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February 15, 2019

HA Bridge on Armbian Working with Domoticz and Alexa

As I speculated, HA Bridge does a very good acting as a proxy between Amazon Alexa and IoT devices defined in Domoticz. And installation was a snap [...more]

February 9, 2019 (updated Feb. 11)

ir-keytable on the Orange Pi Zero

While LIRC could be useful for some, many will just want to use an IR remote control with software designed for that purpose such as Kodi. In that case, LIRC will not be needed if the remote control uses one of the following IR protocols: rc-5, rc-5-sz, jvc, sony, nec, sanyo, mce_kbd, rc-6, sharp, and xmp. The ir-keytable utility contains over 130 remote control definitions and can be used to craft one if the IR remote is not among that list [...more]

February 5, 2019

LIRC on the Orange Pi Zero

To quote lirc.org "Using lirc on Raspberry Pie [sic] is quite popular these days." Being a self-style contrarian I installed the package on the Orange Pi Zero. I managed to get simple demonstration programs working with it. [...more]

February 3, 2019

Using Bare Metal IR on the Orange Pi Zero

The note shows the basics about handling button presses from an infrared remote control using the python-evdev package and the built in kernel support for IR events on an Orange Pi Zero. Neither LIRC (Linux Infrared Remote Control) nor ir-keytable is used [...more]

January 31, 2019

Creating a Custom Armbian Image

Lately, I'm using an Orange Pi Zero for new projects. This means burning the OS image on a microSD card and then performing a number of initial steps, setting up networks, upgrading all installed packages and so on, that need to be repeated in exactly the same way each time a new image is used. All this takes time. So I decided to create a custom binary image that avoids these steps [...more]

January 30, 2019

Using HA Bridge with the Echo Dot 3rd Generation

This is a second look at the Amazon Echo Dot 3rd generation with emphasis on using it with HA Bridge on an Orange Pi Zero for local control of IoT devices. This is not a detailed explanation but a reassurance that devices installed in the bridge will be discovered with the 3rd generation Echo Dot [...more]

January 28, 2019

A Note on BlueAlsa 0.9 with BlueZ 5.49 and 5.50 on Rasbian Stretch

This is a continuation of the previous note on Bluetooth on the November 2018 version of Raspbian Stretch in which the default version of BlueZ is replaced with version 5.49 and later version 5.50. There is not much difference between these three versions of Bluetooth protocol stack at least for audio streaming [...more]

January 26, 2019

A Note on BlueAlsa 0.9 with BlueZ 5.43 on Rasbian Stretch

This is a short note reporting some changes encountered with the newest version of BlueAlsa when used with BlueZ version 5.43 with the latest version of Raspbian Stretch [...more]

January 24, 2019

Creating a custom image of Raspbian

Lately, I have experimented a lot with the new version of Raspbian Stretch Lite, trying different configurations and software. To check that everything works, I prefer to return to the operating system as obtained from the Raspberry Foundation. Whenever the image is copied to the SD card, the /boot partition must be changed in order to start the Raspberry Pi without a keyboard or monitor. Then the operating system has to be upgraded. All this takes time. So I decided to create a binary image that avoids these steps [...more (in French)]

January 22, 2019

Installing an Older Version of Lighttpd

This post shows how to install version 1.4.35 of the Lighttp web server in Rasbian Stretch. It then becomes possible to route the video stream obtained from MJPG-Streamer as could be done in Jessie. The problem with version 1.4.45 of Lighttpd is also better identified though no solution is offered [...more]

January 20, 2019

Updating Raspbian to Stretch

The original post has been corrected. Some changes were minor but it was wrong to state that the latest version of Mosquitto could not be installed. It was a good opportunity to make clearer how to connect the real-time clock and temperature and humidity sensor without having to refer to older out of date posts [...more]

January 16, 2019

New Hardware (Episode 2): IP Camera, Itead Sonoff Goodies, and Amazon Echo Dot

How can I get on with software experiments and updates when new hardware keeps on arriving? In this second "mailbag" post without a video stream, I will present my first impressions of a cheap wireless IP camera, the 3-pole Itead Sonoff T1 wall switch, the new version of the Itead Sonoff Basic and the 3rd generation Amazon Echo Dot [...more]

January 14, 2019

Updates

The post entitled All does not always work has been updated and translated into English. I added an item about the automatic update of the home automation IP address at FreeDNS. I also added an explanation for my problems with using the Arduino IDE to compile TASMOTA.

Information about installing and using K3b to burn a CD/DVD/Blu-Ray disk has been added to Installing Ubuntu 18.04.1, Additions and Adjustements. This post is in French only.

January 10, 2019

Updating Raspbian to Stretch

The New Year seemed like a good time to tackle once again the task of updating the Raspbian operating system on my Raspberry Pi hosting my home automation server. This is but another of my series of posts on setting up a Raspberry Pi so it would be of interest mostly to new fans of small single-board computers. I did manage to do a truly headless installation, and I did resolve some little problems which may be of general interest [...more]

December 16, 2018

Three Small Projects Based on the ESP8266

Here are three projects under development that work on the home Wi-Fi network: a touch-controlled lamp, a Wi-Fi temperature sensor, and a weather data display. The first two are connected to home automation software, Domoticz, the latter could be in the future [...more (in French)]

December 12, 2018

All does not always work

By way of proof that I am far from being an expert in the field, here are some projects that have not succeeded as expected [...more]

October 30, 2018

Install Free Pascal and Lazarus on Linux with FPCUPdeluxe

This is a rewrite of the August 17, 2018 post named Installing Free Pascal and Lazarus with fpcupdeluxe on Ubuntu 18.04. I followed the instructions in that initial post but the Free Pascal compiler and Lazarus IDE would not install on a fresh Mint 19 distribution. It turns out that my initial instructions left out some requirements that needed to be installed. These were present when I first used FPCUPdeluxe because of previous installations [...more]

October 9, 2018

Qwant Search Engine

I added a fourth search engine to search my entire website. Qwant, like DuckDuckGo, promises to keep no information about the searches made. The site uses an unusual URL syntax to limit searches to a particular website. I decided to use an approach other than the one recommended to do this local searches. [...more (in French)]

The translation into English of the post entitled More Weather API is now completed.

October 6, 2018

3 Year Anniversary

This site has been up for about three years. The site has grown in that time. It now contains 755 files of which 119 are English-language Web pages and 66 are in French. The rest of the files are images (about 420), archives (37), python and bash scripts (29), and other source code.

I know it's the 3rd anniversary because the Web hosting provider has recently sent me a bill to renew the service for another three years. Even if the cost has almost doubled, I will in all probability go ahead and renew, in part because the number of "unique" visitors has been steadily climbing (over 12,000 per month) and in part there is the occasional positive feedback which is very gratifying. Sometimes I get to directly help others who send in e-mails. I must admit that some overestimate the depth of my knowledge; they must be disappointed that I cannot provide the solution to their problem. On the other hand, it is great to see that most do find the answer on their own after the exchange of a few e-mails. It reminds me of the best part of being a teacher in a former life.

Today, I have added a fourth search engine that can be used to search through the web site. Qwant [b]ased and designed in Europe,[...] is the first search engine which protects its users freedoms and ensures that the digital ecosystem remains healthy. Our keywords: privacy and neutrality. I am not too sure how different this search engine is from DuckDuckGo where you can ... take back your privacy! No tracking, no ad targeting, just searching. Both can be viewed as alternatives to mainstream search engines for those worried about their privacy... although this site does not contain anything remotely controversial.

Qwant uses an unusual URL syntax to limit searches to a particular web site which makes it impossible, as far as I know, to submit a typical HTML form to launch a search. I didn't use the recommended work around; I will explain what I did in a future post but it is easy enough to figure out by looking at the source code of this page. Both the recommended work around and my method require JavaScript. If the latter should not be enabled, then only the DuckDuckGo search button will work.

September 29, 2018

More Weather API

In February, I found out how to recover weather conditions and forecasts from Yahoo Weather with a program written in Pascal. I decided to extend my exploration to other suppliers: Apixu, Dark Sky, MET Norway, OpenWeatherMap et Weatherbit.io [...more]

September 3, 2018

ESP8266/Arduino Core version 2.4.2 and WPS

Support for ESP8266 Wi-Fi connection with Wi-Fi Protected Setup (WPS) is not available in the current version of the ESP8266/Arduino core (version 2.4.2). However, it can be included by generating a new ESP8266 card definition file [...more]

September 1, 2018

Installing Ubuntu 18.04.1, Additions and Adjustements

This post is a continuation of the discussion about switching to the latest LTS version of Ubuntu. Two major applications are added to the distribution: Virtual Box and the Arduino integrated development environment. I have also added Timeshift which backups the system at regular intervals. Other less important topics discussed are the removal of the annoying emoji icons in Thunderbird and the addition of the Microsoft's core fonts [...more (in French)]

August 17, 2018

Installing Free Pascal and Lazarus with fpcupdeluxe on Ubuntu 18.04

Lately, I installed the newest (svn trunk) versions of the Free Pascal compiler and the Lazarus IDE from scratch with the fpcupdeluxe tool on a fresh Ubuntu 18.04.1 desktop. There was a slight complication associated with OpenGL libraries. But after much, self inflicted, tribulations everything seems to be working as expected. [...more]

I renamed the February post about Free Pascal / Lazarus on Ubuntu 17.10 to better differentiate the two posts.

August 13, 2018

Installing Ubuntu 18.04.1

This long post is composed of my notes for future reference that describe the installation of Ubuntu 18.04.1 on an empty hard drive. I preferred to install the new version of Ubuntu rather than update version 17.10 used since November 2017. [...more (in French)]

August 4, 2018

New version of Domoticz

A new version of the home automation server Domoticz (version 4.9700) has been available for a few weeks. This version in now compatible with Raspbian Stretch (version: June 2018, kernel: 4.14).

However, I ran into problems with the secure connection of the video stream as described in the post entitled Secure Webcam streaming with MJPG-Streamer on a Raspberry Pi. For some reason, I can get snapshots through the secure lighttpd proxy server but not the video stream. If I ever solve this mystery, I will update the post.

June 24, 2018
Update: June 27, 2018

A Third ESP8266 Watchdog, Final Version

At last, the final version of the loop watchdog is available as a library that can be loaded into the Arduino IDE. This version only works with the real-time clock RAM of the ESP8266. [...more]

June 12, 2018

Automatic Recovery from a Cycle of ESP8266 Restarts

This post, a continuation of the one of June 9, proposes a strategy for breaking out of a cycle of restarts caused by an exception or the action one of the ESP8266 watchdogs. Assuming it's the consequence of a programming error, it proposes an automatic over the air download of an earlier version of the ESP firmware. [...more (in French)]

June 9, 2018

A Third ESP8266 Watchdog, Simplified Version

Rather than translate the three English language posts about ESP8266 watchdog timers that date from August and September of last year, I decided to rewrite them in French hoping to stumble into a clearer presentation and producing simpler code. In this post, a simplified version of a third watchdog created to detect when the main loop of an Arduino sketch is no longer executed is presented. [...more (in French)]

June 5, 2018

A Better ESP8266 Loop Watchdog with Better Recovery UPDATE

While working on an ESP8266 project, I was disappointed with my loop watchdog. It did not report the name of the "module" in which the watchdog was biting. The cause of the error was difficule to ascertain. Hopefully the problem has now been found. The corrected archive is now named lwdt_full_example_0206.zip.

Looking over the code, I decided there was room for improvement... of course. I have rewritten the version that works with RTC memory, I have yet to try the revision with EEPROM memory. And of course, I will have to test thoroughly. [...more]

May 25, 2018

Blinking a LED, an Arduino Library

This is my second Arduino library that takes care of the minutia of flashing a LED. It's a blinky! Obviously, there is nothing much to it, I just wanted a reusable module that had some flexibility yet was simple to use. [...more]

May 23, 2018

Detecting Multiple Button Clicks in an Arduino Sketch

The Sonoff (an ESP8266 device often mentioned here) has one user input: a push button. I needed a routine to return the number of times the push button was pressed in quick succession or to indicate that the button had been pressed for a long time. With help from expert artcles found on the Internet, I implemented an Arduino library that meets my need and seems to work with all boards. [...more]

May 16, 2018

Internet Radio Player based on MOC

Presenting an internet radio player for Linux based on the Music On Console player. It is a test bed for an Internet radio player to be built around a Raspberry Pi to be connected to an older sound system. The source code is available. The application written with Lazarus, the open source Free Pascal RAD IDE. [...more]

May 14, 2018

Bluetooth Audio with Rasbian Stretch on the Raspberry Pi 3

This is a second take on connecting a Bluetooth speaker to the Raspberry Pi 3 running under Raspbian Stretch (based on Debian 9). In this version, the somewhat more radical route of updating BlueZ is used. This post also goes on to show how the Raspberry Pi 3 can be a used as a Bluetooth speaker playing sound emanating from another Bluetooth enable device. [...more]

May 8, 2018

Music on Console, ALSA, and Bluetooth on Raspbian Stretch

Installing Music On Console (MOC) on a Raspberry Pi 3 running with Raspbian Stretch was just as simple as it had been when I installed it on an Orange Pi Zero with Armbian a few weeks ago. However things got complicated when I tried to send the sound out to a Bluetooth speaker [...more]

April 11, 2018
Update: April 23, 2018

Secure Webcam streaming with MJPG-Streamer on a Raspberry Pi

I have just finished translating the April 11 post to French. As often occurs when there is a fair amount of time before I undertake a translation, I actually modified the content a little bit. This reflects the experience I have gained in streaming the webcam. The English version is now updated.

Using MJPG-Streamer it is possible to stream video from a webcam connected to a single core Raspberry Pi B+ that is also running my home automation server and an mqtt broker. Furthermore, using a web server on the same Raspberry Pi, the video stream can be encoded and served over an HTTPS connection. [...more]

April 9, 2018

CSS float and clear attributes and clearfix

In HTML, floating areas in a <div> type block do not change the size of the block. This can result in a local alignment problem. There are more or less well-known solutions, this is about some of them [...more]

April 6, 2018

Using Multiple Search Engines From A Single HTML Form

Just two days ago, I removed the search bar from the top of every page on this site. I wanted to have more than one search engine but I did not have a compact way to do it. Then I thought of an input box for the search words followed by three buttons for each of the search engines [...more]

April 4, 2018

Housekeeping

Kyle Fleming found two errors in the posts on ESP8266 watchdogs. Because his suggested corrections were spot on, it was not hard fix the posts. Kyle co-founded Black Prism. Those interested in the interface of decorative arts and technology should visit the site.

The search box is gone from the top of all pages. Instead, there are three search boxes (DuckDuckGo, Google and Bing) on the one page, previously titled Archives but now renamed Archives and Search. It dawned on me that I don't use Google Search by default on my main browser. Why then was I foisting one particular engine on the readers who wanted to search my site?

DuckDuckGo does not offer the ability to embed the search result in a frame on the site as was the case with the Google search box that I was using before. So, for the sake of symmetry, the search results will be displayed in a new browser tab or a new browser window no matter which engine is used.

The November 6, 2017 post on Google Assistant on an Orange Pi Zero running DietPi is out of date. I added a warning to that effect. Google Assistant is a moving target; it is not easy to be on the leading edge.

March 31, 2018

Google Assistant with snowboy Hotword Recognition (circa March 2018)

With a seeed studio ReSpeaker 2-Mics Pi HAT, it becomes possible to move my voice recognition project over to a Raspberry Pi 3. Hotword recognition will be done with snowboy from KITT.AI. The good news is that the ReSpeaker HAT seems to work well. The bad news is that there is now some sort of incompatibility between snowboy and Google Assistant Service [...more]

March 26, 2018

Missing Archives

Some readers have been sending emails about missing downloads. I didn't think much about because it only involved one zip file. I just uploaded the file again and tested to verify that it was there. Everything seemed fine and I answered the emails saying that the file was available.

On a hunch today, I checked and was mildly annoyed that the file was no longer available. I was rather surprised when I realised that every zip file was gone from the server. What is going on?

I have uploaded hopefully all the missing archives. And I will check tomorrow and later to see if they are still there. In the meantime my apologies to all that have been and may yet be inconvenienced by this.

March 24, 2018

Correction, Winter Storm and Announcement

The previous post has been corrected because I had not correctly report the linguistic abilities of googlesamples-assistant-pushtotalkcode>. They are the same as is google-assistant-demo at least for English and French.

The fourth snowstorm in March arrived with the chronological beginning of spring. If I mention it here it is because it caused a power failure that damaged the SD card of the Raspberry Pi hosting the home automation system. Since then, one of the Sonoff switches no longer communicates with the local network, no matter the recovery manoeuvres attempted. I had to rebuild the operating system. Did you know that Domoticz et Raspbian (Stretch) are incompatible? It's time for me to look at three things: transferring the file system to a USB drive, installing watchdogs for the Raspberry Pi, and adding an uninterruptible power supply (UPS). There may be future posts on these topics.

Soon there will be a post on the use of snowboy, voice recognition, and Google Assistant with the ReSpeaker 2-Mics HAT.

March 13, 2018

New Hardware: Micro SD Cards, ReSpeaker 2-Mics Pi HAT and Xiaomi 3G Router

This post is just like a ubiquitous YouTube "mailbag" video only without a video feed and without a sound track. In the space of a few days, I have received, from far, far away, five 8G micro SD cards, two ReSpeaker 2-Mics Pi HATs and a Xiaomi Mi WiFi 3G router [...more]

March 2, 2018

The cthreads Unit in Linux (Free Pascal)

Pursuant to the previous post, this is another short note about enabling threads in Free Pascal programs for the Unix/Linux environment. [...more]

February 24, 2018

Running a Process in a Thread (Free Pascal)

Another Free Pascal short note about running a process in a thread. In it I show how the aplay utility can be launched to play a wav file in a thread so that the application GUI remains responsive and it becomes possible to stop aplay at any time [...more]

February 23, 2018

Updating Free Pascal and Lazarus with fcpupdeluxe on Ubuntu 17.10

This is just a short note about using FCPUpdeluxe to upgrade or install the Free Pascal Compiler and Lazarus IDE and LCL on a Linux system. I assume that it would be mostly the same on a Windows system. [...more]

February 17, 2018

The Yahoo! Weather API with Free Pascal

Mea culpa for a very local solution to getting weather reports in a previous post which would have been of interest to only a few. Here is a solution using Yahoo! YQL queries with a potentially wider audiance [...more]

February 7, 2018

Music on Console with Armbian on an Orange Pi Zero

This post is all about using the Music on Console (MOC) audio player on an Orange Pi Zero running Armbian. In other words it is a continuation of the previous post wherein MOC replaces the Music Player Daemon (MPD) which could not quite handle some streams running at higher bit rates. [...more]

February 2, 2018

Spoken Weather Forecasts and Internet Radio on the Orange Pi Zero with Armbian

These last few days I have been improving my home automation assistant based on experience gained from using the Google Home Mini. While not at all anticipated, the latter's ability to play radio stations has proved useful. It has also been helpful to get weather information with Google Home. Accordingly I wanted to add similar capabilities to my DIY project running on the Orange Pi Zero [...more]

January 18, 2018

Voice Recognition on the Orange Pi Zero (DietPi Armbian)

I installed two Python libraries for voice recognition on an Orange Pi Zero running DietPi. The libraries are the hotword recognition engine snowboy from KITT.AI and the excellent SpeechRecognition library by Anthony Zhang (Uberi). It provides a uniform Python interface to many speech recognition engines. I have tested with two online services: Google Speech Recognition and Microsoft Bing Voice Recognition as well as with the off line engine Pocket Sphynx from Carnegie Mellon University. I wrote this back at the end of November, I don't recall the reason I delayed putting it up. [...more]

January 18, 2018

Google Home Mini with Domoticz using IFTTT

I have finished translating the corrected post on the use of the Google Home Mini as a home automation voice assistant. The original text was published a week ago and considerably modified since then to remove a bad suggestion on my part that compromised the security of the home automation system. [...more]

January 15, 2018

Installing the Brother DCP-7040 Scanner in Ubuntu 17.10

This is a happy day! I finally managed to get the scanner of the Brother DCP-7040 working in Ubuntu 17.10. [...more]

January 10, 2018

Google Home Mini with Domoticz using IFTTT

Taking advantage of a half price sale before the holidays, I bought the Google Home Mini. Unfortunately, Google Home no longer supports Sonoff switches programmed with Theo Arends' Tasmota firmware. On the other hand, it is possible to create applets with IFTTT to send HTML requests to the Domoticz server and thus control home automation devices with voice commands [...more]

January 2, 2018

Removing Nuisance Messages in Raspberry Pi Syslog

This is a short follow up on a previous blog about using a Raspberry Pi as a remote log server. Using information posted by knowledgeable persons, I removed the source of what turned out to be spurious error messages that were filling up the log... [...more]

December 14, 2017

Python 3 virtual environments

As I have been trying to learn Python by dabbling with voice recognition and home automation project, it has become obvious that I had to familiarize myself with virtual Python environments. The principle is not difficult, but I ran into practical problems. This post, more than two weeks in the writing, describes how I now manage and use virtual environments on three different Debian based Linux distributions. [...more]

December 4, 2017

Baby Bluetooth Steps on Raspberry Pi 3 - Raspbian (Stretch)

A chance meeting with cheap Bluetooth portable speakers with hands free capabilities led to a grand scheme to use them to talk to vocal assistants with the help of a Raspberry Pi 3. Before going ahead with the project, I had to learn the basics of using Bluetooth in Raspbian (Stretch). Here is a description of my first steps in this arcane world. [...more]

This page lists posts published on all subjects in the last year. The Programming and Home Automation pages are commented indexes of posts going back two years limited to their respective subject. Archives contains links to all the pages published on this site. It is also possible to do a searches limited to the content of this site with the search box at the top of all pages.