on this blog, but this weekend I rewatched the live concert Blu-Ray included with The Dixie Chicks DXC MMXVI Live CD set and it blew me away all over again, so I thought I'd share!

I wouldn't call myself a Dixie Chicks fan per se, (or 'The Chicks' as they are now known). I have one of their CDs and know a few of the songs, but I don't know very much about them, their names, background etc. However, being a fan of live music videos, I picked up this set a few years on the basis that it included the concert blu ray, and was I pleasantly surprised.

Sunday 17 January 2021

User Presence Detection using Node-Red and Unifi

A big challenge in Home Automation is implementing a reliable mechanism for presence detection - figuring out who's home, and tailoring logic accordingly.

Here's how I do it using Node-Red, Unifi and MQTT.

Many approaches to presence detection rely on interacting with the device itself, either by way of software running on the mobile handset, or having the mobile ping or poll an external service. None of these approaches really appealed to me as they are fiddly, rely on handset configuration & maintenance and need to be reset every time someone gets a new phone.

The approach I've taken here is to rely on the fact that all the families' mobile phones are configured to connect to home WiFi (to save on data charges!). This method interrogates the home network to see what phones are present - a good indication that the person is home.

In short, I have a Node-Red flow that polls the network on a schedule, looks for named devices, and updates presence status in MQTT based on that.

I could have used a database, or flat file storage for storing state, but as I have an MQTT broker running anyway, it's a convenient and flexible approach for me.