Why Twitter blocked and deleted our @ibcoco1 Twitter Account

We are running the not for profit iron blogger project. The aim of the project is to motivate people to blog once a week. If you are interested in the project (and you should 😉 ), have a look at our website https://ibcoco.net/we-want-you-to-blog-because/. Beside the website, the project had a Twitter account. Last week I received …

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How to use FHEM with Home Assistant

I have started several years ago using FHEM to automate some of my devices. Last year though, I discovered Home Assistant. It fits much better my technology stack as it's written in Python instead of Perl, so I started to migrate to it.

As always I'm running against some walls. It was impossible to get my IR-bridge (which switches on the amp) running in Home Assistant, so I needed a way to use the existing FHEM within Home Assistant.

First I opened a new FHEMWEB port (bind only on localhost) with csrfToken check switched off:

fhem.cfg:

define WEBapi FHEMWEB 8086 global
attr WEBapi csrfToken none
attr WEBapi allowFrom 127.0.0.1

Now it's possible to add shell commands to Home Assistant, it could look like this:

configuration.yaml:

shell_command:
fhem_shutdown_all: /usr/bin/wget -q http://127.0.0.1:8086/fhem?cmd.Stop_mediacenter=set%20Stop_mediacenter%20on
fhem_start_first: /usr/bin/wget -q http://127.0.0.1:8086/fhem?cmd.wz_XBMC=set%20wz_XBMC%20on

As I use homeatic I need to wire everything together in scripts.yaml:

# Use scripts with homeatic keypress as there is no delay
# https://github.com/danielperna84/pyhomematic/issues/106
turn_all_off:
sequence:
- service: light.turn_off
entity_id: light.living_room
- service: shell_command.fhem_shutdown_all

And here I bind the turn_all_off to my Homematic Switch:

- alias: "Alle Geraete Aus"
trigger:
platform: event
event_type: homematic.keypress
event_data:
name: WohnzimmerSchalter
channel: 1
param: PRESS_SHORT
action:
- service: script.turn_on
entity_id: script.turn_all_off

This is my second post of my home automation series, I hope it helps someone :)

CloudFest: Become a Partner for the Joomla Project and I’ll make you happy

Next week I’m going to CloudFest.  CloudFest itself is hard to describe. It is an Event and the successor of World Hosting Days. So a large part of the worlds hosting industry will be “there”. The first time I was there was in 2016. I’m writing a weekly blog post for NovaTrend, a hosting company from …

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WordPress Single Sign On 
 aber wie/but how?

Sorry for the language mix but I thought it’s better to have it in both languages 🙂 Heute habe ich mal keine Lösung, sondern ein Problem. Ich will in WordPress etwas programmieren. Eine Authentifizierung gegenĂŒber einem Altsystem. Today I have no solution, but a problem. I want to program something in WordPress. An authentication to …

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Building a Central Bank – Part 1

Last week I asked if someone has an idea what Ethereum is about. Dick Olsson told me in a comment that it’s possible to create a kind of blockchain for our iron blogger project. What I know so far is the wikipedia article about Ethereum, some content of the website of the Swiss foundation Ethereum.org and a few videos from 2014 …

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Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future

It’s “the biography” about Elon Musk, his family and the story behind

  • PayPal (make banking easy)
  • Tesla Motors (about cars, super chargers, production plants and batteries)
  • SpaceX (about reusable rockets that can start AND land)
  • SolarCity (about creating electricity).

After being disappointed with so many dark dystopian Science Fiction stories he basically decided to make the future bright again, solve the worlds energy problem and colonise the planet Mars.

It’s an impressive story!

 

Ted Talk

National Geographic: Tesla Motors Documentary

(Almost) Every SpaceX Landing, In Order

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Geothermal Energy, Flower Plants, Wildlife & Disney in Naivasha

The Naivasha lake in Kenya was a kind of paradise for birds, fish, hippos, the cows of the Maasai people. The lake has an area of 15,600 ha at an altitude of 1884m asl. It is a fresh water lake with a catchment of 2,378 km2. The lake is on a tentative list for becoming UNESCO heritage since 1999. A Tentative List is an inventory of those properties which each State Party intends to consider for nomination. The quote is from the actual description of the UNESCO website.

The lake environment is fragile but dynamic and supports tourism and geothermal power generation from deep-rooted stream jets among other economic activities. Lake Naivasha’s biodiversity is critically threatened by human induced factors, including: habitat destruction, pollution (from pesticides, herbicides and fertilisers), sewage effluent, livestock feeding lots, acaricide, and water abstraction. … Current research findings show that the lake cannot sustain further development activities on the scale seen over the last fifteen years. (UNESCO Lake Naivasha)

What happened?

In the late 1970s–1980s Lake Naivasha was overrun with poachers and foreign creatures introduced into the lake to provide a possibility to start a fishing industry. The migratory paths along lake Naivasha were being destroyed by the local rose industry.

Flower farm in Naivasha

Flower farm in Naivasha with shops in the foreground

Next to Naivasha is the

Hell’s Gate National Park.

There is a wide variety of wildlife in the national park … lions, leopards, and cheetahs. However, the park has historically been an important home for the rare lammergeyer vultures. There are over 103 species of birds in the park, including vultures, Verreaux’s eagles, augur buzzard, and swifts. Hyraxes, African buffalo, zebra, eland, hartebeest, Thomson’s gazelle, hyena, and baboons are also common. The park is also home to serval and small numbers of klipspringer antelope and Chanler’s mountain reedbuck (Wikipedia).

The team that produced the well known movie The Lion King traveled to Hell’s Gate National Park in Kenya to research on the film’s setting and animals. The main setting of the film is heavily modeled after the park.

This is a poster for The Lion King. The poster art copyright is believed to belong to Walt Disney Pictures.
This is a poster for The Lion King. The poster art copyright is believed to belong to Walt Disney Pictures.
The landscape is truly impressive!

Hells Gate National Park

Inside the park are plenty of hot springs.

Geothermal Energy

The geothermal potential of the Kenya Rift Valley (which contains the Hell’s Gate Park) was recognized in the mid-1950s. In 1956, two wells were drilled at Olkaria about 10 km west of Longonot. With promising results the United Nations Development Program and the Kenya Power carried out an extensive exploration program in the Rift Valley in 1970. The Hell’s Gate National Park was established in 1984 through executive orders by annexation of land where the American Power Company Orpower was given concessions by the government to drill wells and generate power. Orpower developed the technology by building a steam pipeline from a natural well to the power station. If the well is empty the tubes stay on the ground and they connect the next well. In between the tubes with the hot steam one can see Giraffes, Zebras and Baboons (monkeys). In the center of this photo you can see a Giraffe, the tube is leaking and the steam is hot.

Find the Giraffe

An old well looks like this

Hells Gate National Park

The initial design of Olkaria I power plant and steam field had proposed a life of 25 years (Link to PDF).

The Kenyan Government describes the technology as a sustainable future and wants to develop every available place in Rift Valley (Kenya to tap into Rift Valley geothermal resources and strengthen private sector investment in renewable energy)

The Hell’s Gate Park is only 68 square kilometres, 32 of it are already used by the tubes and power plants.

Olkaria Geothermal Fields
Olkaria Geothermal Fields
DEG – Deutsche Investitions- und Entwicklungsgesellschaft mbH together with KfW Entwicklungsbank (KfW Development Bank), provides Orpower 4 Inc. (Orpower), the owner and operator of the Olkaria III geothermal power plant in Kenya, with a long-term loan to the amount of 40 million US-dollars (DEG finanziert erstes privates ErdwĂ€rme-Kraftwerk in Kenia).
In 2012: Format Technologies Signs Long-Term Debt Financing for up to $310 Million for The Olkaria III Geothermal Power Complex in Kenya.

This cheap energy is used by flower farms and the Kenyan Government provide them free water too! This a quote from the Dutch Roses Company Van den Berg.

… the increasing labour and energy costs in the Netherlands put pressure on returns, there were more opportunities in Kenya. (Van den Berg History)

Because of a crisis in 2011 the workers were paid badly or nothing: Pain, misery as Karuturi flower workers unpaid for months.

In September 2016 Karuturi ex-workers clash with police.

The Future

The population of Naivasha City ist 15,000. Different sources speak of around 50,000-80,000 workers in the flower farms, and 300,000 people living now in the area. The prospection for 2019 is 1,000,000 people. The lake is considered as dead around 2030.

My private conclusion

For me it looks like the reason for creating the Hell’s Gate National Park was to protect the concession and development of Olkaria Geothermal Power Plants. It’s easy to sell the project as green, renewable and sustainable. After the introduction of foreign creatures into the lake to create a fishing industry, the Flower farms were like the next logical step and the conditions are still perfect. Free water, cheap energy, cheap labour, and no one complains about chemicals in the lake and poor working conditions.

  • Most partners in this setting earns a lot of money,
  • It’s possible to certify the flower farms as fair trade
  • Valentine roses are getting cheaper
  • There is a big demand to invest in “sustainable energy”

… only local people, Maasai people, the hippos and the other animals will loose everything. The ecosystem of Naivasha lake will be destroyed and will never become a UNESCO habitat! 

Links:

 

 

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Mobile Devices, Drupal, Composer and 217 km

Beside my Drupal work at artus.com I attended the Mobile Users FFM monthly meeting on Wednesday. The group exists since 13 years and it started as the “Palm user group, Frankfurt”. Do you remember Palm? During the last 13 years the world changed and it was interesting for me me to hear stories about different types of smartphones, smartwatches, phone contracts and gadget like the Yota Phone 2.

A member of the group (@android_oma) is developing an interesting Drupal/Android/open data project. The basic idea is to collect photos from German railway stations (bike stations, elevators, facilities inside and outside of railway stations). She pulls open data from the German Deutsche Bahn with longitude, latitude and unique id numbers of German railway stations. These data should be imported/synced to a Drupal site (http://www.deutschlands-bahnhoefe.de).

http://www.deutschlands-bahnhoefe.de
http://www.deutschlands-bahnhoefe.de

With an already existing Android App, people can see railway stations where photos are missing. So far the project is in early stage, the app is not in the app store but available via in this Google+ group.
Later on the app should post the photos directly to the Drupal website by using web services. So far people are just tweeting photos (it’s easy to participate 🙂 ) (https://twitter.com/hashtag/bahnhofsfotos. Railway fans are unique, so the project is getting attention and they are planning an international version starting with Switzerland.

A day later I attended the Drupal Meeting Frankfurt and learned a lot about Drupal and Composer (http://drupal-composer.org).

Bicycle

As you may know I commute with a bike and this week I drove 217 km.

Activities for Oct 10, 2016 - Oct 16, 2016 Aug 29, 2016 - Oct 10, 2016
Activities for Oct 10, 2016 – Oct 16, 2016 Aug 29, 2016 – Oct 10, 2016

 

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News! I’m working as a Drupal Developer in Germany

The summer was wonderful. We finished the restoration of a house in the middle of July and we wanted to enjoy some weeks at the beach. As you know, we are Germans and there seems to be some truth in all these stereotypes about Germans, they always make plans 😉 So we did, we made a list about how we wanted to spend our “free” time. The plan was to work a few hours on projects that should be finally finished, like the green roof project in the garden, the Cave in 22 Grand’ Rue, some “little” things in our house … and spend the rest of the time at beaches, in art galleries, antique markets, reading books, … well … it worked somehow – I was everyday at a beach for these 8 weeks and now I’m the mayor 🙂

Plage Naturiste
Plage Naturiste

Nextcloud appeared in June and I’m very interested in the project. I went to Stuttgart in August for a Hackweek and to Berlin in September for the first conference. I wrote some blog posts about Nextcloud box and other aspects of the project.

While working on our summer projects we discussed how we will earn money in the future. Usually we do that regularly at Dec 31th but this time we planned in July at the beach. We came to the conclusion that we renovated more or less enough houses for us (You can buy one btw.). There is still one house project left together with our daughter and her husband but I thought

May be I can work on a nice software project.

Something related to Nextcloud, RaspberryPi, internet of things, Drupal 8. All these “new” stuff hat appeared while I was renovating 🙂

I applied officially at certain companies (my first applications since nearly 20 years) and I learned a lot about LinkedIn, Xing, Monster, writing a good CV and all those things where I’m still not good in (Help me to become better). A company in Frankfurt hired me as a Drupal developer. It’s a “digital interactive agency” called artus.com and their mission is:

We plan, create, develop and implement anything digital that builds our clients brand and business.

“Anything digital” sounded good and I never worked in an agency like that! They are using Drupal 8 for bigger projects, e.g. worldvision.de. They are planning to use it in more projects. The only problem is that they wanted to have me in their office in Frankfurt, Germany. We agreed on a kind of testing for six weeks and then
– I hope to continue with remote work from Fitou and
– they hope that I will move to Frankfurt.
I’m curious how we’ll figure that out – stay tuned!
Living in Frankfurt is ridiculous expensive, so I tried to find a place via Twitter and Facebook.

To my own surprise I found something for 4 weeks in Bad Homburg and something for 2 weeks in Rödelheim :).
Thanks to Android_oma and 12schm34idt56hil78ke.

At the moment I live in Bad Homburg and commute with my bike to Frankfurt. Well, it’s actually not my bike, it’s a super posh electrical bike that I’m allowed the use (a blog post on that is coming soon). Each day I drive 40 km. I track the tours with an App, so if you want to follow me, become my friend on Strava. First week 200km!

First week
First week

I have no time anymore!

I start at 7:30am with my bike and I come back at 8pm with my bike. Additionally, this country is so cold, windy and mostly dark when I’m driving! It’s nice sometimes, you see 😉

Frankfurt

The work itself is interesting: The dev team works with PHPStorm, Vagrant, Bitbucket, Slack, several servers and is trying to organise everything as easy and smooth as possible. I’m curious to learn everything and it was for sure a good idea to be six weeks physically here! Last Friday, we had a so called Quarterly, followed by a workshop with all employees (37), very interesting! Later on there was a great dinner and we ended up with a little group in a kind of club in Frankfurt (Pik Dame).

The last days I heard so many opinions about work, controlling, planning, project management, creativity, brand management, mismanagement, open source software, closed source software, company culture, employee driven companies and the future in general that my daily commuting on the bike is a good way to reflect on that. Since that workshop I’m a proud member of a new team and I’m partly responsible for a handbook, that will help newbies like me to understand processes in this company.

Plan

I want to write about my experiences as often as possible but as I already said  in the headline – I have not that much time anymore 🙂

Save

Save

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