A former colleague of mine has launched a kickstarter for a water leak detector. Its designed for everyone, no skill needed, you just slap it on a pipe in your basement and away you go. Unlike a lot of these devices, you are not beholden to a cloud service that will orphan your investment, you can hook it up to your openHAB (or i’m sure homeassistant).

Got water? Don’t want to got leak? Checkout the kickstarter link. Maybe share w/ a friend or two, be good to see another Region of Waterloo IoT company come alive.

I once worked for a company that used regular expression matching (pattern matching) on network traffic. A big source of angst was the amount of “unknown traffic”, things which matched no patterns. Our sales team wanted this less. Our customers wanted it less. Our competitors had less. Why couldn’t we?

I used to answer this question as follows. “You know, I can put in one bad pattern, that mis-matches, a false positive. The amount of unknown will go down. Will that make it better? I can make 0% unknown right now.”. Interestingly, some would agree with the statement “sure, lets do that”. Some would say “don’t be ridiculous, I want 100% known, and 0% incorrect.”. I would answer the last question as “what if you made your own proprietary protocol, the license-plate protocol. You, and only you use it. The data in the stream is ciphered from your license plate. Would you expect a pattern for that?”. They would usually say no, I would then point out that 0% unknown as a false goal, the real goal was 0% incorrectly known and as much known as feasible. Still didn’t stop the competitor from using weak false positives to get to higher known amount.

Yesterday I received an email from the good people at Google. They are launching a new document leakage tool. It scans your shared documents for sensitive things (emails, medical, that sort of thing). Mine is below. Its alarming. 7% of my shared files contain sensitive information! O no!

But then I started reading… Its the same pattern match technology. I can guarantee my company deals with 0% “FDA Approved Prescription” information. We also have 0% IBAN and SWIFT and Credit Card Number.

Now, from the report there must be a way to find the offending documents, right? Wrong. You get a number: “9% of your documents shared have Global Gender Identity”. What does that even mean?

This is how you make data untrustworthy and less than useless. I spent time trying to figure out what the call to action was. Eventually I realised the call to action was to ignore: someone at Google has written a few bad regex. They’ve run them on my documents. They’ve shared the categories and counts, but not the links. Their false positive engine cost me time and adds nothing to the universe.

Sadly, I think there are people out there buying pattern engines for all sorts of things, and, pushing towards the false goal of 0% unknown. It must match, right? Wrong.

Earlier I wrote about my idea for Street Opera. The stories. Today someone came into our stairwell and left us a note. So street opera is now street poetry.

The lyrics of a song? The passphrase for a hard drive? Tattoo suggestions? Who knows.

But, our bottom stairwell now has art.

We’ve had our first big snowfall of the year already. But, its southern ontario, its november, it melted. So i held out. But now is the time, new brakes, new chain, swap tires. New tubes just in case (26×4).

This year I tried a bike stand. Now, these are a bit tricky to find in your heigher-weight-chunky-bike style. This one, rated for 30kg, w/ a 31kg bike. Hmm. Well, remove the battery, that’s 5kg, should bring us under the limit, right?

Well, sort of. That grip tends to twist on its mount, i think i’ll have to put a bolt in there (bike fell off on me!).

As for the tubes. It crazy to me that I can buy something and it comes with *no* english on the box. It shows a picture of a motorcycle, so, uh, at least its similar? Anyway, the tubes *stank* but were indeed 26×4.0″.

Is there anything messier than an old bike chain? So much grime and grease and bits of road gone by. Removed, power train soaped and scrubbed. new chain fitted.