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    1. How standardised are Z-Wave/ZigBee device APIs? Can I directly control off-the-shelf hardware?

      I'm looking to get a couple of remote controlled dimmer sockets for a quite specific use case (heat lamps in a tortoise enclosure), and I'd like to control them directly from a Raspberry Pi. I've...

      I'm looking to get a couple of remote controlled dimmer sockets for a quite specific use case (heat lamps in a tortoise enclosure), and I'd like to control them directly from a Raspberry Pi. I've found a couple of decent looking fairly generic options - examples from Trust and TKB - and there seem to be several appropriate radio modules, either USB or GPIO.

      Detecting and pairing with devices seems (hopefully) straightforward. My sticking point is trying to figure out how standardised the actual messaging is; there seem to be several brands of hub and device that can be used interchangeably, but a few that can't. In my case, of course, the RasPi will be taking the position of the hub and speaking to the devices directly.

      I'm having trouble finding reliable info on whether a command like "dim to 70%", or "read output power" will be the same across all devices, whether it will follow some kind of standard but it may be one of several competing formats, or whether it's completely proprietary.

      Any insight on how easy it is to programatically talk to these things would be very much appreciated!

      6 votes
    2. Ask Tilde: How would you improve the ErgoDox

      The ErgoDox has been out for a few years now and spawned many, many new designs based off it. My question is how would you improve it? I've been trying to answer this question for a few weeks now...

      The ErgoDox has been out for a few years now and spawned many, many new designs based off it. My question is how would you improve it? I've been trying to answer this question for a few weeks now and would like to know what the community thinks. What is important in a keyboard for you?

      I've thrown my hat into the ring with Gergo which I think comes close. It uses SMD components, reducing the overall size and cost of the board, Removes the ProMicro for a TQFP Atmega32u4, moves the paddles in a tiny bit and removes the extra keys from the thumb cluster. It's meant to be used without a case (using rubbered standoffs to keep it off the desk/surface) and the back has some pretty designs. The hardest part for me to justify was loping off the number row, but seeing as many layouts use a modifier and the right hand pad as a ortho numpad I went with it. Worst case the default layout will have paddle + top row give numbers. In addition, for occasional mouse users, I designed a trackball that fits inside of a 1u key and can be mounted on the right hand side of the board (or a regular key if wanted). The idea being for small movements you have something other then QMKs mouse keys to work with. I've gone into a bit more detail on my blog on the design considerations

      The main thing I tried to optimize with Gergo was cost. Ergo keyboards need not be expensive and I think the price point on this board drives it home. With a cheap set of caps off Amazon and some Cherry clones, this board can be put together for under 100$ shipping included. Compared to a ErgoDox EZ with a starting price of 250$ before keys or shipping, I think I've done a decent job.

      As keyboards are highly personal devices, what do you look for in a keyboard?

      5 votes