|Well crap. |
That was only a matter of time…
I first became aware of Siri proxy being used to drive home automation system while reading one of my favorite websites, life hacker. The article talked about Elvis impersonator who it created a plug-in to open and close his garage door and set the thermostat. Needless to say I found this to be pretty amazing, and far superior to anything I've attempted so far. So I went about looking into how to get this set up.
I've been wrestling with this for some time. First off, I didn't know anything about Ubuntu nor what would be the best way to install it. Particularly because of my dexterity limitations. Anyway, check out the results!
I have to say, I'm really quite pleased with the results. It was well worth the effort.
So what was required to get this up and running?
As mentioned, I had to first figure out how to work with Ubuntu and what was the best way to install it. For the time being, I'm running a bootable partition on my desktop PC. I am going to try to get a old PC/laptop running it 24/7. I also tried running it through virtual box. While the installation went smoothly, I had some difficulties getting Siri proxy up and running.
The and to create the functions for turning the light on/off or locking/unlocking the door, I had to figure out a little bit of Ruby script. Fortunately, modifying the sample plug-in is pretty straightforward and it's very easy to insert console commands to it, and fortunately I had already figured these commands out from my previous attempts…
If you would like to give it a try, here's the links to all of the resources you will need:
- Ubuntu http://www.ubuntu.com/download
Ubuntu is free to download and install. It is also very easy to install as bootable partition on your Windows PC
Installation instructions http://www.ubuntu.com/download/help/install-ubuntu-with-windows
- alternatively, you can run it through virtual box inside your Windows operating system (if your PC has enough power) https://www.virtualbox.org/
- this tutorial will walk you through the process http://www.psychocats.net/ubuntu/virtualbox
- Installing Siri proxy
once you have Ubuntu up and running in either one of these two options you will need to install Siri proxy through the terminal inside Ubuntu.
follow these instructions, pasting each one after the other into the terminal window. https://github.com/plamoni/SiriProxy#set-up-instructions
- if you need a visual walk-through first, this webpage has a now outdated demonstration of how to install it. The process is very similar, but the commands have changed. It does give you a good feel for how to get virtual box installed and the process required to get Siri proxy up and running.
be sure to use the set of instructions on GITHUB, not the ones in the video!
- Getting Siri proxy to do what you want
the easiest way to get started, and what I've done so far is to modify the example plug-in. You can find those instructions here https://github.com/plamoni/SiriProxy/wiki/Plugin%20Developer%20Guide
|Even though Siri proxy is working super well for me, they do say that it is in an alpha state development now. Meaning it does have occasional issues and going through the proxy server, some of the voice commands or functions may not be quite the same/functional.|
For example the open app command still does work for any of the non-default applications. However it seems to not recognize programs like contacts or music. This also means that when asking to play a particular song or album e.g. "Siri, play album X" the proxy does not recognize this. Saying I do not have that album or artist.
All in all, swapping one level of convenience for another. Not too big of a deal. Easily reverted by resetting your Wi-Fi IP.
So what's next? Well I've ordered a few more light nodes and those of the most immediately useful to me. I would also like to add some thermostat control, however my house is kind of badly designed for that, making it cost prohibitive. (I have a number of baseboards on independent thermostats in the same room… Stupid)
If encounter a few issues about trying to get Siri proxy up and running, try the following:
I performed these three steps, and Siri proxy consistently runs perfectly. Thanks to Elvis Impersonator for most of these tips!
Also in the process of trying to find a machine I can use for dedicated Siri proxy server. Raspberry_pi is an option, and you can find more about those on Elvis impersonator's page. I have to look into it a bit ourselves first to see if it's the best option for me.
One of my favorite things about the Siri proxy server is, as you see in the video I can unlock my door just by using my voice. As I walk up to my house, I reconnect to my Wi-Fi and the Siri proxy server, all I have to do is tell the door to unlock. Which is really great for me as I can no longer manage keys.
So all in all I found getting this up and running was challenging, but well worth the efforts.
Elvis Impersonator who contacted me out of the blue with a generous offer for help and advice. Be sure to check out his YouTube page and some of the other magic that can be done with Siri proxy and a Raspberry_pi!
Additional Note (added 29th of July 2013)be sure to check out the related blogs comparing the desktop installation to using a raspberry pi