• You've been granted Beta access to this site, allowing you to explore some of the new features while they're still under construction. More information can be found in the Beta forum.

Is it me?

Mark S.

Active Member
I am always amazed at people's reaction (or lack thereof) to home automation. I sometimes feel like the Rodney Dangerfield of home improvement.

Today's water cooler conversation (the names have been changed to protect the un-initiated and events have been dramatized for effect):

Kathy: (looking very interested) So Mark, what project do you have lined up for this weekend?

Mark: (non-chalantly) Since it's going to rain all weekend, I'll probably upgrade the software for my home automation system.

Tom: (proudly) I installed i-Tunes on my PC last weekend. Boy, what a bear - but I got it working.

Kathy: (batting eyes) Gee, Tom you always were good with computers. I could sure use your help to get my e-mail working. (curiously) So Mark, what do you mean by a home automation system?

Mark: (enthusiastically) Well, it's basically a computer-controlled system that automates control of things like lighting, TVs, garage doors, my security system and various other things like sensors and low voltage devices. - (Seeing the blank looks, I figure I should explain what it does) - It automatically turns lights on and off depending on whether we're home or not. It announces things like weather, caller-ID and approaching visitors. It also works as a whole house music system. All these different sub-systems communicate with each other via the computer and can be controlled with touchscreens or keypads all over the house. I can even control some things just by speaking.

(Awkward silence, continued blank looks, Kathy stares into space, Tom kicks a dust bunny, Bob's eyes betray what he's thinking - "Nerd-Alert!, Nerd-Alert!")

Kathy: (politely) That's nice. So Bob, what are you doing this weekend?

Bob: I'm installing a dimmer switch for my chandelier.

Tom: (wide-eyed) Wow Bob, I'm impressed. I wouldn't even think of doing my own electrical wiring!

Kathy: (turns to mush) Say Bob, you're sure gosh-awful handy. Maybe you could come on over tonight for dinner and...

CURTAIN

I really do this home automation stuff for fun, not for attention. But what the heck???

Mark

P.S. - I'm not really interested in Kathy, but how can she not swoon over my prowess?
 

liftn

Member
Mark,

I hate to break it to you but Kathy's right! How could she be interested:

"Well, it's basically a computer-controlled system that automates control of things like lighting, TVs, garage doors, my security system and various other things like sensors and low voltage devices."

Woopie, I bet she's feeling frisky tonight hearing all that computer talk.

How about you beef it up a little. Maybe lie a little and tell her its a high powere contolled sybian.
 

IVB

Senior Member
yeah, i usually focus on the outcome & benefits achieved rather than the path. Something like:
---------------------

Yeah, sure, I can watch any video or audio in any room of the house at any time, but the really interesting stuff is:
- My wife can pull up a camera pointed at the front door from the laptop, so she can see who's at the door before getting up.
- If it's hot (or cold), I can turn on/off the heat from my cellphone before I come home.
- I can check the security cameras over the cellphone so I can see what's going on.
- If someone tries to break in, I turn the sprinkler system on at that location and tell the intruder over the speaker system that they're being recorded and the cops have been called/their picture has been emailed out, and they better leave ASAP.
 

Steve

Senior Member
IVB said:
- My wife can pull up a camera pointed at the front door from the laptop, so she can see who's at the door before getting up.
Are you really working that much that your wife is sleeping with the laptop? :rolleyes:
 

electron

Administrator
Staff member
Just tell her that you have a button labeled "Barry White mode", and it's up to her to find out what it means :rolleyes:
 
It is funny all the blank looks I get from people when I try to explain my setup and I don't have 1/2 of the stuff that I see from other posts what people have. But when I have people over that is when they are a little more amazed at what the house can do. Even my wife isn't too receptive of changes when I explain them, but after they are put into practice and she sees what it does she is usually OK with it.

It is funny how someone can get more excited over a dimmer switch than a whole house full of controls.
 

Madcodger

Active Member
sonypoolplr said:
It is funny all the blank looks I get from people when I try to explain my setup and I don't have 1/2 of the stuff that I see from other posts what people have. But when I have people over that is when they are a little more amazed at what the house can do. Even my wife isn't too receptive of changes when I explain them, but after they are put into practice and she sees what it does she is usually OK with it.

It is funny how someone can get more excited over a dimmer switch than a whole house full of controls.
Ditto, ditto, ditto. Even my techie friends often don't get it until they see it.

Many in my office have no interest at all until they walk into my office and see me on my site, managing something in the house. For a while, I had my office laptop running a speaker client that would announce visitors, alarm system changes, etc. throughout the day. That was fun, but frankly it got annoying after a while.
 

KenM

Active Member
I'm guessing that this might be sort of like the analogoly about an ant riding in a space ship.

As long as the space ship provides the ant no grief, the ant does not even realize that it is in a space ship.

It is pretty cool to be able to drive the ship though.

ken
 

deranged

Active Member
I usually do not mention to anyone my Home Automation stuff, I just sit and listen to them exclaim " Yeah I heard you can have your house announce the weather".

I chuckle to myself and walk away.

It is much more interesting when people are in the house and lights turn on or there is an announcement. It usually gets very quite and they look at my wife.....

My wife......

That kills me.....

StevenE
 

Mark S.

Active Member
sonypoolplr said:
But when I have people over that is when they are a little more amazed at what the house can do.
Actually, I haven't seen anyone yet who I would say was "amazed" at what my house can do. Most of my family and friends are non-technical and show absolutely no interest in it.

I set up a demonstration script one holiday for extended family in which I carried on a pretty impressive interactive conversation with HomeSeer via VR and TTS. It absolutley amazed me that HS could do this - but my family was completely bored. I think they must have thought is was just some kind of trick or recording and maybe didn't believe that the computer actually understood me.

I gave up a long time ago trying to sell "normal" people on what home automation can do. Over the years, my wife has gradually gone from tolerance, to acceptance, and now into making requests for stuff. But again, she doesn't have, and will never have, that sense of - "wow, cool".

Unlike my other hobbies and activities (skiing, motorcycling, hiking, scuba, etc.), I have never met anybody else who "gets it". Oh well, I have fun with it anyway.

Mark
 

gregoryx

Active Member
aw, what the hell... I'll "second" ("twentieth?") this one... :rolleyes:

even the folks (and there are quite a few) who do the "you've got all that cool <blah, blah, blah> at your house..." still don't make it past the first sentence beyond that, regardless of whatever direction it may go.

I encourage them to go with a simple "dip your toe" approach: "if you like the server-based music, consider a Roku or a SliMP"; or "a table-top controller and a LampLinc will allow you to control the lights from your bed". They then say that they want to get into the nuts and bolts of how the touch-screens play movies from three DVD sources and multiple servers and control the preamp and projector... none of which they have anyway. :blink: Then they glaze over when I (stupidly 'cause I KNOW better) try to slowly answer pieces of it.

I really haven't figured out how to enter the discussion - and it's been over ten years now. : :p

Most of the time, I stare intently at the corner of the ceiling (like there's something there) then walk out of the room mumbling to myself so that they think I was distracted by a spider and simply didn't hear them. My wife has learned to take over at that point and says things like "isn't the purple color on the controllers pretty!"

:D
 
Top