I wanted to set up a little blog for myself so that I had a place to document all the shitty little projects home automation projects that I do, as well as a place to highlight whatever else I find that I think is interesting but would probably bore the shit out of my wife or other people around me, so this is it!

This blog is "serverless" and powered by a series of AWS services, instead of your traditional webserver architecture. Full credit for the architecture on this goes to Matej Šircelj who laid the groundwork for all this. Be sure to check out his github repo: https://github.com/sirceljm/aws-lambda-blog

It's pretty slick in how it works. Essentially, instead of your request being routed to a standard web server,  your request gets sent to an API in AWS API Gateway, which parses the request and parameterizes whatever data comes with it, and then it invokes a corresponding Lambda function, which fetches whatever data it needs from DynamoDB and/or S3, renders the templates and returns the response. Static assets are also hosted in an S3 bucket and the routing and caching is handled by CloudFront.

All of this happens on request-- meaning I'm not paying for a server to run just to sit and wait for the 1 visitor who might stop by every other month. Pretty dope, eh?

Here's a bit of a visual breakdown (image credit also goes to the projects original author):

I've forked the repo and made some changes-- notably, adding some data fields for the posts, refactored some of the lambda functions to move some data around, and then cobbled together this stunning front-end.

This was dead-simple to get up and running, and you can find the project's github repo here.

I've got an old house with old electrical, and when it comes to smart lighting, the lack of common/neutral wire is a bit limiting. Luckily, Insteon makes these wicked little 2-wire dimmers that work in any traditional 2-wire box.

I've got 5 of these suckers in my house, and I can't say enough about them. If you are looking to teach an old house new tricks, these are definitely a great choice. These dimmers are RF-only, in contrast to the dual band in the normal Insteon dimmer switch offering, but I have to say, the range and reliability doesn't suffer a bit. One of these switches in my installation is pretty far from the hub and other switches and I have never had an issue communicating with it.

Now, it should be noted that if you don't already have an Insteon hub or PLM of some sort you'll need one in order to take advantage of the smart capabilities of this switch, but without one they'll still function like a normal dimmer. I've notice the Insteon starter kits seem to go on sale every so often on Amazon (as of this posting it's $40 USD), and they include the hub and two plug-in dimmer modules (for lamps).

Another thing to note is that these are not compatible replacements for three-way switches. By the looks of the reviews on the Amazon listing, it seems as though people have been burnt by that before.


  • Fast and Reliable - Have had no issues communicating with these, and they always respond really quickly
  • Compatible - Works great in houses with older wiring
  • Great range - I'm still able to communicate with these dimmers even when they aren't too close to another device


  • Lack dual band - these won't act as a repeater in your installation
  • Pricey - these dimmers tend to be slightly more expensive than other smart dimmer options