Category Archives: DIY

First step – Reorganizing my W-LAN at home

So i started of a few month ago to reorganize my W-LAN. The problem is that i need a hotspot on every floor. The concrete is of such good quality that the signal will not pass. Even from the basement to the first floor is such bad quality that it will not pass. When I installed my first system, I didn’t pay attention to the devices. The only plan was to stay cheap and to have a good signal everywhere. After a year I even needed to ad an extra hotspot so I had network on the terraces on the outside of the house. Long story short, I realized that the private hotspots which are sold on the regular market often don’t bring out updates for their devices. Never ever! So if you have devices older than a few years, there are definitely security issues. So I decided to upgrade my network and finally get a semi-professional system.

As you might know, I am a fan of a company called Ubiquity. I found them a few years ago and ever since we had devices from the company at work. An on a professional level I cant complain at all! Prices and ranges for those devices are more than correct. Quality is excellent and even after years you get updates and the devices work in extreme conditions. So I give them a thumbs up. I finally decided to get their W-LAN Hotspot system for my home as well, due to the fact that you can manage them centrally, that they update regularly and the range is better than regular devices I used.

After having a look at the actual product range I decided myself for one of the UniFi Mesh devices, the UniFi AC Mesh to be exact. The decision was taken because of its size, because I wanted to hide it behind furniture or on top of it. So the fist devices was bought for testing purposes and start of finally.

The software of the “UniFi Controller” to manage the hotspot was installed on a Virtual Machine. The first thing I realized after that was that this controller always needed to be on otherwise you couldn’t get the statistics. Okay… Not everybody wants statistics but I do ;-) So I needed a solution for the second step.

Managing multiple WordPress Sites

So do you need to update more than one WordPress Site? If this is the case you might look around for managing multiple Sites over a singe interface. A few weeks ago I did have a look into that topic due to the fact that I didn’t want to spend an hour every month logging into various sites I keep an eye on, simply to click and update everything. So I had a look over the horizon of these programs.

I found a few but most f them were managed somehow by companies where you needed to somehow provide them your log in’s, which seems logical if you want them to update your sites. But as I am a somebody suspicious, I wanted to stay the boss of my data and so I decided myself for a tool called “MainWP”. So if you should ever consider getting something similar, you might have a look at the program.

You simply have to install the plugin on your main Site, and install on the sites you want to manage a child plugin. That’s it! No fancy registration etc. Very easy! And you stay Master of your passwords and log in’s!

The tool itself comes as a simple plugin for WordPress. They recommend setting up an own WordPress Site for the tool, which I definitely can confirm! It simplifies things and keeps it more clear and clean. Another thing I recommend is enabling the unique security ID on the “child” sites, those are the sites you want to manage over your central site. This gives your managed sites more security. I am not sure that without enabling this feature, it would not be possible for anybody to modify your site. But anyway… Enabling security features isn’t a mistake! Never!

For the rest you should simply try it out yourself. It’s worth a try! Yes there are other sites with more features and you might need to put up an own cron-job, but you stay your very own Key-Master.

P.S. Sites / URL’s have been blanked out!

Time-Lapse Project – Part 1 – The Parts

So i had the idea to create a timelapse movie and had been looking for some time to get a “Very long term” timelapse device. You can find quiet a few cameras on the market which do give you the possibility to create such series of pictures, but they all come down to the same issue: the problem of power! Most of these devices have internal batteries which need to be charged over (Micro) USB cables which in outdoor situations becomes difficult to keep it dry. Special casings might help but it always becomes a risk factor, because those devices are not ment to function like that.

The only option i found were cameras from a brand called Brinno. I had seen one before at a friend´s but what irritated me most was the fact, that these devices could not do Full HD. Their maximum Resolution was 1280×720, which is nice but the cheaper ones even only do 720p. And honestly they do not come in cheap… But i have to say, they are solid, the picture quality is okay and they do run over weeks and even month without changing batteries. So for a project without energy they are in my eyes definitely the best option!

And so i ended up in a plan constructing a Raspi-Camera with an Outdoor Water Proof Case. Finding such a thing is almost impossible! You could take an old CCTV Outdoor Case, but honestly they are simply huge! Something small and discrete looks different… So i ended up with a Kickstarter Project called PiCE which was realized in 2013. Luckily i was able to buy a “used” case on ebay. But i have to admit that i had the chance to get a case which was never really used. Only a few scratches but that´s it, it had never even been assembled.

So after having my case, i had to start planning the rest. An old Raspi B was luckily on hand, because that was the device at that time the case was designed for. I bought a new Camera and started my assembly. For the software part i chose motionEye OS, which is a nice environment if it works, easy to use with a very user friendly interface. It can even stitch your time-lapse video together! So maybe no need for post production.

That´s the plan, follow up will come next month with some problems i ran into and where i am seeking for solutions =) But that´s how it is with the Pi. It´s always work in progress.

How To Remote Desktop to your Raspberry Pi

So at some point i wanted to access my Raspberry Pi without the need to have it always hooked up to my (or any) screen. So I looked it up and collected all the needs and the problems with its solutions.

First of all, you need a running Wheezy installation. It needs to be hooked up to your network and to the internet. After that you need to connect yourself with your regular operating System onto the console of the Pi. I use therefore PuTTY which is a common program for these things under windows. Download it and make an SSH connection into your Pi.

After that to start we simply update the Raspberry to the latest Version. To do that use the following command:

sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get upgrade

You will need to confirm that you want to update and that these updates will take some more space on your partition. Depending on the state of your device, this might take some time. Have a break…

This is not really needed to install the remote desktop server, but it is always good to have the latest version of the programs so that errors which might occur are reduced to the maximum! Now we can come to the main part.

To be able to connect to the Desktop we will use a tool called XRDP. To install it you need to insert the following command

sudo apt-get install xrdp

Again you will need to confirm that you want to install it and after that all the needed stuff is installed. After that a reboot of the device should be done.

sudo shutdown -r now

When the device comes back up the complete process should be finished. All you will need is to connect yourself with your RDP Program to your Raspberry. In Windows you can use the Standard tool “Remote Desktop” for that. You will need to enter the IP of your Raspberry. See my screen-shot as an example (it is in German but it should be similar in English) and simply click connect.

remote1

When everything went right you should be seeing a login screen similar to this:

remote2

So if you reached as far, you did everything right! But there might be some problems logging in…

The language Problem

Some more informations for people with having issues logging in. If you came to that screen everything is working fine. If you cant log in, there might be an other problem with your keyboard! In the field of the username you can test your keyboard to see if all your keystrokes are transmitted the correct way. This is a language issue. Here comes the solution i had to look for on a few places on the net.

SSH again into your Pi. Then you need to go tho the following location /etc/xrdp so you have to use the following command for this:

cd /etc/xrdp/

After that you can use the command ls to see which files this directory contains. It s all about km-????.ini files (???? stands for numbers corresponding to the country code). Initially xrdp uses km-0409.ini (English) but I want to use a German Keyboard so i should be using the km-0407.ini. The country codes can be found here. Not all the ini Files are on your device but Google should be able to help you to find them. You simply need to copy them into the same folder and do the same trick.

To start, we will create a copy of the original km-0409.ini which we will name km-0409-copy.ini with the command:

sudo cp km-0409.ini km-0409-copy.ini

After that we copy the German layout (km-0407.ini) over the Original Version (km-0409.ini)

sudo cp km-0407.ini km-0409.ini

Finally the xrdp program needs to be restarted which we do with the command

sudo /etc/init.d/xrdp restart

After that use your Remote Desktop Program to login and your keyboard strokes should arrive the correct way on your Pi.

Mission Accomplished! Now you can enjoy your Pi on your regular system without hooking it extra to a screen. Okay there might be some limitations but regular stuff works anyway!

GCHQ Password Guidance

GCHQ, the UK Intelligence Agency, published a Password Guidance booklet where you can find interesting advice’s on passwords. These advice’s and information’s are interesting for IT Responsible as well as for Private Users.

It gives interesting facts on how often passwords are used on different accounts by the same user etc. It might be interesting to give it some thoughts.

Considering the position op GCHQ in the recent events of the NSA scandal, these guidelines need to be viewed from a critical point of view! Simplifying passwords makes it easier for the users, but also easier to crack etc.

Den GCHQ, den Briteschen Geheimdéngscht, huet een Bichelchen publizéiert an deem een interessant Fakten an Informatiounen iwwert Passwierder fannen kann. Dëst ass fir IT Responsabeler ma och normal Benotzer.

Et fënnt een doranner interessant Fakten ewéi oft zum Beispill déi selwecht Passwierder benotzt ginn bei verschiddenen Accounten. Et ass also definitiv eng interessant Approche.

Berücksichtegt een ower dem GCHQ seng Positiounen am rezenten NSA Skandal, dann muss een dat ganzt aus engem kriteschen Bléckwénkel gesinn. Einfach Passwierder maachen et méi einfach fir hier Benotzer, ma se maachen et och méi einfach se ze knacken etc.

https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/458857/Password_guidance_-_simplifying_your_approach.pdf

S4 – DIY Reparatioun

Virun puer Deeg wor mäin Handy mir op den Buedem gefall. Leider wor en doduerch net méi wierklech ze gebrauchen well d’Glas zerguttst futti gefuer wor an ech doduerch ëmmer rëm kleng Glas Splitter un den Fangeren oder am Gesiicht hat.

Meng éischten Reparatur bis dass ech een neit Glas hat wor dunn Zellophan aus der Kichen. D’Kollegen hunn zwar gutt gelaacht, ma fir déi puer Deeg wou ech nach keen Ersatz hat, wor et méi ewéi perfekt. An der zweeter Phase hunn ech een Kit kaaft gehat mat engem neien Glas wat ech selwer wiesselen wollt. Hat dat bis dohinner nach ni gemeet ma mat engem Samsung S4 ass dat zimlech einfach ze realiséieren am Verglach mat aneren aktuellen Handy’en.

Ech hunn en plus elo déi méi einfach Versioun vun Reparatur gewielt. Et kann een nach d’Glas mat engem Loce Pech fest pechen ma dofir brauch een en plus eng Infrarout Luucht déi ech net besetzen. Vue que dass ech souwisou demnächst een neien GSM zegutt hunn, geet mir also déi Reparatur duer, ouni dass ech elo soen well dass et schlecht oder net gutt gemeet wier, ma se ass nëmmen méi 80% vun dem Original.

Hei dann elo d’Biller vun menger Aventure.

S4-1     S4-2     S4-3

S4-4     S4-5     S4-6

S4-7     S4-8

Inspiréiert hunn ech mech un engem Video bei YouTube wou ech mech wierklech strikt drun gehalen hunn an wou ech och wichteg Detailer draus gesinn hunn, ouni déi ech wahrscheinlech méi futti gemeet hätt ewéi virdrunner!