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Traveling in Cuba (offline)

In 2019 I was in Cuba for a conference that took place there.

During the preparation of the trip it occured to me that internet access in the country is on the one hand slow and not well developed. On the other hand, that mobile internet access via roaming is obscenely expensive. It was foreseeable that I would have to do without mobile internet for a week, and consequently without online navigation. Preparations are in order.

 

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Google Summer of Code 2020 - Intermediate status update

The three PostgreSQL projects for this year’s Google Summer of Code are on track, and making good progress. All projects expect to finish on time.

Performance Farm

The data gathering for performance farm members is completed, as well as the new implementation for the JSON data transfer. The project iteratively updated it’s goals, and adjusted for newly identified UI issues.

Current work centers around making the website more pretty and useful, as well as reducing the number of used JavaScript libraries. The next step is presenting the work to the PostgreSQL Community for broader feedback.


PL/Java build system

The PL/Java project has just merged (PR #288) the first major pull request of new code from GSoC, creating a new plugin for the Maven build system that allows its actions to be guided by script snippets clearly exposed in the build files.

The same effect was formerly achieved by a workable but brittle combination of an existing Maven plugin that could handle most of the build requirements with another plugin that was able to run Ant, which was able to run scripts. That resulted in a non-ideal division of labor, where a good deal of build logic was hidden away inside plugins, while some parts were exposed in script out of necessity, rather than because they were interesting or likely to need adjustment.

This pull request proves the concept of a new plugin where the hardcoded Java portions are the uninteresting building blocks, and the overall logic of the build is clearly exposed in script.

For now, the new plugin is used to retire the maven-javadoc-plugin and remove the constraints it had imposed on the project's javadocs (such as the need for absolute URLs for intermodule references, making the resulting tree hard to preview or relocate).

Work continues to reimplement the C native build and retire the nar-maven-plugin and maven-antrun-plugin, to be delivered in a future PR.


WAL-G Performance

We’ve just completed the decoupling of the complex WAL-G internal class. Thanks to it, the new functionality developed in July for a more intelligent backup creation process can now be safely integrated. This feature involves major changes so it requires time to verify that everything is working as expected. We plan to finish the integration in parallel with working on other features.

Currently, we are working on merging the new series of commands for the WAL archives that have been uploaded to storage. These commands will allow end users to analyze the storage for any missing WAL segments that may prevent performing a PITR. Also, Dan now is in the process of implementing the last feature and he expects to finish it on time.


Thanks to all mentors for the status update!

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Unterwegs auf Kuba (offline)

2019 war ich auf Kuba, für eine Konferenz welche dort stattgefunden hat.

Bei der Vorbereitung der Reise stellte sich heraus dass der Internetzugang im Land einerseits langsam ist, und nicht gut ausgebaut. Und andererseits dass der mobile Internetzugang über Roaming obszön teuer ist. Es war also abzusehen dass ich eine Woche ohne mobiles Internet auskommen muss, und demzufolge auch ohne online Navigation. Vorbereitungen waren notwendig.

 

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openHAB, Telegram Bot and quoting URLs

A while ago I integrated DWD warnings (Deutscher Wetterdienst) into our home automation system, and receive severe weather notifications ever since then. That works quite good, but it was missing a weblink with more details - or if you want to forward the warning to someone it would be useful to have a link to the warning as well. The DWD binding does not provide that piece of information, but it is easy enough to add - or so I thought.

 

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Text-to-Speech in openHAB

In my ongoing endeavor to improve our home, a while ago I added a notification when the washing machine and the dryer are finished. The notification is send to a Telegram channel. Over the summer vacation I added a number new ChromeCast Audio devices (Google no longer offers the Audio CC, if you need one get one now). One is placed in the kitchen. Not only can I listen to music while eating breakfast, I can also output notifications, by using the CC as an audio sink in openHAB.

To make that useful, I decided to use a Text-to-Speech system. openHAB offers a couple different TTS systems, however most of them need a cloud integration, and therefore a working Internet connection. The "Pico TTS" works standalone, and was my favorite choice for this implementation.

 

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openHAB and Tankerkönig gas prices + Telegram integration - Second iteration

In my previous blog post about "Tankerkönig" I explained the details of how to integrate this binding into openHAB and provide a Telegram interface.

Someone on the openHAB community forum pointed out that Telegram bots allow queries, where one can present the user with options, and the user only has to click on one of the options. That makes it easier to use, and less typing is required as well. I went ahead and implemented that.

 

 

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Install openHABian image on Linux

My plan is to reinstall openHABian on a bigger SDcard, and on a Raspberry Pi 4. The latest release (v1.5) supports the new Pi 4, and I decided it's time to do a fresh install, and see if all my Playbooks are still working.

Raspberry Pi 4 with Sectronics Armor (cooling) Case

As always, I'm searching my shell history for the right command how to install the image ... but came up empty.

 

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Use namespace as global variable in Ansible Jinja templates

A simple task, or so I thought: in a Jinja template keep track of the number of items in a loop. And then use that count afterwards.

Disclaimer: the number of items is not equal the number of times the loop runs, so I can't use the loop variables.

Turns out that Jinja has other opinions, and variables inside a loop are all local. When a variable is changed inside the loop, the scoop of the variable stays local, and once the loop ends the original value of the variable is restored. That's even true for variables which are created outside the loop.

 

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Improve openHAB Rules response time

By default, openHAB only starts 5 threads to deal with execution of Rules. That's not a lot, and if all threads are busy, rules have to wait until a slot is free. This results in slow Rule response time.

This can be improved.

 

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openHAB: Turn display on and off for a Video ChromeCast

After figuring out if a ChromeCast is currently used, it was time to fix a long-standing problem. At home we don't have TVs, just "dumb" displays, and stream content using ChromeCasts. However a video ChromeCast never really turns off, but keeps the display running, using a "Backdrop" app. This app keeps showing pictures on the display when the ChromeCast is not used otherwise, effectively preventing any powersafe mode.

That's both annoying (who wants to have pictures shown in the living room or working room all night), and consumes energy. It's also intentional by Google. So far we had to turn the display on and off manually, which is inconvenient.

 

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