All posts by mikestrock

Home Automation

I’ve long been interested in home automation. Some people said it was because I was lazy. I prefer to think of it as automating things to make life easier.

The first thing I did was to purchase an Amazon Echo

Then, I bought a couple of Amazon Smart plugs

With that, I set up a fan and a living room light. So I could say ‘Alexa, turn on the living room light’ and the living room light would turn on. I also set up a fan, because my wife, even when it is 14 degrees outside, likes to have a fan going in our bedroom at night. So either one of us could say ‘Alexa, turn on the bedroom fan’ and the bedroom fan would turn on.

Worked well. Was simple.

When we moved into our house in March of 2018, we had a small issue in the master bedroom. The light switch, when it was turned off, turned off the electrical outlet by the bed. So for the longest time, at night, we had to do one of two things:

a) Unscrew the light bulb and leave the light switch on, so we could charge our phones at night
b) Leave the light switch off and use a different electrical outlet.

This bedroom has only two electrical outlets. One next to the bed (controlled by the light switch) and one on the complete other side of the room. So for the longest time, what we did is we just unscrewed the light bulb and left the light switch on.

We rarely used the light in the bedroom anyway. Since we just use it for non-lit activities 99.9% of the time.

But that got kinda old. Yes, we could have an electrician come in and resolve the issue. But that seemed really stupid to have someone come in and rewire an electrical socket when we could just unscrew the light bulb.

Fast forward to November of last year. I was looking on Amazon, which I do sometimes, and found this product The Kasa Smart light bulb . The beauty of this product is that it connected to wifi and could be easily controlled by Alexa. So now, I just say “Alexa, turn on the bedroom light” and we have light in the bedroom. Works great. Never noticed how many times a light in the bedroom is useful. Now, we have once again.

I have many other home automation tasks that I would like to do, later down the road.

I’d like to get an Amazon Fire TV to control the TV with my voice.
I’d like to get a smart lock for the front door. I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve gotten up, paranoid that I haven’t locked the front door. It’s usually, locked, but it would be nice if I had something like this August Smart Lock so I can either look at my phone from anywhere in the world and see if the door is locked, or alternatively I can say ‘Alexa, lock the front door.’

I’m sure there are other things that I can do, down the road, but for now, that’s where I have begun. If you have any questions, or would like help setting up your own smart home, I’d be happy to assist. It’s not difficult, it’s not scary, and can actually be a time saver and give you peace of mind.

320 Day Update

320 days ago, I was diagnosed with colon cancer.

A bunch of chemotherapy treatments later, I’m still here to type this.

A few people have asked for an update. Here we go.

Chemotherapy, has thankfully, been extremely smooth, for me at least. Up until late August.

In late August, my platelets wouldn’t get back up to a high enough level for me to continue getting chemotherapy. So, we decided (well, my oncologist decided) that the best course of action was to take a break and see if my platelets would regenerate themselves and I could continue treatments.

In November, I had a PET scan on the day before Thanksgiving. The PET scan showed that the tumor was shrinking. So, this is a good thing.

Went back in the Monday after Thanksgiving, hoping that I could continue chemotherapy. Alas, my platelets had risen, but not significantly enough for me to continue treatment. So it was decided, once again, that treatment would be postponed yet again to see if my platelets would cooperate.

My next scheduled appointment is on January 14th. I get my blood tested at that time, and will know where we are with regards to platelet levels. I’m optimistic at this point.

I also have another PET scan scheduled for the 4th of February and then chemo will HOPEFULLY resume on February 11th.

I will share with you all when I know more. I appreciate all the love and support and encouragement that we at #TeamStrockStrong have received.