Posts Tagged ‘english’

IoT Octopus : send data using Blynk

3. November 2020

Blynk is another way of sending and visualising data, from the Octopus, besides using Thingsspeak. To use Blynk, one needs to register with Blynk and download the Blynk app (available on iOS and Android).

Set up a remote sensing device on Blynk

To set up a data transmitting device on Blynk, one needs to do the following:

From the Blynk app :
– Open the Blynk app on your smartphone.
– Click on “new project”.
– Choose “esp8266” for the “choose device” question.
– Wait for the “Auth Token” email that Blynk has sent.

(then) In ArduBlocks :
– In the Setup part of your ArduBlocks sketch, add aWLAN block and a Blynk-Cloud block.
– In the WLAN block : specify the name of your wifi network and the password.
– In the Blynk-Cloud block : the Copy the Auth Token from the Blynk email, and paste it into the API-Key part of the ArduBlocks Blynk-Cloud block.


Measure CO2 with a Node MCU microcontroller, if you don’t have a IoT Octopus

2. November 2020

This article is a variation on the tutorial explaining how to make a CO2 measuring device using a Octopus microcontroller, plus CO2 sensors and optional displays.

As one might not always have an Octopus microcontroller at hand, people have asked me how to build a CO2Ampel – CO2 traffic light warning gadget – with a different microcontroller. Thankfully, such a device was recently assembled at Chaos Computer Club Freiburg.

To keep things inexpensive, we’re skipping the NeoPixel LED of the other tutorial, in this tutorial. Thus parts could be obtained for around 55 EUR.
Later, we’ll cover how to connect the measuring device described here, to various displays . Also, those interested in finding further tips and information, can find more information in the Octopus section of this blog.
(This post is for the most part identical with the CO2 Messen mit dem Octopus tutorial, also on this blog.)


I have provided links to the Mouser Onlineshop and to Tindie. You can also find the parts elsewhere, and my links aren’t affiliate links. 

  • Node MCU (microcontroller, controlling the other elements ), via Amazon or Mouser.
  • CO2 sensor SCD30 – these are available with different interfaces. Eg. With a Grove connector – although often sold out – as well as without. In the case of the CO2 sensors without a grove connector, one needs to solder or otherwise connect it to the microcontroller. Slightly cumbersome but manageable. (Digikey from 53 EUR, RS Online from 72 EUR, Mouser around 50 EUR – at time of writing these were sold out, but new ones are orderd)
  • LCD panel – To display the data from the CO2 sensor. There are several variants, also with Grove connectors. From 6 EUR. from Mouser.
  • A power source – Likely you already have one – a USB charger. Just make sure you  have  a Micro-USB cable. Powerbanks are an alternative, especially if you want to carry the device around. 
  • Grove connector cable – 2.5 EUR by Mouser.
  • I2C Hub – a hub connecting several Grove connector cables. Grove connector cable – 2.5 EUR by Mouser.
  • A case – There are many ideas around. From Ikea picture frames, to Bird houses.
  • A Data ready USB cable – You probably have one at home, but may have to try several USB cables before you find one that can transmit data as well as power. Please note, quite often the USB cables one gets with various bits of electronics can only carry power. So it makes sense to try different USB cables if USB cable one doesn’t work.


To program Arduino code with visual programming (Ardu)blocks, we need to modify the Ardunio IDE code editor a bit. (For those that prefer text-code, you’ll find the produced Ardublocks code, in text form, at the end of this tutorial).

The easiest way to get going is to use a Windows PC and install the software following the instructions (including download links ) from the Umwelcampus Birkenfeld website. Instructions for MacOS and Raspberry PI can also be found, via the website’s overview page. I’ve also made some tutorials for Mac OS here on my blog. There is a (German language) Tutorial for Raspberry Pi, too.

Windows: download the zip file with the ‘blocky’ Arduino IDE and then install the relevant hardware driver software. Install the Arduino into a very short File tree, et. C:/iotw. You may also have to take care if you have another Arduino Version already installed. Pay attention which do you start. Start by double clicking on the „IOTWerkstatt.bat“ file.

Raspberry Pi: Setup RaspberryPi Os (Raspbibian) for your Pi and then download the modified Arduino IDE from here.

Mac OS: this is a bit more complicated compared to Windows, but accomplishable using these instructions (in German, again), or the ones below. Here too, you need to install the relevant hardware driver software, and download the special Arduino IDE. This is done as follows:

  1. Download the Driver.
  2. Download and install the Arduino IDE.
  3. Following the installation of the Arduino IDE, right-click on the Arduino IDE icon, and select “Show package content” from the menu. This shows the files that make up the Arduino IDE.
  4. Open the “Contents” folder of the just-opened Aruduino package.
  1. Open the downloaded file.
  2. Drag the “Portable” folder (of the expanded file ) into the “Java” folder of the expanded Arduino IDE files.
  1. Now open the Arduino IDE.
  2. Open the “Tools” menu and go to Port submenu, and select “Dev/cu.SLAB_USBtoUART” option, to select the right port.
  3. Open the “Tools” menu, as before, and now open the “Board” submenu, and select the “Generic ESP8266 Module”, as our board.


The ESP9266 is cheap and can be used as the microcontroller for the CO2 Traffic lights.

Connect yellow on the D1, white on the D2, black on the GND, and red on the 3V. The cables connect with the Node MCU as shown in the table below. Now we need to solder them into place.

Node MCU pinI2C / Grove Cable
3.3 Vred
D1yellow / SCL
D2white / SDA

Here and now is a good time to solder the (Grove) cables to the Node MCU.
Then we can do fun things like connect a Grove LCD and a SCD30 CO2 sensor to the Node NCU, via a I2C hub. As the grove Cables have preset colours, this should be simple.


Build your own Covid Stop Lights or Better Lüften like a German

16. Oktober 2020
While building your own Co2 Sensor and Warning Lights

More an more Germany are more and more concerned with Lüften. Lüften means to open the Windows of the room you are in and then venilate it properly. It’s done best, by opening two windows on walls opposing each other, thus letting air blow through.

Because Germans are masters in „Lüften“ and because many people wanted to know, how to build these little warning lights, in order to know when they should open the Windows and let fresh air in, I wrote a lot of articles on my blog. But these were all in German. So Miska Knapek translated one article into English and I did some editing.

During the Corona Crisis venting has become even more important. Corona spreads through droplets but also through aerosoles.  Since it’s considered very likely that aerosol can also be a carrier of the SARS-CoV-2 virus, in addition to exhaled (humidity) droplets, we need a way to measure them. However the problem is this:

Whereas the comparatively larger droplets fall to the ground relatively quickly, aerosol can stay in the air longer and may disperse and distribute itself within a closed space” (My translation of a Robert Koch Institute (RKI) statement (RKI is a  German Institute for disease control and prevention).

As aerosol is difficult to measure, but it roughly correlates with CO2 concentration in the air of an enclosed space, clever people like Guido Burger and the Umweltcampus Birkenfeld have devised a way to easily measure CO2 concentrations.

Building instructions for the  CO2 Ampel / CO2 Light, by Guido Burger, published in Make Magazine’s website (in German).

Fortunately, Sensirion makes a CO2 sensor and Guido Burger has ready to tinker microcontroller, the Octopus Board, which can interface and control the CO2 sensor. It is possible to use a Node MCU as well.

The microcontroller can be programmed using the ArduBlocks visual Arduino programming language. Of course you can still do text based programming, if you want it. See the ArduBlocks equivalent code towards the bottom of this article.

With ArduBlocks, using visual ‘programming blocks’, one can do the essential bits of a programming language – loops, conditional statements (if/then), and send/receive signals from various sensors, or send and receive data via MQTT, Thingsspeak or Blynk. (Sorry the Articles are in German, but you may use Google Translate)

The Campus Birkenfeld of Technische Hochschule Trier has more material about this CO2 measuring device, including relevant considerations, background, as well assembled a bit of a building instruction (but it’s all in German).
While I enjoy tinkering, in the end I was mostly interested in having a working measuring device. Thus I’ve assembled a quick assembly guide here, below.

Parts list

I have provided links to the Mouser Onlineshop and to Tindie. You may find the parts elsewhere and they are not affiliate links. 

  • Ocotopus Board – which you can get via Tindie. Even if it says it’s sold out, you can still try ordering one. In the worst case, send its inventor Guido Burger a message, to ask if they’re available. Ca. 30 EUR
  • CO2 sensor SCD30 – these are available with different interfaces. Eg. With a Grove connector – although often sold out – as well as without. In the case of the CO2 sensors without a grove connector, one needs to solder or otherwise connect it to the microcontroller. Slightly cumbersome but manageable. Ca. 45 EUR
  • Grove cabelconnecting straight to the Octopus Platine, one can use this to attach sensors, displays and other electronics with Grove interfaces. Ca. 3 EUR
  • LCD panel – To display the data from the CO2 sensor. There are several variants, also with Grove connectors. From 6 EUR. from Mouser.
  • A power source Likely you already have one – a USB charger. Just make sure you  have  a Micro-USB cable. Powerbanks are an alternative, especially if you want to carry the device around. 
  • A case There are many ideas around. From Ikea picture frames, to Bird houses.
  • A Data ready USB cable You probably have one at home, but may have to try several USB cables before you find one that can transmit data as well as power. Very often Electronics come with a cheap cable that can only carry power.

In total, this makes for ca 90 EUR in parts.


How to assemble a particle Sensor – English instructions

29. März 2017

The website of has no english explanation or instructions on how to assemble the particle matter sensor, yet. But I made a rough translation and put it into a google doc. You can acess it here and if you want you can also make some changes.

For some english explanations of this project see my blog entry or look at this very good article in Open Source.

You might also try this incomplete git-hub description.


Links (zum Ukraine -Rußland Konflikt)

21. März 2015

Schon lange habe ich eine Sammlung interessanter Links zu Zeitungsartikeln, Blogs und anderen Internetquellen angelegt, die sich mit dem Konflikt in der Ostukraine und auf der Krim beschäftigen. Ich finde diese Artikel teils aufschlußreich, teils interessant.

Offener Brief eines Slavisten an Gabriele Krone-Schmalz: „Polen suchte und fand zwischen 1918 und 1939 England und Frankreich, die Tschechoslowakei, 1938 im Stich gelassen von Frankreich und England, fand die Vereinigten Staaten von Amerika. Die “Satelliten” und Unionsrepubliken der Sowjetunion fanden die NATO. Wer aber niemanden fand, der ist jetzt verraten und verkauft. Kann es ein stärkeres Argument für die NATO geben? Oder sehen Sie das transatlantische Bündnis als Zwangsgemeinschaft unter der Fuchtel der USA?“ Eine schöne Zusammenfassung der inneren Wiedersprüche der ‚ Rußlandversteher‘

In der FAZ erklärt Reinhard Merkel warum wir etwas weniger laut schreien sollten wenn es um die Völkerrechtswiedrigkeit der Krimanexion geht. Der Text ist vom 7.4.2014: Sezession, Referendum und Beitritt schließen eine Annexion aus, und zwar selbst dann, wenn alle drei völkerrechtswidrig gewesen sein sollten. Der Unterschied zur Annexion, den sie markieren, ist ungefähr der zwischen Wegnehmen und Annehmen. Auch wenn ein Geber, hier die De-facto-Regierung der Krim, rechtswidrig handelt, macht er den Annehmenden nicht zum Wegnehmer. “

Ebenfalls in der FAZ gibt Wladimir Jasskow Antwort auf den Brief diversers Prominenter zum Frieden mit Rußland: „Wer über die Ukraine und Russland in Allgemeinplätzen nachdenkt, der kämpft nicht für den Frieden, sondern betreibt Kollaboration: Eine Antwort auf den von vielen Prominenten unterschriebenen Aufruf „Wieder Krieg in Europa?“

Euromaidanpress erklärt uns warum Orientalismus in unserem Bezug auf die Sicht der Ukraine ein Problem darstellt. „Pro-russische Argumente funktionieren im Allgemeinen entlang zweier Richtlinien: einer eher auf „Whataboutism“ basierenden und einer eher „geopolitischen“. (…) Die „geopolitische“ Richtung jedoch hat einen etwas höheren Wert. Diese Richtung verteidigt die Handlungen Russlands, indem sie den Westen beschuldigt, sich in die Angelegenheiten einer Region einzumischen, wo sie er keinerlei Recht hat zu operieren, (…) Das Hauptopfer dieser Stereotype ist unsere Fähigkeit, Osteuropa richtig zu verstehen. Westliche Einflüsse können nicht übersehen werden, aber es ist grundfalsch, die ukrainische Demokratiebewegung als eine Umleitung um die vorgeblich „natürliche“, unausweichliche Ordnung der Dinge zu sehen, in der wir Ukrainer und Ukrainerinnen nicht einmal der Würde als aktive Subjekte und Nation für wert befinden.“

Die Taz spricht mit der Juristin Constanze Stelzenmüller und die sieht die europäische Friedensordnung in Gefahr. Ein Gespräch über Putin, Obama und rote Linien.

Zeit Journalistin Alice Bota über die Leserkomemntare zur Ukraine Krise: „Wie man denn dazu komme, zu behaupten, Russland sei an dem Krieg in der Ostukraine beteiligt? Dafür gebe es keine Beweise! Meist schreibe ich dann ausführlich zurück. Doch, schreibe ich, es gibt Beweise. (…) Der Leserbrief von Herrn B. steht für ein Phänomen, nämlich die Flucht in die Relativierung, wenn es um die russische Politik geht. Mal speist sich diese Relativierung aus der Angst, dass Deutschland in diesen Krieg hineingezogen werden könnte, mal aus dem Misstrauen gegenüber den Amerikanern, mal aus dem Hass auf sie; mal aus einer empfundenen historischen Schuld gegenüber Russland (die paradoxerweise selten den Ukrainern, Belarussen und Polen zuteil wird); mal aus Europaverachtung; mal aus Überforderung.“

in English

Anne Applebaum expalins the working of Putinism. Is there someting like a coherent ideology or not?

The  New York Times explains how propanda in Putin’s Russia works: „Mr. Pomerantsev’s area of study is propaganda, and he believes he saw many classic techniques at work in Moscow. He says one favorite trick was to put a credible expert next to a neo-Nazi, juxtaposing fact with fiction so as to encourage so much cynicism that viewers believed very little. Another was to give credence to conspiracy theories — by definition difficult to rebut because their proponents are immune to reasoned debate. (…) “and to use the idea of a plurality of truths to feed disinformation, which in the end looks to trash the information space.“

Politico Magazine has an article about the same topic.

Anne Applebaum explains a more realist view about the lead up to the conflict with Russia: No treaties prohibiting NATO expansion were ever signed with Russia. No promises were broken. Nor did the impetus for NATO expansion come from a “triumphalist” Washington. On the contrary, Poland’s first efforts to apply in 1992 were rebuffed (…) When the slow, cautious expansion eventually took place, constant efforts were made to reassure Russia. No NATO bases were placed in the new member states, and until 2013 no exercises were conducted there. A Russia-NATO agreement in 1997 promised no movement of nuclear installations. A NATO-Russia Council was set up in 2002. In response to Russian objections, Ukraine and Georgia were, in fact, denied NATO membership plans in 2008″

„the illegitimacy of spheres of influence: Russia’s actions and Putin’s rhetoric are redolent of a nineteenth century view that great powers are entitled to special privileges in weaker, neighbouring states“ and why the Russian Actions threaten our world order.

The Strange Case of Foreign pro-Kremlin Radical Leftists„Pro Kremlin leftists who consider themselves radical marxists and are normally censorious, if not disparaging of US corporate media and governmental pronouncements, do not extend that critical doubt to Russian government media. Despite being funded and controlled by an authoritarian right-wing government, foreign leftists read and retransmit accounts from this official outlet“

What is an invasion? Has Russia invaded Ukraine? Or what is Russia doing in Ukraine? The Economist tries to analyse and why everyone is silent: „Has Russia invaded eastern Ukraine? It is useful for almost everyone to behave as if it hasn’t: the Russians themselves, obviously, but also the United States and the European Union. John Kerry robustly denounced what he described as Russia’s “illegal and illegitimate effort to destabilise a sovereign state,” shenanigans which, he said, might presage a military incursion—as if these were starkly defined categories. An old-fashioned, tanks and troops invasion would require the West to respond much more vigorously, and at much greater cost and risk to itself, than it has done so far, not least because its leaders have promised as much.“

The interpreter magazine, a small online publication from Kiev analyses the working of the Russia Today:In our Watching Russia column, we have been writing analysis of RT’s media coverage. We’ve been focusing on the guests who appear on RT as experts. Who are these people, what is their expertise, and do they have any facts to support their arguments? With each article we have discovered that many guests have little expertise and champion conspiracy theories that are not supported by the facts.“


15. Januar 2015

Violence and War

For my studies I had to do a research about people running amok. One of the most ununsal amok runs I heard about is the one commited by an american soldier in Afghanistan.

„Afghanistan: A Gathering Menace – Traveling with U.S. troops gives insights into the recent massacre“ by Neil Shea in the American Scolar.


About TV in Russia and how the Propaganda works. From Politico.

Kolonialismus und Orientalismus im Kommentaren über die Ukraine, passt gut zum Orientalismus unten. Von Euromaidanpress.


Something more fun. The Art of google books: The adversaria of Google Books: captured mark of the hand and digitization as rephotography. By Krissy Wilson.

An interview about the concept of Orientalism with Edward Said:

2 eating places in Freiburg

10. November 2014

Yeah so for all english followers of this blog who plan to visit Green City in the future there are two downtown eating places I want to recommend:

The Frei Burger in Schiffstrasse

The thing called „Salädchen“ in the Rempartstrasse near the Uni Mensa, that just sells salads.

The Two Georges

4. August 2013

Recently I’m a lazy blogger. Not writing a lot and my online output seems on the other side where I write for our campaign on youth participation. Besides that I’m not doing anything on my phd application.

However on Thursday I will be leaving for Indonesia and I got a nice book that I will most certainly finish before I leave: The Two Georges – A Novel of an Alternate America available not easily only from Amazon.

Its a really nice plot: America remained in the British Empire, the symbol of this union is a paininting depicting the the two Georges. Washington and 3rd. Now this paining has been stolen and investigators from the Royal American Mounted Constabulary are traveling the us and searching for it.