Hey everyone. First of all, I'm unsure if this is the best place for this thread, so admins, feel free to move it, if necessary. As I am just starting (or trying to get started) setting up a smart home/home automation system, and I am a huge technophile, it has always been a dream of mine to have a cool (and useful) central touchscreen control panel in my house. As I was dreaming up future plans for my smart home, I revisited this concept. At first it was a fleeting and fanciful dream, since there is no way that, on our budget, I am going to waste an expensive tablet computer to act as a mostly dedicated wall-mounted control panel. But then my eyes got wide, along with my grin, as I remembered the likes of www.gearbest.com -- with a huge selection of relatively dirt cheap off-brand smart phones and tablets. So now I've been thinking very seriously about this possibility and searching for a good tablet at a good price, as well as some nice wall-mount hardware. So I'm wondering what you all think about the DIY touchscreen control panel for the smart home. Do any of you already have something implemented? I am trying to compile a list of possible uses for such a device, to make it as useful (and cool) as possible. If you have any ideas, or know any good apps for this purpose, please include them in a reply. The ultimate version of this idea would be to have a tablet eventually in most rooms of the house, maybe a larger, slightly more expensive one near the home entry, and smaller, cheaper satellite devices throughout. I personally would prefer an Android tablet for this, but if you have any ideas for an iPad (or Windows), please share those, too. Here are some of my own ideas: Home Automation Control Center -- most likely using the mobile app for whichever smart home ecosystem you have decided to go with in your home Weather Station -- Lately I've been really happy with an Android app called "Weather Timeline" that I think would look good and work well Music Player -- I don't think this would work very well if you're a big audiophile, but using the tablet's bluetooth, you could connect it to bluetooth speakers in the room or a bluetooth receiver in your media center and play Pandora, Spotify, or whatever over them, or find a more robust whole-home music system that has an tablet app available for control. Video Phone -- using Skype, Google Hangouts, or whatever. Motion Sensor/Security Cam -- I know there are ways, with combinations of apps and the likes of Tasker, to have the built-in (front-facing) camera watch for motion then start recording or broadcasting when it sees something. Intercom -- if you have tablets mounted in multiple rooms and don't feel like shouting across the house to your spouse or children, you could "call" them on the tablet network. I know there has to be some walkie-talkie-type apps available, or there's always Google Hangouts with voice calls and video calls. Note/Message Center -- you could keep a notepad or sticky notes widget, or an audio note app, on the home screen so you can leave memos to your family, manage your shopping list, etc. Household Calendar -- using Google Calendar (or whatever app/service your household uses), you could keep track of everybody's agenda. Security System Control Center -- Currently, we have an ADT system, but once our contract is up, I'm hoping to cancel them and set up a self-managed system and use a mounted tablet for controlling and activating it.
I'm sure I'll think of some other ways to use a wall-mounted tablet, and I'll try to add them to this list as they come to me (or as I add them to my own mounted tablet).
This is an advice posting, but I'll try to make the journey to the question a little diverting.
I'm a casual scribbler. I love drawing; love comic books, but I've never derived an income, it's always just something I've done to have fun.
I spend most of my time in IT in one form or another. I have some graphic design experience (studied it 20 years ago)... Purchased my first Wacom tablet for some crazy amount of money, but I could never get past the cognitive dissonance of drawing on a surface while watching the screen somewhere else.
At one point I owned a Cintiq 12x? the little one... I replaced it with a first gen iPad, because I can't sit for long periods at a desk (busted spine) and I don't like being tethered in general.
I fell in love with Adobe Ideas. Being able to freehand vectors (Macromedia! Woo!) and apply lighting effects via semi-transparent layers: Awesome.
Then I repaced the iPad with an iPad 2 for the additional grunt and cameras (Facetime my folks).
Until the ipad 2, I drew with a stubby Wacom bamboo stylus. The end of the first gen iPad started a journey of disappointment as I went on to purchase and become disillusioned with around 15 different styluses.
A combination of no palm rejection and no decent Initial Activation Force (IAF - a term that describes a problem I've always had but couldn't articulate)... At the end of the iPad 2 era, I was mostly happy with a Maglus.
Then along came the iPad Air. The change in display tech (in the Air) made all my existing iPad styli mostly useless, including the Maglus.
So I splurged on a battery-powered Evernote(branded) Bluetooth fine point stylus... And spent the next 12 months getting angry at it (because it was mechanically faulty and I didn't gather up the guts to confirm/replace it).
Eventually I did, and the replacement is okay... But in the meantime I picked up an Apex - no Bluetooth, still no pressure sensitivity... But all I cared about was IAF and having a non-stubby tip. If I'm writing notes in a meeting or just mucking around, I want every contact between pen and display to register, not some: It's irritating to have to 'rewrite' letters because the hardware didn't register the strike-though on a 't'.
I gave up drawing on the iPad air. I still co-draw stuff with my 4 year old daughter, but we mainly use our fingers (Artrage+finger painting = fun).
Then this year, I was looking for a cheap windows 8 tablet to install Steam, so I could stream/play PC games on the couch while my wife watches bad TV.
I picked up an Ausus VivoTab Note 8 (32Gig) for $200 on Amazon, funnily enough, because it has Wacom tech in it. 'Turns out I really like scribbling in OneNote. The lines look lovely and it seems like you have an infinite canvas size(?) - you just keep drawing and scrolling.
I purchased a $40 copy of Manga Studio, because I miss layers.
When the Wacom tech works, its... Fantastic. I don't mind the little stylus; a couple of days a week I catch the train to work (cycle most of the time) and I can knock out a few quick sketches.
I'd forgotten how much joy I derive from it.
But then: On the AVN8, the stylus goes nuts along one corner, and every now and then a 3cm area on the stylus will 'go dead' - usually fixed by a restart of the device - but annoying when it happens. I've read enough forum posts to know that there's no such thing a working AVN8, just varying levels of not working, so replacing it isn't really an option.
Do I spurgle on a SP3? Sight unseen, Do you think I'll get annoyed by the increased IAF required?
Do I go look for a SP2? Do I run the risk of getting one with dodgy Wacom tech in it - Until the AVN8, I didn't know there was dodgy Wacom tech- is there another Manufacturer I should consider? My requirements are:
be a capable Steam Home streaming client
be light (relatively)
Not have a resolution so high and a screen so small that I can't make out anything
have 6+ hours battery life
Not be crazy expensive
has inking tech that will register fine touches (see: fast notetaking)
not have dodgy corners or dead spots, temporary or permanent
Have nice (Agnes Nutter nice I mean) software.
Please note that my life doesn't depend on a perfect solution, I do fine as a low level Database administrator. I just like drawing (even more than playing videogames I finally realise)
Thanks btw for existing, Surface pro artist. The recent stuff about the N-trig hub software is very informative.
Does anyone know what program can view the the panorama photographs taken using the surface rt? I have transferred the files but no native windows program (that i tried) could open the files. Does anyone know the answer to this?
Are there any good apps for editing photos? I plan to do some blogging from my Surface, but I need to be able to crop and resize photos. Sometimes I need to be able to add text to them too. I'm used to using Gimp and Paint.Net, but obviously can't use those on a Surface RT. It seems like most of the apps so far are geared towards effects and filters (like Instagram)