Jan 30

USB 2.0 VGA from DealExtreme

Reading time: 1 – 2 minutes

Several months ago I bought a video graphics adapter for USB 2.0 port. It’s compatible with Linux, Mac and Windows but for a while I’ve only used it with Windows where it works as a extended screen for my HDMI main display. It works very good with 1920×1080 pixels resolution and it can play videos fast enough using a standalone video player or HTML5 video streaming from the internet.

The chipset used by this product is DISPLAYLINK DL-165 with DVI, HDMI and VGA adapters. It is powered by USB port with 5V DC and 450mA about 2,25W of consumption; but after installing the display driver I lost 2GB of RAM, which in my case it isn’t a problem but sometimes it could be a handicap.

USB 2.0 VGA

USB 2.0 VGA

If you are interested in this product I bought it in DealExtreme webpage, the product page is here and costs 34,28€ with free shipping.

Jan 29

Routerboard CRS125-24G-1S-2HnD-IN (Mikrotik) Cloud Switch

Reading time: 1 – 2 minutes

I bought this product a few weeks ago and finally I can enjoy it at home. With this product you have a firewall, gateway, switch and wireless box with:

  • 25x Gigabit Ethernet ports
  • 1x Fiber channel
  • 3G, 4G or any optional USB modem
  • With RouterOS inside you can manage: gateway, firewall, VPN and ad-hoc switching and routing configurations
  • 1000mW high power 2.4GHz 11n wireless AP
CRS125-24G-1S-2HnD-IN

CRS125-24G-1S-2HnD-IN

The official product page is here where you can find brochure in PDF and other useful information.

If you are looking for a powerful product for your SOHO network this is the solution as I like to say ‘this is one of the best communications servers’. It will be very difficult to find some feature or functionality that you can not get from this product. The product is robust and stable with the flexibility of RouterOS.

Jan 24

Conferència: La revolució dels mini-PC: Raspberry PI, Arduino i més

Reading time: 1 – 2 minutes

Ahir al vespre vaig fer una conferència a la FIB (Facultat d’Informàtica de Barcelona) dins de la UPC (Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya). En aquesta xerra vaig estar explicant què és i en que es diferència Arduino i Raspberry PI. A més de presentar tot un conjunt de solucions alternatives i experiències en el tema.

En aquest enllaç podeu trobar les transparències de:  La revolució dels mini-PC: Raspberry PI, Arduino i més. i el video el teniu disponible al servidor de la FIB.

Ara també teniu disponible el video a youtube:

i podeu veure les transparències des d’aquest mateix post:

Espero els vostres feedbacks als comentaris, desitjo que ús sigui útil.

Oct 04

Recording linux desktop and audio

Reading time: < 1 minute I have two full-HD displays as a desktop and I want to record the second one of them while I record mic too. The output format of the record has to be MKV with h264 as video codec and AAC as audio codec. After some tests with VLC and FFMPEG finally I get the solution with this command:

ffmpeg -f alsa -ac 2 -i default -f x11grab -r 15 -s 1920×1080+0+0 -i :0.0+1920,0 \
       -acodec pcm_s16le -vcodec libx264  -preset ultrafast  -threads 0 -y Test.mkv

when I finish recording the clip I have to convert the audio channel because if I try to convert the audio format while I’m recording the audio channel I have delays or sync problems with video channel.

ffmpeg -i Test.mkv -map 0:0 -map 0:1 \
       -c:v copy \
       -c:a:1 libfdk_aac -profile:a aac_he_v2 -b:a:1 96k \
       output.mkv
Sep 30

Hello World using ‘kombu’ library and python

This entry is part 4 of 4 in the series AMQP and RabbitMQ

Reading time: 4 – 7 minutes

Some times schemas and snippets don’t need large descriptions. If you think this is not enough in this case tell me and I’m going to add explanations.

Using a python library called kombu as an abstraction to talk with AMQP broker we are going to develop different message routes setting each type of Exchange. As a backend I used RabbitMQ with default configuration.

AMQP schema using an exchange of type direct

kombu-direct

Queue definition:

from kombu import Exchange, Queue

task_exchange = Exchange("msgs", type="direct")
queue_msg_1 = Queue("messages_1", task_exchange, routing_key = 'message_1')
queue_msg_2 = Queue("messages_2", task_exchange, routing_key = 'message_2')

The producer:

from __future__ import with_statement
from queues import task_exchange

from kombu.common import maybe_declare
from kombu.pools import producers


if __name__ == "__main__":
    from kombu import BrokerConnection

    connection = BrokerConnection("amqp://guest:guest@localhost:5672//")

    with producers[connection].acquire(block=True) as producer:
        maybe_declare(task_exchange, producer.channel)
        
        payload = {"type": "handshake", "content": "hello #1"}
        producer.publish(payload, exchange = 'msgs', serializer="pickle", routing_key = 'message_1')
        
        payload = {"type": "handshake", "content": "hello #2"}
        producer.publish(payload, exchange = 'msgs', serializer="pickle", routing_key = 'message_2')

One consumer:

from queues import queue_msg_1
from kombu.mixins import ConsumerMixin

class C(ConsumerMixin):
    def __init__(self, connection):
        self.connection = connection
        return
    
    def get_consumers(self, Consumer, channel):
        return [Consumer( queue_msg_1, callbacks = [ self.on_message ])]
    
    def on_message(self, body, message):
        print ("RECEIVED MSG - body: %r" % (body,))
        print ("RECEIVED MSG - message: %r" % (message,))
        message.ack()
        return
    

if __name__ == "__main__":
    from kombu import BrokerConnection
    from kombu.utils.debug import setup_logging
    
    setup_logging(loglevel="DEBUG")

    with BrokerConnection("amqp://guest:guest@localhost:5672//") as connection:
        try:
            C(connection).run()
        except KeyboardInterrupt:
            print("bye bye")


AMQP schema using an exchange of type fanout

kombu-fanout

Queue definition:

from kombu import Exchange, Queue

task_exchange = Exchange("ce", type="fanout")
queue_events_db = Queue("events.db", task_exchange)
queue_events_notify = Queue("events.notify", task_exchange)


The producer:

from __future__ import with_statement
from queues import task_exchange

from kombu.common import maybe_declare
from kombu.pools import producers


if __name__ == "__main__":
    from kombu import BrokerConnection

    connection = BrokerConnection("amqp://guest:guest@localhost:5672//")

    with producers[connection].acquire(block=True) as producer:
        maybe_declare(task_exchange, producer.channel)
        
        payload = {"operation": "create", "content": "the object"}
        producer.publish(payload, exchange = 'ce', serializer="pickle", routing_key = 'user.write')

        payload = {"operation": "update", "content": "updated fields", "id": "id of the object"}
        producer.publish(payload, exchange = 'ce', serializer="pickle", routing_key = 'user.write')

One consumer:

from queues import queue_events_db
from kombu.mixins import ConsumerMixin

class C(ConsumerMixin):
    def __init__(self, connection):
        self.connection = connection
        return
    
    def get_consumers(self, Consumer, channel):
        return [Consumer( queue_events_db, callbacks = [self.on_message])]
    
    def on_message(self, body, message):
        print ("save_db: RECEIVED MSG - body: %r" % (body,))
        print ("save_db: RECEIVED MSG - message: %r" % (message,))
        message.ack()
        return


if __name__ == "__main__":
    from kombu import BrokerConnection
    from kombu.utils.debug import setup_logging
    
    setup_logging(loglevel="DEBUG")

    with BrokerConnection("amqp://guest:guest@localhost:5672//") as connection:
        try:
            C(connection).run()
        except KeyboardInterrupt:
            print("bye bye")


AMQP schema using an exchange of type topic

kombu-topic

Queue definition:

from kombu import Exchange, Queue

task_exchange = Exchange("user", type="topic")
queue_user_write = Queue("user.write", task_exchange, routing_key = 'user.write')
queue_user_read = Queue("user.read", task_exchange, routing_key = 'user.read')
queue_notify = Queue("notify", task_exchange, routing_key = 'user.#')


The producer:

from __future__ import with_statement
from queues import task_exchange

from kombu.common import maybe_declare
from kombu.pools import producers


if __name__ == "__main__":
    from kombu import BrokerConnection

    connection = BrokerConnection("amqp://guest:guest@localhost:5672//")

    with producers[connection].acquire(block=True) as producer:
        maybe_declare(task_exchange, producer.channel)
        
        payload = {"operation": "create", "content": "the object"}
        producer.publish(payload, exchange = 'user', serializer="pickle", routing_key = 'user.write')

        payload = {"operation": "update", "content": "updated fields", "id": "id of the object"}
        producer.publish(payload, exchange = 'user', serializer="pickle", routing_key = 'user.write')

        payload = {"operation": "delete", "id": "id of the object"}
        producer.publish(payload, exchange = 'user', serializer="pickle", routing_key = 'user.write')

        payload = {"operation": "read", "id": "id of the object"}
        producer.publish(payload, exchange = 'user', serializer="pickle", routing_key = 'user.read')

One consumer:

from queues import queue_events_db
from kombu.mixins import ConsumerMixin

class C(ConsumerMixin):
    def __init__(self, connection):
        self.connection = connection
        return
    
    def get_consumers(self, Consumer, channel):
        return [Consumer( queue_events_db, callbacks = [self.on_message])]
    
    def on_message(self, body, message):
        print ("save_db: RECEIVED MSG - body: %r" % (body,))
        print ("save_db: RECEIVED MSG - message: %r" % (message,))
        message.ack()
        return


if __name__ == "__main__":
    from kombu import BrokerConnection
    from kombu.utils.debug import setup_logging
    
    setup_logging(loglevel="DEBUG")

    with BrokerConnection("amqp://guest:guest@localhost:5672//") as connection:
        try:
            C(connection).run()
        except KeyboardInterrupt:
            print("bye bye")


Simple queues

Kombu implements SimpleQueue and SimpleBuffer as simple solution for queues with exchange of type ‘direct’, with the same exchange name, routing key and queue name.

Pusher:

from kombu import BrokerConnection

connection = BrokerConnection("amqp://guest:guest@localhost:5672//")
queue = connection.SimpleQueue("logs")

payload = { "severity":"info", "message":"this is just a log", "ts":"2013/09/30T15:10:23" }
queue.put(payload, serializer='pickle')

queue.close()

Getter:

from kombu import BrokerConnection
from Queue import  Empty

connection = BrokerConnection("amqp://guest:guest@localhost:5672//")

queue = connection.SimpleQueue("logs")

while 1:
    try:
        message = queue.get(block=True, timeout=1)
        print message.payload
        message.ack()
    except Empty:
        pass
    except KeyboardInterrupt:
        break
    print message

queue.close()

The files

Download all example files: kombu-tests.tar.gz

Sep 25

Server send push notifications to client browser without polling

Reading time: 5 – 8 minutes

Nowadays last version of browsers support websockets and it’s a good a idea to use them to connect to server a permanent channel and receive push notifications from server. In this case I’m going to use Mosquitto (MQTT) server behind lighttpd with mod_websocket as notifications server. Mosquitto is a lightweight MQTT server programmed in C and very easy to set up. The best advantage to use MQTT is the possibility to create publish/subscriber queues and it’s very useful when you want to have more than one notification channel. As is usual in pub/sub services we can subscribe the client to a well-defined topic or we can use a pattern to subscribe to more than one topic. If you’re not familiarized with MQTT now it’s the best moment to read a little bit about because that interesting protocol. It’s not the purpose of this post to explain MQTT basics.

A few weeks ago I set up the next architecture just for testing that idea:

mqtt_schema

weboscket gateway to mosquitto mqtt server with javascrit mqtt client

The browser

Now it’s time to explain this proof of concept. HTML page will contain a simple Javascript code which calls mqttws31.js library from Paho. This Javascript code will connect to the server using secure websockets. It doesn’t have any other security measure for a while may be in next posts I’ll explain some interesting ideas to authenticate the websocket. At the end of the post you can download all source code and configuration files. But now it’s time to understand the most important parts of the client code.

client = new Messaging.Client("ns.example.tld", 443, "unique_client_id");
client.onConnectionLost = onConnectionLost;
client.onMessageArrived = onMessageArrived;
client.connect({onSuccess:onConnect, onFailure:onFailure, useSSL:true});

Last part is very simple, the client connects to the server and links some callbacks to defined functions. Pay attention to ‘useSSL’ connect option is used to force SSL connection with the server.

There are two specially interesting functions linked to callbacks, the first one is:

function onConnect() {
  client.subscribe("/news/+/sport", {qos:1,onSuccess:onSubscribe,onFailure:onSubscribeFailure});
}

As you can imagine this callback will be called when the connections is established, when it happens the client subscribes to all channels called ‘/news/+/sports’, for example, ‘/news/europe/sports/’ or ‘/news/usa/sports/’, etc. We can also use, something like ‘/news/#’ and it will say we want to subscribe to all channels which starts with ‘/news/’. If only want to subscribe to one channel put the full name of the channel on that parameter. Next parameter are dictionary with quality of service which is going to use and links two more callbacks.

The second interesting function to understand is:

function onMessageArrived(message) {
  console.log("onMessageArrived:"+message.payloadString);
};

It’s called when new message is received from the server and in this example, the message is printed in console with log method.

The server

I used an Ubuntu 12.04 server with next extra repositories:

# lighttpd + mod_webserver
deb http://ppa.launchpad.net/roger.light/ppa/ubuntu precise main
deb-src http://ppa.launchpad.net/roger.light/ppa/ubuntu precise main

# mosquitto
deb http://ppa.launchpad.net/mosquitto-dev/mosquitto-ppa/ubuntu precise main
deb-src http://ppa.launchpad.net/mosquitto-dev/mosquitto-ppa/ubuntu precise main

With these new repositories you can install required packages:

apt-get install lighttpd lighttpd-mod-websocket mosquitto mosquitto-clients

After installation it’s very easy to run mosquitto in test mode, use a console for that and write the command: mosquitto, we have to see something like this:

# mosquitto
1379873664: mosquitto version 1.2.1 (build date 2013-09-19 22:18:02+0000) starting
1379873664: Using default config.
1379873664: Opening ipv4 listen socket on port 1883.
1379873664: Opening ipv6 listen socket on port 1883.

The configuration file for lighttpd in testing is:

server.modules = (
        "mod_websocket",
)

websocket.server = (
        "/mqtt" => ( 
                "host" => "127.0.0.1",
                "port" => "1883",
                "type" => "bin",
                "subproto" => "mqttv3.1"
        ),
)

server.document-root        = "/var/www"
server.upload-dirs          = ( "/var/cache/lighttpd/uploads" )
server.errorlog             = "/var/log/lighttpd/error.log"
server.pid-file             = "/var/run/lighttpd.pid"
server.username             = "www-data"
server.groupname            = "www-data"
server.port                 = 80

$SERVER["socket"] == ":443" {
    ssl.engine = "enable" 
    ssl.pemfile = "/etc/lighttpd/certs/sample-certificate.pem" 
    server.name = "ns.example.tld"
}

Remember to change ‘ssl.pemfile’ for your real certificate file and ‘server.name’ for your real server name. Then restart the lighttpd and validate SSL configuration using something like:

openssl s_client -host ns.example.tld -port 443

You have to see SSL negotiation and then you can try to send HTTP commands, for example: “GET / HTTP/1.0” or something like this. Now the server is ready.

The Test

Now you have to load the HTML test page in your browser and validate how the connections is getting the server and then how the mosquitto console says how it receives the connection. Of course, you can modify the Javascript code to print more log information and follow how the client is connected to MQTT server and how it is subscribed to the topic pattern.

If you want to publish something in MQTT server we could use the CLI, with a command mosquitto_pub:

mosquitto_pub -h ns.example.tld -t '/news/europe/sport' -m 'this is the message about european sports'

Take a look in your browser Javascript consle you have to see how the client prints the message on it. If it fails, review the steps and debug each one to solve the problem. If you need help leave me a message. Of course, you can use many different ways to publish messages, for example, you could use python code to publish messages in MQTT server. In the same way you could subscribe not only browsers to topics, for example, you could subscribe a python code:

import mosquitto

def on_connect(mosq, obj, rc):
    print("rc: "+str(rc))

def on_message(mosq, obj, msg):
    print(msg.topic+" "+str(msg.qos)+" "+str(msg.payload))

def on_publish(mosq, obj, mid):
    print("mid: "+str(mid))

def on_subscribe(mosq, obj, mid, granted_qos):
    print("Subscribed: "+str(mid)+" "+str(granted_qos))

def on_log(mosq, obj, level, string):
    print(string)

mqttc = mosquitto.Mosquitto("the_client_id")
mqttc.on_message = on_message
mqttc.on_connect = on_connect
mqttc.on_publish = on_publish
mqttc.on_subscribe = on_subscribe

mqttc.connect("ns.example.tld", 1883, 60)
mqttc.subscribe("/news/+/sport", 0)

rc = 0
while rc == 0:
    rc = mqttc.loop()

Pay attention to server port, it isn’t the ‘https’ port (443/tcp) because now the code is using a real MQTT client. The websocket gateway isn’t needed.

The files

  • mqtt.tar.gz – inside this tar.gz you can find all referenced files
Sep 23

Home heating using Panstamp (Arduino + TI C1101) and SSR

This entry is part 2 of 4 in the series heater

Reading time: 3 – 5 minutes

Last weekend I worked on setting up home heaters using Panstamp. Panstamp is an Arduino board with Texas Instruments radio. Next winter we’re going to control our home heater using connected internet devices like the laptop, tablet o mobile phones. In this post I only want to share some pictures about the process to install the electronics inside the heaters changing the old electronic boards with new custom ones.

The parts:

  • AC/DC transformer, outputs 5V. It’s really cheap, in this case free because I have more than 20 of them from old projects.

acdc5v_

  • A small custom PCB designed and made by Daniel Berenguer, the owner of Panstamp. Thanks again Daniel. I bought the PCBs and parts for around 10€ each one.

IMG_20130923_114830

  • TMP36 temperature sensor. It costs about 1,5€ each one.

IMG_20130923_114814

  • Solid state relay (SSR) bought in Alied Express web site for less than 5€.

ssr

The process:

I used a lot of tools, because DIY aren’t my strong hability.

IMG_20130921_141640

Double-head tape and hot-blue gun are need…

IMG_20130921_133746

because I want to use a cork base under the PSU and PCB

IMG_20130921_133723Parallelization of the last process
IMG_20130921_143116Using a cutter I got the units
IMG_20130921_143434SSR setup
IMG_20130921_164651connecting SSR, PCB and PSU
IMG_20130921_170711assembling everything on heater side panel
IMG_20130921_173937finally, mounting side panel on the heater
IMG_20130921_133547

Next weeks, I’ll come back with this subject to talk about the software part.

Sep 20

How to get MP3 file from a WebM video

Reading time: < 1 minute Another title for this post could be: "Getting audio from video clips". Because you could do it with MP4 (Mpeg4), WebM, Mov, FLV, etc. We are going to use ffmpeg to that:

ffmpeg -i input_file.webm -ab 128k -ar 44100 out_file.mp3

The meaning of the parameters:

  • ab: the audio bitrate in bps
  • ar: the audio sample rate in hz

And if you have a directory with a lot of files to convert you could use:

find . -name "*.webm" -print0 |while read -d $'\0' file; do ffmpeg -i "$file" -ab 128k -ar 44100 -y "${file%.webm}.mp3";done

Pay attention to “find” and “while read” commands combinations because we want to support files with spaces.

I hope this is as useful for you as for me.

Sep 16

RTMP source to HLS (HTTP Live Streaming) Apple

Reading time: 2 – 3 minutes

I just solved a very specific problem and I have to write some notes here to remember the solution. Given a RTMP source we have to stream the content to Apple devices like iPad, iPhone and iPod because RTMP couldn’t be played using Safari browser.

If we need to play streaming on Apple devices the best solution is convert it to HLS and publish generated files using HTTP server.

To solve this issue I use rtmpdump and vlc. Firstly rtmpdump gets video stream from source. Secondly the stream is sent to vlc and finally vlc transcodes de video and audio and outputs small .ts files and one .m3u8 index file.

The command is something like this:

rtmpdump -v -r "$RTMP" | sudo -u xymon vlc -I dummy fd://0 vlc://quit --sout="#transcode{width=320,height=240,fps=25,vcodec=h264,vb=256,venc=x264{aud,profile=baseline,level=30,keyint=30,ref=1,nocabac},acodec=mp3,ab=96,audio-sync,deinterlace,channels=2,samplerate=44100}:std{access=livehttp{seglen=10,delsegs=true,numsegs=5,index=$M3U8,index-url=$TS_URL},mux=ts{use-key-frames},dst=$TSF}"

Variables descriptions are:

RTMP=rtmp://example.tld/path/stream_id
WD=/local_path
TS=live-####.ts
TSF=$WD/$TS
TS_URL=http://example.tld/path/$TS
M3U8=$WD/live.m3u8

Then create an HTML file, for example live.html, with a reference to .m3u8 file, the relevant code of the HTML file is like this:

<video width="320" height="240"><source src="http://example.tld/path/live.m3u8" /></video>

A simple code to public files via HTTP:

python -c "import SimpleHTTPServer;SimpleHTTPServer.test()"

Then we only need to open Safary browser in Apple device and set the proper URL, in our case:

http://example.tld/path/live.html

IMPORTANT NOTE: the audio output have to be with two channels and a sample rate of 44KHz in other cases the audio fails.

Sep 06

Celery logs through syslog

Reading time: 2 – 2 minutes

Celery logs are colorized by default, the first big idea is disable color logs. It’s as easy as setting ‘CELERYD_LOG_COLOR’ to ‘False’ in ‘celery.conf’. The code could be something like this:

celery.conf.update('CELERYD_LOG_COLOR' = False)

Secondly we need a function where we set up a new handler and other settings to celery logging system. For example, the code could be:

from __future__ import absolute_import
from logging import BASIC_FORMAT, Formatter
from logging.handlers import SysLogHandler
from celery.log import redirect_stdouts_to_logger

def setup_log(**args):
    # redirect stdout and stderr to logger
    redirect_stdouts_to_logger(args['logger'])
    # logs to local syslog
    hl = SysLogHandler('/dev/log')
    # setting log level
    hl.setLevel(args['loglevel'])
    # setting log format
    formatter = Formatter(BASIC_FORMAT)
    hl.setFormatter(formatter)
    # add new handler to logger
    args['logger'].addHandler(hl)

Pay attention to ‘redirect_stdouts_to_logger’ it’s used to send all outputs like print’s or something else to syslog.

Thirdly we want to use those settings in our celery tasks, then we have to connect ‘setup_log’ code to some celery signals. Those signals are launched when ‘task_logger’ and ‘logger’ are configured. To connect signals:

from celery.signals import after_setup_task_logger, after_setup_logger

after_setup_logger.connect(setup_log)
after_setup_task_logger.connect(setup_log)

Fourthly we have to get the ‘logger’, we can have more than one if we are interested in records with task context or without it. For example:

logger = get_logger('just_a_name_for_internal_use')
logger_with_task_context = get_task_logger('name_of_the_task_to_be_recorded_in_logs')

Finally we only have to use those loggers with common methods DEBUG, INFO, WARN, ERROR and CRITICAL:

@celery.task
def the_task():
    logger.info('this is a message without task context')
    logger_with_task_context.debug('this record will have the prefix "name_of_the_task_to_be_recorded_in_logs" in syslog')