Integrating with the Nest thermostat

I recently wanted to integrate my powered alarm system with my Nest thermostat. What I wanted to happen is whenever someone arms or disarms the alarm system, the Nest 'Home' state would also update to match. When I disarm the alarm, the Nest’s ‘Home’ state would be set to Home. After doing some research online, the closest solution I could find was to use IFTTT. However, this required me to give IFTTT access to my gmail account. Also, this solution did not actually change the state of the Nest but just the temperature. Plus, it was not a very nerdy solution.

The solution I came up with was to use AWS Lambda to glue together and my Nest Thermostat. I will be updating this post in the near future with steps I took to set this up.

alert flow


December 26, 2015 | View Comments

Switched to a "Let's Encrypt" signed TLS Certificate

I just received received my Let's Encrypt closed beta invite. I followed the instructions and so far so good. Now I just need to automate the renewal process before my certificate expires.

October 26, 2015 | View Comments

Installing Jekyll on Ubuntu 15.04

I recently tried to install Jekyll on Ubuntu 15.04 and ran into a bunch depency issues. Below are the steps I used to get Jekyll installed.

sudo apt-get install ruby
sudo apt-get install libmysqlclient-dev
sudo apt-get install ruby2.1-dev
sudo apt-get install make
sudo apt-get install gcc
sudo apt-get install nodejs
sudo gem install jekyll
October 22, 2015 | View Comments

Resources for troubleshooting DNS

When I am troubleshooting DNS issues, I find the following sites very helpful. The following sites either let you view what's in cache or even allow you invalidate their cache.

Check Results

Flush Cache

Note: Will update as I find more useful resources.

February 16, 2015 | View Comments

Saving... the moment

My wife and I wanted to create a time line of our children as they grow up. The idea being that when they come of age, they can go back and experience all the events through our eyes. The first solution that came to mind was to create a blog online or a paper journal.

Journal or Blog?

Writing in a journal or a blog is hard. You don't want it to be too short but at the same time you want to produce a quality post. Another requirement for us was that the posts had to be private. We ultimately decided that neither a blog nor journal would work for us.


Email, that is something my wife and I use every day, is on our phones; along with a camera and our pictures. I created an email account for each one of my kids. Having individual accounts makes it easier to manage and a lot more personal.

Pro tip: do not forget to save the password in a safe location that you will be able to access as you probably will not remember it, I know I didn't.

Now that your email account(s) are setup, start emailing!

Example email

Composing an email inside GMail iOS App.


  • Include both your significant other on emails, it helps keep both of us in sync as well as a nudge that we should probably write an email as well.
  • Try to send at least 1 per week or significant events
  • Keep it short, helps with removing any burden of having to think of something to write
  • Always include pictures, they are worth a thousand words!
January 23, 2015 | View Comments