Raspberry Pi

I’ve gained another raspberry pi for the home network. I’ve been thinking what I can do with it.

I tried running a squid proxy, and to be honest, it’s just not worth the effort. Most websites now use HTTPS, and a result of which will not be cached or scanned by the proxy. And the overall speedup of the network was non existent or very close to minimal benefit.

So, I settled on running a OpenVPN server, so I can access the whole network when away from the house. This makes things more secure as I no longer have to have the CCTV system open to the internet, and I can use it to route around other networks I don’t trust. Which is pretty much all networks not under my control. I’ve also used the box in the backup scheme. It now takes the archive from its primary location, and copies it to a NAS, and once a month runs a scrip to compress it to a tar.gz and copy it to another NAS on the system. This gives me 3 copies of the data, plus my copies on Amazon S3. So all that data should be pretty safe.

The NAS boxes are connected only when data is being copied, and disconnected when done to avoid any nasties corrupting the backups between updates. I’ll update the scripts I use and publish or update my previous post on the back up later.

Now, I just need to get each of them mounted via NFS to my main desktop so I can work on the scripts without having to SSH to them.

What a time

So, we are in the middle of a global pandemic. I’m not going to lie, I’m finding it hard. Work at the moment, is to be perfectly honest, a massive drain on my mental resources, and watching people and their behaviours is troublesome.

The other day, on a ride I had a guy launch a tirade of abuse, because I didn’t say thank you for him stopping and letting me through a gate. He was on the phone, and headed off to my right into a car park, out of my vision. I just thought he was just stopping to do his phone call. It wasn’t until I was about 15 yards away he started ranting about manners. I just rode off, as I wasn’t in the frame of mind to deal with him.

Work is a nightmare, having to get ready for limited reopening, after dealing with a nightmare series of events for online ordering. I’m really not looking forward to the store reopening, let alone dealing with the great British public, and with 70% of the workforce furloughed the work is tiresome and mentally draining.

But my bike has been my saviour. But with a horrible clicking noise I couldn’t pin down. Not surprising since it’s been in the garage, unused and forgotten since the back end of October. So, a little maintenance was obviously in order.

However, I got a little carried away, and broke the bike down to frame level, cleaned and checked each and every component. Jockey wheels removed, cleaned and oiled, derailleur front and rear cleaned and re indexed, both wheels dismantled cleaned, regreased and retensioned. Front chainrings removed, cleaned and bottom bracket replaced with the superb Hope bottom bracket.

So, all in all, a bit of maintenance nirvana. Taking it out for a short ten mile test, no annoying clicks clunks or other noise. Bikes are amazing machines. They are so simple, but they give you so much in return.

So, if your feeling a bit down, like many people in these troublesome times, try a cycle ride. It’s good for the mind, body and soul, and try not to let your work, or lack of it get too you, it’s not the most important thing in your life, don’t let it be.

Too Google or not to Google

For the longest time I’ve been an android guy. Recently however, that changed.

I was in the market for a new handset, and it was between the iPhone 11, and the Pixel 4. I watched the keynote from google, and there was nothing for the pixel 4 that really grabbed me, I was underwhelmed. There was nothing on the handset that really grabbed me as a must upgrade feature.

Couple that with Google’s need to grab all the data they possibly can, as evidenced by my piHoles constant DNS blocks from the android handsets, I decided to go down the Apple hole. Which I will be honest about, is not a decision I regret.

Apples stance on privacy is the polar opposite of google. That’s mostly the fact that stood out to me, and weaning my data away from google wasn’t that hard.

iPhones and Apple hardware does indeed have its issues, and a slight learning curve, but I’m an Apple convert.

Knock Knock, Whose there?

A few days ago I had a knocking noise from the bike. Initially I thought it was the seat post worn, so I changed it for a spare I had kicking around. It seemed to stop for a few rides, but after I got back from my break in Scotland, and went out, it was back.

So i pulled out the seat post, re greased it and checked the torque on the saddle rails, checked the pedals and oiled the contact points. Next ride, nope knocking galore, especially on the hills.

OK, now its time to get serious. Loaded the bike up into the work stand and stripped the whole drive train down. I even removed and cleaned the chain rings. I removed the rear dérailleur and saw a movement in the hangar. It was loose. The two little screws that hold it onto the dropout had loosened, and given it a slight movement. This movement would cause it to knock on the frame when torque was applied. Could this of been the source? While this is obviously an issue, the rear wheel QR should of held this tight. But, of course it’s possible this was at fault.

However, the knocking and scraping resumed on the next ride. So, I thought back to changes I’d made. One of those changes was the seatpost. I’d installed a carbon seatpost, and out of pure laziness I’d greased it, rather than using gripper paste.

Removing the post, the grease had a “pooled” appearance. Cleaned the grease off, and cleaned the seat tube well. A good smearing of carbon paste, and refitted.

The next ride was better, but I did hear a couple of knocks/scraping but no where near as bad. It kind of sounded like chain sticking to the chain rings, and during the course of the ride, which was wet, it seemed to get better. Could of been the chain being sticky? Quite possibly as I may of over applied the squirt lube, and the rain cleared it off.

So a really good deep clean and a different lube applied. Let’s see what happens.

TwitterBot

I’d thought about writing a script for a Twitter bot. So the only thing I could think of is to push PiHole stats from my PiHole server.

In order to create a Twitter bot, you have to register as a developer but that’s easy enough. Next up is to find a interface that’s scripted in bash, as I didn’t fancy trying python, and I found the excellent Twurl Package.

Here’s a link to my repo where I’ve stored the code: https://github.com/mikethompson/PiHoleStats

I’ll update this, add a step by step and the repo when I have more time.

Night rides

Apart from some minor annoyances, I love riding at night. The light slowly fades, it’s quiet and you get to see more wildlife that normally hides away.

I’ve ridden behind owls flying, I’ve seen badgers and weasels, and of course too many rabbits to count.

If I could change one thing though, it’ll be other cyclists and their headlights. I’ve got a powerful front light as some of my local routes are pitch black with no lighting. However, when I see another cyclist, pedestrian or jogger, I put it down to the low setting. No one else seems too, making it hard to judge seperation on very narrow cycle paths.