“Ride Sharing” Buses Thought

Buses were the original “ride share” concept. The difference is the city always owned the vehicle, it fits many more people and is regulated.

What if the city bus concept adapted to the popular ride sharing services such as Uber and Lyft?

Instead of buses following a predefined route every day, let the computers dynamically route the buses. People with smartphones could request a pickup and set a destination. They would then be routed to the nearest bus compatible and pickup efficient location that isn’t necessarily a predefined “bus stop”. In that app they would also define their drop-off point, which could change the bus that’s picking them up with a more efficient route. People without a smartphone would go to a normal bus stop and press a vandal resistant button. Once on the bus, they would select the destination using a built-in display.

Of course a lot more thinking and planning would need to be done so as each passenger is limited to a ride that is reasonable in time and fairly predictable.

But I think this could go a long way to getting more people to use public transportation, pay via a mobile app and stop routing buses to empty bus stops.

Buying AWS Unwanted EC2 Reserved Instances

You purchase a year-long EC2 Reserved Instance (RI) from Amazon Web Services (AWS). You’re now saving 30% on your sparkling EC2 instance cost!

Fast forward three months. Your project tanked and is costing you money instead of making money. You need to kill it and kill it fast.

But then you remember that one-year contract you have with AWS. <doomed>

You then remember that you can sell off your RI to a marketplace. Bank account saved – mostly.

That part is easy to research and follow the steps for success.

Now “Wannabe Joe” is looking for a deal and wants to purchase that discounted RI you’re selling off. Joe goes to the EC2 console and clicks “Reserved Instances”. He then proceeds to “Purchase Reserved Instances”.

He sees a paragraph:

Reserved Instances sold through the Reserved Instance Marketplace are identical to those sold by Amazon Web Services, except they may have different prices and terms. For more information about the Reserved Instance Marketplace, go to the Reserved Instance Marketplace web page.

He remembers about the marketplace selling unwanted instances so he clinks on the provided link. Listing, selling, fee and getting paid. All great for the seller. But how does he purchase one. Click-after-click just provides frustration.

Don’t worry Joe. You overthought the whole process.

  1. In the AWS Console Home, go to the EC2 console
  2. Press the “Reserved Instances” link on the left and then press the “Purchase Reserved Instances” button up top.
  3. Choose your platform, types, zone, term and tenancy.
  4. Press the “Search” button
  5. If there are any unwanted instances up for sale, they will be listed under the “Seller” column as “3rd Party”.
  6. Add to cart and away you go.

console_ri_purchase_1

Simple 🙂

Reference and image by: https://aws.amazon.com/blogs/aws/amazon-ec2-reserved-instance-marketplace/

#aws, #ec2, #marketplace, #reserved

Modifying Your Hosts File

Windows 10 and 8

  1. Press the Windows key.
  2. Type “notepad” in the search field.
  3. In the search results, right-click Notepad and select “Run as administrator”.
  4. In Notepad, open the following file: “c:\Windows\System32\Drivers\etc\hosts”
  5. Append your entry such as:
    127.0.0.1[tab]www.mysite.com
  6. Save changes

Linux

  1. Open the “/etc/hosts” file in a text editor such as vi or nano
  2. Make the necessary changes to the file.
  3. Save changes

Mac OS X 10.6 through 10.12

  1. Open Applications > Utilities > Terminal.
  2. Open the hosts file by typing the following line in the terminal window:
    “sudo nano /private/etc/hosts”
  3. Type your domain user password when prompted.
  4. Edit the hosts file.
  5. Save the hosts file by pressing Control+x and answering y.
  6. Make your changes take effect by flushing the DNS cache with the following command:
    “dscacheutil -flushcache”

Global Ransomware Outbreak Prevention

A new ransomware, using the same attack as WannaCry, is hitting the world hard today on Windows PC’s. Here’s some steps to prevent this from happening to you:
1. Don’t click on links inside emails that you aren’t 100% positive you know what they do.
2. Backup your important files so something disconnect from your computer like the cloud or USB drive you remove. crashplan.com is a great service to have.
3. Install Windows updates – this prevents this specific attack from taking hold
6. Have an antivirus program running. A free one is avast.com – been using it for many years.
5. If you’re still on XP/Vista/Windows 7/Windows 8 etc. now’s a good time to get upgraded to Windows 10

#ransomware, #windows

Activating Windows Server 2012R2 Evaluation

CF Webtools is part of the Microsoft Network which gains us access to software for development purposes. But one gotcha is if you try to apply the license key to an already installed evaluation version of Windows Server. In this case Windows Server 2012 R2.

When you try to change the product key in the UI, it says that this product key can not be used on this version of Windows. Not that the key and evaluation type are the same standard 2016 R2 edition.

To get around this use the “DISM” command.

To determine the installed edition, run:

DISM /online /Get-CurrentEdition

To check the possible target editions, run:

DISM /online /Get-TargetEditions

Finally, to initiate an upgrade, run:

DISM /online /Set-Edition: /ProductKey:XXXXX-XXXXX-XXXXX-XXXXX-XXXX /AcceptEula

A server restart will be required.

edition upgrade

Note: Legally check your license. This is technical advice only.

Anxiety Reducing Music

According to researchers at Mindlab International in the U.K., the music “Weightless” by Marconi Union promotes a high reduction in anxiety. Check it out…

Nest Thermostat and Heat Pumps w/ Aux

I recently found myself in a position of having the learn about heat pumps. I house I recently bought had one installed with auxiliary electric heat. What this means is that the house will heat up using the heat pump outside first. If it can’t catch up it will use the auxiliary heat to supplement. My auxiliary heat is provided by electric coils installed above the A-Coil in the air handler. But getting heat from the heat pump is about 300% more efficient than electric coils even though it will be on longer. Therefore we want to use the heat pump over auxiliary heat for cost reasons. This is called a “single-fuel” system. From what I understand, if the air handler has gas heat instead, this would be called a “dual-fuel” system.

While researching different aspects of the heat pump, I noticed that the blower was always on. Searching Google I found most people said this was normal. Though I thought it was odd. Why would it be blowing when the heat pump and coils are off?

When we had a few nice days, I decided to turn the heat off. But yet the fan still ran. This I know is not normal. Once I removed the head unit of the thermostat I found the batteries badly corroded. The electronic board was likely shorted out on the fan circuit.

I’ve been interested in getting a smart thermostat like Nest or Ecobee and have been indecisive. But now that I needed a new thermostat and the fact that I’ve got Nest Protect units installed, I decided to stick with the Nest ecosystem. I find Nest to be like Apple. Quality products but they really keep you inside their proprietary eco-system. But I decided to go with it anyway.

I have an American Standard system with an American Standard LCD thermostat. What got tricky was the B wire, which Nest has an O/B slot and the X2 wire, which Nest does not have.

20170218_140403

From my understanding this is what each wire does:

X2 : Black : Turns on another set of standby electric coils for emergency heat
W1 : White : Turns on electric heat coils
RC : Red : 24V AC Power Hot
O : Orange : When on, reverses the heat pump valve to go from heat to cool in the summer
Y : Yellow : Turns on the heat pump compressor
G : Green : Turns the fan on (in my case, on low)
B : Blue : 24V AC Power Common

Inside the air handler, the following wires a hooked up to the following codes:

Black : W2 & W3
White : W1
Red : Bk
Orange : O
Yellow : Y
Green : G
Blue : Bk

20170223_185327

Needless to say, there really needs to be a better labeling or coloring system. In fact, thermostats should really go towards an IP system and use an Ethernet cable.

After calling Nest, after I figured out that it thought I had dual fuel instead of single-fuel, I figured out that black goes to * and is programmed for emergency heat. (* can be used for emergency heat or humidifier circuit) The blue wire becomes C.

Let me say that Nest support was awesome. I could talk with a clearly spoken woman who worked in Oklahoma and took the time to understand, address, research and resolve my issue promptly. She sent me an email to reply back with photos of the original thermostat wiring and my current wiring on the Nest which helped things along. Their number is 1-855-469-6378.

Here is how I now have my Nest 3rd Generation thermostat wired and working:

Y1 : Yellow : Turns on the heat pump compressor
G : Green : Fan
O/B : Orange : When on, reverses the heat pump valve to go from heat to cool in the summer
Rc : Red : 24V AC Power Hot
W2/AUX : White : Turns on electric heat coils
C : Blue : 24V AC Power Common

  • : Black : Turns on another set of standby electric coils for emergency heat

screenshot_20170224-145603

 

After I got the corrected wiring, I went into the pro settings and switched it from dual-fuel to single-fuel. At that point in time the Heat Pump Balance option showed up. I started with “balanced”, but that seemed to aggressive still. So for now I have “Max Savings” on with “Early-On” turned on to 5 hours.

Note: System and wiring vary widely. This is a reference only to my specific system and wiring. Yours likely varies. Professional installation recommended.

#hvac, #nest, #thermostat, #wiring