My wife has always used a paper calendar, but once we had our baby, I told her that we needed to share a digital calendar so we could coordinate daycare, activities, etc. She wanted something mounted on the wall in the kitchen, so I originally mounted a 10″ Android tablet – which worked fine, other than it being too small to read anything unless you were right on top of it.
So sticking to a budget (essentially not a touch screen monitor), I went a different route. I’m using an old Intel NUC (Core i3, 2GB RAM, 32GB SSD) to run Windows 10 for the calendar and weather app – plus live footage from our front door webcam (RTSP stream). I haven’t found an easy way to switch to the baby camera or other cameras I plan on installing (but it runs in VLC, so I’m sure there is an easy way via my phone). This works well, so if the bell rings, we are waiting for guests, having a party, etc., we can look over and always see who is at the front door.
I added a custom Rainmeter skin that has travel times to and from my work and my wife’s (thanks to help from Scott Stevenson for helping tweak it a bit to add some of his variable code into it). The code has different thresholds where the colors of the skin will change depending on travel times (blue for normal, yellow for slight delay, red for long travel times). This polls Google Maps API every 5 minutes and accounts for traffic as well. While this isn’t necessary, I thought it was cool – so we can quickly glance at it while walking out the door in the morning.
Finally, I didn’t want the monitor on 24/7, since we aren’t home for huge chunks of the day, but didn’t want to have to remember to turn it on/off. I bought an Arduino Leonardo board, and motion sensor that will detect motion within a certain number of feet, and emulate a keyboard button press so that it turns on the screen (if it detects motion, the computer presses the left control button). I have it set to shut off the monitor after 30 minutes of idle time – but as long as we are in the kitchen, it’ll keep the machine awake if someone walks in the area of the sensor within the 30 minute window.
Arduino Wake Up Code –
Rainmeter Google Maps Code
Sources that I used for help: