Author: Matthew P Language: text
Description: Maple Sugar House Runs Linux Timestamp: 2016-03-27 01:09:12 -0400
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  1. Dear Chris, I am writing to reply to your question in LAS episode 404 that Maine does in fact have WiFi, and to prove it to you, here is an example you could use for a Runs Linux.  I have been working on a project at a local Sugar House to bring remote monitoring of a maple syrup operation run as a small family business.
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  3. The constraints of the project required an inexpensive, reliable, monitoring system that could be monitored locally and online.  The main monitoring points were located very near the sugar house, with a remote location 3000 feet away trough dense woods.  When I was first approached about this 3 years ago, I told the owner of the company that we could of course make it happen for him within his budget.  I had a trick up my sleeve, I was going to use Linux, specifically Raspbian on Raspberry Pis.
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  5. The networking at the sugar house includes 2 WRT-54G routers bridged together to expand the WiFi coverage across the property close to the sugar house.  This up-links to the internet through a MiFi device.  2 Foscam web cams connect to the WiFi and a third connects directly to one of the routers.  There are 2 monitoring stations on site that allow the family to check in with all the cameras wherever they happen to be.  These monitors are driven by 2 Raspberry Pis which are the original model B.  The first one drives the display, hosts the web page for local traffic, grabs an image from the web cams every minute and transfers the files across the internet.  The second Pi just displays the web page hosted by the first.
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  7. The most exciting part of the project was building the remote web cam that runs 3000 feet away.  In the images you can see another Raspberry Pi in a project box along with a power regulator, distribution blocks, and a camera that attaches to the Pi.  This setup was specially designed to run on very little power.  Since there is no AC power so far in the woods, I decided to run this off a 12 volt deep cycle battery.  That meant everything had to be power conscious, including using the Raspberry Pi model A which uses considerably less power then the model B.  This setup turns on an LED and snaps a picture every minute and uses another MiFi device to upload to the internet.
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  9. Due to bandwidth limitations, and the fact the MiFis do not get public IP addresses, it was easier to upload images to a server on the internet for remote viewing.  In years past this was done with FTP to a Netgear router that had an attached thumb drive and served the files to the internet.  Over the past couple of years, and with newer equipment in the hands of the business owner, the older versions of SSL and TLS used by the router were no longer accessible without tediously working around the situation one by one on several different devices, iOS, Windows, Android, and even Blackberry.  This is were the Linux Action Show specifically, and Jupiter Broadcasting in general saved my butt, twice.  Instead of rewriting the scripts, to manage everything on my home server, I turned to Syncthing.  Now Syncthing manages the process of making sure the local files are updated at the sugar house, and on the web server.  I set it up, and it just works.  The second save came from the fi
  10.  ne folks at Digital Ocean.  Instead of running the web server out of my home internet connection, I am able to keep it on the cloud and keep my home network available to tinkering.
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  12. While setting up the server on Digital Ocean, I had to use their customer service and I have to say that they were great.  A while back I made a mistake on my MX records for my domain and found myself on the wrong end of their email black list.  I was unable to get login credentials for this new droplet, and needed to open a support ticket.  I fixed my MX record issues and, opened the ticket before I left work at my full time job.  By the time I got to my home office 30 minutes later, I was immediately able to spin up a droplet and get Syncthing running.  Digital Ocean's staff did a great job and I will be using them in the future now that I am able to offer cloud services to my clients.
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  14. I enjoy a lot of the content at Jupiter Broadcasting and now that I am deriving billable value from your content, I will be becoming a patron over at patreon.com.  I also checked out teespring.com and found a JB polo, but unfortunately it is out of stock.  If I were to find a JB, LAS, Tech SNAP, Tech Talk Today, BSD Now, or Linux Unplugged polo over there in the future, I would be sure to pick one up.  Thanks for the great programming, please keep it up.
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