Archive for the ‘English Posts’ Category

Build your own bike tracker with TTN

24. Juni 2018

How it works, in a simple overview.

Keeping track of a moving and easily stolen object, like a bikecylcle can be an challenge. Of course you can try to remember where you parked your bike and then go back to the place. But what if it is stolen? It would be helpful to attach a little device to your bike that sends its position to a webservice and then on to your mobile phone.

Currently most systemsmost systems either log the data on file or use a GSM sim card and data tarif to send the location information to a server. Usually such a sim card has a monthly bill.

But what if we use the Long Range Wireless Network provided in Freiburg by The Things Network Freiburg Community. The network already covers large parts of town and is expanding. And how can we use this application without programming. I can’t programm and so writing code and maybe a server application is out of the question for me.


See it on your telegramm channel!

But there are several good webservices that can helpd: IFTTT with a telegram channel integration.

What do we need?

  • Zane Systems: ztube, which was supplied kindly by Zoltan
  • zTracker Configuration Tool
  • a TTN Account, Application and acess to the console
  • decoder function
  • webhook
  • an IFTT Applet that pushes the data to a telegramm channel
  • telegramm account

For hardware we used the zTube from Zane Systems, its currently about 70 € but I had bought a previous version of the tracker before and so he send me a zTube and zTrack Midi by Express TNT, which we got on Friday at the same day the hackaton started.

How to set up

When I got the zTube I went to the TTN Console and put in the data. Meaning I set up a new application, klicked on „add device“. You can add the DEVICE EUI which is printed on the label of the zTube and set it up from there. As a configuration I set it to „ABP“ not OTA and disabled Frame Counter Checks. The rest of the configuration I left as it was. I’m not even sure if I had to disable frame counters.

You can configure both with the zTrack Configuration Tool. As a configuration we entered the following data:

image (1)image (2)Then in the console you have to enter a decoder function. As a base we used function developed by TTN Berlin and provided here: Or you use what we did (download and copy paste to your application).


Sometimes the zTube does not find a gps fix, then this data is empty. If it does it looks like this in the function:

Untitled 2

I’m not yet sure what is the optimal configuration for the zTube, as I don’t want to overuse the bandwith but also get good tracking results.

Now for the IFTT integration: Install IFTT on the phone. It seems to be much easier to do all the stuff on the phone and not on the website. Get an acoount and so on. Then go to the browser and google „IFTT webhooks“, then open the webhooks page in the iftt app. press on the „Documentation“: is show your key. Copy the key into notes.


Click on documentation.

IMG_1815 copy

You will then be lead to a website again with your key. Copy the key to notes or send it to you by email. You will need it to enter later.


My Life with the Atmotube

20. Oktober 2017

Today my Atmotube arrived, or rather I had to go to my post office and pay 14,08 € customs duty to get it. The waiting time was not that pleasant as I had to wait since 20th of September 2017 when I ordered the device. Apparently the system, couldn’t work with my last name „Müller“ and made it into somethin strange. Umlaute? Have you heard about them?

While opening the package I cut my finger. Then I had to open another cardbord box and then finally a round tube like box in which was another round box, a usb-c cable and little snap hook.

The actual atmotube is made from metal and feels quite heavy for such a small device. It comes with a very tiny manuel (7cm high). Before using it I had to charge it and download the app to my iPhone. (more…)

Making sense of Trump

18. Februar 2017

The past weeks I have been reading a lot about Trump and the US. Many Americans are concerned.

While there have been various funny things said and while Trump gives us heaps of stuff to make fun about him, his work and his various actions, there are some serious concerns. I have selected some articles here, that will sheed very diffrent lights on the phenomena. Some of the views are totall opposed to each other. So please read yourself and try to make up your own mind.

So here is my Reading List:

In the Atlantic Magazinbe David Frum (March 2017 Issue) argues that Trump will not built an authoritarian state. He will just be someone who wants to make a lot of money and thus open a East European style kleptocracy:  „Donald Trump will not set out to build an authoritarian state. His immediate priority seems likely to be to use the presidency to enrich himself. But as he does so, he will need to protect himself from legal risk. Being Trump, he will also inevitably wish to inflict payback on his critics. Construction of an apparatus of impunity and revenge will begin haphazardly and opportunistically. But it will accelerate. It will have to.“ How to built an Autcracy
The Article is really worth reading.

In The Monthly, an Australian Magazine, Robert Manne collects all the konwn connections of Donald Trump to Russia and it’s intelligence services. The article is a rather cool and well written, it provides a comprehensive overview of all allegations in the press about the russian involvement of Trump and his allies so far. From Michal Flynn, WikiLeaks, Steele dossier, 19% share in Rosneft, Paul Manafort, Carter Page and the Republican activist Roger Stone,…: „The Muscovian Candidate? Donald Trump and Russia“

There is an intresting discussion on how planned and competent the Trump administration actually is. Are things like the Muslim Ban the opening shots in a coup d’etat?   Yonatan Zunger claims so in a widely shared piece on medium. He is a google privacy egineer.

Reading the same tea leafs, political scientist Tom Pepinsky, which I met once in Freiburg, comes to a totally diffrent conclusion: „I am equally taken by the argument that everything that Zunger identifies is evidence not of a deliberate planning by an aspiring authoritarian, but of the exact opposite: the weakness and incoherence of administration by a narcissist.“ Trump is simly weak ruler. See also this Post of his blog on the use of Media by narcissts and authoritarians.

Comminb ack to Yonatan Zunger: He explains in another bleak post on medium, what are the three scenarios for the Trump presidency and none of them look good. The Washington Post has an entire section on his „cult of the paranoid medium post“ and why we shoudl never retweet.

Why was the Immigration Ban so badly executed? Malevolence and incompetence or malevolence or incompetence? Was it simply security theatre for the base? Asks in the Washington Post.

An intresting pick on the developments in the US is provided by they do not lonly count votes or polls but also give backgroudn news.


Particulates or particulate matter in the Air in Freiburg

27. Januar 2017

This is an english summary of my page about my little air quality sensor.

The story behind it is explained very simply: One day I decided to visit the people of in Stuttgart and have a look at their project. They have cleverly designes a particular matter sensor for both PM10 and PM2.5 that costs less then 30 Euros.

Because of their small size, particles on the order of 10 micrometers or less (PM10) can penetrate the deepest part of the lungs such as the bronchioles or alveoli. Similarly, so called fine PM, (often referred to as PM2.5), tend to penetrate into the gas exchange regions of the lung (alveolus), and very small particles (< 100 nanometers) may pass through the lungs to affect other organs. So these particles are not something you should take lightly. And these particulates are a good indicator for other Air polutants such as NOx. Both are caused by burning stuff, either to heat your house or when you drive around in a car.

The effects of inhaling particulate matter that have been widely studied in humans and animals include asthma, lung cancer, cardiovascular disease, respiratory diseases, premature delivery, birth defects, and premature death.


In Europe PM10 particulates should not exceed 50 µg/m3 on a Daily average for more then 35 days. The worst air in Germany is often found in Stuttgart, but Freiburg beeing in a valley also has problems. Thats why I decided to put upt he first sensor from this citizen science network.

The graphics you see are taken from my sensor outside on my balcony. The grey thing next to my little polar pear houses the sensor. You can build these fairly easy yourself.

These graphics should be refreshed every 15 min. This one shows the measurement over one week. Note 50 µg/m3  are the limit:

To see if the 50 µg/m3 for PM10 has been broken, see this chart:


ReDesign of Society 2040

25. Mai 2016

On Monday we opend our exhitbiton on ReDesign of Society 2040. Which Utopia do we want? How can we reclaim the future?

There are two exhibits in which I participated: The republic of knowledge and Finnland as a Utopia. I will post later information to the republic of knowledge our proposal to a new more democratic form of schooling. Which I designed with two other students from Aalto university: Soujanyaa Boruah, Jami Sarnikorpi.

I had the following idea: Often people travel to Finland and report from it. And these reports are often used as a projecton space to highlight things you want for your own country. Very explicit was this in the reports in Germany about the Finish Education System:


Finnland the education utopia?


In 2000 the results of the PISA study on student achievements were published. Germany was rated dismal and Finnland best. The German media invented a new term „Pisaschock“. (literally schocked by Pisa results) German  scientists, politicians, teachers, students and journalists flew to Finland and tried to find out why it was so good. Everyone who traveled found design decisiosn that suited his ideology or preconceptions:
Some concluded it was the one school for all, others that it was the good social status of the teachers, others progressive or conservative teaching methods, the lutheran tradition of literacy, free school food or even the cold weather where children stay at home and read instead of playing outside. Less utopian aspects were never highlichted.
Indeed after some years of study most scientists concluded it was a range of factors and they could not easily point it down.
But indeed everyone could project onto Finland what he oer she liked…

So why does Finland function so well as an utopia?

And with some thinking you may find other examples of this in present day media.
Finnland ist distant and close at the same time. Distant in the sense that you have to fly for more then two hours from Frankfurt or take a boat for about 20 hours to travel from Germany to it.
It’s language is very distant from German, although it has numerous German loan-words (teigi – Teig, Kaffeepaussi – Kaffepause,  kivääri – Gewehr, …).


It is a country where very few Germans go on holiday unlike Sweden, Italy or Spain and it is fairly small. For most of its history it was also not important as a trading partner or source of raw materials for Germany.
And it is a rather dull and peaceful place with no conflict or burning political issue to report on. If German media have a correspondent the person is in Stockholm and covers all of Scandinavia and maybe even the Baltics.
All this makes it easy for the occasional traveling reporter, scientist or political entrepneur to pass through and pass  back information about the wonders of this great society and country. Some examples you find here.
And indeed there are many wonderous things to report, but often they are simplified and have not one particular source: the baby box is not the sole reason for low child mortality, the well repsrected teacher not the sole source for good PISA results and so on…

The most controversial of the four sides on the Finland as an utopia pillar is the „Nazi Utopia“ side. I do not claim that Finland ever was a Nazi utopia. But I claim that at some point in the past it was marketed to Germans as such.


The exhibtion is open until 5th of June and it its in the ground floor of Kluvi Shoping centre: