Controlling a cheap smart plug from Linux

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Article from Issue 225/2019
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You could spend hundreds of dollars on specialized IoT appliances and fixtures, or you could just hack a smart plug and talk to it with your Linux system.

Have you ever wondered if you could use Linux to power your entire IoT house? Make it prepare your coffee in the morning – even if your coffee machine is older than you and does not have a CPU? Or maybe start the PC at work with the push of a button while you sit down at home to enjoy breakfast?

Homeowners spend hundreds of dollars on high-tech light bulbs and appliances that tie in with IoT networks. But what if you like your old appliances? What if you are concerned about the security and privacy issues of a full-blown IoT infrastructure, or maybe you just want to keep it simple while maximizing your flexibility for future customization.

The easiest and most foolproof version of an IoT network is a simple smart plug – a small device that plugs into an outlet and lets you control when the power flows. You can plug any electrical device into the smart plug and turn it on or off remotely – even if the device itself was never intended for IoT use.

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