Useful post (in Dutch) by Max Roeleveld on his home automation using a RaspberryPi with Home Assistant. On how to do these things without silo’d hard- and software. To motivate others to take more online and offline things into their own control, not beholden to some service provider that then basically controls your off-switch, and harvests your behavioural data in the process.

In our household we are very much addicted to our Philips Hue lamps all over the house. We run those without external access or connections (we don’t use it to switch on/off lights when we’re not at home), but still it’s a silo of course. It could integrate with Home Assistant I see. There’s other unused stuff (Ikea’s Trådfri lamps a.o.) around the house too.

Bookmarked for the ‘someday’ project list.

Bookmarked Home Assistant, en wat ik er momenteel mee doe by @Max

Home Assistent met RaspberryPi, Zigbee en lampjes in de woon- en slaapkamer. Een kijkje in de… nou ja, niet in de keuken.

Really interesting step for IRMA: they’re now offering BigBlueButton enabled videoconferencing for meetings where participants have their identities verified.

IRMA is a Dutch mobile app that allows you to share specific aspects of your identity with different parties, relevant to a specific context. For instance if you have to proof you’re over 18 to order an alcoholic beverage, showing your ID is the current norm. But that discloses much more than just your age, as it shows your ID number, full name, date and place of birth etc. IRMA is an app that you can preload with verified identifying aspects, such as your date of birth as registered with the local government’s citizens database, which you can then disclose partially where needed. When ordering a drink, you can show the bartender that you’re ‘over 18’ as verified by your municipality, without having to show your actual date of birth or your full name.

In our pandemic age video conferencing has grown enormously, including for conversations where identity is important. E.g. conversations between patients and doctors, or job interviews, conversations with your bank, exams etc. IRMA-Meet now offers BigBlueButton videocalls from their site, where all participants have been verified on the relevant identity aspects for the call.

Looking forward to hearing user experiences.

Conspiracy theorists, or those with fringe opinions all are ‘snowflakes’ at heart, judging by the consistent accusations of being censored they make. You are not being censored, you merely don’t have your expectations met. The expectation that platforms won’t care what you publish, as they will care if it hurts their bottom line in some form. The expectation that your opinions will be amplified in the outrage machine. You are not being censored. You may be denied the use of someone else’s channel and infrastructure, you may be told you’re not welcome on someone else’s turf. You can still say whatever you want, and put it online on your own dime. You can’t demand anyone else paying attention though, or have attention automagically arranged for you in the walled garden of your choosing.

It reminds me of a group of protesters in my hometown some years ago. For about two weeks they were on the front page of the local paper almost daily, with photos and all. Towards the end one of them tweeted “we’re not being heard”, and I answered “you’re heard plenty, it just doesn’t automatically mean people agree and do as you wish”. I’m probably still blocked. Which ironically is how they confirmed my point precisely. They heard me, but didn’t agree, so I got ‘censored’.

Lack of amplification and attenuation are not censorship.

A public sector client announced last week that working from home will be their default until September 1st for certain, and maybe until January 1st. I can imagine why, there is no real way to house their 1600 staff under distancing guidelines, and the staff restaurant (that usually caters to some 1200 people in 90 minutes each day) has no real way of accomodating people for lunch in meaningful numbers. Three similar organisations in a different part of the country announced they would keep working from home until January.

I wonder how this may shift modes of working over time, now that centralised working is replaced by distributed working. When will public sector organisations realise they now have eyes and ears on the ground everywhere in their area, and put that to good use? In our experience not ‘going outside’ for real stories and feedback from directly involved people often reduces the quality of choices and decisions made, as observations get replaced by assumptions. This is true for any type of larger organisation I think, but now we all of a sudden have turned them into a distributed network.

If you’re in a larger organisation working from home, do you have a notion of where all your people are, and is that geographical spread a potential instrument in your work?

Last week I joined an IndieWeb conversation on blogs and wikis. I ended up with three take-aways. One of them was a tip by another participant to keep a day log as a means to add more to the wiki, do more wiki gardening. Writing a list of things you do during the day as you go along, you can then use as a starting point for wiki pages to create or blogposts to write.

This past week on my personal WordPress instance run locally on my laptop I started doing that, and have done every day the past 7 days. During the day I would add bullet points of things I did, thought or that stood out to me in some way.

Immediately I noticed how the act of writing these things down made it easier for me to write a bit more extensively and put it online or in the wiki. Things that normally after a few hours would fall of my radar now got logged and prompted a posting later on. An experiment that worked well for me this past week, and I’ll try to keep doing it.

When I start in the morning, I open up a new post and create a bullet list. At the end of the day it will look something like below. You can see where I linked to something that I wrote in the blog or wiki as a result of listing it in the Day Log.

Day logs

My ‘blogposts on this day in ….’ widget tells me it is 11 years ago today that Reboot 11 was announced for the end of June. As it turned out it was the final edition, with the theme ‘Action’. I’m still very happy I was able to support that conference financially as a sponsor. (Even in the hindsight of the year after, when we could have used the money ourselves very well, as business fell flat for a while.) It was within my scope of action then, and I still think back fondly to those conferences, and take inspiration from them regularly, even after more than a decade since that final edition. What also stands out is how utterly ludicrous it now seems to announce something for the end of June, viewed through pandemic tainted lenses. 😀