Last week, at Digital Life, we announced two new partnerships which expand the reach of hobbyist and enthusiast developers even further than before.


Intermatic and ControlThink Partnership
Microsoft has  partnered with Intermatic to better enable DIY developers to create custom home automation projects using Intermatics HomeSettings Kit. The goal here is to provide the hardware, API, and tools to make home automation easy. In fact, the HomeSettings kit even includes Visual Studio and SQL Server Express in the box :)

Official Press Release

Here's a blown-up picture of the Home Settings Kit:

 

 

Here's a close up of Visual Basic Express code to turn lights on and off:

Visual Basic Express controlling lights

To turn on your lights is as easy as calling: Device.Level = 99 (for max light)

The gear will cost ~$149 (US) and will be in home improvement and electronics stores like Lowes, and Frys Electronics very.soon.now.  The next time you go to do some home improvement, you can pick up a copy of Visual Studio Express :)

While US and Canada will be available very.soon.now, I believe they are also working towards WW versions of their gear as well.

Rebate for Registering Visual Studio Express - As a  special bonus, there is also a link to get a rebate on your hardware if you register your copy of Visual Studio Express.

 

Flight Simulator X Partnership
The Hobbyist Renaissance at Microsoft continues, this time with the Flight Simulator X SDK which is included in Flight Simulator X - Deluxe Edition (and only in the Deluxe edition). The Flight Simulator team has been hard at work for the last three years ensuring they have a platform that Flight Sim community can take and build applications upon. The API is available both natively with C++ and, using SimConnect, a new API, is also available through Visual Basic, Visual C#, and any other managed code language. Flight Simulator's extensibility enables you to control everything from flying a pterodactyl instead of a plane, to creating custom missions, to automating the environment or just controlling the weather.

Order Flight Simulator X today as it just went on sale on Monday. This game is beautiful on Windows Vista

 

Coming Soon
We'll be publishing samples on Coding4Fun on programming both the Intermatic Home Automation gear and Flight Simulator X as well as a soon-to-be-uploaded Channel9 video of a "demo home" using home automation gear.