Your Opinion on our How-To's is Needed

I think the CocoonTech How-To's are:

  • Not usefull, consider something more relavent and simple

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Overly complicated, I would never even consider soldering

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Entertaining reading, but I have no use for most of them

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • I tried using them, but got lost because of their lack of detail

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • I used the very basic How-To's for a couple of projects

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • I understand their facts & used those concepts for other projects

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • I tried many of the How-To's and had success with them

    Votes: 0 0.0%

  • Total voters


CocoonTech is over two years old now and during that time a lot of How-To's were created covering various topics with different degrees of difficulty to implement.

The CocoonTech staff is very interested in acquiring some facts from these How-To's from our forum members. If you could be so kind as contributing to this post and maybe even add additional comments below.

I would really like it if some of our lurkers or low posters contributed also as I believe they would help dictate the "truth" that we are after. Please don't be bashful as nobody will flame any criticism. We want to appeal to the needs of our forum members and this is one of the mechanisms at our disposal in attempting to doing so!

Thanks in advance,

My reply should have been: "Entertaining reading, but I have no use for most of them NOW".
Since I live in an appartment I am limited at to just how much HA I can use, mostly modules & wireless switches. I can't go RF since I don't want the whole complex controlling my X-10. :eek:

As a matter of fact, I shutdown my WIFI and went hardwire when a new neighbor knocked on my door asked if he could jack into my system "just for the Internet"!
He said there were three systems in this building alone! Must have been wardriving the whole complex! ;)

But I find the information very informative and would not like to see it go away. ;)

I'm one of the lurkers you describe. I'm just getting into automation at my new house. My old one was done with X-10 and a program I had written myself.

I have used the how to's to learn from, and to get ideas what I can do. My plan is to implement HomeSeer, Insteon, and an Elk M1EZ8.

I don't post any how to's because I don't know what I would post a how to on. All I'm doing is basic stuff I'm sure most people here have seen or done.

That's my $0.02

Thanks for the replies. I wasn't really wanting people to start contributing to the How-Tos as much as I was wanting to change them towards sujects and levels that would be most used by the forum members.

For instance, rather than showing how to hack a garage remote would it have been more usefull to include how to control a relay or how to create contact closure from a voltage source output?

Based on the lack of responses for most of the How-To's I'm wondering if maybe they should include more "basic" content or maybe even more "advanced" content if people get bored with them (because they already have the knowledge that the How-To's are trying to convey).

The responses to this thread will hopefully contain some valuable information so again, the CocoonTech staff can create How-To's that are most usefull for this community.
I've not followed many of the how-to's directly to get the exact same device but I often have used the theories and ideas from them to build similiar devices. I like the how-to's for several reasons
1) It gives me new ideas to create "frankenstein devices" - the wife's term
2) I learn more about circuit design
3) Often they help me solve problems when I run into road blocks on my own devices.
Again, thanks for the replies! I am really interested in people's opinions here! If you don't see a catagory that fits, please reply with what you would like to see!

Thanks again! ;)

I think you (and others) with the How-To's are exactly on track.

Don't change them. Just as no two HA installations are the same, we all get ideas and modify someone elses experiences to suit our own needs. Same with the How-To's. Great ideas, explanations, etc, even if I don't need to accomplish the project topic 100%

The How-To's were ONE of the main reasons I fell "in love" with this board over two years ago.

Electron and you have done (and continue to do) a fantastic job with this board. I'm reading the posts here a least 3 times a day every day. If I don't have time to visit any other boards, I will read the posts here (so many fine posts everyday, never would get caught up if I skipped a day. ;) )

Just my long winded opinion (and some reason my nose seems to be brown now)
Like John Bullard said, I think that most people will enjoy reading the detailed how-tos and even if they have no need to do that particular project now, they might want to do something similar in the future and will remember having see it here, so they will come back to it when needed. These are also good for prompting us into tackling a new project when we're looking for something new to automate. Keep 'em coming.
BSR, I concur with the two posts above.

Just would like to add that while everybody enjoys the articles, it is impossible to make articles that would fit to people of all technical levels at the same time. So dont worry about it. You are doing a good combination of very interesting projects. As you say, I would add a little more HA related electrical concepts (relays, voltage dividers used in EOLs and analog inputs, etc.) - but this is in addition or as complement of the current excellent offering of How-tos. There are a lot of electrical tutorials around in internet, so probably is just a matter of adding the links.
I am 1 of the low low low posters. But I read the forums almost everyday.

I gleam a lot of information reading through the how to's and reading everyones comments. I have a fair amount of technical experience with electronics and computers. I however have no urge or desire to program. Even the simplest script to me is very time consuming :eek: I guess everyone has thier own nitch.

Either way, the how to's are very informative and well laid out. I think a range of Basic to Advanced information would be a great resource to everyone. All the HTPC stuff is very interesting and I wish I had more time to devote to my HA system. But alas, my family and work have other ways for me to spend my time.


Could you possibly do a how to on configuring my HA system to upgrade and add all the cool features I want all on its own... ;)

The how-to that eventually got me to stick around here was the apache, php, integrated with HomeSeer tutorials. I have also used the stream video with windows media encoder, I have tread the guides on xAP which were very informative, I have read the gordons guide to secure computing and loved that also. BTW where is that gordon? I have used the configuring how-to and the setting up port forwarding how-to and my favorite of all and probably most revisited was the How to parse a web page.

All of the how-tos and guides available so far are awesome and I get get enough of the how-to section. I wish there were more.
I think the how-to's are a very important part of the site. Live everything in life, they have some pros and cons (mostly pros though)! I think everyone will take away something different from them. For some they may be overly simplistic and not help much, for others they may be too complex and difficult to follow. For others they may be just about right. I have personally enjoyed reading through them. Some I would never use but enjoyed nonetheless others I would implement as is or with some variation.

I would like to maybe make some suggestions to improve them. First, I think it would help if they were standardized. Have common sections for them like Introduction, Theory, Parts, Procedure, Testing, etc. A nice format like what E was playing with would be good. I don't know if that was Camtasia or something similar? Maybe there could be a 'pot' where all kinds of ideas can be put in and have it so anyone could create a how to using the documented standards. Have them assigned so there wouldn't be duplicates. Then Dan and BSR and anyone else 'appointed' could just be 'editors'. That may allow more how to's to be created without killing Dan and BSR. However its handled they are a very important component of Cocoon and is part of what makes CT so special.