Angelesen #61

The past weeks I played around with ESPHome and started to get all my sensors updated to it. There was too much “works on just this device” code sitting around. And there’s the Winterkongress coming up soon so a few venue walkthroughs happened also during the week – let’s say there will be Internet!

ESPHome (esphome.io)

ESPHome is a system to control your ESP8266/ESP32 by simple yet powerful configuration files and control them remotely through Home Automation systems.

Hat tip to Simon for the tip with ESPHome. Getting all my sensors going without getting into heavy coding was a breeze 🙂

hakluke/how-to-exit-vim (github.com)

Apparently there are "easier" ways to get out of VIM!

Preliminary US Emissions Estimates for 2019 (rhg.com)

After a sharp uptick in 2018, we estimate that US greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions fell by 2.1% last year based on preliminary energy and economic data. This decline was due almost entirely to a drop in coal consumption. Coal-fired power generation fell by a record 18% year-on-year to its lowest level since 1975.

Progress!

1,500 scientists lift the lid on reproducibility (nature.com)

More than 70% of researchers have tried and failed to reproduce another scientist’s experiments, and more than half have failed to reproduce their own experiments. Those are some of the telling figures that emerged from Nature’s survey of 1,576 researchers who took a brief online questionnaire on reproducibility in research.

ouch, that was an interesting read.

A former Egyptian engineer found the secret to building a big Northwest gas-station chain (seattletimes.com)

Said’s formula is simple: He finds locations that are ideally located but poorly maintained, upgrades the equipment and the store, and institutes a spit-and-polish customer-service regimen. Even the handles on the gas pumps get buffed down regularly so that “the customer does not put his hand on something dirty,” he says.

Wow who would have thought that an issue can be fixed with actually providing a service and adding good customer service ;)?

20 top Ideen für Europa Städtereisen mit dem Zug im 2020 (travelita.ch)

Diesem Vorsatz sind Taten gefolgt. Im 2019 bin ich für keine europäische Reisedestination in ein Flugzeug gestiegen. Stattdessen habe ich jenste Zugstrecken ausprobiert und meinen Erfahrungsschatz an Zugreisen ausgeweitet. Ich bin unter anderem mit dem Eurostar unter dem Ärmelkanal durch nach Manchester gefahren, bin mit Trenitalia, TGV, Thalys sowie ICE nach Modena, Luxemburg, Antwerpen und Hamburg gereist und habe mit dem Nachtzug einen Weekendtrip nach Zagreb unternommen.

👏Yeah! Tolle Liste an EU Destinationen die mit dem Zug erreichbar sind.

China is getting smarter – but at what cost? (bbc.com)

Mr Anderson told an anecdote about a friend who had recently visited a Chinese city.

"He got to his hotel and realised he had left [his phone in a taxi], so the hotel walked him to the police station," he explained.

"The police pulled up the data about the vehicle but didn’t have the traffic cam so they took him to another department a few blocks away, and they were able to track the taxi in real time and called the driver to ask him to bring back the phone.

"Within two hours he had his phone back."

"The taxi driver may have been worried that if he didn’t return it, he was going to get a negative score."

I happened to talk to a group of people lately that never heard about the SCS (Social Credit System). While those systems in some form exist in most countries the SCS in China goes far beyond what would be considered legal in the EU.

Hackers hit Norsk Hydro with ransomware. The company responded with transparency (news.microsoft.com)

The entire workforce did their jobs with pen and paper during the attack’s first days. Some plants switched to manual procedures to meet manufacturing orders. Retired employees – familiar with the old paper system – volunteered to return to their plants to keep production rolling.

I’ve read early reports of the Norsk Hydro attack but the writeup shows very interesting parts like running infrastructure manually with pen, paper and checklists.

Google Cloud Platform (GCP) Security Best Practices (assured.se)

A good GCP security primer to understand the concepts.

Coal power becoming ‘uninsurable’ as firms refuse cover (theguardian.com)

The number of insurers withdrawing cover for coal projects more than doubled this year and for the first time US companies have taken action, leaving Lloyd’s of London and Asian insurers as the “last resort” for fossil fuels, according to a report.

The report, which rates the world’s 35 biggest insurers on their actions on fossil fuels, declares that coal – the biggest single contributor to climate change – “is on the way to becoming uninsurable” as most coal projects cannot be financed, built or operated without insurance.

Also a way to get rid of coal projects – if the "risk" is getting uninsurable – This might be more effective than other ways

How Ring Went From ‘Shark Tank’ Reject to America’s Scariest Surveillance Company (vice.com)

This amounts to a picture of paralyzing scale: Amazon, one of the three largest publicly-traded companies in the world, owns a company that has been quietly building a privatized surveillance network throughout the United States. This network is only possible because consumers choose to buy the cameras themselves. Why do people make this choice? There are as many answers as there are Ring customers, but there is also one answer that explains everything the company has done: At its core, Ring is a marketing company that realized it could make money by selling fear.

This could be straight out of Orwells 1984 or a Black Mirror episode.