It has been a bit since my last post. No biggie, though. In my quest to continue with finding out what else I can automate and control remotely within my house, I have come across WeMo from Belkin. It is a wifi-enabled electrical outlet that will turn on/off via schedule or by pressing the button within the iPhone/iPod app. There is also a motion-sensing version as well. The normal version is $50 and available in a number of different stores; I happened to get mine at Best Buy, my parents got theirs at the Apple store. The motion-sensing version is $100.
I bought two of them. One for my light at the front door that was previously on a timer that broke, and the other for the main light for the great room, which is in an awkward place to get to. Setup was very simple. You plug in the outlet and run the app on an iOS device (mine is on my phone) and then connect the iOS device to the new wifi connection for the WeMo. After they sync up, the WeMo outlet becomes part of your existing wireless network. Once connected, you can rename the outlet and change the icon. I personally suggest you do one at a time to keep track of them easier.
Once set up it is an easy feat to get schedules going. For example, I want my lamp by the front door to come on in the morning on weekdays from 6:45 to 7:15. Basically when I am heading out the door for work. I also want it to be on daily from 5:30 pm until 11:15 pm. It is very easy to set up multiple schedules for the different lights from the app.
There is one more part to all this that I have not yet tried out. I am waiting until I get one of the Motion Sensing versions. The app allows you to set up and connect to IFTTT (If This Then That) to set up different responses to what is going on. For example, I could set up the motion sensor in my laundry room, which is my main gateway into the house, and have it email or twitter me when it detects motion telling me someone is in the house. Below are a couple screenshots from the iOS app.