Location-Based Hacks - How to Automate Your Life with SMS and GPS

Accepted Session
Short Form
Scheduled: Thursday, June 23, 2011 from 1:30 – 2:15pm in B204


Have you ever wanted to automatically turn on your lights when you get home, or turn them back off when you leave? What about controlling your lights by SMS or IRC? This presentation will teach you how to automate your life with location-based hacks and SMS.


Have you ever wanted to automatically turn on your lights when you get home, or turn them back off when you leave? What about controlling your lights by SMS or IRC? Aaron Parecki and Amber Case have been living in a smart home controlled by mobile devices and their locations for the last year. The house is filled with sensors and networks for collecting all sorts of information and automated processes. They’ll show you some of the expensive smart homes of the past, and how the same effects can be achieved with microcontrollers, 20-year-old technologies, and the mobile phone you currently have.

This presentation will cover a number of fun DIY elements of home automation using GPS, SMS, location sharing, geotriggers, Geonotes and other mashups that can be done using mobile location, IRC and SMS as control hubs. We’ll also cover advanced geolocation triggers and messaging based on the real-time location platform and API we built, and how it can be used to build apps that can notify people automatically when you land at an airport, or automatically text message your kids when you’re there to pick them up from school.

Speaking experience


  • Kk caseorganic 48px

    Amber Case

    Hazelnut Consulting


    Amber Case is a Cyborg Anthropologist and Consultant currently living in Portland, Oregon. She founded CyborgCamp, a conference on the future of humans and computers. She has spoken at various industry conferences including MIT’s Futures of Entertainment and Inverge: The Interactive Convergence Conference. She’s also spoken at Ignite Portland and Ignite Boulder. She’ll be presenting an Introduction to Cyborg Anthropology at Portland’s Webvisions 2009. She also writes for Discovery Channel’s Nerdabout.com.

    Case specializes in information architecture, usability, online productivity, strategy, and ground-breaking communication methods. She is currently writing a book on applying anthropological techniques to better understand industry ecosystems. Find her on Twitter @caseorganic.

    Amber received her degree in Sociology/Anthropology from Lewis & Clark College in this Spring with a thesis on “The Cell Phone and Its Technosocial sites of Engagement”.


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    Aaron Parecki



    Aaron Parecki is the co-founder of IndieWebCamp, a yearly conference on data ownership and online identity. He is the editor of the W3C Webmention and Micropub specifications, and maintains oauth.net. He has spoken at conferences around the world about owning your data, OAuth, quantified self, and even explained why R is a vowel.

    Aaron has tracked his location at 5 second intervals since 2008, and is the co-founder and former CTO of Geoloqi, a location-based software company acquired by Esri in 2012. His work has been featured in Wired, Fast Company and more. He made Inc. Magazine’s 30 Under 30 for his work on Geoloqi.

    You can learn more about Aaron at aaronparecki.com, and you can follow him on twitter at @aaronpk