Category Archives: Uncategorized

Who uses Twitter, Swarm, and APRS?

I have to admit, this idea is not original. LeRoy Miller (kd8bxp) has a version which does the same written in PHP.

The version I wrote uses Python and can be ran on almost any system. I wrote it for Python 2.7 and it is running on Ubuntu 16.04. I did test it on Windows 10 with Python 2.7 and it works in that environment as well. I have an idea to take a Raspberry Pi and install Direwolf to receive APRS packets and run my program on the Raspberry Pi as well.

To see this in action, visit my Twitter account to see the Tweets sent by the program.


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Annoy Me!

I snagged a Ethernet shield for $4.00 and wanted to use it right away. I found some tutorials online to control various devices and decided, just for fun, to make a project that will annoy the heck out of me. Head over to and see that you can control very bright LEDs.

Unfortunately, the webcam isn’t real time. It updates the picture every two seconds. Also the WS2811 seems to be a bit glitchy, so sometimes there will be incorrect LED colors displayed.

Have fun!

Code after the break.

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Binary clock using Arduino, DS3231 real time clock, and WS2811 Addressable LEDs

You may have remembered I started working on a binary clock project with the Arduino. There are two things I didn’t like about that project. First, the clock didn’t keep time. It ran about 37 seconds fast. Second, it required the use of almost all pins on the Arduino. I started working on a new binary clock project with the requirements that it kept accurate time, it didn’t use as many pins, and I could set the time. I sacrificed the addressable LEDs I had used for my Christmas Tree lights and began to work on the new binary clock.

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LED lightning effect using an Arduino

Sorry for the poor video quality. Because of the flash rate and the way a CMOS senor works, it cannot record the true effect.

This lightning effect uses addressable LEDs. The code generates a random number of flashes, a random brightness level for each flash, a random delay between flashes, and a random delay between the overall effect. See the code after the break.

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In December, a friend approached me and asked if I could create a visual effect for him. The requirements are to flash a strobe light, activate only when someone is in front of the effect for a couple of seconds, and wait for the person to walk away before it can be activated again.

Here’s the effect in action.

Parts List:
Geeetech Infrared proximity switch module compatible with Arduino/Iduino
Waterproof Superbright 100cm White SMD Led Strip Light Lamp with USB Cable Port 5v
SainSmart Nano v3.0 Compatible with Arduino

See the code after the break.
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Working on a binary clock

I started work on a binary clock. I found some code by Dennis Cwik and tweaked it to be able to rapidly advance the time as a crude way to set the clock. What I don’t like about this build is it is using all the digital outs. I think I will rewrite it to use addressable LEDs instead. That will only use one digital out and I can do so much more and look better as well. But for now, here’s what I have.

Arduino WS2811 Pixel LED Christmas Tree Lights

I made some neat Christmas tree lights using an Arduino and WS2811 pixel LEDs.

Random LEDs will twinkle white. After the LED flashes, it is set with either red, green, or blue until it is twinkled again.

Check out the code after the break.
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My IP address changed again and I am in Florida

The worst time for an IP address change to happen at home is while you are traveling. That is exactly what happened to me. I am in Florida for a week and I noticed I couldn’t connect to my websites, my email, or PBX system. I knew my server was up and it was communicating with the outside because I saw my APRS script check-ins posting to Twitter. So I called Time Warner Cable and explained the situation and the technical support representative was able to provide me my external IP address. First I updated all my domains to the new IP address and verified the phone system was back online. Then I started to think about this little problem. It is not the first time I have encountered this issue. When it does happen, it is usually while I am traveling. Read more

My overly complicated backup script

Every night, my server fires off a backup. This script does a backup of my web server directory, MySQL databases, my check book, and a directory that’s shared over the network to upload to the cloud.

The main backup is called by In that script, there are a few commands to bring down Apache and cron. Then it continues on and calls a few more backup scripts.

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What you are looking at now.



The above image shows what you are currently connected to. It is a BeagleBone Black with a 1Ghz ARM Cortex-A8 processor, 512MB RAM, and 4GB of onboard storage. Here’s the OS info:


PRETTY_NAME=”Debian GNU/Linux 7 (wheezy)”
NAME=”Debian GNU/Linux”
VERSION=”7 (wheezy)”

Now 4GB isn’t terribly a lot of space to host websites or do all the other server stuff I did. So I moved the contents over to an external 320GB drive using a tutorial I found on the Internet.

It runs really well for hosting web, mail, ftp, and a few other services.