Category Archives: Smart Home

Interview with Authority Mag: Homes Of The Future

Jason Hartman recently interviewed me for Authority Magazine. Check it out. Homes Of The Future: “The Future Of Smart Homes” With Charlie Kindel of SnapAV Some quotes: One of the things that really motivates and drives me professionally and personally, is the idea of how technology can improve people’s lives in their homes… I realized then that I was doing it all wrong and that everybody around me was doing it wrong and that they …Continue reading

Smart Home + PC = Better Working from Home

Since the dawn of time I’ve considered the PC (and related devices like Macs, printers, etc…) to be part of my smart home. For some reason, most traditional smart home offerings have treated PCs as somehow disconnected. Sometime after the dawn of time (2004), I built MCE Controller (mcec) as a way of ensuring my home PCs could be as tightly integrated as my whole-home audio system or lights. MCE Controller is a little …Continue reading

MCE Controller V2 Released

I spent some time the last few weekends hacking on a product I first developed in 2004: MCE Controller. MCE Controller lets you control a Windows Home Theater PC (or any PC) over the network. It runs in the background listening on the network (or serial port) for commands. It then translates those commands into actions such as keystrokes, text input, and the starting of programs. Any remote control, home control system, or application that can …Continue reading

I’m Betting on Control4

Previously I blogged about revamping the home control and entertainment system in my home. I decided to go with Control4. I mean REALLY go with Control4. First, I’ve been having a professional premium smart home installer (Wipliance) completely revamp my home with Control4 products. Second, I’ve decided to join Control4 as Senior Vice President of all their products and services. See the press release here. The home project is almost complete. All that’s left for …Continue reading

Concierge Home Technology

I had written the following in my blog post announcing my departure from Amazon: I am hiring a CEDIA-level installer to completely refit my home automation system and I will project manage that. A few weeks ago someone at Control4 tweeted the following, which I replied to with a tweetstorm. This post expands on the idea I presented in that tweetstorm… Even Charlie Kindel who brought Amazon Alexa to market, with all his technological experience …Continue reading

Goodbye GitHub: MCE Controller now on CodePlex

I love git. I love GitHub. But GitHub doesn’t seem to appreciate open source projects that require hosting more than source code. MCE Controller is an open source Windows app intended to be used by non-developers. This means it has an installer, online documentation, and requires a discussion forum for support for end users. GitHub never really provided great support for this kind of project. For example, there is no forum/discussion feature (although some claim …Continue reading

MCE Controller 1.7 Released – Now Supports RS-232

By popular demand (shocking, I know), MCE Controller now supports RS-232 in addition to TCP/IP connections. This means that you can now control any Windows PC via the serial port. MCE Controller is an open source application I built for my home control system. It makes it easy to integrate Windows PCs with other devices and control systems. Any device that can send strings over TCP/IP or (now!) a serial port can now send commands …Continue reading

MCE Controller 1.5.0 Released–Send Unicode chars

MCE Controller allows you to remotely control another Windows PC on your network. For example it allows you to simulate a press of any button on the Windows Media Center IR remote control from another computer; if MCE Controller receives the string “mypictures” it will tell Media Center to go to the “My Pictures” page. Today a user asked how to send Unicode characters such £ and € and I added this functionality to the …Continue reading

Control Your HTPC Via The Network

[UPDATED: Feb 11, 2012 – Version 1.4.0 Released] MCE Controller enables the remote control of a Windows PC over the network.  It runs in the background on a Windows PC listening on the network for commands. It then translates those commands into actions such as keystrokes, text input, and the starting of programs. I wrote MCE Controller in 2003 for my own home control system. In 2004 I released it publicly so others could use …Continue reading

MCE Controller supports the Windows key

MCE Controller, allows you to simulate a press of any button on the Windows Media Center IR remote control by sending a text command to a TCP/IP port on your Media Center computer. For example if MCE Controller receives the string “mypictures” it will tell Media Center to go to the “My Pictures” page. I wrote this app in back in ~2003 for my own use so I could integrate Media Center with my Crestron …Continue reading

Windows Home Server makes for a happy family

Once again the most amazing consumer product Microsoft has ever created, Windows Home Server, has saved my family [disclaimer].  Today I was in a meeting and I got a text message from my 15 year old daughter. It read (spelling and txt errors verbatim): “daddddd o my god. i think i just deleated all my pictures from freshmen year. please call meee!” I texted her back “Ok, don’t touch anything. I’ll call you when I …Continue reading

The Wicked Witch Is Dead!

From the Windows Home Server Team Blog: The team is pleased to announce that Windows Home Server Power Pack 1 has been released to manufacturing (RTM) and is now available on the Microsoft Download Center! This update fixes the data corruption bug that was found in Windows Home Server in December (and has great new functionality too). From Wikipedia, regarding the song “Ding-Dong! The Witch is Dead!” from the movie The Wizard of Oz: The …Continue reading

Windows Home Server is actually useful!

Today, instead of being the GM for Windows Home Server, I was simply a user… For the last two weeks my wife has been giving me the gears because the voicemail attachements from Vonage refused to play in Outlook on her computer. It was one of those weird software problems that defied logic.  All other types of attachments opened fine. I could send her an email with a .wav file attached and it would play …Continue reading

Book Review: Queen of Candesce: Book Two of Virga

Late last year I “discovered” Karl Schroeder when I read Sun of Suns: Book One of Virga. Recently he released the 2nd book of this series titled Queen of Candesce: Book Two of Virga and I finished it this weekend. Like the first book I thoroughly enjoyed it. Like the first book, I found a few too many “convenient” plot alignments. But overall, Karl paints an amazing picture of a “world” that is extraordinarily rich …Continue reading

The connections are eerie

Via my regular browsing of blog searches for Windows Home Server related stuff I came across this poor guy’s extremely sad story of data loss. First connection: He should have had a Windows Home Server. Second connection: As if to make himself feel better he adds a funny video from YouTube to his post. The Windows Home Server team has a great sense of humor.  (Yes, this is a tenuous connection to be sure, …Continue reading

PhotoSync for Windows Home Server

09-22-02 107.jpg Originally uploaded by ckindel I just updated my Windows Home Server with Ed Halloway’s PhotoSync Beta 2. This Add-in for Windows Home Server automatically ensures that all photos stored in a particular folder on your home server are automatically published to your Flickr account. I have a shared folder on my home server named \\server\screensaverpics. Every time we offload photos from a camera I copy a few of the really great photos to …Continue reading

Windows Home Server SDK

See my post over on the Windows Home Server team blog announcing the availabilty of the Windows Home Server SDK!

A Transparent Buzz

Man there’s been a buzz around transparency lately… I honestly don’t have any insight into some grand plan at Microsoft about blogging and transparency. I can only point to my own personal experieces, and I have a timely example: Last week a member of my team posted to the Windows Home Server Team blog a post about the statistics of the bug reports and feature requests we have received. A reporter saw this post and decided …Continue reading

Stop Digital Amnesia

Stop Digital Amnesia SWAG Originally uploaded by ckindel. Have you checked out yet? We put this website together as a teaser for our announcement of Windows Home Server at CES. It is funny and informational!This photo is of some of the SWAG we gave out at CES to go along with the marketing campaign.Oh, and if you are posting screen shots of Windows Home Server on Flickr and tag them with “windowshomeserver”, “whs”, and …Continue reading

Using WHS Computer Backup to upgrade a PC

This morning I used Windows Home Server’s Compter Backup capability to “upgrade” my main workstation’s HDD. Here’s how I did it… My main PC at home has a 60GB WD Raptor 10k RPM drive in it. For some reason that escapes me, long ago I had configured it such that I was only using one of these drives and I had it partitioned into two partitions (C: 40GB and D: the rest). Why I did …Continue reading