Recently I discovered that I was sleeping through my morning alarm and set out to suggest the sound on my Google Home. The idea was that I had become familiar with my current tone. Unfortunately, my partner didn’t like the sound I chose. Frustrated with the limited selection of alarm sounds, I set out to create a random playlist.

Since I have Home Assistant running my smart home, I figured a smart place to start was there.

Helpers and Sensors in Home Assistant

Photo by ConvertKit on Unsplash

Presence Detection in Home Automation is the holy grail. Knowing that particular members of the household are entering a room allows you to customize certain aspects. Each member of the family would want different temperatures, light schemes, TV inputs, etc. If you knew when those members entered or left, you could automate the environment.

But how do you decide whose wishes to prioritize when there are multiple people in the same room? More importantly, how do you get each member of the family to cooperate with your artificial system?

When you search for an answer to this question, the usual…

*For a 100 Employee Company

Photo by Aron Visuals on Unsplash

Did you know that knowledge workers spend an average of 9.3 hours a week searching and finding information? With salary numbers from Q4 of 2020, that translates to an annual cost per employee of $9290¹.

Here’s how this searching and finding takes place on an average workday:

You turn on your computer, ready for the day to start. As you read your e-mail and schedule for the day, the list of information that you need grows and grows. Information such as:

  1. Notes about your upcoming client meetings from the team lead
  2. PowerPoint decks detailing the…

Recursive Automation

I listen to a number of podcasts every day. When I wake up, I refresh my podcasts and listen as I start my day. In my pursuit to constantly reduce my manual activity for recurring activities, I looked to automate it.

I have an Android Phone so I chose the following “stack”:

  1. Tasker — $3.49
  2. AutoRemote — $3.49 (you can also use AutoApps — about $1.49 a month)
  3. Home Assistant — Free
  4. Podcast Addict — Free (with In-App Purchases)

Browsing Reddit, I found this post that inspired my automation. …

Photo by History in HD on Unsplash

When we vote for a President of the United States, the voters are presented with a series of policy positions, i.e., lower taxes or universal healthcare, for example, that they will implement. However, there is a reason that this position is called the Executive Branch. The President doesn’t pass laws or negotiate them. He doesn’t do the fine-tuning of broad policies to make them work; instead, he hires the people to do it and then manages him.

In the first volume of Barack Obama’s memoirs, A Promised Land, he talked less about his executive actions and more about the personalities…

Photo by Lukas Blazek on Unsplash

In today’s Business Environment, there are two types of companies: those that understand their data and those in danger of going under. In 2020, 2.5 quintillion bytes of data are produced by humans every day¹. Also known as an Exabyte or 1 BILLION Terabytes.

Some examples of the data being generated includes:

  • Search Queries
  • Shopping Habits (both in-person and digital)
  • GPS Location and other IoT Sensors
  • Social Media Posts
  • Individual Website Interactions

Companies are looking to build more in-depth analytics based on the data they can produce or buy. They need help aggregating the data and performing the analysis. …

Photo by joshua herrera on Unsplash

6 Different Video Binges for your Holiday Week

For many of us, 2020 is the Christmas that we will be isolated from our family and friends. Here is a list of Holiday Inspired Playlists for you to stream to get you in the Christmas Spirit.

Comedies that embody the Christmas Spirit

Comedies that uplift with just a little bit of absurdity

“My Best Moment” — Scrubs (Season 4 Episode 12)

A Scrubs’s Episode where everyone is alive at the end is an excellent place to start our Christmas Journey.

“The One Where Rachel Quits” — Friends (Season 3 Episode 10)

Ross’s guilt forces a comical interaction, Monica spirals, Rachel is a bad waitress, and Joey has a part-time job. Like every other Friends Episode, but this one has Phoebe heartbroken about Christmas Trees dying.

Photo by Lala Azizli on Unsplash

Analytics has never been more critical in today’s world. Uncertainty plagues the world, workforces are changing dramatically, and technology is changing rapidly. Business leaders are looking to Analytics Departments to provide the answers, but how should those answers be generated?

Malcolm Gladwell popularized the rule of thumb for 10,000 hours of practice to become an expert in his book Outliers: The Story of Success. In today’s business environment, 10,000 hours is no longer a realistic metric as consumer behavior and technology evolves too quickly. The yardstick that we should be using is 10,000 experiments.

In the same time that one person can be “an expert in the analytics discipline” (five years), Facebook will conduct approximately 500k+ experiments.

Recursive Automation

Recursively Enhancing your Home Automation

A couple of weeks ago I created an automation to change the light in my living room for when I played video games.

Lights in my apartment dimmed, ambient lights came up around the television, with only a push of a button!

When I was finished playing, I pushed the button again, and depending on the time of day, my lights returned to their normal status. Alexa also thanked me for playing.

But there were some small nagging issues:

  • My partner was accidentally hitting the button and changing the lights in the middle of the day.
  • I was losing track…

Automate your Pomodoro Process Today with Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, or Home Assistant.

Photo by Alex Ghizila on Unsplash

Working from home was supposed to be a short term event. Since that ship has sailed, we need to find a way to focus at home. Focusing at home can be hard, where there are housemates, TVs, and Video Games. To keep me on task, I follow a four-step process, to make sure that I remain on task:

  1. List my goals and activities at the beginning of the week (I use a Trello Board or some other Kanban Board)
  2. Break down those goals and activities into small manageable tasks. I then transcribe those tasks and track them in Todoist.
  3. Schedule…

Andrew Crider

Head of Digital Transformation at Provoke Solutions ( Blogger at

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store