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Automated Plant Watering

Our balcony is commonly known as the “Garden of Death”. Kaddi and I love to have herbs and flowers on the balcony but we suck at watering the plants. For years I said that we should have some kind of automatic system for that. This year I finally decided to build one.

Pictures at the very end.

Last updated: 2017/06/10 22:22 · Permalink · Comments

Mysterious Package Company

A while ago, I wrote about a curious letter I received and how with a bit of googling, I figured out what it was.

The letter was the first of more to follow, all part of a “Mystery” bought by my girlfriend at the Mysterious Package Company for me.

From time to time I get angry mail and comments about how my original blog post “spoils the fun” because it's now easy to figure out what's going on by a quick google search. I find that a bit silly, since it's a blog post about how I used Google to figure out what the letter is about. So my blog post may have made it a bit simpler, but as I wrote – the mystery was solvable already before my post.

Nonetheless I redacted the names and identifiers in my original post. But Google continued to find my post anyway. So today I created a robots.txt entry which should remove the post from search engines altogether.

However sometimes people ask how the thing continued and if I spoiled it for my self by googling. So here's a bit of a review on the mystery I received. If you currently have your own mystery going, you might want to stop reading here.

Last updated: 2017/05/18 16:24 · Permalink · Comments

Adventure Time

I recently played through two new point'n'click adventure games. Here's what I think about them.

Last updated: 2017/04/20 10:07 · Permalink · Comments

Save Gmail Attachments to Google Drive

Thanks to my Paper Backup I save all kinds of invoices and other documents I get by snail mail in my Google Drive. But of course there are also invoices that get delivered by email. Usually they come as a PDF attachment. Wouldn't it be nice to save those PDFs in Google drive as well?

Unfortunately Google Mail's filters do not allow to automate this. Luckily there's Google Apps Script.

Last updated: 2017/01/30 21:39 · Permalink · Comments

The Future is disappointing

I have an Amazon Echo since yesterday. I tried it a bit and I decided that I will send it back. Not because it always listens and privacy and bla bla bla… Simply because it's stupid.

Alexa is not an AI. Alexa is just voice recognition, combined with a big list of patterns, combined with speech synthesis. The voice recognition and the speech synthesis are really excellent. It's the middle part that disappoints:

Alexa, who was the first US president?
The first US president was George Washington.

Alexa, who was the second US president?

The second US president was John Adams.

Alexa, which president came after George Washington?

Sorry I didn't understand the question I heard.

Alexa, name all US presidents.

Sorry I didn't understand the question I heard.

That's the level Alexa is working at. This is like a student that memorized some facts, but never actually understood the topic at all.

My biggest gripe though is that Alexa will not learn from me. When she doesn't know an answer, I can not tell her. When she's assuming a wrong context I can not correct her. There are no conversations.

I will try Google Home when it becomes available in Germany, but I wonder if it will be a better experience…

Tags:
amazon, echo, alexa, ai, review
Last updated: 2017/01/17 20:42 · Permalink · Comments

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