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Author: Patrick Gilfeather

Bicycle Helmet Embedded Electronics

Bicycle Helmet Embedded Electronics

Several years ago I purchased a small video camera that was shaped like a flashlight for $50.  It had VGA 640 x 480 30 fps video quality and would record up to 2 hours on a single charge.  I used it to record several bike rides around the county on numerous bike trails.  The videos provided a way to recall the conditions and experiences which I used to plan future trips. A couple of years later I purchased some 808…

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CLI email using Blat and SSMTP

CLI email using Blat and SSMTP

When you are away from your computer, how do you know it is operating as expected? Some might use a web front end to allow them a way to periodically check it, but that involves taking a few moments to do. Instead of the person initiating the check, how about having the machine initiate its status. One way to do this is using email as the transport method. In this post I’ll cover two command line email tools that will…

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Monitoring Events with Syslog

Monitoring Events with Syslog

There are different ways to view and track how your systems are operating. Logging is a basic method of keeping records of actions taken by a network device. Most operating systems have some type of logging function. In linux, these log files are mostly processed with syslog. Syslog supports logging to remote hosts, which is useful if a system fails and local logs aren’t available. IOS and Windows take some work to get them to use the same feature. By…

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Dynamic DNS and DDClient

Dynamic DNS and DDClient

In my earlier posts I covered network services. The purpose of those services is to provide a function over a network connection. More often than not the internet connection of a network service host can change. In order for a client to access these network services, it needs to know where the host is. To remedy this problem, a “call home” service is used to register the host so the client can find it. This service is referred to as…

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Firewalls and Services

Firewalls and Services

You should consider security anytime you run processes that provide some kind of service over a network. For instance, if you have a website, that service is providing web pages to clients that make a request for it. The service does not pick and choose who gets what content. Instead, it hands that off to lower layer functions. What if a client makes a request that the process doesn’t have instructions on how to handle. Furthermore, what if that client…

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Automation with SSH tunneling

Automation with SSH tunneling

In the last post I covered how SSH key pairs can be used as a form of two factor authentication, commonly known as 2FA.  In this post I’ll be covering SSH as a means to establish secure communications between systems.  Using SSH will provide a way to run commands on remote hosts, whether they be on node on a local network or accross the globe.  The key pair security is a way to set the remote host to only allow…

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Two Factor Authentication

Two Factor Authentication

Internet facing services are under constant attack. They are a coveted resource that provide footing when exploited. It’s prudent to not loose control of your services to abuse. One way to do this is to enable two factor authentication, commonly known as 2FA. Traditional authentication is based on what you know, a user name and a password. With 2FA, the second factor of authentication is what you have, a number token. In this post I’ll be covering how to setup…

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Metering electrical service to the home

Metering electrical service to the home

This project involves working near and around the electrical service panel. Do not perform these steps unless you are a licensed and qualified electrician. You assume all risk and liability. The information contained here is merely for reference purposes, I do not take any responsibility for the loss of property or life should anyone not follow this warning. Home energy use accounts for 11% of the total energy consumed nation wide. Typically, homes have a variety of energy services provided…

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Attic Fan Control

Attic Fan Control

During hot days, the air in my attic can reach temperatures much higher than the outside.  This causes the rest of the house to warm up.  As a result, cooling the living space requires more energy.  To prevent this, I use gable fans to force the hot air from the attic to the outside.  I have two fans, each located either on the east or west side of the house.  Each fan has an independent thermostat that engaged the fan…

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Space Heater Control

Space Heater Control

I’ve got two wall mounted space heaters made by King Electric.  They are the Pick-O-Watt series and have a built in thermostat for control.  They are easy to install and the option to set the load is useful.  Setting the output wattage to match the room they are installed in saves energy.  However, they were not centrally controlled.  If one was left on, energy was wasted and is potentially dangerous.  I wanted to avoid this. First, lets look at how…

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