IoT: PaaS (Platform as a Service) – AWS vs. Bluemix

Recently I permanently moved to Aalborg where my family was already. One of the first things I did was to participate in a Meetup about Internet Of Things (IoT) – http://www.meetup.com/IoT-Denmark/events/229687332/ .

I was one of the presenters and I introduced the audience to Amazon Web Services’ solution for Internet Of Things. I enjoyed it  a lot.

Basically, I became very interested in IoT topic just recently. I think this is a field where the technical entry level is relatively low, it has huge social impact and it is fun to work with. Based on these thoughts I think this will be not my last experience with the topic of IoT. Some year ago I bought myself the Arduino starter kit. Now it is the time to further explore it 🙂

In the backup realm

I am running a Synology NAS server for the last few years at home. Everything was OK all the time but recently the worst happened. The system became unresponsive, lost performance and it stopped to work in few days after a system update. Later on, I figured out that one of the NAS hard drives had to be replaced due to a huge number of bad sectors. In my opinion this was the real reason for the failure I encountered.

Of course, I had a backup but a small fraction of just newly available data was not in the backup set yet. Secondly, I have a lot media such as serials, movies etc. which are not backed up at all. My backup solution is CrashPlan and I was seeing endless days of data restore. The only alternative was a scanning and a repairing of the current disks. This was a hell. I had to buy a docking station from Inateck for my two hard disks. The docking station was attached to various laptops with “on the fly” Linux Ubuntu installation. I am saying “various” because the first one could not find the disks, the second one was having some video driver problems and the third one was just the right one. The RAID recovery instructions were just ridiculous but after few days of try / false attempts I was able to extract 100% of the data and save it to a Samsung USB external drive (which I just bought).

The above situation reconsidered my backup strategy. Scott Hanselman has a wonderful post about Synology setup and CrashPlan. In his blog you can find also few related articles which are the foundation of my research and opinion about backups. Right now, I am using the same Synology DS213+ with two new hard drives (WD), a tiny Gigabyte Mini Computer (GB-BXBT-2807) and the already mentioned Samsung M3 portable drive. I have one copy in the cloud via CrashPlan, one local copy via the Synology and one on a site copy via the portable hard drive. The mini computer is synchronzing the cloud and the local copy. So, that’s it my new backup!

Airbnb – the casual accommodation 

In this post I will share my initial opinions about the Airbnb accommodation service. For those who don’t know what it is (I am really In doubt if someone has not heard about them) – it is a community of hosts and travelers who give and rent accommodation.

Recently I was visiting Switzerland and I decided to give it a try. More over I was traveling alone and this was a main reason to try it. You don’t want to have unexpected experiences when traveling with two small kids and a wife, right?

Site and app

The service has excellent site and mobile app. More or less it is looking as every other booking site. One significant difference is the instant chat you can have with host. I chatted a lot with my hosts, mainly about logistics and practicalities.

What did I try

I was in 3 different places – Geneva, Lousanne and Bern. Everywhere I was welcomed, got beddings, towels and wi-fi password. Really nice for a start. Despite of this everything else was different in terms of behavior and surrounding. I was having a virtual host, a French speaking host and a party animal which, indeed, was very welcoming host.

What do I think

During my trip I was thinking what kind of person will run such a “business”. I met three different paterns and I am still confused what this is about. I will say: it is a craziness which no hotel in the world can offer you. You get my more than you pay for. The experience, the touch to the culture, the personal attention are different and priceless. I am tired of boring clerks and stupid faces in every hotel I visit. So, definitely this is a solution and a system which will work for the near future.

Secondly, I was guessing if this is the real owner renting the space. I don’t have an answer or evidence yet, but sometimes it could be not. It could be something bigger, an agency or something similar. I think this is killing the experience and the idea. We should not allow it come over because the renting out gets commercialised and the it is loosing from its spirit.

Should I share my space

Definitely I will recommend and I will do it myself later this year. It is a tremendous way of getting new experience, some new fun and few bucks in the pocket. You can only win from all of these!

Hitting the road

The last couple of weeks are crazy. I did a trip every week. 

Milano, Cluj, Trondheim, Söderåsens and now Switzerland.

The list became large without actually to plan it.

Let me resemble  shortly what happened .

After a planned ahead visit of the derby match Inter – Milan, 19th April, I went back to Romania together with my family. We baptized our daughter there on 25th May.  

On the next week I returned to Denmark, alone, without my partner and kids. I bought myself a last minute ticket to Trondheim where I spent three days.  

The week after was occupied with a mini trip to one of the natural parks in southern Sweden – Söderåsens. I was there with a friend of mine, just by car and for a day.

And lastly I traveled to Switzerland where I spent 4 nights all together in Geneva, Lausanne and Bern. This trip was semi-planned as I booked all the accommodation in the same week.

Next week everything is over. I will wait at Malmö airport for Roxana and my kids to be back and practically the big travel period is done.

In conclusion I will say that this is a great experience where in different moments I have been with friends, family and alone on the road. Definitely it is refreshing, interesting and I am able to follow and concentrate on my daily jobs. Productivity wise was good, especially when I was alone on the road.

In some of the next post I will share more insight from the trips, especially about the Airbnb accommodation service and other interesting stuff.