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Compiling open-zwave-control-panel on a Raspberry Pi 3

I've recently started diving into home automation stuff, and of course immediately ran into issues. I purchased a z-wave water sensor and planned to use Home Assistant to monitor the sensor and send me alerts (via pushover) if it detects water. While getting HA installed was quick and easy, the trouble began when I tried to actually read from the sensor. I could see in the OZW_Log.txt log file that the system was receiving data, but the HA log had no event information.

Mail Checker Minus; Or Why Are You Maintaining a Chrome Extension?


I am no longer maintaining the Mail Checker Minus extension. I recommend switching over to Jason Savard's Checker Plus For Gmail. He's already done a good bit of work cleaning up code and adding new features. For those of you happy with the extension as is, I will continue to make it available via the Chrome Web Store, but please note that I will not be fixing bugs or supporting the extension.

It's fairly likely that you found this site because of the Google Chrome Extension I now maintain, Mail Checker Minus. That's a pretty good assumption since it's fairly popular and links here. For the two people who somehow found my site and don't know about Mail Checker Minus, it is (in my opinion) one of the most useful plugins for Chrome. It allows you to see the number of unread mails for Gmail at a glance, preview them, and even take actions on them.

Conversation with a Spam Bot

Today, while I was working on the inventory system for the Dallas Makerspace I received a message from an unknown person via AIM. This is not an unusual event for me since I have had the same AIM screen name for over a decade, so I tend to get messages out of the blue from people I used to know or who I gave my info to and promptly forgot (sorry).  While this wasn't the first spam bot to contact me, it was the first to fool me into thinking it was a real human, at least for a bit. Here's the chat log, with my comments:

Compiling Bitcoin on Ubuntu 10.04 (Lucid)

In case you don't know, Bitcoin is a decentralized crypto-currency or as the site says a "peer-to-peer network based digital currency". While most people have been content to use the pre-compiled binaries available, some of us prefer to compile the client from source, for various reasons. Personally, I maintain a repository on github because I like using a number of patches that various programmers have put forth in the Bitcoin community. Whatever your reason for compiling from source, you have likely run into issues with compiling the graphical client since it requires the development version of wxWidgets. After a whole lot of failed attempts to compile the Bitcoin client I finally found a working configuration.

Phishing attempt via TXT

Hey everyone, I was going to post this yesterday, but my internet was on the fritz. On Wednesday while at dinner I received a text message telling me to call a number to activate my credit card, I knew right away this was a phishing attempt. After dinner, I went to the Verizon store right around the corner to see if they had a number for reporting these kinds of things.

5 Tips On Being An Effective Linux Admin

Earlier this week someone did something very bad, and it got me thinking about what are some of the simple things that make someone an effective Linux admin. While I will not tell you that following my advice will make you some kind of super-admin, it will help you when dealing with Linux servers and hopefully save you and others from needless headaches. Here are my tips on being an effective Linux admin, in no particular order.

FAIL: Why you should ALWAYS use visudo

It's time for a short rant about proper Linux administration. Someone, who shall not be named, manually edited the /etc/sudoers file and broke it on a critical server. In case you don't know, on Linux sudo allows you to run commands as the root (Administrator) user, and the sudoers file determines who can use sudo and what they can do with it.

Windows 7: The Top 5 Things I like

I have been running Windows 7 as my primary and only OS on my desktop and laptop for several months. I have no plans of going back to XP. This OS is rock-solid stable and fast. Great hardware support and new features and enhancements on old features make it by far the most attractive OS on the horizon, as far as I am concerned. I am, without a doubt, planning to purchase Windows 7 Ultimate when it releases, too bad it is not available for half off preorder. Here are my own top 5 reasons why Windows 7 is awesome.

Firefox 3.5: Impatiently Waiting

In case you have been living under a rock, Firefox 3.5 came out today (well technically yesterday). I've noticed a lot of people wondering how they can get it running smoothly on Ubuntu. Never fear, after much trial and error (a lot of error) I've found what I think should be the easiest way to install the latest version of Firefox. So if you are just as impatient as I am, you can rejoice in the all the cool new features.

Tweaking Nagios For Performance

The company I work for has about 3,000 servers that need to be monitored in our Dallas datacenter. For the past few years we've been using a fairly standard Nagios setup. If you don't take the time to really learn Nagios and tweak the config files it'll run fairly well, until you are monitoring more then a few hundred servers. The reason that Nagios slows down when checking 300+ servers is that it stores all state/check information in a flat text file on the system's hard drive. When you have only a few servers and services to check it's not so bad, but when you the more you add, the more IOPS you'll see. At 3,000 servers disk IO is a huge bottleneck.