Month: October 2014

The Nepalese tradition of Bhai Tika

Did you know there is a “Brother’s Day”?

Nepalese have a very lovely tradition called Bhai Tika where we celebrate the brother – sister relationship. It’s like a Brother’s Day celebrated by the sisters – if that makes sense? Many of you probably now know Diwali (thanks to Obama for wishing all the Hindus on this festive occasion). Its generally known as the “Festival of Lights” celebrated in India. But you probably would not know that this festival is also celebrated in neighbouring countries like Nepal. We of course, call it Tihar its celebrated for 5days – each day having its own significance – the first day to the crows – yes the black bird. I don’t really know the reasoning behind this. The second day to the dogs. I unfortunately (and shamefully) don’t know the reasoning behind this either. But it’s a good day to celebrate man’s most faithful friend. And then the third is dedicated to Goddess Laxmi – the goddess of wealth. I certainly know why I want to please this goddess 😀  Then the fourth is dedicated to ones own health & …

Testing the wired Z-Wave connection with the USB Home Controller device

And at the end of that long day, I was saying “All Lights Off”

It was the day. The day to wire in the Z-Wave devices on the switches and test that the openHAB software was able control the switches. The tests had been done. And this was the real deal. The devices had been purchased. The instructions had been revised several times. The circuitry had been discussed with the electricians several times. All the necessary doubts had been cleared. The softwares had been tried and tested. And yet when it came to the day – Of Course, we had problems. But glad to say, this story had a good ending and lessons learnt from all the problems we faced. Here’s a visual capture of the day. And at the end of that long day, I was saying “All Lights Off” to turn off all the house lights. Our brother still does not understand why we need to use our mobile phones or voice commands to control the switches. And he also does not understand our excitement. So over to you…Does the idea of home automation excite you? Or is it …

Mint in the backyard

It was like finding gold

Well, guess what… in some corner of our backyard – amidst all the grassy wilderness, I spotted some mint! I was so excited – it was like finding gold! (Or, may be not. I am sure I would be far more excited to find ‘real’ gold than mint). The funny thing is, I am not even fan of mint. I was basically just thrilled to see something “useful” growing – sort of on it’s own. I didn’t plant them, so it must be the previous owners. Cleared the weed around the plants & watered them well. I suddenly feel like I have a green thumb 😉 Now, I am thinking, what do I do with these mints… What should I make? All I can think of is a mint chutney, my mum used to make. Care to share some recipes/ideas anyone?

Room by Emma Donoghue

This weekend while SS and the electrical guys worked on installing the Z-Wave switches indoors, I soaked up the sun outdoors & kept myself busy with this fabulous book recommended by my colleague. Isn’t it nice sometimes, to not have any ‘other’ plans – not needing to constantly keep yourself aware of the time, not rushing to keep up? Just your phone on ‘Do Not Disturb’ mode, a good dose of coffee, warm sunshine, a good book and just lots of time.

Testing the waters with openHAB

Nerd Alert. If you are not into technology, you will find this boring. You have been warned! The Z-wave switches are being installed today and SS has been working throughout the week trying to ensure that openHAB has been installed ready to be configured. SS has been testing the waters in writing the rules for openHAB and he has been successful so far in automating a lamp via a WEMO switch. I was thrilled! Let me describe his setup so far. Firstly, everything is not going as planned. SS planned to have openHAB hosted on our ASUSTOR NAS server and use the Aeotec Z-Stick USB as the controller. But on the limited version of the Linux OS on NAS, installing the driver is proving to be a problem. Poor SS. He is still waiting on ASUSTOR to respond to his query. So a temporary solution while SS figures this out, is to use Raspberry Pi instead of NAS. I am told the USB Z-Stick works like a charm on this. And that it was easy …

Sending virtual hugs

Just wanted to send through virtual hugs & “cookie love” to all of my 56 followers 😀 Yes, 56! Its a drop in the ocean for many seasoned bloggers out there but I am pretty stoked about my “achievement” – as WordPress tags it. It’s nice to know someone – besides my father, is interested in what I have to say! Well, its more than just a nice feeling. It feels GREAT! I started this blog a couple of months back to document our settling in process at our new home – mainly for my family overseas who are in a different time zone and I am told I don’t “update them enough on what’s going on”. But I ended up discovering a new community. I have blogged elsewhere before but the community on WordPress have got to be the best. And the quality of content that some bloggers write is amazing. And the photographers!! OMG there are some geniuses out there. And then there are some hilarious & downright outrageous ones. Blogs with amazing photos …

Our victory over the month of July

This July was particularly taxing both for SS and me. Firstly, we got the keys to our new place. We renovated. We moved. SS moved jobs. And I was travelling (for business, not pleasure unfortunately) most of the time. I was literally in 3 different continents in 3 weeks – no kidding. But we survived and the first August weekend, we granted ourselves a weekend ski trip to up to Jindabyne in the Snowy Mountains. It was amazing. This was by no means our dream vacation. But it was one of our best. To be able to release all that stress accumulated over the previous month, it was like being offered a chilled lemonade after completing a marathon under 40degrees heat – not that I know how that feels, but we can imagine! We survived July. We felt Victorious. Featured in: The Daily Post: Dreamy

Stabbed Ego by Luke S. Kennedy

I had not read a book since I left college – several years ago. But couple of weeks back, I felt sort of compelled to buy this book called Stabbed Ego mainly because it was an autobiography of my gym instructor. I just felt the need to support him. I honestly did not really have much hopes on the book but I was really curious to know what a (good looking) instructor, with an beautiful wife and a pretty successful business, had so interesting about his life that he had to write a book about it. I sort of guessed it would be one of those many “stories of success” that people write. And it was, but it wasn’t just about the highs in life. It was also about the lows – the countless lows and worst that one can be. As I started reading it, I was shocked – more so because I was not able relate this character in the book to the gym instructor that I knew. And then I was intrigued. By the end, I was inspired …

Getting our geek on!

Well, Well, Well – look what we have in the mail – the z-wave microswitches for our lighting automation project! Nerd Alert! Let me explain a little about what these things are for and what they do – in non geeky terms. Again on a side note, there are various types of ‘home controllers’. You can also get ones that are stand alone devices with its own processor that can connect to internet, install the necessary apps etc. But SS, opted to use USB controller because he wanted to see whether he could make more use of his linux based NAS device – which is currently our “media server” (There should be a post on this. SS does some cool things), and run the openHAB software (and there should be a post on this too. it will be particularly interesting to the tech-heads) , which typically requires Java, off it. He also just likes to do things out of the norm. Crazy dude. By the way, these devices are certainly not cheap. Here is where we purchased them …

A “starry” ceiling

Hey, it wasn’t easy. But its done! The old lights have been replaced with these gorgeous new downlights. Next step is to install the Z-Wave switches to get our geek on with lighting automation!! Btw, the electricians we used was City Light Electrical. They were introduced through referral and since they were starting a new company, we were also their first few clients and they made sure we got competitive quotes. And they were nice. We like good quotes and nice people 😉 — Featured On: The Daily Post: Ready, Set, Done