OK this project took a long time. You might remember my previous post, the fan that made noise and had no ability to be controlled other than via an old-school X10-style interface.

I had replaced the run capacitor in it, but it never really addressed the issue, the buzz that started after a while.

Well, here's the (near final) product, an XLP-2000 fan motor with an iFan03 attached. The iFan is smaller than the old controller, and thus fits in the bracket with some double sided tape.

One minor challenge, this fan has a run-capacitor. So the old wiring looks like below. Originally it had a set of MOSFET driving dropper resitors, the output feeding to one winding directly, and the other windoing through a 10uF capacitor. 3-ish phase. Well, the iFan03 doesn't have a run capacity. So i wired it in externally, that big yellow blob.
One minor downside (talked about elswhere online) about the iFan03, the dropper capacitors it uses are sized for 240V. Theoretically I should go find a pair of 2.5uF caps and replace the 5uF ones in it. Ostensibly it supports 4-speeds (2 caps, so 11 == no drop, 10 = some drop, 01 - some more drop, 00 == max drop). So dropping from the original 6 speed to 4 speed is a loss, but really its more like 2 speed now (turbo and non-turbo).
O well, it works, its on the MQTT bus and talkng to home assistant.

Good news this morning. Our shuttered office was visited by Kitchener's finest and aired out. That little fan you see, that's our doorway. And its doing its best to remove that lovely burning dumpster smell from our back porch.

I look forward to a return to work, where the floor is all dusty because the robot vacuum went on strike, and a delicate hint of burnt leavings in the air!

Everybody is freaked out. And, some freaks look to take advantage of that. Its a sad situation, taking advantage of people when they are down.

That's why I was happy to see that CIRA has made its Anti-phishing etc cybersecurity solution (businesses, municipalities, health institutions... those in need) available free of charge. You can check out the details here https://www.cira.ca/cybersecurity-services/protect-canada

Its been nearly 3 weeks since I closed the doors and sent my team home. Fortunately for us, from a technology standpoint, this was a non-issue, our remote access is perfect, Zero Trust, simple.

When I left, entrusted the office to one of the hardest working (and to be honest, not the smartest) team members. Yes that's right, the Shark IQ Robot. A few times a week it bumps and clunks around the office, removing dust and crumbs, self-emptying.

Every once in a while in the past it would get lost, stuck, or just give up in the middle of the room out of power, and would get rescued the next morning.

Well, last night the poor sad scrubber chirped out, its dropped its dust cup (code word for dirt bag) somewhere. O well, you poor sad robot, you'll have to wait.

I hope this is the worst of it for us, and for you.

Suddenly everyone is working and learning from home. Or not. Its creating a larger digital divide than we've ever seen.

Not all jobs can be done remotely. But for those that can, we have a sudden scramble to make sure everyone is adequately connected, driven by the corporate IT and home workers themself.

But learning can be done remotely. And it shows a bigger digital divide. Schools that don't have deployed systems. Students that don't have devices or connectivity. In other days we would have sent them to the library, now closed.

Some schools scramble and pick corporate tools like Zoom. But Zoom has a strange relationship with privacy and Facebook, you might not want to have an administrator accept data collection on behalf of those students. G Suite and chromebooks are the king. But managing all those students remotely is surely challenging.

Getting to connectivity, and the proposal. You see, most people have Internet at home. But most is not all. People have no (or insufficient) Internet for 3 basic reasons:

  • Don't want it
  • Can't get it
  • Can't afford it

Now, its hard to solve #1. You can educate, create incentives (e.g. making it obvious that online works better for some things), but there's only so much you can do.

But, on #2 and #3, we can do things with public policy. A few years ago the company I was with donated some mobile hotspots to a library, and I was surprised at how oversubscribed the service was. The appetite is there.

So what sort of public policy could we do? I'm a huge fan of the invisible hand: make the economics make sense, and the decisions follow.

About a year ago there was a battle over the regulated rate that telco's charged each other. You maybe have seen the CRTC, TekSavvy, Bell talked about. A CRTC ruling lowered the rates, TekSavvy celebrated. Bell sued, the Federal Court of appeals stayed the decision. The net result is that shortly the users on those services will have their price go up.

I'm sure a bunch of people are about to go argue with the federal court on some emergency measure here. But what if we didn't? What if instead we allowed that ruling to stay in place, but, on the proviso that 100% of the money collected was used to fund near-free fixed plans and mobile hot spots for eligible folks? How would you police that? Well, you could assess the number of subsidised connections made available by the incumbent vs the number of eligible people. Hit 100%? Get 100% of the cash. Hit 0%? Get none, pay some additional tax. Make it a carrot and a stick.

So rather than re-visit this decision about whether TekSavvy owes the incumbents more, and that you should pay, we accept it, but only allow the incumbents to collect it if they figure out how to market and deliver the some baseline service to the people needing it. That is why i suggested the downside (an additional tax) if they don't hit the market penetration.

What do you think? We need those students to be able to learn online. We can't fix people not wanting Internet, I can't fix people who can't work at home due to their job, but it seems we can fix the 'can't afford' and 'can't find' problem.