“mic check. Testing 1,2.3.”

Uh, yo. Ben here and it’s been 125 days since I posted my last video. 😓 That’s not a number I’m happy with. I live with a perpetual cringe because I have unable to release content regularly for like the past two years.

Here is my formal apology for not releasing videos at a reasonable pace. I would apologize for moving at a glacial pace, but they’re probably moving/melting faster than me at this point because of #climatechange and all of that.

I promise this thing is going to get off the ground soon. Please and thank you don’t give up on me yet!

For those that are interested, the rest of this is kind of like a self-administered FAQ on I’ve been up to, what I’m planning, and why I think you should let me be your smart home tour guide.

Let’s get to it.

“Ben, do you even know what you are doing?”

Usually not. I have been playing with home automation stuff for most of my life, though. Here’s my quick CV.

Age:
  • 8-14: Lego Mindstorms
  • 14 - 18: Dad’s X10 and Lutron/Crestron systems
  • 18-23: Tasker, Android, and Arduino
  • 24-now: Home Assistant and everything else I can get my hands on

Legit, eh? (sarcasm) I’ve done enough to qualify as a tinkerer, but I basically have zero formal training. The bad part of that is that some things take me forever. Like recently, coding this webpage (Jekyll/Github Pages/Netlify) and setting up the BRUH Community (Discourse, Digital Ocean). Boi oh, it was not fast, and that’s not including the boondoggle I had with Wix and WordPress before that.

The good part of my limited training is that I feel 100% qualified to represent ordinary people as I work to understand and leverage technology to make my home better. You should know, if I can do this, you can, too.

“So what have you been doing?!”

A lot

“Uh huh. Sure… “

Fine. Here’s a rundown.

Projects I’ve worked on this year:
  • Developed and deployed BRUH Blinds V2. It’s real, okay. Look. I made dozens of different prototypes in the past two years before I landed on what is almost a laughably simple and reliable design.
  • Identified and tested a 3D printing solution that anyone can do. No leveling. No assembling. No futzing and < $200. It just works.
  • Expanded and refactored my BRUH multisensor, RGB LED, and blind Arduino code bases into a universal library only to have Otto @ ESPhome release a magnificently better version. Salty I wasted my time, but so incredibly pumped with ESPhome and how freaking good it is.
  • Transitioned my Home Assistant automations to mostly NodeRed. It’s massively easier and faster to build (and debug) multiphase automations.
  • Migrated to HassIO and all the sweet new add-ons and Lovelace. I killed my MQTT server and all the other reverse proxy/port forwarding mess I had set up. The new methods have made BRUH3 the simplest, faster, and most reliable home automation setup I’ve ever had.
  • Setup Plex, Synology, and Unifi hardware because it’s 2019.
  • Tested many Z-wave light switches, locks, and accouterments and developed automations to make them actually useful.
  • Fixed my presence automation woes, built a baller security system that, no joke, shakes my house when the alarm system goes off.
  • I rebuilt the “lab” (where I build and film my home automation things), got new cameras, lights, microphones, and software in my quest to make the best content possible.
  • Fully implemented Google Assistant into my home automation system for full voice control, broadcasting, shared alarms/timers, zoned podcast streaming, custom commands, etc. Google does it all when I’m home, in my car, using my phone, or my watch. Alexa is aight, too.
  • I even started building a slew of new DIY projects.
    • Automating my desk, bed presence sensors, BRUH multisensor v2 (wireless charging, ey oh), an automated candle, some HVAC sensors, security devices, even stuff for bathrooms, and my dog. I have so freaking much I want to build and share.

So, where are those videos?

It’s coming! I did film some of that list and plan to cover those topics in future videos.

But Ben, why are you moving so freaking slow?

There is one-fact-to-rule-them-all when it comes to home automation - you get one shot to “justify” a smart home device to somebody. In the first 10 minutes of use, a person will decide if said device is worth it or not, and a single failure can result in a person never using that device again.

“How many times will you accept being locked out of your house before you jettison that “smart” lock into low earth orbit?”

I want to show people that smart home technology is for everyone - it is accessible, affordable, reliable, and safe.

The issue is that a lot of the projects I’ve worked on haven’t been those things. But that is changing now, and so much of what I’ve been working with is ready for most people to pick up and enjoy. If you’re new here, I hope you’ll be pleasantly surprised by how accessible and capable home automation can be.

I’m not trying to make BRUH Automation another HackADay or CNET website centered around pseudo-complete tutorials or rehashed tech news. Instead, I want to build a platform that focuses on user experience, ease-of-use, and practicality first.

Does that mean you aren’t doing tutorials or reviews anymore?

No, those will still happen, but the core of BRUH Automation will center around integration and how devices are used by real people, in real homes, in real life.

What are your next videos?

  • HASS Class
  • How to make a dumb water kettle smart. “Hey Google, set the water to 180 degrees.”
  • BRUH Blinds V2
  • NodeRed
  • Zwave switches - moving beyond a simple switch
  • Smart Locks and how they change everything

How long until your regularly releasing content?

Hopefully soon. My rate-limiting step (beyond my day job, family, and home commitments) was wrapping the blinds project. Now that I got the blinds covered (ha), I’m ready to plug through the list and hopefully not have more false starts.

Why do you ghost between videos?

While I try to be all jokes and sarcasm here, I do have a lot of ragerts because I promised to make content that I haven’t delivered on. I hide because I’m a wiener, but I’m trying to stop hiding and get going now. Hit me up, yo.

Cheers, Ben