Entries tagged lighting

Related tags: automation, backups, camera-toys, finland, html, mysql, openid, osram lightify, photography, random, redis, spam, stolen-souls, toys.

Restoring my system .. worked

Saturday, 2 January 2016

A while back I wrote about some issues with converting a two-disk RAID system to a one-disk system, but just to recap:

  • We knew were were moving to Finland.
  • The shared/main computer we used in the UK was old and slow.
  • A new computer in Finland would be more expensive than it should be.
  • Equally transporting a big computer from the UK would also be silly.

In the end we bought a small form-factor PC, with only a single drive and I moved one of the two drives from the old machine into it. Then converted it to run happily with only a single drive, and not email every day to say "device missing".

So there things stood, we had a desktop with a single drive, and I ensured that I took full daily backup via attic.

Over Chrismas the two-year old drive failed. To the extent I couldn't even get it to be recognized by the BIOS, and thus couldn't pull data off it. Time to test my backups in anger! I bought a new drive, installed a minimal installation of the Jessie release of Debian onto the system, and then ran:

 cd /
 .. restore latest backup ..

Two days later I'd pulled 1.3Tb over the network, and once I fixed up grub, /etc/fstab, and a couple of niggles it all just worked. Rebooted to make sure the temporary.home hostname, etc, was all gone and life was good.

Restored backup! No errors! No data-loss! Perfect!

The backup-script I use every day was very very good at making sure nothing was missed:

attic create --stats --checkpoint-interval=7200 attic@${remote}:/attic/storage::${host}-$(date +%Y-%m-%d-%H)
  --exclude=/proc      \
  --exclude=/sys       \
  --exclude=/run       \
  --exclude=/dev       \
  --exclude=/tmp       \
  --exclude=/var/tmp   \
  --exclude=/var/log   \
  /

In other news I published my module for controlling the new smart lights I've bought

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I joined the internet of things.

Wednesday, 30 December 2015

In my old flat I had a couple of simple radio-controlled switches, which allowed me to toggle power to a pair of standing lamps - one at each side of the bed. This was very lazy, but also really handy and I've always been curious about automation..

When it comes to automation there seems to be three main flavours:

X10

The original standard, with stuff produced by many vendors and good Linux support.

X10 supports two ways of sending/receiving commands - over the electrical wiring, and over RF.

Z-Wave

This is the newcomer, which despite that seems to be well-supported and extensible. It allows "measurements" to be sent/received in addition to the broadcast of events like "switch on", and "switch off".

Other systems - often lighting-centric

There are toy-things like the previously noted power-controlling things, there are also stand-alone devices from people like Philips with their philips hue system, but given how Philips recently crippled their devices to disable third-party bulbs I've no desire to use them.

One company caught my eye though, Osram make a smart lightbulb and mini-hub to work with it.

So I bought one of the osram lightify systems, consisting of a magic box and a pair of lightbulbs. The box connects to your wifi, and gets an IP address. The IP address is then used by the application on your mobile phone (i.e. the magic box does the magic, not the bulbs). The phone application can be used to trigger "on", "off", "dim", "brighter", and the various colour-changing commands, as you would expect.

You absolutely must use the phone-based application to do the setup, but after that the whole point was that I could automate things. I wanted to be able to setup my desktop computer to schedule events, and started hacking.

I've written a simple Perl module to let me discover bulbs, and turn them off and on. No doubt it'll be on CPAN in the near future, once I can pick a suitable name for it:

$ ol --bridge=192.168.10.136 --list
hall       MAC:8418260000d9c70c RGBW:255,255,255,255 STATE:On
kitchen    MAC:8418260000cb433b RGBW:255,255,255,255 STATE:On

$ ol --bridge=192.168.10.136 --off=kitchen

$ ol --bridge=192.168.10.136 --list
hall       MAC:8418260000d9c70c RGBW:255,255,255,255 STATE:On
kitchen    MAC:8418260000cb433b RGBW:255,255,255,255 STATE:Off

The only niggle was the fiddly pairing, and the lack of any decent documentation. The code I wrote was loosely based on the python project python-lightify written by Mikael Magnusson. Also worth noting that the bridge/magic-box only exposes a single port so you can find the device on your VLAN by nmapping for port 4000:

$ nmap -v 192.168.10.0/24 -p 4000

The device doesn't seem to allow any network setup at all - it only uses DHCP. So you might want to make sure it gets assigned a stable IP.

Anyway I'm going to bed. When I do so I'll turn the lights off with my mobile phone. Neat.

In the future I will look at more complex automation, and I think Z-wave is the way I'll go. Right now I'm in a rented flat so replacing wall-switches, etc, is something I can't do. But the systems I've looked at seem neat, and this current setup will keep me amused for several months!

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Goodbye mysql ..

Tuesday, 22 November 2011

Yesterday evening I updated my server to remove MySQL:

steve:~# dpkg --purge mysql-client-5.1 \
                      mysql-common     \
                      mysql-server-5.1 \
                      mysql-server-core-5.1 \
                      python-mysqldb        \
                      libdbd-mysql-perl     \
                      libdatetime-format-mysql-perl

Until last month I had two database in use, one each for a pair of web-applications. As of now one is using redis - which I'm already using for my image hosting - and the other application is using SQLite.

Until recently I had a high opinion of SQLite, although that has now been downgraded a little, it is still a thoroughly excellent piece of software. I was just surprised at little things it was missing, to the extent I had to rewrite my applications SQL.

Still one less service is a good thing, and the migration wasn't so painful..

In more productive news I recently acquired a nice external flash - the Yongnuo YN-460 II is (very) cheap and cheerful, it can be fired remotely with my triggers so I've had a lot of fun with opportunistically taking pictures and experimenting with lighting.

Most of the results are NSFW, but there are some other examples lurking around including the first time I managed to successfully capture a falling water-drop. (Not the best picture, not the most explicit effect, but fun regardless. I both can and will do better next time!)

Somebody recently asked me to write about "camera stuff under linux" and happily I declined.

Why decline? Because there are so many good tools, applications, and utilities. (I use local tools for organisation and duplicate detection, rawtherapee for RAW conversion and GIMP for touchups). Having many available options is fantastic though, and something hard to appreciate for "newcomers" to Linux.

(Yeah I waited 90 seconds - if I remembered to add -nojava - for Netscape Navigator to start, under X10, with 8Mb of RAM. Happier days are here. Sure DRM is bad, secure boot .. an open question, but damn we have it good compared to almost any previous point in time!)

ObQuote: "Yeah, obviously it is only a tactical party. I'm only having a party to eventually get sex." - Peep Show

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This week I've mostly been playing with light

Monday, 22 November 2010

This week I've mostly been experimenting with lighting, most obviously in this silhouette - but also in a clubbing environment.

Lighting in clubs is an interesting problem, because in general they are dark and the lighting which is present is usually unhelpfully tinted.

Anyway minor problems with white-balance aside this past weekend was a lot of fun - although the Roller Derby match ended in a disappointing lost bout for the Auld Reekie Roller Girls

ObQuote: "He'd offer me his blood if he wasn't in a coma." - Thirst (2002)

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You like playing rough, huh?

Monday, 29 September 2008

According to my small business advisor it is possible to advertise your company, service, or product on the internet.

Who knows what gem of advice they'll offer next?

In unrelated news all mail delivered to me personally in HTML-only format(s) will be dropped. I've given up being patient.

Finally OpenID - what a pain it is to implement! I've fought with it over the weekend, in amongst rewiring my lighting. Setting up a Perl script to authenticate to an OpenID server is just gnarly. (I now have motion-sensitive lighting in my bathroom, which my kitten loves, and radio controlled lighting in the bedroom. Lazyness is ..)

ObQuote: Resident Evil Extinction

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