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Turn on Your Air Conditioner or Whatever Using Your Phone

I was breezing through the Locale plugins on the Android market and stumbled upon RemoteStick, a free app (or you could spring for the $1.50 donation version) which is a companion, a client technically, to the TellStick system, $90 or so bucks from the Swedes, $95 from the Brits, which is a little USB stick with a transmitter on it that beams out power toggling instructions to these things with receivers you plug into your wall outlets and then plug the appliance or light you want into the thing so that you can it can kill the circuit or blaze up the power to the various things based on what you want it to do.

The RemoteStick app, made by someone other than the TellStick people, enables you to send commands (and with Locale, under situations you define, namely time and location) with your phone from anywhere to the TellStick setup with your computer acting as a server, relaying the commands which you may trigger either with the app that looks like these images or possibly a Locale plugin that may be included and if it does what I think it does, the Locale plugin, you could set your phone to detect, for example, a cell tower fifteen miles from your home and when that happens it tells your TellStick system at home to fire up the jacuzzi heater or whatever. Freak your family out. You get the idea, it’s a remote power toggler, no big whoop.

I don’t own this and haven’t seen it in action but since it’s intriguing, figured I’d tell you about it. The app is free, donation version $1.50, and again the TellStick will set you back at least $90. The shortcomings of which I’m aware but am not certain of is that it would either need to have a constant data connection with your phone (hard to maintain throughout a day and battery drain) or you’d have to deal with setting up port forwarding on you computer (requires you having figured out how to do that — unless they supply their own centralized server both your computer and phone makes a connection to, like Orb), it’s not cheap and you have to buy it from some European, what you’re reading now wasn’t even typed by someone who tried what he was reviewing, I understand the server software is command line only, and I believe it may only come with three of those power jack receiver things which means that if you end up not regretting the purchase you’ll find yourself in the market for more jack receiver things. Its claimed max range is only 30ft which I assume is in a line-of-sight situation (meaning probably less than 30ft for you unless you live in a 30ft wide studio apartment, in which case you would probably not own a jacuzzi, so nevermind). Also I only found Euro dealers so you may have to hit up Radio Shack for some adapter for each receiver. Another thing is that not all things will turn on just because the power went on again, including some TVs and maybe even jacuzzi heaters and ACs.

All that notwithstanding, I figured this was worth passing along, that mankind has now achieved this level of sophistication.

Now that I think about it, odds are high that someone else already made and is selling a better and cheaper version of this, though you may not find an Android client for it, and probably not one with Locale support. If you know about something along those lines, do tell.

Doug Simmons