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Various DIY/smarthome and other projects about (or related to) the domicile.

Makerspace Improvements


  • script consolidating public MJPG camera feeds
  • helped Jay tear down network equipment cubby in anticipation of pending reorganization of same
  • prototype of what will be new improved space dashboard (building on prior work of Michael)
  • diagnosed and remediated, together with Drew, a power cord fault that was disrupting our building's door cam

In addition to continuing work on the dashboard (see next column), I may also be, just possibly, recording some voice clips for Hack Manhattan's telephony project, previously seen at the Figment festival and soon to appear at the upcoming Maker Faire.

Roommate Tech Consult

Working with roommate on some time-sensitive tasks. Finished:

  • specing out craft-area shelving (see below)
  • printing envelopes for an upcoming religious holiday


  • arrange for warranty printer repair draining a misfilled ink tank
  • electronic birthday calendaring
  • pruning their electronic task list
  • getting them up and running to learn the ins and outs of using video conferencing tools

Paperwork Backlog

Have been sorely derelict on a heap of household and client bookkeeping and filing, while immersed in other recent making projects. This includes scheduling of long-overdue appointments and restocking our household pantry. Hoping to power through this stack in July August, so I can get back to other projects in earnest.

This also includes working with my roommate on several longer-term projects: charitable giving analysis, organizing teaching materials filing system, substitute teaching go pack strategy, and prepping unique favor packs for next Halloween.


Dashboard Door Buzzer Integration

Wanting to wire a single-board device in to the building intercom system to detect the door buzzer. This will allow us to use the dashboard real-estate for other displays than the door camera, while still switching back to the camera swiftly when someone is buzzing for entry.

Household Repairs

Various small and large projects have been waiting in the wings, including: repair of a glitchy flat-screen monitor, darning/patching bedsheets, retouching nylon on dishwasher racks, repairing vinyl floor in kitchen, securing a shoe holder mount, and arranging for replacement of our bathroom sink faucet.

The last of these is a dependency for the storage tower installation discussed below. Also on this list is refurbishing an old hammer drill — the chuck no longer holds bits reliably, but seems reticent to be removed, suggesting that the drill will need disassembly and cleaning before it is back in serviceable working order.

Installing Storage

Once repairs are out of the way, a number of household storage projects are on the agenda, including: a corner bar for hanging clothes, custom-fitting a storage tower in our bathroom, hanging rack shelving in our kitchen, and [when a certain neighborhood retailer holds their annual shelving sale] erecting shelving for crafts storage. (Donations to our monthly co-op crafts event have left us sorely in need of a place to keep all the materials.)

The bathroom storage tower project is going to involve cutting and reinforcing an existing piece of furniture to accommodate some rather inconveniently positioned hot and cold water-control valves protruding from the wall. In anticipation of this, I've also planned out a system for erecting a quick-assembly dust tent in our hallway.

Custom Craft Material Dollies

Our community crafts group has accumulated more donations than could every easily fit in our existing carts. We've resorted to lugging surplus around in oversize retail shopping bags. Moreover, the carts we do have aren't for outdoors use. They're fine for moving materials from our apartment to the community room the same building, but if we want (or need) to set up for an event in another building, the casters are not equipped for even well-maintained sidewalks, and we tend to see drawers slide open or and containers slide off shelves and topple to the ground as we trundle along on sloped grades. Finally, we've got some craft materials, namely yarn, fabrics and collage materials, that really need to be in larger containers that display their contents in an inviting way without having to unpack and repack those materials for each session.

Thus, there are three goals. First, to design a pair of dollies with custom, quick-assemble cage frameworks. The idea is that our existing craft carts could be lifted onto the dollies, providing heavy duty casters to get around outdoors, and then hemmed in by bars or slats that would keep drawers and shelf contents secure pending arrival at a destination. Providing for cover against rain or other weather would be a bonus. Second, to design a similar dolly for stacking larger containers than we currently aren't using, but would serve for bulk craft materials. Third, to design containers for bulk craft materials that quickly deploy as inviting displays of those same materials on site.


Data Processing Tower

The Tellurium project is proving very CPU-intensive. Generating a batch of 99 one-of-a-kind bespoke handbills easily takes six hours for my current computer to generate, plus another hour of post-processing, and then two hours of printer time. Further, the new toolchain (once gdp spelunking resolves current segfaults) will rely heavily on NLP processing, where parsing for word counts is already proving computation intensive.

Going to explore building out a custom box to handle chugging through these processes. In addition to building the toolchain to leverage multi-threading and multi-process techniques, as appropriate, am also considering the possibility of pushing some computations to GPU. The actual assembly of each word cloud (placing objects on a two-dimensional field) seems especially suited to GPU-based computation. This, of course, would require learning something about GPU-based solutions and figuring out what libraries exist or could be rewritten for GPU before specing out the new machine build.

Network Management

The various electronic components on the table-level of my IKEA-built standing desk have become an unmanageable tangle. The plan is to build a pair of LackRack component mounts under the standing desk and transfer various Ethernet and power connected devices thereto. As part of this process, will build out a heat ducting system to channel air from below the desk to the intake vent of the convector a few feet away — taking advantage of the chiller cooled pipes that feed the convector in the summer.

Also want to run Ethernet to the back of our apartment, rather than rely on spotty performance of EoP extender currently in use. This will support the development of audio notification relays planned throughout the apartment for telephony and other applications listed below. Also, gonna set up a Pi as a wifi router for our wifi-only printer, as it has become a nuisance rebooting the main router every time the printer loses connectivity with the network.

Sleep-Hygenic Lighting

Intending to replace current lighting fixtures with programmable smart bulbs and a custom driver that will adjust the level of blue light throughout the day, in accordance with my 2nd/graveyard-shift work cycle. This includes the appliance bulb in the refrigerator, so that one isn't treated to a blast of bright white light when scrounging a "midnight" snack. Also part of this project will be running motion-detector activated red LEDs along the hallways, to allow my roommate to get around early morning without disturbing my sleep by flipping on room lighting.

The first step will be to set up a dedicated console-cable managed wifi router and management hub that will allow for control of smart bulbs without exposing those devices to the Internet.

Audio Computing


  • integrated caller ID announcer
  • mode-switchable caller ID blacklist/whitelist


  • whistle-activated battery-powered nebulizer
  • whistle/tone detector/alterter network for hearing impaired
  • rice cooker setup detector
  • no-brainer portable stereo media player


  • multi-output audio stream relay
  • nighttime noise machine lashup
  • research hearing loop tech


  • mezzanine rack for a compact dishwasher
  • DIY kitchen counter LED hydroponics enclosure
  • intensive file cabinet purge
  • paint apartment
  • empty storage unit
  • guinea pig hutch with integrated hydroponic garden