Author Archives: Dirk Riehle

From a Student Business Plan

In PROD, my course on software product management, students can choose to develop a business plan for a software product. Not all of my students seem to take this as serious as I wished. Here is the opening sentence of the exec summary from one of the teams:

With a total loss of 388,987.50 Euros in the period of 2017 to 2019, we will increase profit by 2,123,121 Euros and the customer base by 1392% […] Break even will be reached by mid 2018.

Reminds me off the bubble days: “We will make 80 cents for one dollar spent and will be profitable in no time!”

Entrepreneurship Panel at IT-Gipfel Göttingen #itgipfelgoe

A few days ago, I participated in a panel on entrepreneurship in the beautiful but small city of Göttingen, Germany. While a university town, it isn’t exactly the Silicon Valley either, much like my current home town of Erlangen.

Thus, on the panel, I ran into the usual German morals on what makes a good entrepreneur, respectively, how to treat one:

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Why on Earth?! Why Product Vendors Invest in Open Source Software (Upcoming Talk, in German)

I give industry talks about every other week and stopped advertising them long ago. This one, however, may be of broad interest. I will talk about the economics of strategically creating and leading open source projects at the June 20th, 2017, Open Source Forum of Bitkom in Berlin. Title and abstract below, event details to follow. Subscribe to this blog to stay on top of things!

Title: Was soll das eigentlich? Warum Produkthersteller in Open-Source-Software investieren

Abstract: Intel, Oracle, Fujitsu und andere nehmen Millionen US-Dollar in die Hand, um Linux und verwandte Software zu finanzieren und wir alle nutzen die Software kostenlos. IBM nahm Millionen US-Dollar in die Hand, um die Eclipse Foundation zu starten, nur um ihre späteren Produkte auf eine andere technische Basis zu stelllen. Weitere Unternehmen würden gern signifikant Geld ausgeben, von dem wir alle profitieren, man lässt sie nur nicht, weil sie zu spät an den Tisch kamen. Warum nur? Dieser Vortrag schildert die ökonomischen Grundlagen und strategischen Ziele, welche Unternehmen haben, wenn sie Open-Source-Software nicht nur nutzen, sondern strategisch etablieren und führen wollen. Continue reading

Impressions from Installing and Configuring Devolo Home Automation Control Center

As a first step, I had installed remote controlled (Z-Wave) thermostats for my radiators. In addition, I installed Devolo’s Control Center and registered on its website for access to the control center. I had thought, from a prior email exchange with Devolo’s support, that it would not be necessary to use their web service. However, I was not able to identify (or find documentation) about a web server or some other management UI on the control center, so I decided to go through their website. I resent this, as I didn’t necessarily want them to have data on my home configuration, but it was the fastest way to a working set-up.

The first step was still a hardware installation step. I needed to plug-in the control center box and connect it to the Internet. My current solution below utilizes a Fritz! product, Ethernet over power-line. The Devolo Control Center comes with its own built-in Ethernet over power-line support and is supposed to be plug compatible with the Fritz solution, alas, this did not work out of the box. It is the one remaining problem to solve for me, later.

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Unwrapping and Experiences with Installing Devolo Home Automation Thermostats

As my first (rather small) home automation project I decided to install remote controlled radiator thermostats. (This is also known as a central thermostat and comes with most modern apartments, but then my new Berlin apartment is rather old and charming. It has no central thermostat, making me run around the apartment every morning to manually adjust the seven radiators.)

I chose Devolo’s “Home Control” thermostats and control center. This is an affordable entry-level product into the space of home automation, though the total of seven thermostats and one (proprietary) control center set me back about EUR 600.

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