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bought a couple of X10-building blocks : a tranceiver, an appliance- and
a lamp-module, a computer-interface and a motion detector and started
playing using the Indigo help-page. All modules worked immediately
and getting them under Indigo‘s control was also no problem.
Clearly it is fun to control a living room lamp and the coffee maker
from your computer but it gets even better when you program actions.
With Indigo you can let your home automation system react to
incoming emails. For example, if it is a rainy workday and I want to
have a cup of coffee when I bicycle home I can just send an email with
subject “Make coffee”. Indigo checks at home my email every
two-minutes and when it scans this subject-title it will send a signal
to the coffee maker to turn on (assuming I filled it with water and
coffee beforehand, otherwise it may result in a fire…). One can also
program it the other direction. For example, with Indigo I can
program things so that when the motion detector detects movement from
opening the front door, I can ask to send an email to work (or to a
mobile but as I am not using these things this is no option) with
message “Someone just walked in…”.
Getting the
motion-detector (MS13 for the experts) working was so far the second
hardest thing to do. I couldnt work out how to give it a home&unit
but I found a readable manual page which made everything work. I have to
remember to change the other default options of the detector.
The hardest thing to solve was to get the Indigo Web Interface working. Following the
instructions on this page to the letter I thought that I could control
my X10-stuff from any other computer (assuming Indigo is running
on my iBook) by accessing the


but all I got
was a ‘Server Error’. I figured out that the mistake was caused by the
program. The first time this is run, it asks for your
admin password to write some extra lines to the httpd.conf
Apache configuration file, but for some strange reason it didn’t want
to accept my password… Changing permissions on httpd.conf and
even creating a genuine root-account didn’t help so I was stuck
for a while. But then I found the Mac OS X
hack #91
which not only explains the use of the dispatcher tool but
also explains what it adds to the httpd.conf-file. So, I just
copied the following lines manually at the end of

#BEGIN acgi dispatcher Include
nEND acgi dispatcher

did restart the Apache webserved by a

sudo apachectl graceful

after which the acgi dispatcher
tool started up without problems and I got a working Indigo Web
. I must remember to put both Indigo and the
dispatcher into my StartUp items.
The Web Interface is
very basic compared to other house automation programs such as MisterHouse
which makes up for its sexist name by being open source! It is entirely
written in Perl
but as I am only halfway through the Learning Perl book at the moment, this will have
to wait a bit longer…

Published in web


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