Smart-me Plug

I bought a Smart-me Plug about a year ago. Here some thoughts:

  • Setup was very simple and straight-forward.
  • The app looks a bit outdated – definitely no Material design. Especially the graphs could be a lot nicer (interaction, zooming, filtering).
  • The temperature sensor worked initially – but after a couple of months showed values with an offset (e.g. 13°C instead of 20°C). I got the unit replaced in the end.
  • The power meter is a nice feature – although I don’t know how accurate it is.
  • Setting conditions for switching on/off is straight-forward – although it would be nice to be able to create profiles which can be activated/deactivated.
  • The app only works through the cloud. Although it’s nice to be able to switch on/off your appliances from abroad, you depend on this service to be on-line. I also don’t know how secure it is. A stand-alone version with limited functionality would be a plus.
  • There is a REST API (although I haven’t tested it) – cloud-only.
  • The plug is quite expensive – the build quality doesn’t match its price.

Running Apps & Services

A few notes about GPS tracking while out running. On my mobile phone (still Nexus 4) I used the app RunKeeper (the free version, not Pro) to record the runs. The data is then synced to other services like SmashRun (see below), Endomondo, and even Dropbox using (a great service and well worth the few bucks for automated sync). Recently, I signed up on SmashRun (free version) for stats and the likes.

A couple of weeks ago I came across Runalyze which offers a lot of statistical data – completely free, no paid version. To me, it seems to be a bit overkill, though.

— Edit 12/02/2016 —
RunKeeper has been bought by Asics. It might be time to switch to the “last” independent running App – Strava (which is supported by tapiriik as well, by the way).

Fixed HP Compaq 6715b Power Issue?

I had a HP Compaq 6715b laptop lying around which I thought was dead. When pressing the power button, nothing happened, not lights, no beeps, nothing at all.

I came across a hint which seems to be a well-known fix for such issues: unplug the power cord, remove the battery and press the power button for a long time (I did it for around 30s). Afterwards, I connected the power cord without putting the battery back in. Surprise, surprise: the laptop powers up without a problem (after having reconnected the hard drive which I removed ages ago to copy the data).

If this really fixes the problem for good will have to been seen. There are reports on the internet about low-quality motherboards (especially power connection) in the HP laptops of this generation.

Brother MFC-7820N under Kubuntu 14.10 Utopic

  • install Brother driver brscan2 (including adding the line brother2 to /etc/sane.d/dll.conf, see this guide)
  • brsaneconfig2 -q worked but scanimage -L showed “no sane device found”
  • Brother FAQ tells you to copy libs from /usr/lib64/sane to /usr/lib/sane but sane is looking in /usr/lib/x86_64-linux-gnu/sane
  • Finally scanimage -L shows device `brother2:net1;dev0′ is a Brother MFC-7820N SCANNER
  • Hint: for debugging of scanimage, use SANE_DEBUG_DLL=3 scanimage -L

Set up Brother MFC-7820N as network scanner under Kubuntu

I’ve set up my Brother MFC-7820N ages ago to print and scan over the network from Kubuntu. Once in a while the router decides to change the IPs of my network devices. So just as a note to myself, here’s how to set up the scanner again:

  • check the setup: brsaneconfig2 -q
  • delete the old entry: brsaneconfig2 -r MFC-7820N
  • determine new IP (as an exercise for the reader)
  • set up new entry: brsaneconfig2 -a name=MFC-7820N model=MFC-7820N ip=

See also Brother’s guide.

Sun Java JDK & Avahi on Debian

When trying to install sun-java6-jdk on a Debian server (Lenny), I noticed that it automatically installs libnss-mdns as well as avahi-daemon. I’ve got no idea why it would do that as Avahi is the free implementation of Apple’s zeroconf which allows automatic detection of local network devices. On my Debian server it managed to interrupt DNS resolution with local hosts (using a .local address).

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