Setting up MultiTech LoRaWAN gateway on Ubuntu

As the convener for the Adelaide community of The Things Network, I am frequently setting up Multitech Conduit Gateways. Depending on your PC or notebook hardware you might have some problems with the Exar USB-UART driver on Linux. Here are the steps to getting this unit setup from an Ubuntu (should work for any other Linux distro) machine. lsusb Should show something like this: Bus 002 Device 006: ID 04e2:1410 Exar Corp. XR21V1410 USB-UART IC Download the driver for the Exar site: unzip cd xr_usb_serial_common_lnx-3.6-and-newer-pak make sudo insmod ./xr_usb_serial_common.ko Ensure driver is loaded at startup sudo vim /etc/modules #Add the following xr_usb_serial_common ls /dev/tty* should now show another USB port ttyXRUSB0 For the rest you just need to follow the excellent instructions by Jac Kersing who maintains the Multitech TTN installer and documentation here: Get EUI of your gateway mts-io-sysfs show lora/eui 2> /dev/null | sed 's/://g'

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Finding Notebook Hardware for Ubuntu – 2015 Edition

Unfortunately it is still much harder than necessary to find notebook hardware to use with Ubuntu (or other Linux variants). This blog is full of past experiences (some of them quite time-consuming) on finding notebook hardware that will work without too much fiddling. This short note is to document my recent research on that front to help others who want to do the same (as there doesn't seem to be a lot of good current info around).    by  TAKA@P.P.R.S  There are some vendors that do ship with Ubuntu, however they are generally all based in the US and their pre-sales communications are pretty horrible (I am talking to you ZaReason - still waiting for reply email as well as tweet). Then there is Purism Librem, but unfortunately they have still not shipped their 15" version and I need a tool now. The jury on this is still out and I don't really have the time to be a guinea-pig. Maybe next time (as I like what they are doing) ... There was one option from one of the top-tier manufacturers (Dell XPS 13 - Developer Edition) which ships with Ubuntu. But as - per usual - NOT in Australia. However there was a lot of conflicting evidence I found that the Windows Version had some issues with current Ubuntu versions (Dell ship 14.04 LTS - which makes sense from their point). I ended up buying the Lenovo X1 (3rd Generation) and after the install of Ubuntu I have to say…

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Ubuntu 14.04 Amazon EC2 Cloud Desktop using LXQT

Using Amazon EC2's free usage tier to host your own cloud desktop is a very economical way to to have a desktop at hand anytime you can not be near one. Since I quite often use Chromebooks these days when on the road this is a particular handy way should I need a full desktop for certain tasks. Since Ubuntu 14.05 is my default desktop on my normal hardware I obviously want to have my cloud desktop running the same underlying OS. However I don't think running Unity as the desktop interface would be appropriate via a low-bandwidth remote desktop connection. For this reason I chose LXQT. If you need total stability you probably should go for the more mature LXDE instead, but I have already tried LXQT on an old EEE PC and was very impressed by the speed and low resource usage. NOTE (Edit: 2014-11-03): Please find an updated (and easier) version of this blog here. I was experiencing some issues with LXQT (which is understandable as it clearly states that it is not a release version) Provision Ubuntu 14.04 LTS EC2 Instance Instance details Connect to AWS Console and go to EC2 Service Choose OS Image: "Ubuntu Server 14.04 LTS" (see screenshot) Choose a "Micro Instance" if you want to use Amazon's Free Usage Tier Choose Instance details - the defaults will generally be fine Add Storage (I generally add a separate Volume for /home but default should do) Tag instance (just give it a name to…

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LXQt – extending the life of my trusty old EEE PC (even further)

My old Asus EEE PC 900 is the oldest piece of hardware I own. With an old Intel Atom processor and 1GB of RAM it's never was the fastest kid on the block (in fact I never considered the Windows XP version of the same unit usable as it was very sluggish). However after owning it for nearly 7 years I am very surprised I can still use it. Granted I only use it occasionally when I am at home, but thanks to LXDE it was still usable. I recently learned that LXDE is merging with the Razor-Qt project (great idea!) to create the combined LXQT - an ultra-low resource window manager. Warning: LXQt is still considered a work in progress. So probably not a good idea on your prime work machine. I started with a clean re-install of LUBUNTU LTS 14.04 - to add LXQt you need to add the lubuntu-daily PPA. sudo add-apt-repository ppa:lubuntu-dev/lubuntu-daily sudo add-apt-repository ppa:gilir/q-project sudo apt-get update sudo apt-get upgrade sudo apt-get install lxqt-metapackage Log out and log in back to LXQt desktop environment. Voilà ! After using it a little while it really is a joy to use and extremely responsive even on such a resource constrained old unit. Great work !

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Getting Foscam IP Cameras to work from Linux (Ubuntu)

As with most hardware manufacturers of hardware Foscam utility software is Windows or Mac only. The actual unit tested with the below is a FI9805E Outdoor POE camera. Installation The installation is relatively painless as the unit is set up to get the IP assignment via DHCP (check your routers DHCP assignment list). https://IP.ADDRESS.OF.CAM should get you to the web-admin interface. The default user is 'admin' with no (empty) password. Taking snapshots http://IP.ADDRESS.OF.CAM:PORT/cgi-bin/CGIProxy.fcgi?cmd=snapPicture&usr=username&pwd=password I had some issues with the color of the images in daylight (which for an outdoor camera is not really a good thing. A Firmware update (V2.14.1.5) improved this (you can disable the IR LEDs during daylight hours). Thanks for FOSCAM UK support via Twitter I found the download URL as the main site seems to have been down for a while. Firmware URL: Streaming in H.264 video The easiest way to get the stream appears to be the RTSP connection (using VLC or any network video player). MXPlayer on Android works very well too. rtsp://username:password@IP.ADDRESS.OF.CAM:PORT/videoMain rtsp://username:password@IP.ADDRESS.OF.CAM:PORT/videoSub rtsp://username:password@IP.ADDRESS.OF.CAM:PORT/audio Streaming in MPEG mode The be able to use the MPEG streaming the stream format needs to be set first. http://IP.ADDRESS.OF.CAM:PORT/cgi-bin/CGIProxy.fcgi?&usr=username&pwd=password&cmd=setSubStreamFormat&format=1 http://IP.ADDRESS.OF.CAM:PORT/cgi-bin/CGIStream.cgi?cmd=GetMJStream&usr=username&pwd=password Resetting back to H264: http://IP.ADDRESS.OF.CAM:PORT/cgi-bin/CGIProxy.fcgi?&usr=username&pwd=password&cmd=setSubStreamFormat&format=0 Next steps will be to make this work from a headless device with an Amazon S3 storage backend. This Github project is looking promising. Watch this space.

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Making VIM the default text editor on Ubuntu

In my never ending quest to find the ideal text editor here is another installment. Since I have been using VIM as my default command line editor for years I thought I give it a try for basic GUI editing as well. Install and set desktop app & icon sudo apt-get install vim vim-gnome sudo wget --output-document=/usr/share/applications/gvim.desktop sudo wget --output-document=/usr/share/icons/hicolor/scalable/apps/gvim.svg sudo update-desktop-database Set MIME defaults vim ~/.local/share/applications/mimeapps.list #add or edit the following mime type and add others as needed text/plain=gvim.desktop;

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As a follow-up on a very old post I thought it's worth providing an update. Despite it's age (& only costing $350 at the time) my little Asus EEE PC 900 it is still a useful device. It has turned out as one of the better IT investments in my lifetime. However it's not (and was never) the fastest kid on the block and recent OS upgrades have become increasingly resource hungry. With the recent Ubuntu 12.04 LTS upgrade I was in the process of upgrading a few other notebooks and noticed that the release schedule for some of the Ubuntu variants (Kubuntu, Xubuntu & Lubuntu) has been brought in line with the main OS branch. So while waiting for the installs on the other machines to finish I thought about updating the EEEPC as well. I tried Xubuntu at first, but did not like the interface (and the default apps pre-installed) and there were hardly any performance gains. But installing Lubuntu was a different story. I am very impressed by the LXDE desktop environment and the UI performance. The responsiveness of the UI is remarkably better than other desktop managers on a small netbook. And you still get the underlying strengths of the Ubuntu (Debian) based package management in it's latest revision. That means most applications come packaged and there's PPA's for the rest. Looks Lubuntu's the new favourite. Hat tip to the Lubuntu maintainers and LXDE developers - excellent work in producing a no-frills but very functional, decent looking & usable…

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Darktable – Photo Management under Ubuntu

Whilst I am by no means a photographer I do end up taking quite a few photos (these days pretty much exclusively on my phone) and the management of these photos can be a pain. So far I have never found an program worth the pain over plain old file management. But having stumbled across Darktable ( I think I might have found a worthwile package. Install on Ubuntu: sudo add-apt-repository ppa:pmjdebruijn/darktable-release sudo apt-get update sudo apt-get install darktable

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Getting a handle on Ubuntu mobile power management

To get an idea on the current power usage and some suggestions on how to improve power-management 'powertop' is a must-have. sudo apt-get install powertop Powertop Screenshot For some more detailed suggestions this is a good start:

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Installing Ubuntu: Extending the HP Touchpad

As one of those who grabbed a HP Touchpad at the recent firesale (after announcing the killing of the product line) I did it as in full knowledge that this device in it's current form is of limited use and (highly) unlikely to have lots of additional applications created for it. After casually using it for a few nights of use I am personally not surprised that HP decided to ditch this product. Compared to the current Tablet leaders the Touchpad is miles behind both Android and iOS and HP would have had to spend  serious money to even get close to the current functionality of the competition. And you can take a bet that both of these will not remain static. I was actually hoping that WebOS can be a serious competitor to the current duopoly, but after using this thing I have to say that it is not even close. However I still think the AUD149 I spent for the 32GB model are actually well spent. Since WebOS has always been a very open platform built on a Linux base I knew it would not be a major effort to run other Open Source OS's on this device. There is already a whole bunch of people working on a full Android port (see TouchDroid and XDA Devs). But since I already have an Android Tab (Samsung Galaxy Tab 7'') I am more interested in other alternatives at this stage. As a current Ubuntu user I started looking around and after comparing…

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