MQTT-enabling the sensors of an old ELV WS 300 PC II Weather Station using the Raspberry Pi

For years I have been using an old ELV WS 300 PC-II weather station (also known as eQ-3 WS PC-II) to measure temperature and humidity levels in parts of our flat. Mostly to quantify the effectiveness of our airing habits. Something that always annoyed me about the base station is its interface: it has a USB port at the back, and comes with a crummy Windows tool for collecting the data. Not very smart and not very connected. I’m a big fan of Home Assistant, a Python-based smart home / connected home framework, and I already run all of my smart home efforts through that. My credo is: If there’s no Home Assistant component for it, it does not exist. In this post I am going to connect the WS 300 (or parts thereof) to Home Assistant using the MQTT protocol.

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Starting the final equipment collection

Today, with only a few things left to buy, I started the final equipment collection for my cycling tour. I occupied the living room to lay it all down on the floor; first to visualize what’s there and what’s missing, and second to make assembling the rack bags easier. It’s just nice to be able to collect all items from a single point. Oh yeah, and I had a little giphy fun in the process.

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Vacation by bike 2017: Preparations

This year I wanted to do something different, and I had this idea stuck in my mind for quite a long time: In 2012 I made an attempt on a two-week vacation by bike. It flopped though, since my bike broke down.

By now it has been replaced and I want to try it again. In a few days I am going to leave for another tour; the route is called Mönchsweg! That’s more religious touch than I wished for and I would have liked to avoid that. But the route is nice, and distance and direction are perfect. There’s also an option to add a second stance to the tour. I feel like I learned a lot from the failed attempt from 2012 and I am inspired by the overly successful tour of Patrick (German site). I won’t be able to keep up with a ride across Sweden but the route I chose is of considerable distance anyway: from Bremen to the Fehmarnbelt at the Baltic Sea I will travel around 557 kilometres.

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Change is a matter of priorities

“I cannot change myself. I am an old man! I know that I have my ways and shortcomings. But I have accepted the fact, and it is not possible to become someone I am not. That would be self-sabotage. You just come to terms with who you are, and embrace it.”

The above quote is something someone close to me said recently when he was confronted with some harsh but well founded criticism [modern_footnote]It really was, and didn’t come from me. It was something spoken in the group of close people in which we held the talk.[/modern_footnote]. Quite frankly I was appalled by this statement and immediately rejected that line of thought. For me it is fundamentally untrue; something that I always knew to be false subconsciously but never could grasp as clearly as I can now. And as with so many things it boils down to priorities. Continue reading “Change is a matter of priorities”

Figuring out the WhatApp database format

I’m currently fiddling with the WhatsApp ChatStorage.sqlite database that I extracted from a recent local iOS backup. I want to parse the contents into properly marked-up HTML files, and store them outside of the iOS backup. To become more independent from the iOS backup and WhatsApp itself

I already got pretty far (massively improving my SQL skills in the process), but of course I want to add as much context to the messages as possible. WhatsApp saves the metadata for media items (namely links, replies, image thumbnails) for messages in the ZWAMEDIAITEM.ZMETADATA column of the database. On iOS this column contains blobs of binary property lists, that can be inspected on MacOS using the plutil tool. Still there is some figuring-out for me to do, and I’d like your help for that.

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