Why you should have a MQTT server

Back when I was researching on how to automate my home I found a couple of companies that were selling high-dollar automation systems. These systems, on top of being expensive, were also typically clunky and had a closed ecosystem. You had to use their system with there devices which you purchased at their costs.

Thanks to the Maker / DIY community, we have seen a huge search in the area of making your own IOT and home automation devices. For just a couple of dollars you can now make a sensor capable of detecting both temperature and light levels and then reporting that back to your own home automation hub (check out mysensors.org for a ton of tutorials on how to build your own sensors using cheap arduinos).

One of the issues though is how to make all these devices talk to one another whether. MQTT is one of the more well known and arguably most used messaging protocols for device-to-device communications.

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Elf Report

Last year my wife bought one of those “Elf on a shelf” dolls for our home. The basic idea is that the elf comes to your house and observes you throughout the day and reports back to Santa, which got me thinking what this report would look like. Thus was born the idea of the “Elf Report”. A simple Word document with a report template wasn’t going to do though. Our elf was a 21st century elf and was reporting back to Santa via a custom built web app.

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Arduino Christmas Tree

Every Christmas I keep telling myself that I am going to add some kind of decoration to my office but never do. Being the electronics geek I am though I didn’t really want to go out and buy something but instead wanted to build something (plus what self respecting maker doesn’t like showing off something cool they built).

So while trying thinking about what to build I got a e-mail that the latest version of MagPi Magazine was out for download and right
there on the front cover was the answer to my question. MagPi had a cool little article about cutting out the front cover,
which was of a Christmas Tree, and replacing the printed lights with real ones that were connected to a RaspberryPi.

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