Use your Debian System with as an iBeacon for Home Automation

I have been using the Home-Assistant application at home to experiment with Home Automation.

One thing I’ve found is that the Raspberry Pi is perfect for a few of the monitoring things that I wanted it to do (see also https://github.com/JonTheNiceGuy/home-assistant-configs for more details of what I’m doing there!).

I’m using the OwnTracks application to talk to an MQTT server, but I could also do with it knowing where I am in the house, so I looked around for some details on iBeacons.

iBeacon is an Apple standard, but it’s very easy to configure on Linux systems. I took some pointers from this article and wrote up a script to turn on the iBeacon on my Raspbian Raspberry Pi 3.

Configuring the Script

When you first run it as root, it will pre-populate a config file in /etc/iBeacon.conf. Edit it and run the script again.

Running the script

This script needs to be run as root, so to test it, or to reconfigure the beacon, run sudo /root/iBeacon.sh (or wherever you put it!)

Making it persistent

To be honest, at this point, I’d probably just stick this into my root Crontab file by adding this line:

@reboot /root/iBeacon.sh | logger

Again, replace /root/iBeacon.sh with wherever you put it!

Please visit this link to see the script and make suggestions on improvements.

One to read: “Don’t build private clouds”

I’m catching up on the fabulous Devops Weekly mailing list, so some of these blog posts might be relatively old. The first post I’m picking out as interesting is Don’t build private clouds.

This post is interesting, because the role I’ve *literally* just accepted relates to building Private Cloud infrastructure, so… yehr. That was a great indicator :)

That said, the firm I work for falls solidly in the realms of “Actually, might be useful for you to build your own private cloud” so, not that bad really :D

And if you’re not in the range of people who the article claims should be building your own private cloud, give me a shout, and I’ll point you at some pre-sales people for building with *our* private cloud platform!

One to listen to: “CodeNewbie Podcast Episode 116 – Diversity in Tech – Part I (Ashe Dryden)”

Today’s recommended podcast listening is from the CodeNewbie podcast, and this episode is about trying to level the playing field for any minority group looking to get into technology. It also discusses how focusing on the “next generation” of [Required Group Of People] is the wrong way to do it, and just pushes back the problem by 10+ years (until *they* get out of school and find there are no jobs for them either!)

The subject of the interview is Ashe Dryden, a woman who, among other things is a diversity consultant and organiser of AlterConf, a conference about Diversity.

As a conference organiser in tech, I’m keen to keep a close eye on how to do things better, and this interview really opened my eyes into how you *can* do better at organising conferences, and I’ll be taking as much of what I can from this interview to do my next conference better.

One to listen to: “Software Engineering Radio Episode 275: Josh Doody on Salary Negotiation for Software Engineers”

Today we have a podcast about negotiating salary from the IEEE Software Engineering Magazine. The episode is “Software Engineering Radio Episode 275: Josh Doody on Salary Negotiation for Software Engineers” and mentions that you don’t need to offer your current salary to prospective employers, nor do you need to tell them what salary you want – let them offer you a figure, which gives you the power to negotiate.

Clearly, these are some things I should have learned from when I was applying for my earlier jobs! If you’re looking for a new job, or just looking to maximise your next pay rise, take a listen to this show!

One to listen to: “Magic: The Gathering – Drive to Work Podcast #375 – 20 Lessons: Details Matter”

In something of a new concept for me, if I come across a link to a podcast episode that I think has useful content, I’ll link to it here.

In this case, this is the “Magic: The Gathering – Drive to Work podcast“, episode 375 (audio link).

Mark Rosewater, one of the designers of the popular game, explains a little something about the game, whether it’s the design of a card, or a set, or a mechanic, or …. well, any feature of the game really, and he does it twice a week, in the car, on his way to (or from) work.

In this episode, he details about why “Details Matter”, and basically it comes down to a sense of ownership that each little detail on a tiny piece of card, and how that can connect with a player and encourage them to keep playing.

Even if you don’t play Magic, this podcast (like many that I listen to) covers a facet of life that is generally under considered, and in this case, it has turned up something new to include in each design I bring forward from here on out.

Podcast Summary – Ubuntu Podcase S09E37 and S09E38

I was very fortunate to have been invited to guest present on the Ubuntu Podcast, for the episodes S09E37 and S09E38.

I recorded the show on my normal laptop, with a specially built Ubuntu Mate 16.10 image, which just included the show’s recording tools (Mumble, Voice Recorded, Gobby)

Due to some issues with my local recording, the audio used in the podcast was from the Mumble recording, rather than the local recording I made.

I’m generally happy with the recording, although I could have done with reading the content in more depth before the show, but, as it happened on a work night, I didn’t really make the time to research properly.

It was an absolute pleasure to record the show, and I’ve offered to guest present again in the future, if they’ll have me!

Using Expect to SFTP a file

Because of technical limitations on a pair of platforms I’m using at work, I am unable to set-up key-based SFTP or SCP to transfer files between the pair of them, so I knocked together this short script using the TCL based Expect language.

There’s no error checking here, which isn’t great, but as a quick-and-dirty script to SFTP files to a box which needs the password each run… it works! :)