March 31, 2020
by dhoytt
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Setup Raspberry Pi 3 Raspbian Buster to Stream to Stereo

I updated my seldom used Raspberry Pi 3 to Raspbian Buster dated 2020-02-13 which uses the 4.19 kernel to stream to my brand new Onkyo-TX-N696. After the sound went out on my Yamaha RX-V673 I needed another option and chose the Onkyo-TX-N696 because my older Onkyo-TX-N595 allows me to use and save custom streaming URL’s without using the major streaming services. I did some quick research and it seemed all streaming current receivers didn’t have the custom streaming URL option. Onkyo didn’t advertise this feature either but thought since the Onkyo-TX-N595 had it the Onkyo-TX-N696 had a good chance of having the option to add custom streaming URL’s plus the other new features AVR receivers have these days.

Well once hooked up I went through the Net streaming features that the Onkyo-TX-N696 had and didn’t see the custom streaming option. I called up Onkyo support and thankfully got a support representative who had been there a while and he said that custom streaming URL’s option isn’t on the new receivers and I was the first person he talked to in all the years of being there that wanted that option or he heard used the custom urls. With the Yamaha RX-V673 I used the Vtuner site to point to custom streaming URL’s like “Snakeice’s House of Beats” various music streams I added as bookmarks in the Yamaha RX-V673 receiver under “Net Radio”.

I was ready to take the Onkyo-TX-N696 back and get a new Yamaha 7.2 receiver once I found they didn’t have the custom streaming URL option. After talking to Yamaha support I found they no longer use Vtuner but Airable and no way to link to various custom streaming URL’s. I dug deeper into other current AVR receivers and still couldn’t find any current AVR receivers that let you enter custom streaming URL’s Now my only option with current AVR’s is to use a different streaming device like Sonos or Denon network streaming devices or do what I used to with my old Harmon Kardon before streaming receivers became a thing and stream from a PC or like device and connect via HDMI or optical from that device into the Onkyo-TX-N696. I decided to try my Raspberry Pi 3 I had laying around for the input streaming device.

The older version of Raspbian Stretch OS I had was having filesystem issues I would just <ctrl-d> past but I was able to test out with VLC. I then downloaded the new Raspbian OS performed straightforward dd installation of the image to my micro-SD card from my Fedora Linux workstation per Raspberry Pi installation instructions Placed my micro-SD card back into my Raspberry Pi 3 and came up with the new beautiful stable “Raspbian Buster with desktop and recommended software”.

Since the Raspberry Pi 3 only has one HDMI output I had to get a 2 output HDMI splitter (with 4k and HDR which wasn’t required )from Rocketfish. I had tried using USB outlets from the Raspberry Pi 3 with some older USB external sound devices I had laying around but the OS didn’t recognize them without some additional configuration in the Raspian OS and I didn’t want to have to hang an additional 2 devices off my new stereo plus additional customization when I shouldn’t have to hang any devices off a new AVR receiver to get the functionality I had for the past 6 or 7 years from the Yamaha RX-V673 7.2 and currently have on the older Onkyo-TX-N595 5.2 currently that I use for the backyard. I have other more important projects to get done.

Anyhow now I’m all setup with the Raspberry Pi 3 with VLC streaming my Snakeice’s House of Beats then having the HDMI output of my Raspberry Pi 3 go through the Rocketfish splitter with one output to the stereo and the other to my monitor for initial setup (until I find my TV’s remote).

All this hassle because modern AVR’s are herding us into large streaming providers to get our music if we want to stream music. I am very impressed with the Debian flavored Raspbian OS for these types of Desktop uses. I ordered the Raspberry Pi 4 and will play with that some more and that has 2 micro-HDMI outputs, more RAM and a more powerful CPU.

I will also fix my sound on my Yamaha RX-V673 7.2 or most likely have this local place here in Sacramento who fixed my Harmon Kardon fix it since I have other projects stacked up, will cost a bit but it’s worth it to me. Now I have VLC enabled and ready on my Raspberry Pi 3 and can once again control my music from anywhere since my Onkyo-TX-N696 is controllable via mobile and PC as well.

Time to stream and listen to some music from Snakeice’s House of Beats!

February 20, 2020
by dhoytt
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Crazy OS and Application Updates

I was feeling productive making serious strides gettinng my c7000 chassis

I was feeling productive today making serious strides getting my c7000 chassis ready and reached a great stopping point when I decided to do a small task that lead to several updates and took parts of my web site down. I was just going to link another blog’s post to one of mine to increase traffic to both sites hopefully when I decided to update to see if I had access to a better plugin to link related sites since the one I used extensively no longer had active development and the other one I didn’t have time to dive into today.

First I wanted to update to the latest version of WordPress 5.23 but the update check discovered I had PHP version 5.4.16 and I needed to be at PhP 5.5 to get to WordPress 3.23 the latest version.

First I did a full OS update on my web server I host WordPress on which is Centos 7 OS to see if it picked up the latest PHP version and it didn’t update PHP at all during the update process. The kernel and quite a few other files updated seamlessly though.

Second I updated WordPress to the latest verions I could with PHP 5.4.16 which was version 5.14 of WordPress. I then did minimal poking around and determined that of course WordPress 5.23 would work with the latest version of PHP so I decided to see why Centos 7 didn’t update to the latest version of PHP during the update process.

Found out how to get to the latest version of PHP 7.3 and it was straightforward, so I decided to do it. I found several sites with the same update procedure so I followed the one at Digital Ocean since they always have to have good material:

Install EPEL yum repository on your system

yum install epel-release

Install Remi repository

rpm -Uvh http://rpms.famillecollet.com/enterprise/remi-release-7.rpm

Now onto the proper installation

Your system is prepared for the PHP installation from yum repositories. Use one of the following commands to install PHP 7.3 or PHP 7.2 or PHP 7.1 on your system based on your requirements

## Install PHP 7.3  yum --enablerepo=remi-php73 install php

All seemed to go smooth so I then decided to update to WordPress 5.23 and then updated all of my plugins and all my WordPress themes except for the theme I use for my Music Streaming site “Snakeice’s House of Beats” since there were some customizations I didn’t want to work with today and it is only one version behind the latest version on that active theme. All looked good as I updated each site which in turn updated the database.

I then went to the Music Streaming site “Snakeice’s House of Beats” and could not see the now playing information so I started thinking the iFrame plugin I used had failed. I looked at the settings and they were blank! Was glad I was looking at the wrong site, I then checked the correct site with an independent tool to see if my site had picked up something during the updates that would block iframes and it tested out fine.

Then it dawned on me to test the content I show within my iFrame outside of the iFrame and it wouldn’t come up! Now I went to my request site and requested a song and that gave database errors! I had failed to consider that the PHP based code of that part of the site which stands on its own if needed didn’t have the proper PHP updates and that site doesn’t have simple update processes for me it would be all manual if that’s the issue.

I looked in the Apache/httpd log files and of course there was the error “PHP Parse error: Invalid numeric literal”. Then went to the site of that application’s forum to see who else ran into this issue and I found the fix was the latest version of the SAM Broadcaster applications PHP templates. I purchased the update installed the new templates in another part of my site after getting that installed on my W2012-r2 site and copying the templates from there. I mad my configuration changes to point to my streaming music server and to sync with that database put in my station credentials and everything didn’t work perfectly. I even noticed the Joomla portion on my site had all types of PHP errors all over the place what a mess!

Heck even the update of the SAM Broadcaster application on my W2012-r2 server didn’t go smoothly. That took me 3 tries with running the executable as Administrator user and moving files and making sure I killed certain processes before it recognized the new SAM Broadcaster version 2018-10!

Now I ventured over to the SAM forums again and found that one of the people who did SAM Broadcaster consulting work had packaged up some changes for the SAM Broadcaster files for PHP 7.x he had supposedly passed on to the team at Spacial Audio who created SAM Broadcaster and should have been in the latest version of SAM. I downloaded that zip package, moved it to my web server, unzipped it, copied what had been my working code to a renamed directory and then copied the changed files over my previously working files. I then looked at my music standalone site and it looked horrible but a change had occurred that looked like something I could work with!

After copying all the unzipped files over my prior working site I then made changes to my configuration API files pointing to my database, syncing to the W2012-r2 server that streams the music from my Centos 7 web server and refreshing the web page after each change and it got me back up to where I was except of course my Joomla CMS pages which I will tackle the next couple of days.

After all of that I decided to link the other blog’s post to my related post on mint plants and ended up doing it manually since the plugin I wanted and I updated to use didn’t work! Wow well at least I got somethings updated with more secure code and those blog posts linked! I’ll tackle everything else later, I have several dozens projects left to do after being overseas for a while on my systems around the house and community but I’m at the latest version of Centos 7, PHP (7.3), SAM Broadcaster and Windows 2012-r2 (I updated a couple of days ago) and made significant progress installing to server blades and setting up things on my c7000 blade chassis.

February 1, 2020
by dhoytt
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Updated Dhoytt Web Server

Performed some OS updates on the Dhoytt Web Server which is a Centos 7 virtual server. In my current configuration which I will change this also affects my IceCast Relays I stream out for listeners

There weren’t a lot of updates but rebooted the system anyway everything is back up nice and quick and the IceCast Relays maybe noticed a small blip.

Everything is up and ready to go.

August 6, 2019
by dhoytt
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Getting HP C7000 BladeSystem Started

Well after picking up my HPC7000 Blade chassis with some nice components I finally made room in my computer room and got the chassis powered up. I also picked up some barebones Bl460 G7 blade servers I can get started on.

First as noted I needed to get the chassis together and in my computer room. First I put my main chassis on a four wheel heavy duty furniture dolly then snapped in the backplane and modules.

I then stacked all of my UPS on one side of my 19″ rack on another four wheel heavy duty furniture dolly. Then wheeled in the C7000 chassis.

Then my issue is I didn’t have the proper power cords so picked those up at the same place I got the barebone servers. Still I had a power issue as my power supplies only operate off of 200-240vac. Found some power supplies that work off of 100-120vac and I have power.

Now the LCD screen is locked so I cannot configure anything that way and I can’t guess the IP address of the HP OA(Onboard Administrator) for the C7000 chassis. I try resetting the OA but that does nothing.

Now I decide to serial into the OA and find my USB to serial cable but I need the female to female null modem adaptor. I know I have one but can’t find it. I head over to Frye’s to get a null modem cable.

Now I cannot login using my Windows laptop because Windows 10 no longer has HyperTerminal and cannot load proper drivers for my USB to serial cable.

Now thank goodness the null modem cable is long so I go connect it to my Linux workstation. Now it’s been the ’90’s since I did Linux or UNIX serial connections using Kermit and I’m having issues. Finally I get minicom command to work connect to the HP OA and reset my password and network information.

Just the baby steps and the technical commands and steps I’ll post later plus a few more pictures.

July 9, 2019
by dhoytt
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Pictures Tell the Story of Backyard Garden Improvements

After coming back from overseas abruptly for personal reasons came back to an overgrown vegetable garden with ruined sprinklers. First I pulled the big weeds, then, repaired the drip system in the backyard, then watered a while used a semi-operational rototiller and a light weight tiller then raked weeds and roots that filled my green waste bin.

I then laid out some mature vegetables with a little top soil under and around the vegetables to form a top soil moat to allow the roots to grow and take hold quickly. Then placed the drips in more permanent positions.

During testing of the drip system that’s was damaged by people who were supposed to be taking care of my yard I noticed a leak spring up and became a mini-geyser I had no choice but to fix right away.

To get to the actual leak I went down about 2.5 feet deep and 3.5 feet wide plus 2 feet across. The soil was hard clay and roots some almost the diameter of pvc pipe then some like heavy wire every inch. A lot of roots were wrapped around the sprinkler pipes and valves so I had to use hand tools scrape away dirt, then make sure it wasn’t pipe or wiring from the sprinkler control unit. I even had to strategically cut roots as they had tension pulling every way on the pipes so if I cut one side the pipes or valves may get pulled and caused damage going the other way. Was slow going but got to the main issue in several hours.

Diagnosing the leak I found that I needed to replace some threaded 90 degree pvc joint leading to the sprinkler valve for my vegetable gardens. I have a total of 4 separate sprinkler zones one for drips in the front yard that came with the house I added to, my vegetable gardens in the backyard, grass strips in the backyard and one for potted/hanging plants in the backyard I have capped currently.

During this replacement of the piping I decided to replace the sprinkler valves with one that was easier to test with that had a handle you could get leverage on. The local big box hardware stores all had the same brands with small handles that over time and hard water make you place stress when testing. Plus they seem to not handle back flow well but they worked. I also decided to use a pipe union joint on both pipes in flow and out flow.

To avoid having to dig through clay soil and roots again I looked into a sprinkler valve box so I could leave the dirt out from around the sprinkler valves and pipes so they are easier to update or fix next time. Traditional valve covers didn’t work so finally got the idea to put a fake rock valve cover over the sprinkler valves. I then noticed my front sprinkler pipes were leaking badly before I could put execute my plan.

I then had to dig some more and then upon testing found the pipe adhesive on the angle pipes on the out flow had failed. These were done by the builder. I knocked off the old solvent, sanded by hand pipe and corner joint resealed.

I picked up some root block from a professional lawn care store I had found the traditional lawn valve covers that didn’t work for my situation.

Well the root blocks weren’t going to work either. So I just filled the bottom of the space of pipes with river rocks. Then to provide a base for my imitation granite rock sprinkler valve cover I inserted a 2 deep layer of concrete edge stones you would use for raised gardens to form a root block as well!

Now with work and other commitments this has taken parts of the last month. I basically finished this part of my project this weekend and vacation day from Wednesday to Monday by pulling weeds from vegetable gardens that newly popped up plus thorny weeds wit pick from my grass I had hired someone else to take care of while I was gone and power washing my concrete a second time from the dirt all this work produces.

All this time my 11kw solar system was also being worked on. Well the project is complete to get my sprinklers and yard into my normal acceptable range. Still work to do and the ever present maintenance. Plus some nice accents and finishing touches for later in the week. I have so much that needed to be done I’m sure I left out major steps.

That sums up only the outside around the house projects I of course have a bunch of other things going but wanted to document this.

Now pictures:

July 5, 2019
by dhoytt
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Curio Shopping Gaming Chair and C7000 BladeSystem Buying

Went looking for a corner curio almost bought it ended up with a gaming chair, HP C7000 Blade Chassis a couple of C7000 VC 10 GB modules and oh yeah an irrigation granite rock imitation valve cover!

Had 4 people help put the C7000 Chassis on my truck but only myself to take off my truck into the house and up a flight of stairs.

That’s right hundreds of pounds up the stairs by myself in pieces! Still the two main pieces were no joke and I walked the main chassis up one stair at a time after muscling it inside to the stairwell.

Here are the pics and I will start testing and playing with it soon!

June 14, 2019
by dhoytt
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Apache not Reading php.ini Changes Configuring Fedora 30 During New Zoneminder Install

I wanted to setup some quick testing of Zoneminder on different platforms last night and started the basic configurations. Installed Fedora 30 , installed RpmFusion repository, installed mysql community database mariadb, Apache installed, install Zoneminder rpms using “dnf” etc..

Went through the initial steps with Zoneminder configurations opened up firewall ports then navigated to the initial web page and got the message:

ZoneMinder is not installed properly: php’s date.timezone is not set to a valid timezone”

Should be simple go into “/etc/php.ini” set date.timezone restart Apache/HTTPD and get past that message then get in and do the initial configurations within Zoneminder but that’s not what happened.

In “/etc/php.ini I set date.timezone to America/Los_Angeles restarted Apache with systemctl and no changes. Checked for typos and invisible characters in “/etc/php.ini” restarted and nothing changed again. I started checking permissions on web files, started looking through “/etc/http/conf.d/php.conf” check Zonemindr config files everything looks solid but I still get the “ZoneMinder is not installed properly: php’s date.timezone is not set to a valid timezone” message.

This is a minimal install and I’m very sure I only have one version of php and Apache. To confirm I run:

#php -i | grep timezone
Default timezone => America/Los_Angeles
date.timezone => America/Los_Angeles => America/Los_Angeles

This shows I have set my timezone parameters properly yet I still get the message “ZoneMinder is not installed properly: php’s date.timezone is not set to a valid timezone”

# php -i | grep -i config
Configuration File (php.ini) Path => /etc
Loaded
Configuration File => /etc/php.ini
Configuration
Openssl default
config => /etc/pki/tls/openssl.cnf


Once again looks good and proves I’m editing the only and correct php.ini file but this isn’t translating to Zoneminder I looked for overriding parameters not finding any.

I found many workarounds in forums like providing the date.timezone value in “/etc/http/conf.d/php.conf” or going into “/usr/share/zoneminder/www/index.php” and commenting out the code checking date.timezone for the Zoneminder application. I don’t want edits and hacks all over in non-default files because when updating or changing things these things may cause issues.

Finally I created a phpinfo web page navigate to it and date.timezone value is blank!! Doing “php -i” shows properly still!

#php -i | grep timezone
Default timezone => America/Los_Angeles
date.timezone => America/Los_Angeles => America/Los_Angeles

Ok so obviously php.ini isn’t passing the date.timezone parameter to Apache for some reason even though the phpinfo web page shows it’s using the “/etc/php.ini” configuration file for php!

I checked the current Zoneminder system and they are setup with Apache and PHP identically except the OS versions Fedora 28 versus Fedora 30 so I started searching for difference in the versions and found what I needed in the Fedora forums. FastCGI is now a required dependency for Apache/httpd via the “php-fpm” service.

#systemctl status php-fpm

php-fpm.service – The PHP FastCGI Process Manager

I noticedphp-fpm has not been restarted since I made my changes in “/etc/php.ini” so now I decide to restart “php-fpm” and the “ZoneMinder is not installed properly: php’s date.timezone is not set to a valid timezone” message is gone so now I can actually configure Zoneminder with my cameras!

Basically this is what’s needed to make sure your changes you make in /etc/php.ini are passed on to Apache in Fedora 30 and possibly other versions starting at Fedora 27 though I didn’t have this issue with Fedora 28 or I didn’t notice it for some reason:

#vi /etc/php-fpm.conf

Make this change:

date.timezone = America/Los_Angeles

# systemctl restart httpd

# systemctl restart php-fpm

Verify by creating a pphpinfo file and navigating to it

Contents of phpinfo.php:

<?php phpinfo(); ?>

Example:

#cat /var/www/html/phpinfo.php
<?php phpinfo(); ?>

#



Fedora forum posts that pointed me in the right direction:

https://forums.fedoraforum.org/showthread.php?317215-Apache-PHP-Configuration which referenced:

https://blog.remirepo.net/post/2017/11/17/Fedora-27-changes-in-http-and-php

May 4, 2019
by dhoytt
0 comments

Site Network Rework

Moving site back to ASUS RT-N66U old router after going to the Linksys 3200ACM router that failed on me each time I went out of town leaving my sites, smart devices, cameras and other items unreachable through the network route through the Linksys. I worked with Linksys support up to 3rd level and the only solutions they had for any issues was to delete my config and start over which I couldn’t do remotely and of course is not a long term solution and they hadn’t updated or implemented fixes since January 2018 and yes I could go DD-WRT which was a plan but I decided not on this Belkin product ,which bought out the Linksys name in 2013, I found out. This was the second time the Linksys router failed on me as this current router is an RMA brand new product for the prior router with same model that failed totally losing it’s configuration before!

Luckily I did have some remote capabilities through other routers and I was able to hop on to my servers via that route and switched over my dhoytt.com site and music server and point my DNS to another static IP about a month ago.

I then to alter routes on my W2012 media streaming server, my Linux Centos 7 music IceCast music relay server that also monitors many of my systems to properly get my music streams out. I had to open up ports through another router via my LAN once in to the static ip address I pointed my music streams and websites to. I then added a static route on the Linksys that had stopped communicating over the WAN but still had LAN connectivity to go through my security camera server as it was straddling all my networks and was able to communicate to most of my smart devices.

I did have to take down temporarily my hoytt.biz site. I walked a friend of mine through connecting a network cable to a third NIC I had on my Zoneminder physical server I had setup to my camera network.

Now I came back home due to a family issue and during this time I’m also correcting my router remote access issues. First I of course removed the Linksys 3200ACM and purchased a new ASUS AC86U which pretty much worked well except had interference issues with my other routers and routes in the areas over wireless so after almost a week I took it back and I’m back on my old but reliable ASUS RT-N66U.

I moved all my routing on my servers back to the original networks and pointed my DNS for dhoytt.com to my prior static ip.address and brought back up hoytt.biz. All of my music server streams are as they originally were and connecting my smart devices back where they belong. This is why I go for dependability and not flash look at all this work I had to do, and I truly understated the amount of effort it took to do this remotely from a slow internet connection I had that would stall where I was half a world away.

So if you noticed any minor glitches this morning that was me switching things over to the way its been for the most part for many years concept wise save my constant upgrading and changing the underlying technologies. I also updated several of my servers OS. As DNS propagates there may be some minor connectivity but if you use FQDN instead of actual hard coded ip.addesses you should reach my sites just fine. There may be a few things I have missed but not bad for an hour or so of actual work. I may also still get a new route but still holding out for the best ROI.

February 21, 2019
by dhoytt
0 comments

Newly Built Systems Come Back Quickly After Power Outage

After a power outage just a few moments ago I think this is the fastest one of my virtual and NAS environments has ever recovered after booting up! No curruption to speak of and XCP-ng and FreeNAS recovered effortlessly!

Hopefully in the future my UPS can carry me a few moments more after I spread the loads out and continue to get get more efficient systems plus tune some systems for low power usage if possible. My Linux work station survives every power shutdown under 2 hours without powering off.