Every 4 or 5 years, I discover X-10, and I think, gee, wouldn’t that be SO AMAZINGLY COOL. And then I decide that the pricetag is way too high, and I get over it.

I have crossed the invisible line.

This started when, at OSCon, I saw a book. Smart Home Hacks. Now, none of the stuff that they talk about in there is really a surprise to me, but it sparked some ideas about what *I* want to do. More details on that to follow, I’m sure. And, I was somewhat surprised at how the prices had dropped since the last time I looked at it.

Then, today on the way home, I stopped into Radio Shack, and discovered that I could get a “Home Automation Starter Kit” there for just a few bucks. And … I did.

I’ve started small. I got one of the X-10 timer units. It will turn the fish tank light on and off on schedule, for the moment. And it will also be my alarm clock, buzzing at a particular time in the morning, and turning on my room lights 15 minutes later, in case I fail to get up fast enough.

I’ve also ordered the serial-port based X-10 thingy, which will allow me to do X-10 stuff from Linux, automating stuff via cron, or perhaps (and here’s where some cooler stuff happens) via my website. That’s right, I’m doing the ultra-cheesy thing where you can turn my christmas tree on and off from my website. But I’m going to be slightly more creative than that. I hope. Time will tell. More details as they appear.

But there are a boatload of more practical things that I really want to do, and X-10 seems to be the way to do them. The big problem is the large (but smaller than it used to be) per-switch price tag. But I’ll do this gradually.