Thursday, July 25, 2019

Murphy Shooed Out, Weather Station On-Line, New Linux Distro for Me

OK, now where was I........

The whole thing with Murphy starts with the weather station. Since I want to put it on-line, I need to use the Davis "WeatherLink" data logger/com port. The one that was plugged in to my old system console was incompatible with the new console that came with the new weather station. I'd read some rumblings about this on some of the weather forums, but didn't give it much thought until I plugged the old data logger into the new console, and it displayed an "Incompatible Device Attached" warning. Sigh....went out shopping for one, found an 'open box' special on eBay for a great price, got it, plugged it in, and all is happy.

The software I'd been using to collect, display, and archive is still available, but it's not supported very well any longer, some of the specialized graphics libraries he used are difficult to find, and in general, the software is withering away.

After searching for a while, I settled on a package called "weewx", written entirely in Python, great "customizability" for adding things, and well supported. So I dusted off one of the little Zotac "Z-Box" mini-computers I had dedicated to this project, and proceeded to install the newest, latest, and greatest, version of OpenSUSE on it.

I couldn't get it to run right........and I've been using the various versions of SuSE since 1990something. This is also the same distribution I attempted to install numerous times since we arrived here on the hot rod desktop PC I was using way back in Long Beach.

Hmm....wonder what changed? I wasn't sure if it was a hardware problem on the desktop, but when two other PC's had problems with it, I starting thinking it was time to jump ship and find a new distro.

After going to Distrowatch and seeing what's out there these days, I settled on the Kubuntu distribution. I've used Kubuntu (Ubuntu with the KDE desktop environment) before, and liked it. I prefer the KDE desktop over the Gnome desktop for a variety of reasons, and it's nice to have your distribution 'built' from the start with whatever once you like.

Well, all three of the PC's are now happily running Kubuntu, after chasing my tail for a couple of weeks trying get OpenSUSE to run properly.

One of the rabbit-holes I fell into concerns getting the little PC on the network. Since I pretty much can't run Ethernet cable(s) willy-nilly here like I could in Long Beach, I'm stuck using wireless. For this PC, connection speed isn't critical as it'll never be downloading or streaming huge chunks of data, and the uploads it makes are HTML pages to maybe a handful of visitors. Not exactly a bandwidth hog! Well......I have this Linkys USB wireless dongle, and it should just plug in and run, right? WRONG.....it's a "Windows ONLY" device, and drivers don't exist for it. Turns out this particular device can be made to work, but it's a PITA, and after several days of frustration trying to make it work, I threw in the towel and drove over to Best Buy to get a USB WiFi adapter that was "MacOS Compatible". Since MacOS went to a Unix-based core, if it "Works With A Mac", it'll work with Linux. It still required a driver download, but that was painless compared to my attempts at trying to get the other one to work. And it's a "Dual Band" device, meaning I can use the 5GHz portion of our modem/wireless router, which supports the "n" standard of the 802.11 WiFi spec, meaning it can really pump data through. Even though I don't need it for this PC, it was available, it works, and we already have one for my wife's PC. It works so well, in fact, that I just bought another one today for the hot-rod desktop that will be coming back up here and relieving this laptop of duty.

Here's a screenshot of the server down in the basement as seen over our network on this laptop.



Works a treat, the little mini-pc only draws 10 Watts, and since it's fanless and has a solid-state drive ("SSD"), it's dead silent.

It's still limited to our internal LAN here until I get the router configured, the firewall on the little PC configured, and figure out some kind of 'Dynamic DNS' arrangement set up so it will be reachable by name from outside.

So that's why the Supra isn't finished, the antenna posts aren't set yet, and the big Yaesu is still in the OR. I get sidetracked too easily at times!

4 comments:

  1. Added a pi-hole to our intranet recently. Nice clean install on one of the RPi-Bs sitting in a box. Does a nice job as local DNS and eating advertising links.

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    1. Haven't played around with a Pi. Been doing some Arduino stuff, and used to mess around with PICs a bit.

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  2. Haven't a clue what you are talking about. I patted myself on the back for getting a modem to work (and it was plug and play).

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    Replies
    1. Sometimes I wonder if *I* know what I'm talking about!

      When I first started using Linux it took me a week and three books to get my modem working. That's when I learned about Windoes only devices, like the fabled "Winmodem", which left a bunch of chips off the circuit board, and let software doing the work.

      They kinda-sorta worked OK, but a true "Hardware Modem" was always faster on the same connection.

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Keep it civil, please....