Smart home getting dumber

Read by my boss. My point is had there been AI filtered resumes in 1984, mine would not have been read.

I suspect the AI filters are smarter than your boss who read “Rigman aboard the M/V Clay Hollister” and thought “hmmm…guess he’s been in prison”

If you watch the Oliver clip above, he highlights how AI resume-bots can learn bias from prior hiring practices, and even create their own. They learn from what we give them access to.

To wit:

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Network Update: Nothing. Absolutely nothing.

It is trucking along at gigabit speeds and I haven’t had to touch it for weeks. The Time Machine backups happen without me even noticing anymore (whereas, before, the wifi connection to the NAS was so slow that they took forever).

I even got the friggin’ WeMo doorbell working again.

It’s not that I want something to break, but…

I hope the network gods aren’t as fickle as the baseball ones. That’s a mighty big crotch grab.


So, about that. The smart thermostat I bought - a Honeywell “Home” T9 - requires a fifth, common “c” wire to power the thermostat. Basically any smart thermostat needs the fifth power wire. If you have home that’s older than even 5 years, you’re unlikely to have the c-wire at the thermostat. If you’re lucky you’ll have 4 wires but if your home is properly old you may have only 2.

I have 4 wires at the thermostat because the previous homeowner had upgraded to a digital thermostat a few years back. The Honeywell smart unit comes with a wireless adapter to attach to the HVAC to turn 4 wires into 5, so I wasn’t worried. However, the wiring inside the HVAC unit is a spider’s web of splices and connections, the result of decades of slicing and dicing. Nothing made sense to my untrained eyes.

If you watch YouTube clips about how to find the c-wire, they all have a nice, neat circuit board and labelled terminals. Mine doesn’t have any of that. It is like trying to find a specific piece of hay in a haystack. The last thing I wanted to do was start rewiring that shit and lose HVAC, so I have left it be.

I wanted to get the HVAC serviced, so I took the opportunity to have the experts look at the wiring. They can fudge the connection using 4 wires by stealing the wire that controls the fan. If you do this, the fan will turn on and off the the A/C, but you cannot run the fan on its own. I decided to have them run new wiring, for future-proofing (in case I ever needed to change out the thermostat).

I had thought about running a new 5-wire bundle myself, but that wasn’t going to be much help if I didn’t know how to patch it in at the HVAC. Also, the wire at the thermostat was cut tight to the wall and simply wouldn’t budge - so I couldn’t use it as a pull-through. I let the experts have at it, and I’m glad I did.

They had to give up removing the old wire. Whoever wired it up before decided to run the line through a stud and had stapled it inside the wall somewhere so tightly that it could not be pulled from either end. They ended up running a new wire and just sealing up the old one in the wall.

So now I have a smart thermostat. This was the last glaring omission from my smart home, and I’m happy to have box checked at last. Now I get to have fun adding it in to my automations.

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When my parents got a new HVAC system a few years ago it was incompatible with all smart thermostats - Nest, Ecobee, Honeywell, etc. - except the manufacturer’s own, and at a huge extra cost ($1000!). Their system is pretty bog standard (A/C + gas furnace) but the wiring is proprietary. So I think the trend may be going in the direction of fewer options, not more.

I got a new system a few years ago, and got smart thermostats. I don’t know if the system is proprietary to only its own thermostat (it’s a Trane), but they were included with the system. They ran all new wiring because I wanted them in new locations. Getting one run downstairs was an adventure. They eventually cut the drywall, and sent a crew back out to repair a few days later. Having a smart thermostat is pretty cool.

30° temperature drop overnight. Smart thermostat FTW.

I had thought I would need to create automations to flip from cool to heat when necessary. I had no idea that this would be built in with a simple “keep between” setting. All I have had to do is add instructions to my “Good Morning” scene to set the daytime range and my “Goodnight” scene sets the nighttime range.

I’ve had the Nest and the Trane smart thermostats, and both had settings for cooling, heating, or auto, which will switch back and forth for a “keep between”. Both have more or less the same operation features, but the Trane has more “other” stuff such as displaying weather, forecasts, etc. The Nest was sleeker and more modern looking, but frankly the Trane is easier to read and program from the thermostat itself. The app interface was about the same, but it’s obvious Nest wants you to do the programming from the app.

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The Honeywell sounds more like the Crane Trane thermostat, in that you can program everything on the unit itself and it gives you current weather etc. You can also program it using the Honeywell app or, as in my case, have it work based on HomeKit automations.

Ah, the Crane thermostat. If program properly, no can defend!

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It’s also illegal and should get you disqualified.

My heat pump A/C has trouble switching from heat to cool if the outside air temp is too cool (like, under 65). Have to reset the breakers outside to force it. An HVAC tech told me this was by design. So no “auto” mode for me unfortunately, otherwise I would use the shit out of that.

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I’m pretty sure the Trane smart thermostat is made by Honeywell.

Do you know if that’s universal for heat pump systems?

I do not. Was just told that it was normal, at least for my system.

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My heat pump can switch back and forth between heat and cooling easily. It’s not automatic, I have to do it at the thermostat or with the app, but there’s no downtime.

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Semi related question:

Ethernet cables, installing from scratch with good access between floors etc

Cat6 over Cat5, correct?
Brand recs?
Special ratings matter (i.e. a, e, shielded etc)?

I’ll hang up and listen.

Wiring Update: All those loops and coax connections on the back of my house were redundant. The lines that came down and went into the wall low down weren’t even connected to anything - I pulled the cable to see if there was any slack, and it had been cut about 2” inside.

I cannot get to the wire bundle that goes up the outside to the attic (need a bigger ladder and some tequila). But there is a Smurf tube that goes from down here into the attic, so I’m going to reroute the line through that and see if I can just rip that shit off the outside. I don’t want to fuck up the siding though (even more than these idiot sparkies have already).