Blog Comments with Staticman

posted in Software Development by Martin on 08 June 2018

Despite not being good at responding to all Comments on my WordPress Blog (I blame the fact that I could never get the email notifications to work from WordPress), I had some good Comments on a number of my posts that I didn’t want to loose. The Jekyll WordPress migration tool copied all the Comments into the front-matter of each post, so it was easy enough to render them under each blog post. But the real issue was how do you allow people to post Comments with a static site?

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I ❤️ Jekyll

posted in Software Development by Martin on 27 May 2018

After a few years of neglect and paying Digital Ocean $5/month+tax for hosting by Wordpress site, I decided it was time for a change. I have been using the static website generator, Jekyll, at work to power a couple of websites and I just love it’s simplicity. Jekyll is also what powers GitHub Pages making it really simple to host really great looking blog totally for free on GitHub. There are plenty of examples of Jekyll sites and blogs hosted on GitHub Pages just a few clicks away on Google, but I thought I’d share some of the details of how I set up this site that I didn’t find elsewhere.

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Soil Moisture Sensor with Arduino, XBee and Node-Red

posted in Internet of Things by martin on 09 February 2015

IMG_0266I have planted some chilli seeds and I am supposed to keep them moist, only trouble is I am rubbish at remembering to water my plants. I bought three cheap soil moisture sensor kits off ebay and hooked them up to an Arduino. The Arduino has an XBee shield and sends messages to my Raspberry Pi over a Zigbee network. The Pi is running Node-Red on node.js. When the soil moisture goes above a certain threshold it sends a message via Prowl to my iPhone. 

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Fibre Optic Broadband Availability Tools

posted in Internet by martin on 13 March 2014

So what do you do if the BT's Broadband availability checker says that your exchange has been enabled for FTTC (Fibre to the cabinet), but your broadband provider says it is not available at your address? Dig a little deeper and look at whether you are connected directly to the exchange of via a cabinet.

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Pretty as a Pi-cture: Raspberry Pi Server in a Picture Frame Case (phase 1)

posted in Internet of Things by martin on 03 February 2014

A couple of years ago I watched hak.5's Darren build a case for his gaming rig out of a couple of IKEA picture frames. Ever since then I have been waiting for the right opportunity to do the same. A couple of months ago the motherboard failed in My Mini-ITX server so I thought I'd try replacing it with a Raspberry Pi. The Pi has been performing it's home automation duties perfectly ever since but I couldn't find a decent Raspberry Pi server case. And so the inspiration for this project began.

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Improvised ReadyNAS NV Power Supply

posted in Gadgets by martin on 25 December 2013

The power supply on my Infrant/Netgear ReadyNAS NV has died again. That's the third power supply in just over 7 years that has failed.

The ReadyNAS has mostly been great but the power supply really has been it's achilles heal. The RAID set up means that if a disk fails you can still get at your data and can simply swap out the failed disk for a new one. But when the power supply fails you are screwed. You can't get at your data and, since they use a proprietary wiring scheme, you can't just pop into you local PC store to buy a new one. Netgear will sell you a replacement, but they are really overpriced and it can take several days for shipping, assuming they even have them in stock.

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Howto fix a missing eth0 adapter after moving ubuntu server from one box to another

posted in Linux by martin on 12 December 2013

The SATA controller on my Mini-ITX server's mother board has died. To get the important files off the drive I hooked it up to another PC and booted into Linux. It seemed to boot up perfectly (try doing that with Windows!), except the network adapter wouldn't start. After a bit of Googling around I found this article.

A Simple edit of a config file and reboot and we were back in business.

It seems that this is more a Debian thing than specific to Ubuntu. Same problem can occur on a Raspberry Pi and the same fix works.

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Node-RED and XBee

posted in Internet of Things by martin on 26 September 2013

Node-RED XBeeI recently discovered a really interesting new Open Source project for integrating devices and services, it's called Node-RED. Sponsored by IBM, the project is built on node.js and describes itself as "A visual tool for wiring the Internet of Things". It combines a graphical design tool that runs in a web browser and a runtime execution engine. Devices and services are represented by "nodes" which are wired together using the design tool to create a "flow". Although a number of built-in nodes are provided there isn't one for integrating an XBee wireless network so I rolled up my sleeves and built one.

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Raspberry Pi Powered, Android Controlled, Tomcat Serviced, Remote Garage Door Opener

posted in Links by martin on 28 June 2013 The PI4J Project, Connecting Java to the Raspberry Pi

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Teensy 3.0, like Arduino but better

posted in Internet of Things by martin on 27 June 2013

20130627-225930.jpgI've been looking for a low cost and smaller footprint Arduino board to use with XBee. Teensy 3.0 is now officially my favourite Arduino board.

I had high hopes for DigiSpark but it doesn't have a serial UART and I wasn't able to get the software serial library to work with it. The need to have 5V to 3.3V logic conversion didn't help either. Then I stumbled upon Teensy, a range of really small Arduino compatible boards. The latest model is the Teensy 3.0, powered by a 32bit ARM Cortex-M4 processor. Unlike most other Arduino boards, the Teensy 3.0 runs at 3.3V not 5V. This makes it much simpler to connect the Teensy 3.0 to an XBee which also runs at 3.3V. It has more analog and digital IO pins than a regular Arduino and THREE hardware serial ports. The USB connection can also be used to send additional Serial messages to the Arduio IDE serial monitor, very useful for debugging XBee serial communication without the debug messages interfering with the XBee communication.

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