If you follow my microblog that I named Thoughts, you may have noticed that I added rich link previews. I found myself taking screenshots of links that I'd post and that is just a silly duplication of work which means it's time to write some software.
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When I originally built Thoughts, I only supported images as attachments. I used the accept parameter of the file input tag in the posting interface to prevent myself from trying to attach anything other than images, leaving the pipeline simply unimplemented. This made it easy to add.
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I currently have a handful of containerized apps that I maintain in a shared repository and a few more that are in their own repositories. I wanted to be able to trigger builds of all my container projects from a single post-receive hook so I leaned on the work I did previously cleaning up my git hooks and created a script that will look in the root of the repository for a Dockerfile and if it finds one will launch a builder container using the same python script that I wrote about previously.
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It turns out that describing my new Thoughts system has turned into a three part series. You probably want to go back and read the previous two articles before reading this one.
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Ages ago I built
a FlightAware ADS-B feeder on a
Raspberry Pi Model B Rev 1.
To this day it is still running and happily feeding data to both
FlightAware and FlightRadar24. Earlier this
year I even built another feeder for the
UAT variant. Well FlightAware finally
released support for
Raspbian (Debian) 10.0 (Buster)
so I decided that it was time to upgrade. At first I started down the path of
simply making a new manifest for Puppet which readers of
this blog might recognize as my preferred configuration management utility.
Well the two feeders I have are both rather under-powered and have pretty small
memories. Since the SDR decoding process takes up so much CPU time and memory
is already very thin running the Puppet agent just didn't make a lot of sense. It turns
out that "look at Ansible again" has been sitting
around aging nicely in my
~/TODO so I figured why not.
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Being sequestered in the house for the last month and a bit has given me
(as I am sure it has most of us) an opportunity to go through the old
~/TODO list. One of the things that has been aging on there has been
to finally explore "Serverless Computing" (whomever coined that phrase
has forgotten the face of their father). When evaluating the various
options available I decided to look at
for a variety of reasons. Firstly of the big three, I find Microsoft the
least distasteful. Their business model isn't 'harvest everyone's data and
sell it while also sometimes doing other things', instead they are an old
world corporation who seems to basically have a go-to-market strategy of
exchange goods and services for money. Secondly when I first started
looking into this they were the only provider to support
Python which is my preferred language.
I did also look at Cloudflare Workers briefly as running functions at the edge
makes a lot more sense to me than running them in a central datacenter but
the lack of Python support and the lack of a couple other features (more
on that as I talk about requirements) meant I'd need to incorporate their
technology with something else which isn't what I was looking to do.
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A while back I began working on replacing MRTG and RRDtool. I have written about the major parts of this previously, but the one feature of RRDtool that I needed to support was the summarization and retention policies. The RRDtool database will automatically consolidate and roll off values stored based on the definitions setup when the database is created. This is used by MRTG to generate the 'Daily' graph with a 5 minute average, the 'Weekly' graph with a 30 minute average, the 'Monthly' graph with a 2 hour average and the 'Yearly' graph with a daily average.
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Ubiquiti's UniFi platform has the ability to run scheduled speed tests to keep an eye on your ISP's throughput from their USG router at a site. I discovered this back when I finished converting the network at the office over to UniFi and have been wanting to replicate this functionality at my other locations where I use OpenBSD routers. Currently I aggregate the data from those devices into my new Grafana-based monitoring platform which I wanted to continue to use so I could have a consolidated view into the infrastructure.
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Edited: August 13, 2019 @15:00
I own my own cable modem and have for the past 10 or so years. At first it was to save on the rental fee for the garbage equipment the local cable company supplied, but since they have stopped charging that it became more of a control thing. I have no need for the garbage router or wifi access point that they supply. I used to work for an ISP and so I'm well aware of the quality and support these devices receive. (Fun fact, the average cost per unit target when I was in the business for a residential CPE device (customer premise equipment) was between US $3 and US $8. For business devices it went up to a whopping US $25 or so...) I also prefer greatly the features and power that my OpenBSD routers give me and I've written more than a few posts about the various UniFi devices I've scattered around to provide WiFi. A few months ago the old Motorola/Arris SurfBoard 6141 I've had started playing up. It needed rebooting periodically to maintain the speeds provisioned. It was probably close to 7 years old and even though it's still a supported DOCSIS 3.0 modem the specs are starting to leave a bit to be desired...
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I like metrics. I've been working lately to convert some aging parts of my monitoring and alerting infrastructure over to something slightly more modern (in this case Grafana, InfluxDB, Telegraf and collectd). As part of this project I'm looking broadly at my environment and trying to decide what else to monitor (and what I don't need to monitor anymore). One of the things that came up was website performance.
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If you have read my previous post about monitoring my ADS-B receiver it probably won't come as a surprise that the impetus for this whole project has been to deprecate MRTG from my environment. MRTG was a fine enough tool when it was basically all we had (though I had rolled a few iterations of a replacement for personal projects over the years) but these days it is woefully dated. The biggest issues lie in the data gathering engine. Even a moderately sized environment is asking for trouble, dropped polls, and stuck perl processes. MRTG also fails to provide any information beyond the aggregated traffic statistics.
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I have been running a FlightAware / FlightRadar24 ADS-B feeder for almost 4 years now. It is an older Raspberry Pi B with a RTL-SDR stick running dump1090 at its core. These days it is mounted in my garage with the antenna on the roof. When I built it I stuffed a Honeywell HIH6130 temperature and humidity sensor in the enclosure. At the time it was mounted on a fence in my back yard so it would be in full sun for much of the day so I hooked it up to Icinga to alert me if it ever got too hot or too wet inside.
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I mentioned offhandedly at the end of my post on how Docker and Flask are helping me sleep at night a potential use case for an iOS share extension. I finally started working on that idea.
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