Planet Damian

September 12, 2015

Christof Damian

Bloomsky Review

The Bloomsky "Weather Camera" is a weather station with built-in camera.

I first saw it on a Kickstarter Campaign, which was pretty successful. I snapped one of the early birds deals and later added a solar panel.
Expected delivery was December 2014 (ha!), it turned up in August 2015. But this is already better than some other campaigns. They had some problems to get the CE approval for Europe, so that explained some of the delay.

It is advertised as "5-in-1 weather station + HD camera that captures real-time weather data + sky image at your location. Next Generation Weather Network.".

mounted with solar panel
The hardware is really nice designed, from the station itself, the solar panel and even the stake/brace to put it up somewhere. I am glad I got the solar panel, it means I do not need any cables coming from the station and at the moment it seems to function really well and never drop below 50% charge, which might change in winter.

When it arrives you have to set it up with a Android or iOS app, to connect it to your wireless network. The app uses wifi itself, so there is no kind of bluetooth support. I had lots of problems with the Android app at the time, because it was buggy and the setup process is not very reliable. In the end I borrowed an iPhone and after a few tries and reboots of the station it worked in the end.

The mobile app is also the only way you can access the station, it shows the current data and photo and you can view time-lapses from the five previous days. 
It also tries to be some kind of social weather network, where you can browse, like and follow other Bloomsky stations.

all you get out of it,
and watermarked

Now the bad part: this is not a weather station and it isn't a web cam either. 
A weather station should give you access to historical values for the sensed metrics (temperature, pressure, rain, uv and humidity). 
And a web cam should do the same and has to be available on the net.  I can't even share a web address with my friends to show them the view of the camera, they have to install this mobile app first.

There is no API either, nobody will be able to add these features in the near future. All data is uploaded from the station to Bloomsky servers and fetched from there by the app. If the company goes bust, which is quite likely for a start-up, then the whole hardware will be a useless brick. 

To summarize: at the moment this is a nice toy with brilliant hardware and rubbish software.

by Christof Damian ( at September 12, 2015 09:57 PM

January 02, 2015

Christof Damian

A year of cycling

For some reason this year turned out to be a year with a lot of time spend on bicycles. While I have been cycling more since I changed to a company which allowed me to park my bicycle in the office, this year I increased this even more. One part of this has definitely be Strava, which allows me to track my riding and improvements (or not) over time.

Some numbers for 2014, 2013 in brackets:

Rides: 340 (276)
Distance: 7434 km (3311 km)
Elevation: 127496 m (66689 m)
Time: 411 hours (209 hours)

Rides on the mountain bike stayed the same at about 900 km, but rides on the road tripled. A good reason to finally buy a road bike.

I also participated in my first ever race, just a hill climb organised by a local bike cafe, but still pretty fun and exciting.

Another fun part of Strava are the Challenges, which take a random set goal and allow everyone globally kill themselves trying to finish them. These year I managed to finish some of them, the most difficult one being the Rapha Rising 8800m elevation in 8 days, others were easy, but all were fun.

I also spend a ridiculous amount of money on bike toys, but mostly on clothing. On the bicycles themselves I only replaced a few chains, cassettes, bottom brackets, tyres and tubes. 

For 2015 I have subscribed to three Sportives / Gran Fondos, in the hope that my new bike arrives before the first one of these.
I also want to find a higher hill to climb than my current record (974 m), probably in the Pyrenees and maybe ride somewhere outside of Catalunya or even Spain.

by Christof Damian ( at January 02, 2015 03:26 PM

May 09, 2014

Christof Damian

May 02, 2014

Christof Damian

Friday Links

The Three Flaws in Software Design & How to Avoid Them

Github: Updated Services UI

Atlassian: Now in JIRA Agile Labs: an all new control chart

Atlassian: 6 key ways to optimize development with a control chart

How Disqus Went Realtime with 165K Messages Per Second and Less than .2 Seconds Latency

3 ways to do eager loading (preloading) in Rails 3 & 4

Drowning in problems:

There were also some rants about TDD, which I am not going to bother to list 

by Christof Damian ( at May 02, 2014 11:24 AM

April 11, 2014

Christof Damian