Recently I felt the need for a HomeAssistant component which would allow me to track all my parcels I am expecting. As with all DIY people out there this list can get lengthy. I found some others attempting to do something similar, but this would only cause more and more problems for my specific case (logs getting flooded on missing packages, losing the overview on the HomeAssistant homepage, …)
I am using AfterShip as this is a platform that allows me to add (for free!) all my packages and automatically look for missing information. And they have a very easy to use API!
Behold the AfterShip HomeAssistant State Card!
This allow you to view all your tracked packages in a single card. For now it is still very basic and will need to be installed separately from HomeAssistant, but let’s see where I take this.
22 June 2018: Just finished developing the plug-in. I am planning on making some clean-up changes and then releasing it to the public.
24 June 2018: I have released the initial code on GitHub. I will still try to make some small fixes of issues I see during my initial usage!
Recently I went to the Ikea and finally I saw the RGB Tradfri LED. I knew it existed, but until now I have never seen it (Belgium may be a little late on the technology-front). I picked the set up (including the LED and the remote) for a little under €40.
Now the packaging and looks are exactly the same as the other lights so nothing new or interesting there. The biggest difference is in the app and of course in Home-assistant.
Running AVS on a Raspberry Pi zero doesn’t work out of the box. The reason is that the installation script provides no output via USB is because this is not available in the script. In my opinion this is something that is just overlooked as making the changes manually is not hard at all:
Put the following text to the .asoundrc file in your home directory (/home/pi/.asoundrc)
This will allow usb input and output from AVS.
Create a file using
nano.config/autostart/AlexaPi.desktop with following content:
The AlexaStart script contains the following (requires TMUX):
export DISPLAY=localhost:1.0#To make it show on my VNC session
NOTE: These instructions were made for Raspberry Pi 3. From my experience these will not work on a Raspberry Pi that does not have ARM7.
Have you always wanted your own NAS, but don’t want to spend the money on it? Have an old Pi laying around and don’t know what to do with it? You have many old harddrives laying around and always have to sift trough them to get the correct files?
Install OpenMediaVault, a NAS solution with a heap of services (ssh, ftp, smb, torrent clients, …) and tons of plugins. While a Pi is not designed for running a NAS, it is very well capable of doing so.
NOTE: if you are having trouble, refer to the video that explains all this in more detail.
Let’s stat with a standard installation of raspbian jessie (I choose jessie lite, without desktop environment). Flash it on your SD card as usual. With the new release of jessie, ssh is disabled by default. Put a file called “ssh” (no file-extension) on the FAT32 partition of your SD card (see here for more info).
The boot partition on a Pi should be accessible from any machine with an SD card reader, on Windows, Mac, or Linux. If you want to enable SSH, all you need to do is to put a file called ssh in the /boot/ directory. The contents of the file don’t matter: it can contain any text you like, or even nothing at all. When the Pi boots, it looks for this file; if it finds it, it enables SSH and then deletes the file. SSH can still be turned on or off from the Raspberry Pi Configuration application or raspi-config; this is simply an additional way to turn it on if you can’t easily run either of those applications. – http://raspberrypi.org
NOTE: during the installation process the ssh access for the user pi will be disabled. If you log out of your ssh session during the installation you don’t have a way of going back in over ssh. Access will be restored from the OMV GUI.
Now we can start installing OMV. Put the below scripts in 2 different .sh files in the home folder of the pi user (/home/pi). Note that you may need to add execution permission to the scripts – using chmod
This will add the repository to your sources, install some dependencies and initialize OMV. (original source)
Execute it with:
NOTE: Script one should NEVER be executed again. This will cause problems in your sources file.
Now you can navigate to the IP address of your pi (ifconfig command)using a browser (no port is required, OMV runs by default on port 80).
Default login credentials are admin:openmediavault. You can now connect to the gui and experience OMV in all its glory. Format your external drives to a file format for Linux. OMV can handle this the best by default and it will increase your speed drastically. (note that only Linux based computers can read this by default.)
After OMV has picked up your drive, you have to mount the file system. If you are having issues, have OMV format your filesystem by manually unmounting the drive, creating a new filesystem via the GUI and mount it.
Once that is done you are free to create folders, configure them for samba, manage your users and so much more.
Enhance your OMV experience using a bunch of plugins. omv-extras is the best library for all of them.
Download the .deb file of OMV-extras. In the plugins section choose upload, and upload your .deb file. Install the openmediavault-omvextrasorg plugin which will allow you to have access to all the plugins you would ever need! (note that you may need to click “check” after installing to ensure the plugins are being picked up).
You now have a PiNAS. A Raspberry Pi running NAS software which allows you to manage your shared folders on your network, manage user access and so much more!
When you are streaming videos from a network device to Kodi, you may feel some slowness, stuttering, buffering or complete interrupts in your video. This is not enjoyable at all. In Kodi Jarvis(V16) you were able to change the cache, but in the new version the tags have changed!
Create the file “advancedsettings.xml” in the userdata directory of Kodi. Depending on what system you are using, find the location below:
Using the following code in the advancedsettings.xml file, your Kodi will buffer the data into your ram and speed up buffering in general. Note that you need 3 times the amount of available ram as is defined in “memorysize”(in bytes). For the example below you would need around 400Mb of free ram.
With the release of retropie 4.1 some new features where introduced. I’ll also try to clear up some questions on last few videos.
Many people wanted to remove Kodi from the ports system after they made Kodi its own system. After some checking I was able to come up with a solution that is very easy to implement. I’ve also added some fun tips and tricks to the video.
So… we are 2017 now. A new year to explore new gadgets, build up home-office software contraptions and play around with a wide array of software available out there!
While I have been (s)lacking new video uploads, I have been thinking what I will do first. As RetroPie & Kodi are still my most popular videos out there, I will try to respond to most of the questions with a new video. I am planning to release this one either this or next week. I do need to prepare a new SD card for this. After that I may start looking into “AlexaPi”. I have gotten voiceCommand working, but I feel amazon powered software is just more reliable for this.
I hope 2017 will be an as beautiful year as 2016 was. See you soon!
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