Virtual Server made easy

I was shown by a colleague of mine a nice tool I wanted to share. Ever wanted to have your own cheap Linux server on the net? So did I and the prices were not so, let’s simply say, attractive! Either you get a real Virtual Server and these come starting for at least 10€ / month, but you can find prices for about 5€ / month where you get a scalable server.

The service I tried out is called DigitalOcean and it appears to be one of the most simple services in this sector. You can, in less than a Minute, create a new server, scale them up and much much more. And the best of it, you pay as you use it. Not using any space or CPU etc, means you’re not paying anything.

It’s easier than running your own Raspberry at home and not having a fix IP etc. For the fix IP you’re already paying much more, and many tools need an own IP so if you’re interested in this, you might have a look at it.

That’s the way the cookie crumbles…

Time-Lapse Project – Part 1 – The Parts

So i had the idea to create a timelapse movie and had been looking for some time to get a “Very long term” timelapse device. You can find quiet a few cameras on the market which do give you the possibility to create such series of pictures, but they all come down to the same issue: the problem of power! Most of these devices have internal batteries which need to be charged over (Micro) USB cables which in outdoor situations becomes difficult to keep it dry. Special casings might help but it always becomes a risk factor, because those devices are not ment to function like that.

The only option i found were cameras from a brand called Brinno. I had seen one before at a friend´s but what irritated me most was the fact, that these devices could not do Full HD. Their maximum Resolution was 1280×720, which is nice but the cheaper ones even only do 720p. And honestly they do not come in cheap… But i have to say, they are solid, the picture quality is okay and they do run over weeks and even month without changing batteries. So for a project without energy they are in my eyes definitely the best option!

And so i ended up in a plan constructing a Raspi-Camera with an Outdoor Water Proof Case. Finding such a thing is almost impossible! You could take an old CCTV Outdoor Case, but honestly they are simply huge! Something small and discrete looks different… So i ended up with a Kickstarter Project called PiCE which was realized in 2013. Luckily i was able to buy a “used” case on ebay. But i have to admit that i had the chance to get a case which was never really used. Only a few scratches but that´s it, it had never even been assembled.

So after having my case, i had to start planning the rest. An old Raspi B was luckily on hand, because that was the device at that time the case was designed for. I bought a new Camera and started my assembly. For the software part i chose motionEye OS, which is a nice environment if it works, easy to use with a very user friendly interface. It can even stitch your time-lapse video together! So maybe no need for post production.

That´s the plan, follow up will come next month with some problems i ran into and where i am seeking for solutions =) But that´s how it is with the Pi. It´s always work in progress.

QI charger from the furniture shop

So I had been looking for a new QI charger for my Samsung phone and guess what!? I did not buy my new device at any IT or Phone shop but i bought it at a furniture shop! But why that?

When i had a look at various models on the standard online shop’s, I realised that most of these chargers were very small, as small that even the phone often had more than double of it’s size. So putting the phone onto one of these chargers always is tricky to find the right place.

And then i found out that IKEA has a few new devices which do give the possibility to charge via QI. So why don’t you take a look at them. They are not to cheap but i think they do look better than most other devices and you might even integrate it into existing furniture. Nice ideas! I like it and the devices works as it should! I even got a second USB port.

Ech wor op der Sich no engem neien QI Chargeur fir mäin Samsung Telefon an ech hunn dat Gerät net an iergend engem Spezialiséierten Geschäft kaaft, mä am Miwwelbuttek!

Wei ech mech ëmgekuckt hunn an deenen üblechen Online Geschäfter hunn ech festgestallt dass déi meeschten Chargeuren immens kleng sinn an dacks den Handy méi ewéi duebel esou grouss ass, esou dass et net ëmmer einfach ass fir déi richteg Positioun ze fannen dass en direkt luet.

An dunn hunn ech eraus fonnt, dass IKEA puer nei Geräter am Sortiment huet, déi eben d’Méiglechkeet ginn iwwert QI ze lueden. Se sinn zwar net ëmmer ganz bëlleg, mä ech fannen se gesinn gutt aus an et kann een se souguer an Miwwelen integréieren. Mir gefalen hier Saachen an d’Gerät funktionéiert wei et soll, souguer mat engem extra USB Port.

Luxembourg goes Prime-Video? Oder och net!

As I am client at the concurrency (Netflix not to name it), I still was happy to hear the news that Amazon Prime-Video became available in my country. Directly the next Saturday I created my Test-Account and hoped to watch that evening the first movie. But my joy had only lasted for a short instant… I immediately got an Geo-IP Blockage message…

So I read that, thought about it and logged into my Account to have a look at what the problem could be. There I was explained that I had no Prime-Video an that I should start the Test-Month. I did not really realise what had happened so I started (for the second time) the Test. But it was not as I imagined the Prime-Video but for the whole Amazon-Prime what I really didn’t want, so shortly after that my first mail to the support went out… It took me 3 mails until somebody finally nearly understood what I wanted and so my Prime month was cancelled. If I can ever try again a free month of Prime services is what I still do not know but honestly, it started to pull my leg as much that I do not care any more…

Back to my Video. My free Test-Week of Prime-Video (yes for the rest of the world not living in Germany, it is only one month) kept on running and after 4 mails after 5 days my problem was still not solved. After the Geo-IP- Blocking, I ran into Error 5505 where nobody again could help me.

I was given the advice to completely move my Amazon Account to the UK Store. But that is something I really do not want to do, due to the fact that my movies as well (which is even more important) all my shopping at Amazon would run over the UK shop!? WTF? To try it out, I simply followed the guidelines and came to the point to switch to foreign Amazon Shop’s but UK was not an Option. I could chose between French and the USA. French was not the language I wanted and American as primary shop? That’s a no go for EU citizen! Again I was of to write to the support. We had arrived onto mails No.6&7 an still no solution in sight…

Finally I have realised that my FireTVStick is sticking to the German Amazon Shop, and which is even more important, that you can not watch Prime-Video on that device. It can only be done over Tablet’s and Phones. It was the last reply from the support that explained everything to me.

What I have to say about the support of Amazon… Honestly: Thumbs up! They were always very friendly, always trying to help and even tried to call me. Respect on that!

So my final conclusion for the Product itself? Not really ready for the market in Luxembourg! If I have to take my tablet / phone to stream it over that device onto my TV that’s not really an Option. Their product can not even be used on their own player? Really? Maybe they should have put some more thoughts into the production bevore launching their platform for the main part of the countries. As Luxembourg is always special with Geo-IP and as Germany is still a licensing issue for Amazon I will stick for the moment to my regular VOD service even if they do not have as many new movies as Amazon does… Netflix here I come again!

Obwuel ech schonns Client bei der Konkurrenz sinn (Netflix fir se net beim Numm ze nennen) hunn ech wei ech d’Noriicht gelies hunn dass een bei Amazon Prime-Video kënnt Client ginn mech dorobber gefreet. Direkt Samschdes drop hunn ech een Test-Account op gemeet  an hunn mech kuerz drop op deen éischten Film gefreet. Mä meng Freet war vun kuerzer Dauer… Ech krut direkt mol een éischten Fehler vun wéinst Geo-IP- Blockage…
Gelies, iwwerluet an op ageloggt fir no ze kucken wou den Problem läng. Do krut ech kuerz drop mol erkläert dass ech guer keen Prime hätt an op ech den Test mount wielt ufänken. Obwuel ech et net richteg verstanen hunn, hunn ech mol den Gratis-Test Mount dann ugefaangen an der Virstellung et wier fir den Video eleng. Neen dat war fir den kompletten Amazon-Prime, wat ech net wollt an wou ech also dann kuerz drop mol schonns déi éischten Mail un den Support gemeet hunn… Nuje… Et huet 3 Mailen gedauert bis dass iergend een dann och nëmmen unnährend verstanen hat wat den Problem wier, an den Mount gouf dunn mol annuléiert. Op ech jeemools nach eemol den Gratis Test Mount kréien weess ech éierlech gesot net, mä ass mer och elo ze blöd et nach eemol ze erklären…
Zeréck bei den Video. Meng Gratis Test Woch vun Prime-Video (jo fir den Rescht vun der Mënschheet ausserhalb vun Däitschland schengt et net een Mount ze sinn) ass also gelaf an no 4 Mailen an knapps 5 Deeg huet nach ëmmer keen den Problem geleist gehat. Vun der Geo-IP Blockage sinn ech op Error 5505 gefall an och opgrond vun deem Fehlercode konnt keen mir helefen.
Ech krut dunn virgeschloen mäin kompletten Amazon Konto op eriwwer ze migréieren. Dat well ech ower net, well dann meng Akeef wei Filmer komplett iwwer UK géifen lafen. WTF?! Egal… Wollt et trotzdem probéieren op dat klappen geif, also der Mail vum Support mol gefollegt mä op den Punkt koum, wou ech guer net UK als mäin Kindle-Shop auswielen konnt. Wat den Kindle mat Prime an Video ze din huet, entzitt sech menger Kenntnis mä mäin Problem wor also nach ëmmer net behuewen. FR an USA waren déi eenzeg Méiglechkeeten wou ech ugewisen krut. Franseich well ech net wierklech an Amerikanesch als Haaptshop? Geet jo guer net… Also alt erëm eng Mail un den Support. Mir sinn bei Mail No.6&7 ukomm an nach ëmmer keng Léisung an Aussiicht.
Ech hunn schlussendlech realiséiert dass mäin FireTVStick op den Däitschen Marché gebonnen ass, an wat nach vill méi wichteg ass, dass de keng Prime-Video Offerten kanns op deem kucken. Des Offer kann just iwwert Tablett / Handy gekuckt ginn, wat mir an der läeschter Mail vum Support erkläert gouf.
Wat ech nach iwwert den Support vun Amazon soen kann… Ganz éierlech: Top Service! Si woren wierklech ëmmer immens frëndlech, hunn ëmmer probéiert ze hëllefen an hunn souguer probéiert mir un ze ruffen. Respekt fir dat!
Mäin Fazit: Definitiv nach net prett fir den Lëtzebuergeschen Marché! Wann ech meng Tablette / Handy muss huelen fir se doriwwer op meng Telé ze streamen, dann ass dat net wierklech praktesch! An ganz éierlech, et funktionéiert net um Player deen aus hirem Haus kennt? Éierlech? Villäicht hätten se sollten méi Gedanken an d’Realisatioun stiechen ier se hir Plattform op den Marché geworf hunn. Well Lëtzebuerg nach ëmmer speziell wor betreffend Geo-IP an well Däitschland fir Amazon nach ëmmer een Lizenzen Problem ass, muss ech wuel bei mengem regulären VOD Provider bleiwen, souguer wann deen net esou vill Filmer am ugebuert huet wei Amazon… Netflix hei sinn ech erëm!