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Tim Shephard - Description    


My name is Tim Shephard and to help promote the sharing of ideas, at the request of Greg Powers, I have written this list of things I have gotten Stargate to do. I you have any questions please email me at Thanks


Updated 9/23/99

For StarGate, work starts early at our house. At 5:00am the home automaton system ensures that my son’s favorite TV show Pokemon is recorded. Next if it is watering day, StarGate starts watering the lawn two hours before sunrise, no matter what season, as long as it is not raining. Normally each zone gets watered for 15 minutes. If the temperature was over 90 degrees the day before, they get watered for 25 minutes. After 6am any motion in the master bedroom tells the system we are awake. In response to this, we are told over the master bed room speaker, the day, time, and date. We are also told if the day is any kind of holiday and if it is any family member’s birthday or anniversary. Since its 6am we still have time to get a card!

My wife generally leaves before I do in the morning. Sometimes she needs to leave me a message on her way out the door. She merly picks up any phone and dials M-E-M-O (6366) and is prompted for the time for her memo to be announced. After she enters the time she gets a voice prompt from StarGate to record her message for me. After recording her memo she can go, knowing that I will get the message. As I’m getting ready, I hear ‘Memo Ready’ through the in-house 70volt line speaker system, at the time she selected. So I make my way to the phone and dial M-E-M-O to hear her lovely voice, reminding me of something I’m sure I would have forgotten otherwise.

As I leave for the day I pat the dog on the head then press the Away button on the wall control pad near the front door. The house responds politely by telling me the outside temperature, that the alarm is active, and for that added touch, tells me to have a good day. When I get half way down the driveway my cell phone beeps having received a text page from the home controller confirming to me that the Away Mode is active.

After my wife returns home, the house gently beeps reminding her to turn off the alarm. When she does she hears that the alarm is now off, how many times the doorbell was rung, and if any new voice mail messages are waiting. By now I am at work. I get a page indicating the house is now in Home Mode, so I know she made it home safely. As my wife goes through her day she gets a lot of use of the system without realizing it. She can press one of any number of control pads to find the current temperature outside the house as well as inside. When the phone rings, the callers are announced in their own voice, between the first and second ring. If she chooses not to answer or we are not home, they will get a custom greeting on the answering machine. For example when my sons grandparents call they get a greeting in my son’s voice saying ‘Sorry grandma and grandpa, we can’t get to the phone now, please leave a message’. They get a kick out of that. If the caller is not in our custom list, their name and number are displayed on any TV she happens to be near. If anyone was watching the TV at that time, it simply goes back to the channel they were watching, otherwise it just turns off.

When someone comes to the door, the motion detector at the porch relays that fact to the home controller which then turns on any TV she is near to the front door camera channel. About that time the visitor rings the doorbell which is assisted by a chime module upstairs. Before the addition of the chime module we could not hear the doorbell upstairs at all. At some point during the day the mail will come and StarGate will announce ‘Mail is here’. If no one is home, I get notified of both of these events via text page.

I get home around 5:30pm and Stargate announces my arrival via the front door camera and finally by chiming when the front door is opened. At 6:00pm, and every hour after that, on garbage day, Stargate reminds me to take the trash out. Can’t figure out quite yet how to get the house to take the garbage cans out to the curb! When I open the side door of the house where the cans are, StarGate announces ‘Side Door Open’. But it also assumes I am taking the cans out so it stops reminding me.

As my wife starts the side dishes, I fire up the barbecue. I throw the chicken on the grill and grab the phone. I punch in T-I-M-E-R (846637) and enter 10# for ten minutes the record the message, ‘turn the chicken’. No matter where I am in the house, ten minutes later, I hear over the speaker system, BEEP, ‘turn the chicken’. Saves dinner every time.

At sunset the porch light turns on 50% to accent our porch. When someone approaches or we open the door, the porch light brightens to 100% and the driveway flood lights come on for 5 minutes before returning to normal.

Now that it is dark out, whenever we enter the master bedroom, the light comes on automatically. After 10:30pm the light still comes on but only to 60% to keep from blinding us. As I get ready for bed, I turn on the TV in our room. If it is around 11pm, Stargate adjust the volume for a comfortable nighttime level, and changes the channel so I can watch Letterman. If the power to the TV is still on when Jay Leno comes on, StarGate changes the channel for me. This way I get to hear both monologues!

When we decide to turn in for the night we press a button on a mini controller near our bedside that tells the system we are going to sleep. The system tells us at that time if any doors, including the garage door are still open. This gives us a chance to secure the house if we overlooked something. During the night, StarGate, makes sure the all the A/V equipment and lights are turned off. It also turns off the front porch light, around 11pm plus or minus a few minutes to give it that random look.

After we are in bed, if we need to get up for any reason, the bedroom lamp comes on dimly to light the way, then turns off a minute later. After we are sound asleep, StarGate keeps an eye on the outside of the house turning on lights in response to outside motion to ward off troublemakers. The next morning, the process starts all over.