For years now Google Maps did not allow us to download Offline Maps for Japan. It is an extremely useful feature when you are out and about and you might not yet have full mobile coverage or your plan is not set-up yet.
A week ago this was not possible and I have just now noticed that you can now select the Japan area for a custom offline map in the Google Maps app on my iPhone and on my iPad.
This is great news! Do you use the offline map feature?
I am using 1Password for years now. It’s a great tool. So far.
As I am using it locally synced across my own infrastructure I feel like I am getting slowly but surely pushed out of their target-customer group. What does that mean?
The current pricing scheme, if you buy new, for 1Password looks like this:
So it’s always going to be a subscription if you want to start with it and if you want it in a straight line.
It used to be a one-time purchase per platform and you could set-up syncing across other cloud services as you saw fit. If you really start from scratch the 1Password apps still give you the option to create and sync locally but the direction is set and clear: they want you to sign up to a subscription.
I am not going to purchase a subscription. With some searching I found a software which is extremely similar to 1Password and fully featured. And is available as 1-time purchase per platform for all platforms I am using.
Also. This one is the first that could import my 1Password export files straight away without any issues. Even One-Time-Passwords (OTP) worked immediately.
The name is Enpass and it’s available for Mac, Windows, Linux, iOS, Android and basically acts as a step in replacement for 1Password. It directly imports what 1Password is exporting. And its pricing is:
Subscriptions for services as this are a no-go for me. It’s a commodity service which I am willing to pay for trailing updates and maintenance every year or so in a major update.
I am not willing to pay a substantial amount of money per user per month to just keep having access to my Passwords. And having them synced onto some companies infrastructure does not make this deal sweeter.
Enpass on the other hand comes with peace-of-mind that no data leaves your infrastructure and that you can get the data in and out any time.
It can import from these:
As mentioned I’ve migrated from 1Password in the mere of minutes and was able to plug-in-replace it immediately.
If there is any discussion or argument about electric mobility these days the topic of range and battery-aging is coming up rather quick.
Every once in a while you also hear these awesome stories about electric cars achieving total-driven-distances outrageously huge compared to combustion engine cars…
But what is it then, how does a battery in an electric car age over time and mileage? Given that car manufacturers seem to settle on a ca. 150.000km total-driven-miles baseline for giving a battery-capacity percentage guarantee. Something like…
The future owners of ID. models won’t need to worry about the durability of their batteries either, as Volkswagen will guarantee that the batteries will retain at least 70 per cent of their usable capacity even after eight years or 160,000 kilometres.
So. Guarantees are one thing. Reality another. There’s an interesting user-driven survey set-up where Tesla owners can hand in their cars data thus participate in the survey.
And it yields results (getting updated as you read…):
In a nutshell: It seems there is a good chance that your Tesla car might have an above 90% original-specified-battery-capacity after the guaranteed 100.000 miles and even after 150.000 miles (241.000km)…
Good news that is! Given that the average household will do about or less than 20.000 km/year it would mean over 12 years of use and the car still would hold 90% of battery charge. The battery being the most expensive single component on an electric car this is extremely good news as it’s unlikely that the battery will be the reason for the car to be scraped after this mileage.
TOKYO — Japan’s government will allow NTT Docomo and its three major mobile rivals to set up 5G base stations on traffic signals, hoping to reduce the cost and time it takes to roll out the ultrafast networks by taking advantage of the nation’s high density of traffic lights.
Interesting. It seems that there is another way of doing things when you want to see success. Japan always seems very determined when the decision has been made to adopt something. In the curious case of the mobile communication standard 5G they have chosen a different way over countries like Germany.
Last year when I had asked for a new mobile plan here in Germany and I expressed my surprise about the enormous prices for just data quota I was told “That’s because we had to bid on the frequencies and that was soooo expensive that now we cannot offer the service cheaper”.
Suica (スイカ Suika) is a rechargeable contactless smart card, electronic money used as a fare card on train lines in Japan, launched on November 18, 2001. The card can be used interchangeably with JR West’s ICOCA in the Kansai region and San’yō region in Okayama, Hiroshima, and Yamaguchi Prefectures, and also with JR Central’s TOICA starting from spring of 2008, JR Kyushu’s SUGOCA, Nishitetsu’s Nimoca, and Fukuoka City Subway’s Hayakaken area in Fukuoka City and its suburb areas, starting from spring of 2010. The card is also increasingly being accepted as a form of electronic money for purchases at stores and kiosks, especially within train stations. As of October 2009, 30.01 million Suica are in circulation.
This time around we really made use of electronic payment and got around using cash whenever possible.
There where only a few occasions when we needed the physical credit card. Of course on a number of tourist spots further away from Tokyo centre cash was still king.
From my first trip to Japan to today a lot has changed and electronic payment was adopted very quickly. Compared to Germany: Lightning fast adoption in Japan!
The single best thing that has happened recently in this regard was that Apple Pay got available in Germany earlier this year. With the iPhone and Watch supporting SUICA already (you can get a card on the phone/watch) the availability of Apple Pay bridged the gap to add money to the SUICA card on the go. As a visitor to Japan you would mostly top up the SUICA card in convenience stores and train stations and mostly by cash. With the Apple Pay method you simply transfer money in the app from your credit card to the SUICA in an instant.
This whole electronic money concept is working end-2-end in Japan. Almost every shop takes it. You wipe your SUICA and be done. And not only for small amounts. Everything up to 20.000 JPY will work (about 150 Euro).
And when you run through a train station gate to pay for your trip it you hold your phone/watch up to the gate while walking past and this is it in realtime screen recorded:
I wish Germany would adopt this faster.
Oh, important fact: This whole SUICA thing is 100% anonymous. You get a card without giving out any information. You can top it up with cash without any link to you.
There are some things that influenced us over time. I’ve never played a lot of computer games. But I’ve played adventure games. Most notably those of LucasArts.
The “Day of the Tentacle” – being the sequel to “Maniac Mansion” – was one adventure game that I have a lot of great memories of. I have played it through a lot of times since it’s release.
At the beginning of the game the main villain (the purple tentacle) of the game is making a statement:
Bernard: Ok, you’re free to go. Green Tentacle: Thanks Bernard! Purple Tentacle: Yes, thank you, naive human! Now I can finish taking over the world! Ha ha ha! Green Tentacle: Wait! Bernard: Oh, yeah. Now I remember. He’s incredibly evil, isn’t he? Green Tentacle: Uh… I’ll try to talk him out of it.
LucasArts (June 1993). Day of the Tentacle. DOS.
And because of his aspiration to take over the world the picture of the scene this is being said ended up as my phones unlock screen background (and if lots of other places) ever since.
About a year ago there were some very interesting reports about a german inventor and his invention: a highly futuristic, transforming smartphone airbag.
It would be attached to your phone and when you drop it, it would automatically deploy and dampen the impact.
Impressive, right? There’s now a Kickstarter campaign behind this to deliver it as a product. All very nice and innovative.
I have no usue of a smartphone airbag of some sort. But hear me out on my train of thought:
I do partake in the hobby of quadcopter flying. I’ve built some myself in the past.
Now these quadcopters are very powerful and have very short flight times due to their power-dynamics. 4-5 Minutes and you’ve emptied a LiPo pack.
Model airplanes, essentially everything with wings, flys much much longer.
My thought now: Why not have a convertible drone.
When the pilot wants a switch could be flipped and it would convert a low-profile quadcopter to a low-profile quadcopter with wings. Similar to how the above mentioned smartphone “airbag”.
I don’t know anything about mechanics. I have no clue whatsoever. So go figure. But what I do know: the current path of the mini-quad industry is to create more powerful and bigger “mini”-quadcopters. And this is a good direction for some. It’s not for me. Having a 10kg 150km/h 50cm projectile in the air that also delivers a 1kg Lithium-Polymer, highly flammable and explosion-ready battery pack does frighten me.
Why not turn the wheel of innovation into the convertible-in-air-with-much-longer-flight-times direction and make the mini-quadcopters even more interesting?
I’ve finished my little coding exercise today. With a good sunday afternoon used to understand and develop an iOS and Watch application from scratch I just handed it in for Apple AppStore approval.
The main purpose, aside from the obvious “learning how it’s done”, is that I actually needed a couple of complications on my watch that would show me the current day/date in the discordian calendar.
I have to say that the overall process of developing iOS and Watch applications is very streamlined. Much much easier than Android development.
The WatchKit development was probably the lesser great experience in this project. There simply is not a lot of code / documentation and examples for WatchKit yet. And most of them are in Swift – which I have not adapted yet. I keep to Objective-C for now still. With Swift at version 5 and lots of upgrades I would have done in the last years just to keep up with the language development… I guess with my choice to stick to Objective-C I’ve avoided a lot of work.
Anyhow! As soon as the app is through AppStore approval I will write again. Maybe somebody actually wants to use it also? :-)
With writing the app I just came up with the next idea for a complication I just really really would need.
In a nutshell: A complication that I can configure to track a certain calendar. And it will show the time in days/hours/minutes until the next appointment in that specific calendar. I will have it set up to show “how many hours till wakeing up”.
I recently wrote about how I am using ThinClients in our house to always have a ready-to-use working environment that get’s shared across different desks and work places.
To complete the zoo of devices I wanted to take the chance and write about another device we’re using when the purpose fits: ChromOS devices.
A little bit over a year ago I was given a HP Chromebook 11 G5 and this little thing is in use ever since.
The hardware itself is very average and works just right. The only two things that could be better are the display and the trackpad. With the trackpad you can help yourself with an external mouse.
The display works for the device size but the resolution being 1366×768 is definitely a limiting factor for some tasks.
What is not a limiting factor, astonishingly, is the operating system. I did not have any expectations at all when I first started using the Chromebook but everything just fell into place as expected. A device with almost no local storage and everything on the google cloud as well as a device that you can simply pick up and start using with just your google account may not sound crazy innovative. But let me tell you: if you start living that thin client, cloud stored life these Chrome OS devices hit the spot perfectly.
Everything updates in the background and as long as you are okay with web based applications or Android based applications you are good to go.
Did I miss anything functionwise? Yes. At the beginning there was no real shell or Linux tools available for Chrome OS natively. This has changed.
Would I buy another one or do I recommend it and for whom? I would buy another one and I would recommend it for certain audiences.
I would recommend it for anyone who does not need to game anything not available in the Google Playstore – anything that can be done on the web can be done with the Chromebook. And as long as there is not the requirement of anything native or higher-spec that requires you to have “Windows-as-a-hobby” or a beefy MacOS device sitting around I guess these inexpensive Chrome OS devices really have their niche.
For kids – I guess this would make a great “my-first-notebook” as it works when you need it and does not lock you in too much if you wanted to start exploring. But then again: what do I know – I do not have kids.
When you want to make things happen on a schedule or log them down when they took place a calendar is a good option. Even more so if you are looking for an intuitive way to interact with your home automation system.
Calendars can be shared and your whole family can have them on their phones, tablets and computers to control the house.
In general I am using the Node-Red integration of Google Calendar to send and receive events between Node-Red and Google. I am using the node-red-node-google package which comes with a lot of different options.
Of course when you are using those nodes you need to configure the credentials
Part 1: Control
So you got those light switches scattered around. You got lots of things that can be switched on and off and controlled in all sorts of interesting ways.
And now you want to program a timer when things should happen.
For example: You want to control when a light is being switched on and when it’s then again been switched off.
I did create a separate calendar on google calendar in which I am going to add events to in a notation I came up with: those events have a start-datetime and of course an end-datetime.
When I now create an event with the name “test” in the calendar…
And in Node-Red you would configure the “google calendar in”-Node like so:
When you did wire this correctly everytime an event in this calendar starts you will get a message with all the details of the event, like so:
With this you can now go crazy on the actions. Like using the name to identify the switch to switch. Or the description to add extra information to your flow and actions to be taken. This is now fully flexible. And of course you can control it from your phone if you wanted.
Part 2: Information
So you also may want to have events that happened logged in the calendar rather than a plain logfile. This comes very handy as you can easily see this way for example when people arrived home or left home or when certain long running jobs started/ended.
To achieve this you can use the calendar out nodes for Node-Red and prepare a message using a function node like this:
And as said – we are using it for all sorts of things – like when the cat uses her litter box, when the washing machine, dryer, dishwasher starts and finishes. Or simply to count how many Nespresso coffees we’ve made. Things like when members of the household arrive and leave places like work or home. When movement is detected or anything out of order or noteable needs to be written down.
And of course it’s convenient as it can be – here’s the view of a recent saturday:
I was asked recently how I did enable my home automation to send push notifications to members of the household.
The service I am using on which all of our notification needs are served by is PushOver.
Pushover gives you a simple API and a device management and allows you to trigger notifications with icons and text to be sent to either all or specific devices. It allows to specify a message priority so that more or most important push notifications even are being pushed to the front when your phone is set on do-not-disturb.
The device management and API, as said, is pretty simple and straight forward.
As for the actual integration I am using the NodeRed integration of Pushover. You can find it here: node-red-contrib-pushover.
With the newest client for iOS it even got integration for Apple Watch. So you not only are limited to text and images. You can also send our a state that updates automatically on your watch face.
As Pushover seems consistent in service and bringing updates I don’t miss anything – yet I do not have extensively tested it on Android.
We use the term “smart home” lightly these days. It has become a term of marketing and phantastic stories.
Considering how readily available lots of different sensors, actors and personal-assistants are these days one would think that most people would start to expect more from the marketing “smart-home”.
I believe that the smart is to be found in the small and simple. There are a lot of small things that actually make something feel smart without it actually being smart about anything.
Being smart is something not achieved yet – not even by a far stretch of the sense of the word. So let’s put that to the sides of the discussion for now and move a simple thing in the middle of this article.
Have you ever had an argument about who should or should have cleared out the dishwasher after it’s finished?
So we outsourced the discussion and decision to a 3rd party. We made our house understand when the dishwasher starts and ends it’s task. And made it flip a coin.
There was already a power consumption monitoring in place for the dishwasher. Adding a hysteresis over that monitoring would yield a simple “starts running” / “stops running” state of the dishwasher.
Pictured above is said power consumption.
When the values enter the red area in the graph the dishwasher is considered to be running.
When it leaves that area the dishwasher is considered finished/not running
Now adding a bit of random coin-tossing by the computer and each time when the dishwasher is detected to have started work a message is sent out depending on the result of the coin-toss.
That message is published and automatically displayed on all active displays in the house (TVs/…) and sent as push notifications to all members that need to be informed of this conclusive and important decision.
Everyone gets a push notification who is going to clear out the dishwasher based upon a coin-toss by a computer every time the dishwasher starts.
The base of all of this is a Node-RED flow that that uses the power consumption MQTT messages as an input and outputs back to MQTT as well as pushes out the push notifications to phones, screens and watches.
Additionally it creates a calendar entry with the start-finish time of the dishwasher run as well as the total energy consumption for this run.
The flow works like this: on the right the message enters the flow from MQTT. The message itself contains just the value of the power consumed at this very moment. In this case consumed the dishwasher.
The power consumption is updated regularly, every couple of seconds this way. So every couple of seconds this flow runs and gets an updated value of
Next a hysteresis is applied. In simple terms this means: when the value goes above a certain threshold the dishwasher is considered to be running. When it goes below a certain threshold then it is considered finished.
When the dishwasher changed it’s state to “running” the flow will generate a random number between 0 and 1. This give a 50:50 chance for either Steffi or Daniel be the chosen one to clear out the dishwasher for this run. This message is sent out as push notification to all phones, watches and TVs.
When the dishwasher finishes it’s run the total energy consumption is taken and sent out as the “I am done message”. Also this information is added to the calendar. Voilá.
A calendar? Why a calendar you may ask. Oh well there are several reasons. Think of calendars as another way to interact with the house. All sorts of things happen on a timeline. A calendar is only a visual aid to interact with timelines.
May it be a home appliance running and motion being sensed for your home alarm system. All of that can be displayed in a calendar and thus automatically sync to all your devices capable to display this calendar.
And if you start adding entries to a calendar that the house uses to know what to do next… how about putting light on-off times into an actual calendar right on your phone instead of a complicated browser user interface like many of those marketing smart-homes want us to use?
Many cars these days come with head up displays. These kind of displays are used to make information like the current speed appear “floating” over the street ahead right in your field of vision.
This has the clear advantage that the driver can stay focused on the street rather than looking away from the street and to the speedometer.
As practical as it seems these displays are not easy to build and seemingly not easy to design. Every time I came across one it’s built-in functionalities where limited in a way that I only can assume not a lot of thought had gone into what exactly would the driver like to see and how that would be displayed. There was always so much left to desire.
Apparently the technology behind these HUDs is at a point where it’s quite affordable to start playing with some ideas to retrofit a car with a more personal and likeable version.
So I started to take a look at what is available – smart phones have bright displays and I had never tried to see what happens when you try to utilize them to project information into the windshield. So I tried.
As you can see – bright enough, readable but hazy and not perfectly sharp. The reason is quite simple:
“In the special windshield normally used, the transparent plastic safety material sandwiched in between the two pieces of glass must have a slight and very precise wedge, so that the vehicle operator does not see a HUD double image.”
There are some retrofit adhesive film solutions available that claim to help with that. I have not tried any yet. To be honest: to my eye the difference is noticeable but not a deal-breaker.
So I’ve tried apps available. They work. But they do a lot of things different from how I would have expected or done them. They are bearable, but I think it could be done better.
tldr: I started prototyping away and made a list of things that need to be done about the existing HUD applications.
Here’s my list of what I want to achieve:
display orientation according to driving direction – I had expected all HUD applications to do this. They know the driving direction. They know how the device is oriented in space. They can tell which direction the windshield is. They know how to correctly turn the screen. They do not do that. None of them.
fonts and numbers – I cannot stand the numbers jumping around when they change up and down
speed steps interpolation – GPS only delivers a speed update every second or so. In this time speed might jump up and down by more than +1. The display has 60 fps and gyros to play with and interpolate… I want smooth number transitions.
have an “eco-meter” – using gyros the HUD would be able to display harsh accelleration and breaking. Maybe display a color-coded bar and whatever is measured is reflected in the bar going left or right…
speed-limit display – apparently this is a huge issue looking at the data availability. There seems to be open-street-map data and options to contribute. Maybe that can be added.
have a non-hud mode – non mirrored to use for example to set speed limits and contribute to OpenStreetMap this way!
automatically switch between HUD and non-HUD mode – because the device knows it’s orientation in space – if you pick it up from the dashboard and look into it, why not automatically switch?
speed zones color coding – change the color of the speed display depending on configurable speed regions. 0-80 is green, 80-130 is yellow, 130-250 is red.
turn display off when car stopped – if there’s nothing displayed or needs to be displayed, for example because the car stopped the display can be turned off completely on it’s own.
Navigation is of limited value as the only way I could think of adding value would be a serious AR solution that uses the whole windshield. Now I’ve got these small low-power projectors around… that get’s me thinking…
What would you want to have in such a HUD in your car?
Now that you got your home entertainment reacting to you making a phone call (use case #1) as well as your current position in the played audiobook (use case #3) you might want to add some more location awareness to your house.
If your house is smart enough to know where you are, outside, inside, in what room, etc. – it might as well react on the spot.
So when you leave/enter the house:
– turn off music playing – pause it and resume when you come back
– shutdown unnecessary equipment to limit power consumption when not used and start-back up to the previous state (tvs, media centers, lights, heating) when back
– arm the cameras and motion sensors
– start to run bandwidth intense tasks when no people using resources inside the house (like backing up machines, running updates)
– let the roomba do it’s thing
– switch communication coming from the house into different states since it’s different for notifications, managing lists and spoken commands and so on.
There’s a lot of things that that benefit from location awareness.
Bonus points for outside house awareness and representing that like a “Weasly clock”…“xxx is currently at work”.
Bonus points combo breaker for using an open-source service like Miataru (http://miataru.com/#tabr3) for location tracking outside the house.
When traveling you might find yourself in the situation that you get a new SIM card into your iPhone and it’ll start and do it’s automatic magic for you. And eventually you well end up with the right provider settings by default.
But there are some cases when it picks the wrong provider settings. Like in my case. It picked NTT docomo in Japan with the default NTT docomo settings. In my case I was using a reseller for NTT (as described here) and that demanded different provider settings to work.
Unfortunately in all it’s wisdom the iPhone did not allow me to set the carrier settings. It just displayed the “Automatic” choice. So I went to the APN Changer website, entered the settings and installed a custom provider setting to my device. This works without any Jailbreak with iPhones without SIM Lock.
The public transportation feature of Google Maps works like a charm. It’s accurate as it can be and offers even walking instructions to get to the right platform or train station.
Notice the colored lines next to the different stations. That’s the color you’re looking for on the train. They are color coded! To find your right platform just take the information that Google gives you and look out for it. It will be written on signs “Rinkai towards Tokyo Teleport”.
Problem: Okay I know which train I have to use. But before I enter the platform I have to pass the ticket gate. How do I buy a ticket? How do I know which one?
Solution: Get a Suica card and charge it! If you’re a group travelling: Look out for cheap group ticket offerings.
A Suica card (aka “Super Urban Intelligent Card”) can be used instead of buying a ticket. You can buy it where you can buy the tickets – most of the time it’s 500 Yen + charge. Charging it with some Yen is crucical since the gates will not let you in when your card is not at least charged with 210 Yen.
You may ask: If I buy a ticket from A to B I have to pay the price upfront. When I use the Suica how does it work then? Easy answer: When you enter the train station through the ticket gate you pass it with your Suica card. It will start a journey for you. When you exit it will end the journey. The card and system is intelligent enough to calculate all steps in between, add them up and substract the fare price from your Suica balance. It always takes the cheapest price for single travellers.
If you’re on your way as a group you might want to use the ticket machines before going through the ticket gates. The Suica is a personal card and only suited for one person to be used. So you cannot pass it through the ticket gate back and enter the ticket gate again without causing panic with the service personell.
To buy tickets for groups I suggest to switch the terminals to english – most of them will offer that option. You then have to specifically know where you want to go. Sometimes it’s the easiest way to just go to the counter and buy them there.
Sometimes when you bought tickets you find out that you made a mistake. Fear not! You can give them back and by doing so get your money back. Service personell is awesome and will help you at any time! DO NOT PANIC!
Another awesome feature you get ‘for free’ by having a Suica card is that you can use it with all the vending machines available everywhere in the train stations. Just pick the beverage you want and swipe the card. Done!
Beware: fill the card up before going out of the ticket gate when you used it all up!
If you happen to have a NFC enabled device (like most Android phones) you can install the Suica Reader app from the Google Store and get information about what happened to your card so far.
If you visit Japan the next time and you want to get perfectly good Internet access while there on your mobile phone I can recommend the b-mobile offer. On my last stay in Japan (May 2014) I tried their service for the first time and I was not let down.
They give you two options: The 1 GB prepaid option gives you 1 GB as fast as possible. The 14days prepaid gives you 14 days of limited speed coverage (300kbps).
I went for the 14 days prepaid option knowing that I might get some usage depending on where I go. The 300kbps where faster than I thought – at no given time I experienced any speed problems. The coverage was awesome since it just dialed into NTT Docoms 3G/LTE network.
For just under € 30 this is an awesome option for any traveller. Even better: You can pick it up at the Airport or you can have it delivered to your hotel! We tried both and it worked both as expected. Fast delivery, perfect service!
How many times did you experience a connection loss on your terminal window in the last week? Yeah I know – like everytime you close the lid of your notebook and move to a different place. So like a dozen times every day.
And everytime you reconnect to your servers and you use things like screen to keep your terminals open and your programs running while you’re disconnected.
On the other hand – did you ever curse the internet gods while you tried to do a very important check or bugfix to a machine whilst on a train or mobile roaming network? It’s not what I would call fun-times. When there are no constant disconnects the lag is just infuriating. MOSH also solves this since it’s predicting and responding way faster then vanilla SSH. Your terminal becomes useable again!
So there’s now MOSH to the rescue:
Remote terminal application that allows roaming, supports intermittent connectivity, and provides intelligent local echo and line editing of user keystrokes.
Mosh is a replacement for SSH. It’s more robust and responsive, especially over Wi-Fi, cellular, and long-distance links.
Mosh is free software, available for GNU/Linux, FreeBSD, Solaris, Mac OS X, and Android.
Unfortunately complex JSON can get a bit heavy on the structure itself with over and over repetitions of data-schemes and ids.
There’s RJSON to the rescue on this. It’s backwards compatible and makes your JSON more compressible:
“RJSON converts any JSON data collection into more compact recursive form. Compressed data is still JSON and can be parsed with JSON.parse. RJSON can compress not only homogeneous collections, but also any data sets with free structure.
RJSON is single-pass stream compressor, it extracts data schemes from document, assign each schema unique number and use this number instead of repeating same property names again and again.”
I’ve added Alarming to hacs a while ago and I’ve now extended the built-in SMS gateway providers with the german telekom services called “Global SMS API”.
This API is offered through the Telekom own portal called developer garden and is as easy to use as it can possibly be. You only need to set-up the account with developergarden and after less than 5 minutes you can send and receive SMS and do a lot more. They got APIs for nearly everything you possible want to do … fancy some “talk to your house”-action? Would be easy to integrate into h.a.c.s. using their Speech2Text APIs.
They have a short video showing how to set it all up:
So I’ve added the SMS-send capabilities to the hacs internal alarming system with it’s own JSON configuration file looking like this:
And this simple piece of configuration leads to SMS getting sent out as soon as – in this example – a window opens:
Before the Telekom Global SMS API I’ve used a different provider (SMS77) but since the delivery times of this provider varied like crazy (everything from 30 seconds to 5 minutes) and the provider had a lot of downtimes my thought was to give the market leader a try.
Oh boy, it seems that Apple just screwed up big time when it comes to data privacy. Obviously everytime someone attaches an iOS device like the iPhone to a PC or Mac and it does a backup run this backup includes the location data of that iPhone of the last several months. Impressive logging on the one hand and a shame that they did not talk about that in public upfront on the other hand.
Thank goodness I can uninstall X-Lite! At sones we are using a SIP based telephony solution. And therefore some times a SIP softphone application is needed along with the obligatory hardware SIP telephones. Till today the only half-working software I knew for that task was X-Lite. But a colleague told me today that there is a better software which not even looks better but also works better than X-Lite.
It’s called “Ekiga” and it’s a GTK based open source application which can run on Windows and Linux. It looks clean and therefore nice and works great.
A special tip from me: Abort the Welcome Wizard because the only thing it does is registering you with ekigas’ own services.
So finally after years and years of hope and nerdy ideas I am able to hold a tablet device in my own hands and it’s not only as good as Picards tablet was back in that great “Star Trek: Next Generation” series, it’s better.
Of course I had to import that particular iPad from the U.S. (thanks Alex!) – actually it was the first time I imported something that expensive. Beside some fun with the shipping company everything went fine. Since Apple just announced to delay the launch of the iPad in Europe for a month it’s nice to have a gadget just a few weeks after it was available in the U.S.