Bookmarked The New Old Home (by The Yak Collective)

My motivation goes here

I need to much more closely read this report. It is very much connected to the things I tried to express during the 2010 SHiFT closing keynote, when I labelled it as MakerHouseholds. A label under which I have done various projects related to making and networked agency in the past decade. There’s a richness in perspective to explore, written by people, some of whom I already follow in my feedreader. (ht Alper Çugun)

Rediscovering the home as a production frontier

The Yak Collective’s second report, The New Old Home, offers 22 perspectives built around Pamela Hobart’s central thesis: as work returns to the home in the form of remote work opportunities (a trend now dramatically accelerated by pandemic circumstances), we can turn to historical modes of integrated living, reconsidered in light of newer technology, to guide our attempts at co-located life and work.

Bookmarked Home Assistant, en wat ik er momenteel mee doe (by Max Roeleveld)

Useful post (in Dutch) by Max Roeleveld on his home automation using a RaspberryPi with Home Assistant. On how to do these things without silo’d hard- and software. To motivate others to take more online and offline things into their own control, not beholden to some service provider that then basically controls your off-switch, and harvests your behavioural data in the process.

In our household we are very much addicted to our Philips Hue lamps all over the house. We run those without external access or connections (we don’t use it to switch on/off lights when we’re not at home), but still it’s a silo of course. It could integrate with Home Assistant I see. There’s other unused stuff (Ikea’s Trådfri lamps a.o.) around the house too.

Bookmarked for the ‘someday’ project list.

Home Assistent met RaspberryPi, Zigbee en lampjes in de woon- en slaapkamer. Een kijkje in de… nou ja, niet in de keuken.

Max Roeleveld

Liked https://aaronparecki.com/2019/08/18/27/iot by Aaron PareckiAaron Parecki (aaronparecki.com)
Over the past few weekends I've been overhauling my home automation systems. At the core, as I decide what to buy and how to configure it, there are three primary principles

Aaron Parecki has been playing around with sensors in his home. He lists the three principles he applies to how his home automation is set up:

  • Manual override: Everything automated has to still have the ability to be controlled manually
  • Keep it at home: No “cloud” services unless absolutely necessary (e.g. push notifications to a phone)
  • Open: Avoid vendor lock-in, use open source and open protocols where possible

These are three principles that make sense in more contexts, where the second principle “keep it at home” I relate to the “useful on its own, more useful when connected to other instances” element that is important to me in thinking about smart homes.

Rather impressive is that Aaron is dropping technology that has been acquired by silos, and breaks those principles after he started using it, and not just uses them to inform buying decisions.

Silo-imprisonment and closed tools result in a smart home that isn’t smart for you, but smart for the vendors. Like how Smart City TM visions were about dull boring security focused panopticons keeping people in check. Not the vibrant community where ideas, people, capital, goods and artisanship recombine into a total so much more than the sum of its parts, where smart technology aids those serendipitous recombinations.

A smart home to me is one that is not just a dwelling but a productive actor (a “MakerHousehold“), for the people that live in it, for its immediate neighbourhood and for the city it is in. This was what I was interested in when shaping the ‘Smart Stuff That Matters‘ unconference last year.

Aaron got me thinking about potential sensors in our home again. Also because data gathering is the starting point for finding points of action. AI for the rest of us I think needs to be based on self collected data around the house / person, mixed with public data for context.

This article in the Atlantic talks about families using tools like Trello and Slack to keep track of each others activities and tasks.
It calls it treating the home like the office or running the household like a business and presents it like an oddity if not a 21st century abberation of family life. E.g. tracking how often you call your mom.

I find the tongue in cheek tone rather tone deaf. It misses the point on several levels.
The examples are not showing how families are run like an office or business. Families are seeing parallels between work and private processes.
After all task allocation and keeping track of each other is important in the household too. Besides households are the original economic unit.

Tracking tasks, also for children, has been around for ages. Dalton schools, with their focus on independent learning tasks, have had to do / doing / done boards since the 1920s.
Hallways and refrigerator doors have displayed lists and overviews forever too. My grandma kept track of everything in notebooks, how many beans harvested and stored for the winter, how much fuel used etc.
All it shows is that what families have been doing all along is also done using tools imagined for a work environment. Just like owning carpentry tools was once limited to masters who were members in a guild, and are now found in every household.

That is useful for several reasons. It helps make sure that the household and family get at least equal attention as areas of responsibility.
Keeping track of work but not the home easily means the home gets attention when all else is finished, which it never is.
For that reason I have areas in my GTD todo lists for me personally, family, daughter, partner and the house. Similarly I have long term goal descriptions for them too.

We would never have moved so quickly and readily early 2017 if we had not set it as a goal in the summer of 2013 to be ready by the end of 2016 for it.
It meant building up the financial buffer for it, and thinking about where we would want to live. As part of that we regularly temporarily moved to other cities for a month to figure out what we wanted.
Since July 2013 when we set the goal on the balcony of a friends home in Switzerland, I kept track of what we needed to do for it in my GTD tools.

It does sometimes feel odd to track things like how often I spoke to my parents. But it was necessary as my parents would often forget when we talked last. Sometimes telling me it had been weeks when it was yesterday.
So I made sure I called them at least once a week by having it in my todo lists. I also kept notes especially when their health deteriorated as they would tell my sisters different things, so we could compare.

For the household and for our family we have shared Evernote notebooks. To share receipts, info about daycare, holiday plans, or my itinerary when I travel for work.
Weekly we look ahead at what is happening the next week or two.

I mentioned the household being the original economic unit, and in one aspect it means I do treat it as a business.
Optimising household income also means I regularly spend time assisting Elmines business, as she does mine. It helps maintain and increase our freedom of action.
Every Euro I help her make and she me being better at what I do means improvement for us and providing our daughter with a good start in life.

If Slack or Trello, Evernote or Things help us do that then great.

Sometime last year I had a conversation with a friend who told me he was starting a new company together with his wife. I thought it was an inspiring and intriguing step, and also a logical extension of thinking of the household as an economic unit (after all, economics, after Aristotle(‘s student)’s work titled Οἰκονομικά, oikonimika, means household management).

We’re in a similar situation, both of us working as independent professionals. Regularly there are things where one of us might support the other with something, so both of us can be more effective in our work.

Today we sat down for a first scheduled and real conversation about how to augment each other’s efforts, and what steps to take. It is in part also a result of our sessions with our financial planner, which showed us the importance of more closely looking at our household as an economic unit, and less as two separate working individuals.

Some first actions have been formulated, and I hope we can keep up these conversations and sparring sessions.