2020 isn’t a year people remember fondly throughout the world. There was a lot of civil unrest throughout the world and here in the US. COVID-19 has changed the way we interact with family and friends, the way we work, even how we live in our smart homes. Here in the HomeTechHacker world, we tried to keep providing you with useful information throughout all of this. A lot happened at HomeTechHacker. In case you missed it, here’s a summary of the highlights of the year, and a sneak peek at what’s to come in 2021.
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The 5 most popular articles of 2020
- Track Home Power Usage & Cost with Home Assistant – This article is great for anybody concerned about how much their power costs (especially during work from home times) and want to track their costs. Tracking my costs helps me to identify and reduce costs.
- Planning Your pfSense Router Install and Configuration – I still find it interesting that pfSense articles are popular on my site. This article is really useful if you are planning to use pfSense as your router. It provides all the information needed to start, including some reasons why you want pfSense, how to plan your home network set up, and what hardware you should consider for your router.
- 10 Minute LED Lights for Any Holiday with WLED – Technically this is a 2019 article, but it was published too late be popular in 2019 so I’m including it on the 2020 list. This article is great for anyone who wants to improve holiday light displays or add themable year-round LEDs.
- HP Chromebook x360 14 Review – This is one of the best Chromebooks released this year. I still use mine regularly and I’m very happy with it. It is still worth checking out. Here are some Chromebook Tips, other Chromebooks you should consider, and reasons you should buy a Chromebook.
- Shelly RGBW2 Review – This was a big year for LEDs in my home and this is another controller you should consider. In typical Shelly fashion, it’s compact, secure, local control friendly, reliable, and inexpensive. Great for controlling non-addressable LED strips.
For other popular articles from this year and years past, check out the right sidebar under “Popular Articles.”
My 5 favorite articles of 2020
These are articles that I enjoyed writing or working on during the year for the reasons I describe below.
- Monitoring Power Outages and Generator Status – I like this article because I came up with an inventive but inexpensive way to monitor power outages at my home and how to tell when my generator is running without paying for the monthly service offered by my generator vendor.
- Tips for Building a New Construction Smarthome – This article is filled with information I wish I knew when we bought our home years ago. There are many things to keep in mind even if you are moving into a new home that’s already built.
- How Home Assistant Runs My Irrigation Controller – Local control of my irrigation system was a long time goal of mine. I achieved local control, including weather-based scheduling, without even having to buy a new controller.
- My 9 Favorite Home Assistant Automations – It’s no secret that I love Home Assistant. It’s also no secret that the key to a good smart home is good automation. This article contains my nine favorite Home Assistant automations.
- Polar Vantage V review – This article is a slight step away from my normal topics, but I love the watch so much I broke down in detail what the watch can do and why I like it. Polar recently released the Polar Vantage V2, which is an incremental improvement, but the Vantage V is still worth investigating as it has most of the same features.
The Smart Home Manual
My biggest accomplishment of the year was writing and publishing my first book, The Smart Home Manual. I told my newsletter subscribers that I had something big I was planning at the beginning of the year, and this was it. The book has been met with great reviews and I’m glad it is helpful. If you haven’t checked it out, you definitely should! You can learn all about it on The Smart Home Manual landing page.
Final thoughts and a sneak peek at 2021
2020 was a challenging year for a world, and a challenging year at HomeTechHacker. I hope many of the things plaguing our world improve in 2021, and I expect improvements at HomeTechHacker. I’ll keep writing articles that you like. I have a few new features planned for next year that I also hope you will like. And, maybe I’ll write another book!
As for projects, I plan to make a lot of changes to my home lab environment. This will be a many month project, but some of my hardware is getting old and it is time to upgrade. And with upgrades come opportunities to do things better!
Also, I’m excited to mention that I’ll be a guest on a few podcasts and I’ll be featured/interviewed on a few other blogs as well. I’ll be sure to let you know the details when everything is firmed up! Stay tuned. I’m looking forward to 2021!
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