On the Danger of Using Email Addresses as Identifying Information (Humor)

On a lighter note, someone with a similar name to mine just used one of my email addresses to register for the Lexus Remote app. Judging by the email I got, using this email address that I own, I can register for the app and presumably do something about the car behind it. Does Lexus already offer a “summon” feature? Seems like the car is based in the U.S. so it would be good if it was amphibious.

The Footbridge From Ghost in the Shell

These photos are of the iconic (and rather ugly) circular footbridge in Causeway Bay, Hong Kong. This location (and many others in Hong Kong) were the set for scenes from the Hollywood movie Ghost in the Shell, an adaptation of the classic Ghost in the Shell anime franchise. The footbridge was the backdrop for a major battle between the heroine of the movie and a tank.







Many of the shots in the life-action movie were made in Hong Kong, presumably because Hong Kong is closer to the Tokyo of anime fiction than, well, Tokyo itself.

When @GLS_Ireland Lost my Parcel

When? Well: Right after picking it up. The only funny thing is that it took GLS two months to pick it up in the first place.

In a nutshell, I ordered pick-up of a parcel at a warehouse in Ireland and shipment to Germany. However, GLS was unable to pick-up the parcel. I got various inexplicable explanations always followed by a “next time it will work”. They finally succeeded, two months after I had put in and paid the order.

Only to tell me that they lost the parcel right away.

I’m now in the second phase of being ridiculed, where I ask them to find my parcel. When asking, I get the promise they’ll go find it right away, only to never hear from them again. I provided instructions on how the parcel looks like, but the search parties always seem to go missing in action themselves.

I am at a loss of words for this incompetence. Sadly, I also don’t know how to finally get my parcel. I’d appreciate hearing any ideas about what to do about it!

Tech Troubles of @Seagate Backup Plus Slim

About two years back, I bought a Seagate Backup Plus Slim 2 TB external 2.5 inch harddrive. I love it! So much so, that I tried buying a second one a couple of months ago. From the get go, that second copy behaved weirdly, The disk was slow and seemed to operate in intermittent sprints only. I finally got out a benchmarking tool and the the tests bore out that something was wrong, when compared with my original (older) copy. The original one is displayed to the left, the new one to the right.

Continue reading “Tech Troubles of @Seagate Backup Plus Slim”

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.

Continue reading “Impressions from Installing and Configuring Devolo Home Automation Control Center”

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.

Continue reading “Unwrapping and Experiences With Installing Devolo Home Automation Thermostats”

Re: Your unsolicited email / our joint problem

To: ana.tackett@orcapr.com, eastonjohnston@iodimpact.com, digitalpragency@gmail.com, RobertP@informationhub.biz, gina@bloc.io, pms990@gmail.com, jillr@blackswansmedia.com, davidf@lfpr.com, khurst@harriswilliams.com, nancyt@vorticom.com, james@planet-dm.com, …

Dear PR professional:

With respect to our joint problem, Stanford researchers have found a solution!

Please see here for the answer: http://www.scs.stanford.edu/~dm/home/papers/remove.pdf

With kind regards,

Dirk Riehle

PS: If the research paper above doesn’t load, please see this copy: https://dirkriehle.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/remove.pdf

The Humor That is Alexa 2 / 2

So the Echo Dot seems like a good addition to a larger apartment or house. In addition, Amazon promises you can order it through your existing Alexa device. So I tried:

Me: “Alexa, order an Echo Dot.”

Echo: “I can only order product for Prime members. So I added Echo Dot to your shopping list. Please get a membership.”

Me: “Alexa, f#$%^@ you.”

Echo: “That’s not very nice to say.”

Me: “OK, how about that: Alexa, scr#$%# you.”

Echo: “Well, thanks for the feedback.”

I may be in the subscription business myself, but I generally try to avoid to be on the receiving end…

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The Humor That is Alexa 1 / 2

I was watching an old TV show rerun with a character in it called Alexa. My Amazon Echo (trigger word is Alexa) was also listening:

TV set: “Alexa, stop doing that!”

Echo: “Sorry, I don’t understand what you are saying.”

TV set (raised voice): “Alexa, don’t talk to me like that!”

Echo: “Sorry, I still don’t understand what you are saying.”

Despite a few more “Alexa, …” it fell quiet.

I’m amused. Ever since I have wondered what a mischievous screen writer could do given that the Echo can control a garden variety of devices in your house. Or order stuff. How about:

Mischievous character in TV show: “Alexa, open the blinds. Alexa, switch on the lights” (probably most effective a 1am or 5am)

Domino avatar on TV show: “Alexa, order 17 frutti di mare pizzas”

The possibilities seem endless.