Easiest Monitor/Security Question


Hello all you cocooners.

My wife and I just bought our first puppy and are starting to use a dog walker. As the dog walker is supposed to come to the house to walk the dog 30 mins. a day, I want to be sure she is doing so. Since she will be using the front door to come in and out of the house, I would like a way to monitor the front door either by motion detector or by the opening and closing of the door (other ideas?). I can think of a bunch of ways to do this but they all require either a lot of work or are expensive. Can you please give me the easiest and quickest solution to my dilemma? Is there freeware that would be compatible with your hardware solutions? Also, are there zny wireless solutions? Finally, any help in getting video monitoring would be cool too. Thank you.
Can you describe any equipment / hardware you already have? You might be able to accomplish this with your security system, for example, by just logging the entry and exit times.

I do a similar thing with my Elk and Homeseer. The dog walker (who, thankfully, has been great about giving us value) has a particular security code. I just monitor her entry and exit with that.

BTW, if you have a way to open your home electronically by phone or from the web, that can also be a big help. We had a situation where the dog walker had to rush another person's dog to the vet, and a friend of hers pitched in to help by walking other dogs. Since she didn't want to give out people's access codes, I just disarmed the system and opened the garage door remotely, and the substitute had full access for just that one time.
You could do that on-the-cheap with x10 equipment. Required parts: a computer that has a serial port; a cm11a computer interface; a tm751 tranceiver; and a Hawkeye motion detector.

Load software that logs x10 activity on the computer (doesn't the free, original ActiveHome software log activity?) and install the hawkeye aimed at the door and you're done.

You can probably get all the necessary pieces for $25, more or less. Less if you can talk some CocoonTech members to empty their spare parts drawers of some old equipment.