For the moderators : I received permission from jpishgar to publish this message in the application and home theater subsections.
Multimedia and home automation are hobbies of mine, and for two years I've been working on my own application called the Digital Home Server. The software is freely available on http://www.digitalhomeserver.net and I stress the fact that it contains no spyware, ads, nag screens or whatever.
It used to be a graphical interface for my 7" USB monitor, but the first version which I released about a year ago was not very well written (I can admit that now ). I gave that version away for free as well, and I knew a few people who were using it, but I was no longer satisfied with it.
So I thought a bit before coding on where this application should go to, and it should become a mix between Home Automation and multimedia. Until now, a lot of focus has been on the multimedia part, but I'm getting more and more into home automation. I like to think that DHS has some unique features, notably that it's fully multi-monitor, and it can handle any size (from 7" up to whatever). Screens are specially designed for touchscreens.
The application itself uses Widgets (small apps you can drag and resize) and modules (full screen applications). This is what I currently have released :
- BE and NL railway delay (special app for specific audience)
- weather forecast
- rain radar (shows where rain is falling)
- MP3 remote control
- Digital clock
- Analog clock
- MP3 player
- Internet radio player (with radio station database)
- Photo slideshow (you can choose any monitor to send the slideshow to)
- Podcast player
- Shoppinglist (and use your iPhone to consult the list when shopping)
- Video player (play anything for which a codec is installed, including HD and subtitles)
- Calendar (uses Google Calendar as backend)
In a few weeks I will release the DVD player (I worked almost a year on that DVD player, very hard piece of software I can assure you). Next will be an eBay watchlist widget. And a Yahoo stock watch widget is also in an early draft version. I actively develop new function for DHS, so I'll post the updates here as well (if nobody minds).
I have bought some Zwave devices, because I absolutely would like to have this mix between multimedia and home automation. But still a lot of work here
Still in "idea" phase
- too much to write down here, but I do have a long list...
Hope you like it. I'll be highly interested in your feedback and ideas !!
Release 184.108.40.206 is now available. It took me a lot of time, and development was interrupted several times for other things, but I finally was able to release my “Scanning and Archiving” module. I developed a solution that would allow me to scan all documents that come in by post directly in DHS. The basic idea is simple : you create categories (water, gas, electricity, …) and then create a document in a category. Then you can create pages, which you can do by scanning a paper document, or to import a file from disk.
You can then zoom in the page, print or export it and change the order of the pages.
One feature I wanted as well is the “unpaid invoice” tracking. When you create a document you can specify whether it’s an invoice, and whether it’s already paid or not. The number of unpaid invoices for each category can be followed using the widget, which you can place on your desktop.
All scanned pages can be accessed via the browser, because I do my online payments from a laptop, not on my main DHS server. So I need access to the invoices from other PCs as well.
The only real feature that is missing is OCR, especially because the database engine I use has a text search feature, so it would work great, but I simply couldn’t find a free OCR library, and I don’t need it urgently enough to justify the cost.
What’s next ? I have foreseen a general maintenance release with plenty of little enhancements that I wrote down the past year. Then a Home Automation prototype (development is ongoing) will be integrated in DHS. At that point I have home automation and multimedia together in one application, and plenty of ideas. Controlling audio in multiple rooms is very high on my list, as well as radiator control in rooms.
It’s been a while since I posted an update for my application. But I just released a major update for my Digital Home Server. Until now, a lot of focus was on multimedia applications, but now I released a set of modules that allows to automate your home. So you can manage your devices, create nice charts with sensor data, execute actions based on events using rules, and schedule actions (e.g. lights on). Obviously, all existing modules remain available.
This brings me to the mix of multimedia and home automation that I’ve been looking for from the start, and I like to result very much. And it’s not the end. I’m now working on a video surveillance module, and I’m hoping to integrate the Zwave protocol by means of the Razberry.
I just released version 220.127.116.11 containing the Video Surveillance module. Actually a request from my wife so that we could keep an eye on our little boy when he's sleeping, and I would like to use this to show who's at the door when the doorbell rings.
The module has the following features :
- connect up to 4 ip cameras (MJPEG streams only), tested with Foscam and Axis
- record video (still image every second stored in avi format)
- detect motion and limit the detection area with zones
- record video when motion is detected
- take snapshots to local disk, or send them directly by email
I’m very proud to announce the availability of release 18.104.22.168 of my Digital Home Server. New is the multi-room audio feature, allowing to manage audio streams to multiple rooms.
Sending audio to multiple rooms has a few specific challenges. Imagine that you walk through your house, and every time you leave/enter a room you hear different music. Or you could have a PC in every room, listening to the same Internet Radio station. You would have a little delay between the different audio streams, which is very annoying.
In DHS if you choose to hear the same music in multiple rooms the audio stream will be cloned, so that you hear exactly the same audio in all rooms.
DHS uses the approach of one sound card per room, as illustrated below
Those audio cards are very cheap, and you can find plenty on eBay or DealExtreme. Every audio card is then connected to speakers in every room. Of course, this assumes you have audio cables to all the rooms in your house !
Once you have those sound cards you can create as many audio streams as you like, and send them to one or more rooms.
In the above example you have two audio streams, where the second one is being sent to the Living Room and Kitchen.
At this moment, only the MP3 and Internet Radio modules are adapted for multi-room audio. The other modules will simply use the default sound card.