Posts

Waking Up with IoT Lights

If you watched my github page, you know I like to integrate everything with the home automation platform home-assistant. Still, I find it really hard to make effective use of IoT devices in my home. Honestly speaking, I found exactly one practical use case of my WiFi-capable ceiling light, which is to turn on a few minutes before my phone alarm goes off.

Why should I care?

This might be a personal preference, but I feel being woken up by light is much more comfortable than by some alarm sound. However, this advantage is usually level out by the fact that setting up a light alarm and maintaining it is much more inconvenient than using the stock smartphone alarm. This is especially the case if you need to wake up at a different time each day.

What’s the idea?

The default Android Alarm app displays a notification, roughly 15-20 minutes before an upcoming alarm goes off. The core idea is to use this notification as a trigger to turn on a light. This way, without any additional configuration, you just need to set an alarm on your phone and the DIY “light alarm” will adjust automatically.

This idea may be transferred to a variety of applications and lights. As an example, I include a short tutorial on how to turn on a light using the android stock alarm app, the automation app Automate and Home-Assistant. The app Tasker might work just as well.

Encrypted WhatsApp Backups in 5m

*it might be more than 5 minutes, but is worth it anyways.

Why should I care?

I know you’re first reaction to this title. “Isn’t WhatsApp already E2E-encrypted and stuff?”. It is. That’s nice and all. But WhatsApp messages are also stored in backup files. Of these there are two types, local encrypted backups and cloud backups.

As long as your chats are stored in the default WhatsApp backup files, they are stored nice and safe. Since they are encrypted, only whoever has the key to these files may access your chat messages.

But here is the thing: Your chat messages are not only backed up in these encrypted files. WhatsApp also asks you to upload all messages a cloud service. On Apple that is iCloud. On Android it is Google Drive. And these backups are plain text, even the iCloud backups. That means any institution with access to the data stored at Google or Apple may easily read all your messages. This of course also includes Google and Apple themselves.