Date: Wednesday, May 4th, 2005, 11:13
An article on the topic of a Mac mini used as an iNode in an iHome.
I have written often about the Mac mini as an iNode in an intelligent connected house. But it is the logical model of decentralized nodes within a network loop on each level that I favour for an iHome. The idea that a plug and cable node can be available linked to a controller.
The model I have chosen for the Mac mini network design prototype is somewhat different as each node would have capabilities to access any point of control or be specific in what is required as a specificity of function. Each lifestyle has specificity built in, and as each person has generally unique requirements then they have to be catered for with the unique characteristics that suit each nodes use. We would have to place a touch pad control in each iSpace why not attach a Mac mini to it.
The concept of an iNodes really is derived from two main themes. One specificity and the other special needs and each node can be made as plug and play ready with an option of ethernet cable, of phone net cable, and controller connection, also wireless and bluetooth within the node, to provide for close environs roaming. So in an iSpace if it functions as a bed room and for a teenager the iNode will act like a normal plug and play site and the Mac mini or iMac would or laptop could just plug into the node and have access environmental settings for the room and act as a gateway to the information superhighway.
The whole house scene settings normally are and should be password protected and available to whoever has the master control access to the iHome settings and these may be accessed from any iNode or from a pocket size keypad or from a mobile phone with secure protections. Master key access and security is always a major concern and it does affect our insurance policy costs. The idea of environs roaming may be from room to room or from room to balconies or in the yards or a nearby moored boat at the iHome jetty.
A Mac mini with power plug wireless keypad and a mouse and small monitor may be perfect for that afternoon on the balcony browsing or writing. The facility of roaming outside the room may require repeater nodes with wireless access. This may also be more relevant for the iBook or Powerbook use. A Mac mini can act as a dedicated node and my options would be for at least four with battery and fuel cell backup for the key aspects of iHome control. As I see it one for iHome office, one for iHome environmental systems, One for iHome Theatre and one for iHome appliances.
If the four key iHome aspects are covered with fixed dedicated systems and they can have extra capacity for other library and inventory functions as well. Two large ethernet hard drive library and inventory systems can be attached to the net as backups of iHome data a dual system. That way one can be off line and for emergency backups. This is the only central facility in the proposed network. Twin large HD backup system is a reasonable backup with perhaps a library of hard data burned on DVD.
In all I would prefer flexibility and each family member to have their own roaming Mac mini and at the price that is practicable. The student teenager may ideally have a Mac mini and an iBook so that home and roam is adequately covered. All my grandchildren love games and when they visit it is handy to have a couple of spare dedicated games ready machines and multi media frames for entertainment devices.
A family has a real practical need to have interactive environments just from the music and pictorial situation and now they can each child may have a low cost Mac mini and have the option to connect it up to an iNode plug and play facility.
It was at the Intelligent Home Show in Melbourne last year that someone mentioned that they have master control in their home and it is easy to enforce a curfew on teenagers with lights out, as he had the master switch from his bedside which shut down the lighting and set night time scenes with all internet gateways closed and lighting to a minimum. I smiled when that was said, because I remember my daughters using a torch to read a book under the sheets we knew and smiled at her love of novels and of course now these days there is the 5-6 hour battery in an iBook and wireless and a teenagers mobile phone.
For every electronic measure there arises out of need and electronic counter measure and that is the nature of things. We must work hard and our security and command and control mechanisms but always have a fall back mode and a secure safety mode. That is why I prefer secure in wall/floor hidden cable for the fundamental iHome security. The question also arises about the gateways and iNode security so to have a Mac mini or a Mac with OSX generally providing security in at all the gateways is a real bonus but I believe it to be an iHome necessity in these days of security difficulties.
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