December 03, 2008

HomeCamp 08

HomeCamp 08

Event type: Conference

Date: 2008-11-29


I was down in London last weekend so that I could attend the excellent Home Camp 08. It was a one-day unconference around home automation and monitoring.

Obviously I'd taken my Mazzini prototype with me (and also the second prototype, although it's not quite working yet) and offered to give a brief talk about it. In the end, we grouped all of the proposed talks into half-a-dozen themes and had a session on each of those. That meant that I didn't stand up in front of everyone and talk about the project, but chipped in with comments about it (and other semi-related topics) over the whole day. Overall I think that was better, as I hadn't prepared any slides because I was too busy soldering the second prototype and it was also tricky to work out the level of the audience.

I think there was a fairly even mix of people learning about the topics and people getting on and doing something with them. There was also a skew towards people playing with Current Cost meters and the sessions were heavy on the energy-related topics and light on pure home automation. We did hear about Andy Stanford-Clark's hi-tech mousetraps though, which alert him when they've caught something and even monitor the hardness of the cheese so you can work out when to change it!

I don't have too many notes, as I was busy enjoying the discussions. So I recommend reading some of the fellow attendees' write-ups which are linked below.

Flattening the electricity demand curve was a particularly interesting session, looking at how we could improve matters a great deal just by reducing the huge peak in usage in the early evening. Tom Taylor has a good write-up of that discussion, but it got me thinking about how the Mazzini could monitor the load on the electricity grid (you can tell from tiny changes in the mains frequency) and then turn things off.

Finding out about the future plans for Pachube was interesting too, and it was good to finally meet Usman, the driving force behind the project. There's more information about the Pachube presentation and demo (a Pachube/Google SketchUp mash-up) on this Pachube blog post.

I met lots of interesting people and there was much good debate and discussion. Thanks to Chris for pulling it together, and I'm looking forward to HomeCamp 09 in March.

Update: Andy Piper helpfully pointed out that the links in the "other reviews" aren't working properly. It must be some problem with the structured blogging plugin I'm using as they all look different when I'm editing the post. Taking the path of least resistance, here are the proper links:

  • Andrew Whitehouse's write-up
  • Dale Lane's write-up
  • Nick O'Leary's notes and slides
  • Phoebe Bright's write-up
  • Daniel Would's brief write-up
  • Tom Taylor's write-up of the Demand Shifting session
  • Andy Piper's write-up and some video he took during the day
  • Tags: homecamp08

    Posted by Adrian at December 3, 2008 12:27 PM | TrackBack

    This blog post is on the personal blog of Adrian McEwen. If you want to explore the site a bit further, it might be worth having a look at the most recent entries or look through the archives or categories over on the left.

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    Err... you know all those links to other folks' posts point at the same thing, right?

    Posted by: Andy Piper at December 4, 2008 01:54 PM

    No, I hadn't spotted that. Thanks for pointing it out. Serves me right for trying to do fancy microformat review stuff. I've stuck the proper links in the post itself now.


    Posted by: Adrian at December 5, 2008 09:22 AM
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