SmartThings, how to handle guests and nanny’s in your house

Using SmartThings lets you automate most of the stuff in your house. Leaving the house automatically turns of all the lights and heating, but only when all of us leave the house. When one of us returns in the house, the lights go back on and the heating is on as well.
The last few weeks my mom was visiting and when both me and my wife left the house she got stuck in the dark because both presence sensors connected to our keys were gone and the rule in SmartThings is when everybody leaves the house switch everything off. Not a huge problem to switch back on the lights and heating but not something you would expect from your home automation system.
There are several ways to solve this. I could buy another presence sensor and give that to our guests. Only when the guests leave you have to switch it off. This might work for a nanny who gets out the house with the kids for example. The one thing which is missing in SmartThings is the ability to easily switch off the presence sensor. You either remove it from the system or remove the batteries when not used. I saw a suggestion creating a new device type with a enable/disable capability so you can switch off the presence sensor when it’s not used.
The other way is to create new ‘modes’ for your home and switch to these when you have a babysitter staying for example.
The 3rd one is what i used now. You can create a new device type which is called Virtual Presence Sensor. That’s a presence sensor you can create to develop your apps and test somebody leaving your house for example, but in my case it would work as well. Whenever my mom or the nanny stays home, I just enable the presence sensor and everything keeps working how it’s suppose to work. Lights will automatically switch on around sunset, or off around sunrise etc.
So how do you create one? Go to the web IDE login and go the My Devices at and click on +New Device

Select as Type the Simulated Presence Sensor
Give it a name (in my case Presence Sensor Guest). The Network Device Id can be anything. Select a location or your hub and finally click create.

Now you only have to change your different modes. For example the ‘I’m back’ responds to anybody arriving and you have to add this virtual presence sensor to the list of sensors you want to use (already mine and my wife’s sensor are in that list). Also ‘Goodbye’ needs changing when you want to lights to switch off when everybody is gone.

I thought this was a simple but neat trick.

My new Intel NUC desktop computer

A while ago my desktop at home started to acting up. So I decided I wanted it to replace it with something new. I was looking for something small yet powerful and it needs to be silent!. My colleague Galileo recommended the Intel NUC.
So after some searching and reading reviews I decided it looked good and would fulfill my requirements. It needs to be silent, powerful enough to use Visual Studio, enough memory, enough disk space. And it needs to be able to hook up different screens. (At least 3).

So i ordered the following parts at Amazon:

Enough memory, 512GB disk, a USB to VGA cable to hook up a 3rd screen. 2 short cables to hook up the mini display and mini HDMI connectors at the back to 2 other DVI screens I have.

So far I really like the device. It’s fast, quiet (you can hear it, and when the blower starts you can hear that too, but it’s not annoying, it’s a soft sound). I use a BT keyboard and Mouse. It’s fast enough to use Visual Studio. I can even build my own Windows enlistment which is a pretty heavy task. Happily running Windows 10 at the moment.
The NUC has a I5 processor. The case can hold a small notebook SSD drive (there is also an option to use M2 storage for future expansion).
Here are some pictures of the device. It is really small:WP_20150302_004

The package also contains a little Vesa mount so you can screw the device to the back of your monitorWP_20150302_005 WP_20150302_006 Enough USB3 connectors on the back and the fronts, 1 USB connector at the front you can use for charging (will have power when the device is shut down)WP_20150302_007

2 memory modules for 16GB total memory. Works great for running multiple emulators and hyper-v images.WP_20150302_008  WP_20150302_010 WP_20150302_011

The hard drive fits in neatly too (512GB SSD)

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USB to VGA dongle for my 3rd screen. After installing the display adapter drivers it works great.WP_20150303_006

So all in all I am happy with the device. 1 wish would have been a TPM chip. That would made it easier for me to authenticate for work stuff with a virtual smartcard instead of my real smart card (and perhaps forget it to bring to the office because it’s still in my smartcard reader at the home office)