Mycroft AI

Today I found out about Mycroft AI, which is an open-source answer to Alexa, Siri, Cortana, and OK Google. Like its proprietary competitors, Mycroft will listen to your commands and do stuff for you, such as setting an alarm, playing music, telling you the weather, getting stock quotes, and so on. Unlike its proprietary brethren, Mycroft won’t analyze this information to play targeted ads for you.

I haven’t installed it yet because I’m still looking into it. I have a lot of questions that I still have to find answers for. For example…

I have a Linux laptop that I use pretty frequently, plus an Android smartphone, a Linux PC in the home office, and another Linux PC being used as an entertainment center. My first question is whether I should us a different wake word for each device, or use the same one for all of them? Is it like the issue of password reuse, where it’s more secure to use different wake words?

It’s an interesting idea, so I hope they keep the development going.

Attic Insulation

As mentioned in the previous post, the attic of my house had virtually no insulation in it. Indianapolis is sort of in a weird place when it comes to weather. We don’t often get heavy snowfalls or bitter cold in the winter, however, they do happen every so often. Since heat rises, an uninsulated attic lets out a lot of heat. Adding insulation is like putting a thick quilt over the top of the house, trapping most of the heat underneath it, which is what you want in winter. By trapping the heat, the heating bills should be lower. So the theory goes, at least.

In fall of 2016, I started looking at insulation, hoping to install it before winter. My first choice was to get insulation made from recycled denim, but it isn’t carried by stores in my area and getting it shipped to my house would have been prohibitively expensive. Fiberglass insulation is also expensive, but it’s available almost everywhere. Reluctantly, I decided to go with fiberglass because it’s cheaper and more commonly available. The final product I chose was Owens-Corning kraft-faced R-38 batts. Each floor of the house is a little over 800 sq ft, so I planned on getting that much insulation. Since each pallet of insulation covers approximately 320 sq ft, I bought two pallets and planned on seeing how much I needed after going through it all.
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The House

Home Sweet Home
Home Sweet Home
Last spring, I bought a house in the Haughville neighborhood of Indianapolis. It’s a two story house in the American Craftsman style and was built in the 1920s. Though the house has been well-maintained and is very livable, with a house this old, it’s not surprising it needs some work. As I do new projects around the house, I’ll post about them, along with pictures. But before I do that I want to write a bit about the neighborhood, in general, and the house, in particular.

I moved to Indianapolis in March of 2000, and prior to the move I’d lived in Colorado for more than 20 years. I didn’t know anything about Indy, but I knew that if I wouldn’t be able to see mountains, I wanted to live in an urban area, where the tall buildings would block the mountainless view. Basically, I didn’t want to see that the mountains weren’t there. Weird logic, I know. Upon moving to Indy, I got a 500 sq. ft studio apartment in downtown Indy at the corner of 13th and Pennsylvania (around the corner from the President Benjamin Harrison home). It was a nice place, but rather basic. Rent when I first moved in was $325 per month. And life went on.
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