AWS Summit 2016 in Berlin

This year I headed to my first AWS Summit which conveniently located at the event location Station in Berlin.

I started quite early on the morning of April 12th, 2016 at around 8:30.
The waiting queue from the train station to the event location looked a bit frightening but the progress was quite quick. After my personal badge with Name and QR code was printend I entered the venue where many companies had their booths, areas for free food and drinks and of course multiple session areas waited for speakers and listeners.

But first there was the keynote, presented by Werner Vogels himself, CTO and VP of Amazon. Feel free to check out his blog: All Things Distributed.
Important parts were the reasons why a company has to move on with digitalization, the rise of simplification, achievements, new products like lambda and focus on the increasing abilities of the German location in Frankfurt:

  • AWS Device farm: mobile device testing
  • AWS Snowball: 50GB storage package to send via postal service for large data injection to the cloud
  • Book suggestions by Mr. Vogels: The lean Enterprise, Building Microservices, The Phoenix Project

There were also some Guest speaker presentations. The first one was not good compared to the energetic presentation by Vogels. Following were a new spinn-off by ProSiebenSat1, quite nicely presented and AirBerlin which showed the possibility of cost savings in a very competetive market. At last a cool presentation by Berlin startup Dubsmah which already grew around the world.

Some good sessions, some talks with nice startups and companies, for example:

  • number26: speed up banking process without waiting for an appointment
  • RedHat CloudForms: monitoring VMs and Cloud instances together
  • Stylight: move to AWS infrastructure finished
  • Startup presentations: kinetize, staticgen

And of course the very nice after party is to mention, with a performance by Izzy Bizu.
Full program: Navigating the Cloud

Netgear GS716T v3: update Firmware

After trying to see the Device View which is a Java applet I just got a message by my browser that it is blocked. Checked the firmware version and the installed one is older than available on the netgear homepage.

Easy steps to update
I downloaded

Upload (save current image)
I saved the current version (named image1) by navigating to Maintenance > Upload > HTTP File Upload, then File Type = archive and Image Name = image1. After clicking APPLY, you can download the current image of the switch.

Download (write new image)
After that I went to Maintenance > Download > HTTP File Download and put the new .stk filewhich is part of the firmware .zip to the switch.

Activating Image
Now to Maintenance > File Management > Dual Image Configuration to activate image2. I also named it according to the firmware version and clicked APPLY. I double-checked via the menu item Dual Image Status:

Screen Shot 2016-03-31 at 22.14.39

Reboot switch
After that I did Maintenance > Reset > Device Reboot. Once the switch was back again after about 2 minutes I checked the used firmware version and it showed the new one. Then I navigated to Device View and – it now works with Java 8. Mission accomplished.

Jinbei Digital Pioneer III 300

Just recieved a new Jinbei Digital Pioneer III 300 to accompany the one I got a couple of years ago in Singapore. Interestingly they look quite a bit different despite the same name. Especially added 2.4GHz Receiver and faster recharge times after flashing are quite nice. Also the buttons look different, now there is a Flash Energy Output Control Knob instead of mere +/- buttons.
Now I have to check if the lights are still comparable (same light temperature, same flash power levels).

Pictures of the unboxing:



Comparison between old and new DPIII 300:

Side view of old one:

Back panel of old one:

Side view of new one:

Back panel of new one:

Managed Switch: Netgear GS716T v3

To bump up the connection and also avoid sloppy Wifi rates around my flat I went a bit further than just buying a cheap switch and got a 16 port managed switch, the Netgear GS716T-300EUS Smart Managed Switch.
Downside of the cheap Netgear device is that the management software is only available for Microsoft Windows, not for Linux or MacOSX. However, web configuration is possible and everything important should be available via the web interface.

Next I Installed Nagios which was not that easy as the primary hints on how to do it via homebrew were wrong/bad. I found an older instruction which helped me to get there. The switch was now able to tell me via SNMP that the intended ports were up and how long it was turned on so far.

Pictures of opening the box:



BeNeLux in February

February 5th to Valentines Day (14th of February) I went across BeNeLux to meet up with a friend flying in from Singapore.
I found out that Denham the Jeanmaker did quite some expansions since I saw it in a tiny shop near the spot I stayed in Amsterdam for work some years ago.
We met in Amsterdam, checked out Paradiso club, took a boat trip through the Grachten, visited the Rijksmuseum. By train we went to Bruges and stayed at a very nice little place I was a couple of years ago named a room with a view right in the medival part.
Despite the rainy spring weather we checked out the top of the Belfried while the bells rang (when you’re nearby its crazily loud).
Quite interesting was the beer museum, also did quite some beer tasting/drinking in Bruges.
This topic went on when we moved by train to Brussels where we took a beer experience tour with the Sandeman guys of the free walking tours. Also checked out the European Parliament, the Atomium which I quite enjoyed as inside is an interesting architecture exhibition.
As you can guess already – by train we went to the last stop Luxembourg which showed no mercy and provided us with constant rainy weather. From there I went straight back to Munich – but by plane.

Maker Faire Munich

On 16th and 17th January 2016 the Maker Faire took place in Zenithhalle/Munich. Workshops, stalls, events, presentations and a robot soccer area offered a view into the maker scene. It was not only about electronics but also covering clothing, food and even woodworks.

I enjoyed quite a bit of it on both days and at the end brought back a self soldered (and working) Hacklace which is offered as parts kit by Mr. Andre was so nice to show me how the soldering is done right.

Besides that I attended several quite interesting talks like The Future of the Maker by Bruce Sterling including him pointing out listen to the women and some good questions by the audience.

Another very interesting perspective by Prof. Dr.-Ing. Silke Langenberg: REPARATUR – Anstiftung zum Denken und Machen. She opens the view to the architects perspective on how repairment would aid in a more efficient world and that a single house requires quantities more energy than most DIY items the maker scene is focusing on.


new speakers: nuLine 34

On the way back from my native place in Rheingau I went via Schwäbisch Gmünd to visit Nubert, a company focused on audio speakers. While my initial research was focused on the nuLine 24 or nuBox 483, the excellent and attentive staff helped me to find a pair of speakers to use with the old Braun Regie 520 I brought over to Munich. After quite some thorough hearing tests with different kinds of music in two of their sound test studios (first the small ones, later the large ones). I finally decided to go for a pair of the nuLine 34 which provide me with great sound and are still able to be powered by the old receiver without issues and the difference to the nuLine 24 was quite impressive.
At the end they even gave me free adapters for the audio cable to connect to the old Din sockets in my receiver.

Jeep in front right after picking up the new speakers:

Check the nuLine 34 at Amazon:
Nubert nuLine 34 – Regallautsprecher (Stück)

Balkan 2015, Part VI

The last part of the Balkan trip 2015 started in Tirana, from where I went via the Albanian Speedway back to Montenegro for beach vacation.

However, the first spot was crowded, noisy and not well maintained. Just camped there for a night and went on – what a good choice as the second camp ground was such a difference. Tiny spot on a small beach but excellent maintenance, nice people all around. Here I stayed some days to enjoy the summer sun at the beach.

Met Vasel from the visit to Theth valley in his hometown near Podgorica, capital of Montenegro. He was quite surprised to see me so soon again 🙂 We had nice lunch and went for the church near his native place.

I went to the sea to drive northwards to Dubrovnik, the posh city where parts of Game of Thrones were filmed. Despite the hefty price tag on everything there it is a really nice example of a middle age city. Sadly got ill so was not able to enjoy everything, would have tried the boat trip to Lokrum.

Finally the long drive back from Dubrovnik to Munich with a short overnight stay in Ljubljana.

Balkan 2015, Part V

Back in Montenegro, Safari Camping near Ulcinj. So different to Albania. Everybody accepts cerdit cards, everything is in € and most options in restaurant are with meat. The camping spot is loud due to tons of families, also the sandy beach right in front is crowded with folks. I wonder what people didn’t bring for camping here – looks like everything from home was transferred to only have a different view. Also the facilities are worn down, broken and dirty. Was so clean at Lake Shkodra Resort.

Thinking about the last days in Tirana. I had a delicious dinner at A La Sarte, a small hidden restaurant in Bloku district. Bloku was for communist party members only and basically a forbidden city where also the dictator Hoxha himself lived. Again – in that country are still many and good veg options, let’s see for how long when one looks to the neighbourung countries.

The Free Walking Tour I attended yesterday was one of the best so far. Before it started I sat on a bank with a nice elderly looking local man who only spoke local language. We managed to understand each other quite well and he told me that he learned no foreign language due to communism regime. I felt quite touched by this talk – if everybody would just try a bit more, couldn’t we all live in peace together and understand others even if we don’t speak the same language?

After that, the big walking tour group gathered and we dived into the Albanian history. Very interesting were also the personal experiences of our guide of the times of dictatorship. For instance he apologized for people driving not that good because 20 years ago there were no private cars at all.

The day before the tour I visited the Museum of National History which spans the story of stone age, Illyrians, independence movements to uprising over communism. The classical kind of display was interesting for me, despite the hot rooms without proper AC.

Balkan 2015, Part IV

Berat, city of 1000 windows. After Sarajevo and Mostar I went via Montenegro to lake Shkodra for some days of camping. 

Lake Shkodra Resort has a nice staff and facilities are very clean.

During my stay I went for a trip to the remote and famous Theth valley in Albanian alps. Took northern route to valley, which was first asphalt with some holes, then  a new and perfect small road up to mountain pass. There the old rugged trail started. However, by driving slowly it was bo issue for the Jeep. Some locals even drove there in normal cars (Mercedes). After artiving in Thethi I felt like asking 20 people, passing some sheep herds and a moaning funeral procession near the church to finally arrive at my guesthouse. Met a very nice Albanian family from USA/Montenegro, did a hike and eating together while learning lots of interesting bits about local history. 

The next day I went back to Camping area via the southern route which was longer and more demanding but by far less crowded – it’s usually only used in winter times when northern route is closed due to snow. 

After 4 hours of bumpiness I was happy to reach paved road again and went back via Shkodër to the camping spot only to face the worst weather so far in the evening. Thunderstorm and very heavy rains throughout the night. In the morning my tent was dirty but dry inside – others hadn’t have that luck and were soaked by the rain, motorbikes fell over during the night as soil went into muddy soup.

Lucky me just cleaned up the tent, said goodby to my tent neighbours who watched over my spot while I was in Thethi and the nice staff. Then went on to Berat – the city of 1000 windows.

Had a great parking spot right in front of the old town with the famous buildings.

After checking out the fortress area and the beautiful views yesterday evening I’m now heading for Tirana, capital of Albania.