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4.7. Extensions

If you're anything like me, you'll quickly realize that you want more information than just the current temperature. Browse through the web services listed at http://www.xmethods.net/ for interesting data feeds. (Most of these don't actually work, though, so test them out before writing any code to connect to them.) You may also want to switch to an on-demand control mechanism so that the cold, mechanical voice doesn't wake you up on weekends and holidays when you forget about it.

I've gotten very excited about the potential of voice synthesis and remote audio components of this project. For example, you could use these technologies to do the following:

  • Read your email to you in the morning.

  • With motion detectors and wireless speakers placed throughout the house, keep track of the room where there was last motion. When you receive an instant message or an important email and you're not near your computer, turn on the remote speakers in the same room as you and read you the message.

  • Read the Slashdot news headlines, or any other RSS newsfeed.

  • Check the traffic report and wake you up early if traffic is bad.

  • Check the weather report, wake you up early if it snowed so that you have time to clear your driveway, and, for the love of God, apply power to the coffee maker to get some coffee ready before you have to go out there and shovel.

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