Bluetooth TTS with HomeAssistant

I have been running HomeAssistant in our apartment for quite a while now. It is pretty well integrated and can adjust the lights, detect presence in all rooms and monitors temperature and humidity. One feature that I’ve been meaning to add for quite a while now is voice feedback using Text To Speech. HomeAssistant is running on my server in the livingroom that doesn’t have any speakers nearby. Ideally, the sound output should go through the Echo Dot but the API currently doesn’t support output besides what the Alexa Skills provide. »

Blackbirds Season Opening

Who would’ve thought that my first baseball game would be in Germany and not in the U.S.? On Sunday, the Wolfsburg Blackbirds were playing their season opening game(s) against teams from Potsdam and Magdeburg. Actually, this was their very first competitive game since the team was founded a little more than a year ago by a group of baseball enthusiasts in Wolfsburg. Our friend Björn is one of them and he and his teammates had been building up their own baseball field on top of a soccer field. »

Hike to Castle Regenstein

Winter has been very mild here up until February. Then, temperatures went into the negative (Celsius) and it snowed a little here and there. Nevertheless, we wanted to go hiking and explore a different part of the Harz. I had looked up a route online and the weather on that Sunday two weeks ago was supposed to be perfect. So Björn, Käthe, Jessie, and I took off to explore the area around the Castle Ruin Regenstein. »

SmartHomie

The weather is getting worse, it’s dark out, and the wife is in Berlin for advanced education - time for some home projects. I’ve been working on making our home smarter for quite a while and the most recent addition were IKEA TRÅDFRI lights in almost every room. One of their best features is the integration with inexpensive infrared motion detection sensors. I’ve been using this for example in our hallway where we generally don’t need light except when someone walks through. »

Prague

I had taken a week off around the 3rd of October since that day is a holiday in Germany . Jessie and I wanted to go on a city trip in Europe and we decided that Prague would be a good starting point. We took the train which just took an hour longer than the car and should make the travel a little more relaxing. To my surprise, we even had WiFi (at least on the way there). »

Walter Röhrl in the Autostadt

Okay so actually this isn’t really about Walter Röhrl since we missed him. A couple of weeks ago, the Autostadt had an event with him where he talked about his career and answered questions. Torsten, Marc and Tobi went but I couldn’t since our container would finally arrive the next day. In the car museum of the Autostadt, however, they had created an exhibit with some of his cars. »

Goodbye U.S. - New York City

It’s been a while. Maybe migrating my blog toolchain onto my server and then sticking that server into a container on a cargo ship for a month wasn’t the smartest idea I’ve ever had. Anyway, so here are some pictures from a month ago when Jessie and I went to NYC for our goodbye trip in the US. At that point, our container was already on its way and we would only fly back to Detroit for one night and then to our final destination in Germany. »

The Last 4th

Yesterday was our last 4th of July in the U.S. for the foreseeable future. We didn’t really have good plans for the day so Jessie and I simply drove down to Detroit, parked at her workplace, and went for a walk in the city. The QLINE has been operating for a while now and is still free during the introduction. This was the second time that we took the train and so far it has been filled with people every time we went. »

iPad Pro

I did a thing. I have a 2013 MacBook Pro and I’ve been on the market for a new one for quite a while. Last October, I was ready to buy the new MacBook that Apple would release. However, I was deeply disappointed by the direction they took. My old MacBook still feels more ‘Pro’ than the new one. At the recent WWDC, the MacBook at least got a minor update to Kaby Lake but I was hoping for more. »

Walt Disney Concert Hall

When we walked around LA, we walked past the Walt Disney Concert Hall This is probably one of the coolest buildings that the city has to offer. It was completed in 2003 and reminds me of what the phaeno in Wolfsburg could look like if it wasn’t all made of concrete. I think we spent a good half hour of walking around the building to find interesting angles and features. »