Webcams
My bedroom/office living area has several webcams which I am trying to leave on more often. If they are active, you should also be able to turn on my Lava Lamps

Webcams

Over the years, one of the things that made my original FROGSTAR.COM website popular was my webcam/chat accessibility.

It was always a personal site, containing things that made me smile. Having a live webcam showing me at work was unique at the time, and I enjoyed chatting with people who found the idea fascinating. 

Controlling the Lava Lamps

I’ve had a webcam and a Lava Lamp in my office or bedroom since I discovered the original X10 power control boxes. Some of you may remember X10. For a while, their ads were plastered everywhere. My roommate at the time wrote a small utility to activate the plugs from a web-based click. Those X10 boxes still exist, but they’re cheaply built and the ones I had for the control box all broke.

Rather than buying another cheap X10 box, I wanted to figure out a way to get the Lava Lamps (now in 3 sizes around my room) to work using the new SMART PLUG technology. The ones that work with Google Assistant, Siri, Bixby and Alexa.

It took me over a month to finally figure out how to do it. My first attempt was successful but irritating. I actually had the web links play a small WAV sound file of my voice saying; “OK Google, Turn on the Lava Lamps”. IT worked but every time it played, any time of the day, I jumped out of my seat startled. It scared the poop out of me. It was fun to watch, and so visitors were doing it all the time just to see me jump.

I shut it down. Today, with some helpful suggestions I discovered the joys of IFTTT and figured out how to make it work to trigger my Lava Lamps silently on and off. I’m super happy, and also surprised it was so hard to find. I would have expected this would have been an easy project.

It was super hard to find anything online that used words and terms I was familiar enough to figure out. There didn’t seem to be anyone else talking about it. A web link or button to control a smart device. To me, that seemed like an obvious need.

Today, my need was resolved, and I finally got a WEB BUTTON/LINK to turn on my Lava Lamps! Finally. No more crappy breaking X10 boxes for me. I can now control any of my smart devices from the web/Wordpress. Only the Lava Lamps are on the website for now.

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