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Connect a Mac to a SMB server - as Guest

One of the things I do in our network is public drives. Every Linux system has a public "incoming" which is mapped to the primary user of the device (if there is one, like for a laptop). And this incoming shared drive can be accessed without password.

This makes it really convenient to copy files around from one laptop/user to another, or from mobile devices to laptops and vice versa, or use the printer/scanner to send the scan job directly to the laptop of the user's device. All in all, the users like this, and use it a lot. There is also minimal protection built-in, it will only work in our home network, access is blocked when the laptop is connected to a different network. But the folders are mostly empty anyway. For sharing files over the Internet we also have a Syncthing instance running, but that's a different story, and not as easy to use.

One thing which I was annoyed about is that by default a Mac will try to connect as a registered user. There is an option "Connect as Guest", but it's not pre-selected. Therefore every time I wanted to share something between Linux and Mac, I had to start "Finder", to to "Go" and then "Connect to Server", then click on the server from the list of last entries, and then also click on "Guest". The built-in help is also not useful, as it only talks about "click on Guest".

But it turns out that one can "pre-select" the Guest user. For this, the username is "Guest", and there is no password. This goes between the protocol and the hostname. Example:

smb://192.168.0.20/incoming

becomes:

smb://Guest:@192.168.0.20/incoming

There has to be a ":" between the username and the (non-existent) password, and the credentials are separated from the hostname by a "@". Using this connect string will auto-connect as anonymous user to the remote share. One click and a couple seconds saved!

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Add a Google Calendar to openHAB

openHAB can integrate Google Calendars. The functionality is kind of limited, it can only see the current and the next calendar event, but in my case that is enough. More about the use case in another blog post.

There are three different calendar bindings available, let's have a quick look:

  • CalDAV Personal Binding: this is a v1 binding, which means it will no longer work in the soon-to-be-released openHAB v3. Apparently this works with Google calendars, but has performance issues. It can show the current and next event.
  • Google Calendar Scheduler: also a v1 binding. Needs more work for presense simulation, and additional bindings.
  • iCalendar Binding: v2 binding, should work with v3. It can show the current and next event. That's the one I'm going to use.

 

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git pre-commit Hooks

A very common use case for hooks in git is a "pre-commit" hook. This hook is used to verify the to-be-committed data before it is added to the repository.

One important note: hooks are not part of the repository itself. Everyone can install a hook on it's own checkout of a repository, but by default the hook is not there when you clone/checkout the repository. This avoids security problems by executing arbitrary code during "git commit", or any "git" operation.
Because of this implication it is common that developers install a hook from somewhere in the repository into the ".git/hooks" directory. And in addition, the server side (the repository) can run the same checks during "git push", to enforce the rules.

Hooks in git work in a simple way: whatever program or script is run as the hook has to set a return code. If the return code is "0", git proceeds. If it's not "0", git aborts the operation.

 

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openHAB: faster loading of rules files

openHAB rules files are lazy loaded. When a rule is used the first time, the entire rule file is loaded and compiled, which apparently is single-threaded and takes a couple seconds. Even on a reasonable powerful Rasperry Pi 4. This happens both after restarting openHAB and after changing the rules file. It also means that whatever the rule in question is supposed to do has to wait a couple seconds when requested for the first time. Imagine you have a light switch, enter a room, press the switch, and it takes 5-10 seconds until the light comes on.

To work around this problem, I add a piece of code in all rules files which triggers an immediate action right after loading the file. This way the rules file is already pre-loaded (which again takes a couple seconds, but likely at a time when the rule is not needed right now).

 

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Remove duplicates from Huginn event stream

One of the things I'm using Huginn for is monitoring for Twitter keywords. Some of them might appear in pairs, as example people like to tag Tweets about PostgreSQL with both #postgresql and #postgres. When I was using IFTTT this always created two emails, one for each hashtag. With Huginn I can deduplicate the events, and only notify about the first occurrence.

I need the following agents for this scenario:

 

 

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Enable Huginn Twitter integration

Huginn comes with a number of Twitter agents, but before they can be used you need to authenticate them. That process requires multiple steps, and they are not well documented.

The basics are described on the "Configuring OAuth applications" Wiki page.

For the Twitter integration one must know that you are using a single Twitter app for all users, but every Huginn user can (and should) have this app authenticated against their own Twitter account. Therefore if you want to use multiple Twitter accounts in Huginn, you need multiple Huginn users.

 

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Monitor software version changes with Huginn

Huginn is a great piece of software, but the documentation is ... a bit sparse. Especially when it comes to details of the agents. I'm going to blog about a couple more more examples in the future.

For another project I'm using Leaflet, a JavaScript library for rendering maps in a browser. New versions are released occasionally, and I want to know when it's time to update the project website. Huginn can do that.

 

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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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