I’m a geek, I can’t help it. The Houseport USB Z-Wave Adapter can control 230 devices, set the level of lights that have dimmers, time lighting controls and garage door openers and maintain the actual Z-Wave mesh network. So how could I not be interested?!?! The Wayne Dalton Houseport software and Z-Wave adapter were announced some time ago. Betas went out and got our appetites wet. I have been sitting by my phone waiting for them to call and tell me I can buy it for months! Now, you can finally buy the Houseport software and adapter at http://www.smarthomeusa.com/ShopByManufacturer/Wayne-Dalton/Item/WDUSB-10MAC/ and you can download the manual at http://www.smarthomeusa.com/Products/WDUSB-10MAC/manuals/USB-MAC.pdf. The PC version is the Wayne-Dalton WDUSB-10R HomeSettings Controls USB Adapter for PC.
For those unfamiliar with Z-Wave, it’s home automation gear and corresponding software. You can control the HVAC in your home, Wayne-Dalton WDTC-20 HomeSettings Controls Thermostat, the Intermatic HA04C Home Settings Wireless Heavy-Duty Outdoor Lighting Module for outdoor lighting (ie – those darn Christmas lights you forget to unplug in the mornings), GE 45605 Z-Wave Technology Duplex Receptacle the inwall power outlets, Screw in Module for screwing into those sockets you can’t otherwise Z-Wave enable and of course, there’s the HomeSettings In-Wall Switch/Dimmer (300W) and other dimmers for controlling indoor lighting (make sure you know how your place is wired, this has been a sore point with me with 3-way vs. 4-way, etc).
You can also control the Garage Door with Wayne-Dalton 3018Z Classic Drive Opener with Z-Wave and even small appliances Wayne-Dalton 3018Z Classic Drive Opener with Z-Wave and even lamps with Wayne-Dalton HA-03WD HomeSettings Lamp Module. The latest addition to the Z-Wave offerings is the Schlage LiNK line, which includes Schlage LiNK Wireless Keypad Deadbolt Starter Kit System that can be used to Z-wave enable the locks on the doors in your home.
Control doesn’t have to just be automated. You can also have control over things respond to events. For example, using the Hawking Technologies Z-Wave Sensors Homeremote Wireless Motion Detector you can have preset lighting or turn on the stereo when someone walks into a room. You can use Z-Wave as a bit of a personal monitoring system using cameras such as Hawking HomeRemote Pro HRPC2 Wireless Video Camera with Night Vision and there are even products that allow for voice activation of systems. Not that control needs to all flow through the computer. You can also get a GE 45608 Home Theater Remote with Z-Wave Lighting Control, which allows you to control a number of Z-Wave enabled devices and the home stereo.
Finally, my favorite part of Z-Wave has been that it’s a wireless mesh network. You install devices and they mesh with the existing network of devices in the home. My least favorite part of Z-Wave is that it’s a zero config wireless mesh network. If devices are not compatible with the controller it can throw the whole network into a tailspin. What I’ve done in those cases is sell the gear I bought on Craigslist and buy something else… It’s annoying, but there’s not a great compatibility system out there (theoretically it should all be compatible but hey, it’s technology, that’s a friggin’ pipe dream as most of you likely already know). Most Z-Wave controllers that run on computers have been a little difficult to configure; however, Houseport for the Mac couldn’t be easier. Enjoy!!!
For more on Z-Wave overall, check out their wikipedia page.