Tag Archives: community

Celebrating the community: Cian

Post Syndicated from Katie Gouskos original https://www.raspberrypi.org/blog/community-stories-cian-google-apprenticeship/

Today we bring you the sixth film in our series of inspirational community stories. It’s wonderful to share how people all across the world are getting creative with tech and solving problems that matter to them.

Cian Martin Bohan.

Our next community story comes from Drogheda, Ireland, where a group of programmers set up the second ever CoderDojo coding club for young people. One of that Dojo’s attendees was Cian Martin Bohan, whose story we’re sharing today.

“I can’t create anything I want in real life, but I can create anything I want on a computer.”

Cian Martin Bohan

Watch Cian’s video to find out how this keen programmer went from his first experience with coding at his local CoderDojo as an 11-year-old, to landing a Software Engineering apprenticeship at Google.

Cian, a boy at his first CoderDojo coding club session.
Cian at his very first CoderDojo session

Meet Cian

Cian (20) vividly remembers the first time he heard about CoderDojo as a shy 11-year-old: he initially told his dad he felt too nervous to attend. What Cian couldn’t have known back then was that attending CoderDojo would set him on an exciting journey of creative digital making and finding life-long friends.

Help us celebrate Cian by liking and sharing his story on Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook.

Right from the beginning, the CoderDojo gave Cian space to make friends and develop his coding skills and his curiosity about creating things with technology. He started to attend the Dojo regularly, and before long he had created his own website about the planets in our solar system with basic CSS and HTML.  

“I made a website that talked about the planets, and I thought that was the coolest thing ever. In fact, I actually still have that website.”

Cian Martin Bohan

In over 6 years of being part of his CoderDojo community, Cian was able to share his passion for programming with others and grow his confidence.

From meeting like-minded peers and developing apps and websites, to serving as a youth member on the Digital Youth Council, Cian embraced the many experiences that CoderDojo opened up for him. They were all of great benefit when he decided to apply for an apprenticeship at Google.

As someone who didn’t follow the university route of education, Cian’s time at CoderDojo and the mentors he met there had a profound impact on his life and his career path. His CoderDojo mentors always encouraged Cian to learn new skills and follow his interests, and in this way they not only helped him reach his current position at Google, but also instilled in him a steady desire to always keep learning.

The future is limitless for Cian, and we cannot wait to hear what he does next.

Help us celebrate Cian, and inspire other young people to discover coding and digital making as a passion, by liking and sharing his story on Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook.

The post Celebrating the community: Cian appeared first on Raspberry Pi.

Zabbix 6.0 LTS at Zabbix Summit Online 2021

Post Syndicated from Arturs Lontons original https://blog.zabbix.com/zabbix-6-0-lts-at-zabbix-summit-online-2021/16115/

With Zabbix Summit Online 2021 just around the corner, it’s time to have a quick overview of the 6.0 LTS features that we can expect to see featured during the event. The Zabbix 6.0 LTS release aims to deliver some of the long-awaited enterprise-level features while also improving the general user experience, performance, scalability, and many other aspects of Zabbix.

Native Zabbix server cluster

Many of you will be extremely happy to hear that Zabbix 6.0 LTS release comes with out-of-the-box High availability for Zabbix Server. This means that HA will now be supported natively, without having to use external tools to create Zabbix Server clusters.

The native Zabbix Server cluster will have a speech dedicated to it during the Zabbix Summit Online 2021. You can expect to learn both the inner workings of the HA solution, the configuration and of course the main benefits of using the native HA solution. You can also take a look at the in-development version of the native Zabbix server cluster in the latest Zabbix 6.0 LTS alpha release.

Business service monitoring and root cause analysis

Service monitoring is also about to go through a significant redesign, focusing on delivering additional value by providing robust Business service monitoring (BSM) features. This is achieved by delivering significant additions to the existing service status calculation logic. With features such as service weights, service status analysis based on child problem severities, ability to calculate service status based on the number or percentage of children in a problem state, users will be able to implement BSM on a whole new level. BSM will also support root cause analysis – users will be informed about the root cause problem of the service status change.

All of this and more, together with examples and use cases will be covered during a separate speech dedicated to BSM. In addition, some of the BSM features are available in the latest Zabbix 6.0 LTS alpha release – with more to come as we continue working on the Zabbix 6.0 release.

Audit log redesign

The Audit log is another existing feature that has received a complete redesign. With the ability to log each and every change performed both by the Zabbix Server and Zabbix Frontend, the Audit log will become an invaluable source of audit information. Of course, the redesign also takes performance into consideration – the redesign was developed with the least possible performance impact in mind.

The audit log is constantly in development and the current Zabbix 6.0 LTS alpha release offers you an early look at the feature. We will also be covering the technical details of the new audit log implementation during the Summit and will explain how we are able to achieve minimal performance impact with major improvements to Zabbix audit logging.

Geographical maps

With Geographical maps, our users can finally display their entities on a geographical map based on the coordinates of the entity. Geographical maps can be used with multiple geographical map providers and display your hosts with their most severe problems. In addition, geographical maps will react dynamically to Zoom levels and support filtering.

The latest Zabbix 6.0 Alpha release includes the Geomap widget – feel free to deploy it in your QA environment, check out the different map providers, filter options and other great features that come with this widget.

Machine learning

When it comes to problem detection, Zabbix 6.0 LTS will deliver multiple trend new functions. A specific set of functions provides machine learning functionality for Anomaly detection and Baseline monitoring.

The topic will be covered in-depth during the Zabbix Summit Online 2021. We will look at the configuration of the new functions and also take a deeper dive at the logic and algorithms used under the hood.

During the Zabbix Summit Online 2021, we will also cover many other new features, such as:

  • New Dashboard widgets
  • New items for Zabbix Agent
  • New templates and integrations
  • Zabbix login password complexity settings
  • Performance improvements for Zabbix Server, Zabbix Proxy, and Zabbix Frontend
  • UI and UX improvements
  • Zabbix login password complexity requirements
  • New history and trend functions
  • And more!

Not only will you get the chance to have an early look at many new features not yet available in the latest alpha release, but also you will have a great chance to learn the inner workings of the new features, the upgrade and migration process to Zabbix 6.0 LTS and much more!

We are extremely excited to share all of the new features with our community, so don’t miss out – take a look at the full Zabbix Summit online 2021 agenda and register for the event by visiting our Zabbix Summit page, and we will see you at the Zabbix Summit Online 2021 on November 25!

Interview with Zabbix Summit Online 2021 speaker: Vittorio Cioe

Post Syndicated from Jekaterina Sizova original https://blog.zabbix.com/interview-with-zabbix-summit-online-2021-speaker-vittorio-cioe/16599/

With two weeks to go until Zabbix Summit 2021, we continue to introduce you to our guest speakers. Vittorio Cioe is already known to our community – he has participated in various Zabbix events, such as Zabbix summits and meetups. This year’s Zabbix Summit is not an exception. We asked Vittorio to tell us a few words about himself and introduce the presentation he will deliver on November 25th.

Hi Vittorio, we are happy to see you among the speakers this year! Would you mind please uncovering what your paper is about?

Hi, happy to be at Zabbix Summit also this year! This year I will cover a topic that is growing interest in the market as far as I can see: infrastructure as code, to create reusable deployment scripts. I will take as an example a Zabbix deployment on Oracle Cloud, using MySQL as a Service. I have decided to go this way because Oracle Cloud is very strong on the infrastructure as code side, and Zabbix it is very straightforward to automate.

You’re already familiar with many of our users and event attendees, but our community is growing, and new members are definitely interested in learning more about the speakers. Tell us please about yourself and your professional activities.

I originally come from Italy but relocated to Poland several years ago. Professionally I am a technology enthusiast, and in the past, I have been working the Security and Digital Transformation space. Finally, 4 years ago I landed at MySQL, which previously I have been a user of. This has been quite an incredible journey which put me in contact with some really amazing technology companies, and among those, Zabbix.

What role does Zabbix play in your professional activities?

Zabbix is one of the Oracle MySQL partners with which we have been able to establish cooperation and I really enjoy working with.

What do you think makes Zabbix stand out from other monitoring solutions?

I believe that the real strength of Zabbix is that the product is Open Source, and it brings the power of an enterprise-level monitoring solution to the broader public which normally could not afford it, giving a lot of companies the possibility of growing.

Have you already seen the summit program and the topics that will be covered? Which presentations would you be interested in hearing yourself?

There are some really great speeches this year! I would really like to listen to the speech of Alexei Vladishev (Zabbix 6.0 LTS – The next great leap in monitoring) and Sergey Sorokin (Take Advantage of Zabbix Services Online).

Cat Lamin on building a global educator family | Hello World #17

Post Syndicated from Gemma Coleman original https://www.raspberrypi.org/blog/global-staffroom-mental-health-hello-world-17/

Cat Lamin.

In Hello World issue 17, Raspberry Pi Certified Educator Cat Lamin talks about how building connections and sharing the burden can help make us better educators, even in times of great stress:

“I felt like I needed to play my part”

In March 2020, the world suddenly changed. For educators, we jumped from face-to-face teaching to a stark new landscape, with no idea of how the future would look. As generous teachers pushed out free resources, I felt like I needed to play my part. Suddenly, an idea struck me. In September 2017, I had decided to be brave and submit a talk to PyConUK to discuss my mental health. Afterwards, several people in the audience shared their own stories with me or let me know that it helped them just to hear that someone else struggled too. I realised that in times of pressure, we need a chance to talk and we had lost these outlets. In school, we would pop to the staffroom or a friend’s classroom for a quick vent, but that wasn’t an option anymore. People were feeling isolated, scared, stressed and didn’t have anyone to turn to.

I realised that in times of pressure, we need a chance to talk, and we had lost these outlets.

Cat Lamin

Thus, the first Global Google Educator Group Staffroom: Mental Health Matters was launched on 14 March 2020, which coincided with the US government announcing school closures and UK teachers still waiting anxiously to hear when doors would close. The aim of Staffroom was to give teachers a safe space to talk about how they’re feeling under the overwhelming weight of school closures. To say it was a success would be an understatement, with teachers joining the calls from Australia, Malaysia, the USA, Colombia, Mexico, Brazil, Europe and more!

Pily Perfil.

Staffroom for me is a place and time to connect with other teachers from around the world. I remember seeing the calendar invites by mail and I kept thinking I should join but was afraid to do it. The first time I did it, I listened first and it made me realize that my struggles during pandemic online teaching were the same struggles as everywhere else.” – Pily Hernandez, Monterrey, Mexico

Which William are you today?

In those early days, we just gave teachers a chance to talk. The format of our meetings was simple: what’s your name, where are you from, and then an ice breaker question like ‘What colour do you feel like?’ or ‘What song represents your current mood?’ It wasn’t long before we hit upon a winning formula by making our own ‘Which image are you today?’ picture scale (see the ‘Which William’ image below!). Using the picture scales allowed people to really express how they felt. Often someone who had been happily chatting would explain that they were actually struggling to keep their head above water because a silly image allowed them to be honest.

A grid of photos of the same toddler expressing different emotions.
Which William are you today?

One of the most important messages from Staffroom was that many people involved with technology in schools were feeling alone. After years of suggesting teachers use technology, suddenly they were blamed for schools not being properly prepared. They were struggling with not necessarily knowing what to suggest to teachers with technology difficulties, as they were grappling with their own personal lockdown situations. Hearing that other people, all around the world, were experiencing something similar was hugely eye-opening and took a great amount of weight off their shoulders.

Abid Patel.

“As someone who thrived from having in person connections and networking opportunities, lockdown hit me hard. Staffroom really helped to keep those connections going and has developed into such a lovely safe space to talk and connect with others.” – Abid Patel, London, UK

We varied the tone of the sessions depending on the needs of the attendees. In the first few months, we shared our lockdown situations and our different experiences across the world. We could share advice and tips, as well as best practice for delivering content and things that had gone terribly wrong since switching to remote teaching. Or we’d discuss food in different countries around the world (did you know that in Australia, fish and chips is made from shark?) or joke about whether Vegemite was actually an edible product (it’s ok, I tried it live on camera during one Staffroom). Other days, we would discuss how difficult we were finding teaching, isolation or life in general during a pandemic.

An honest environment

One of the things that people continuously mentioned was that Staffroom was a safe place where they felt they could share, be listened to, and be understood. We made it clear that no one had to speak unless they wanted to. I made a point of always being completely honest about my own mental health. As a person who had suffered from depression and anxiety in the past, it was no surprise to me when I was diagnosed with both near the end of 2020, and I was fortunate enough to get virtual therapy. I shared my story with the group, which allowed attendees to feel more comfortable being open and talking about their own struggles, in some cases leading to their own diagnosis and getting much-needed support.

Frederick Ballew.

Staffroom has been the best ‘out of my comfort zone’ leap that I have ever taken. I have met educators from all over the world and learned that there are more things that unite us than divide us in this world of education.” – Frederick Ballew, Minnesota, USA

People would join Staffroom to share new jobs, engagements, even cross-country moves, but equally they would join after losing a loved one or hearing of a pupil sick in hospital. Staffroom became a safe haven for teachers, coaches, IT directors, and pretty much anyone involved in technology within education. It is a place where we could bond over shared experience, share a joke, ask questions, get ideas, and even plan our futures.

Do not underestimate the power of connections, and of sharing your story.

Cat Lamin

Alongside Staffroom, I also built a website to allow teachers to share their mental health stories and to feel a little less alone (mentalhealthineducation.com). I continue to host regular Staffrooms, although less frequently. 18 months ago, we needed a chance to talk three times a week, but now we meet two or three times a month instead. You can find current Staffroom dates at www.globalgeg.org/events. If you take one thing away from this article, however, it is this: do not underestimate the power of connections, and of sharing your story.

Cat Lamin is a Raspberry Pi Certified Educator, CAS Master Teacher, and Google Certified Innovator who works as a freelance trainer and coach, supporting schools with digital strategy and enabling educators to use technology more effectively. For running this regular mental health staffroom, she was awarded a Mental Health Champion Award from Edufuturist.

Share your thoughts about Hello World with me!

Your insights are invaluable to help us make Hello World as useful as it can be for computing educators around the globe. Hello World is a magazine for educators from educators — so if you are interested in having a 20-minute chat with me about what you like about the magazine, and what you would like to change, then please sign up here. I look forward to speaking with you.

Download Hello World for free

The brand-new issue of our free Hello World magazine for computing educators focuses on all things health and well-being.

Cover of issue 17 of Hello World.

It is full of inspiring stories and practical ideas for teaching your learners about computing in this context, and supporting them to use digital technologies in beneficial ways.

Download the new issue of Hello World for free today:

To never miss a new issue, you can subscribe to Hello World for free. Also check out the first-ever special edition of Hello World, The Big Book of Pedagogy. It focuses on approaches to teaching computing in the classroom, and you can download the special edition for free.

Wherever you are in the world, you can listen to our Hello World podcast too! Each episode, we explore a new topic with some of the computing educators who’ve written for the magazine.

The post Cat Lamin on building a global educator family | Hello World #17 appeared first on Raspberry Pi.

Engaging Black students in computing at UK schools — interview with Joe Arday

Post Syndicated from Janina Ander original https://www.raspberrypi.org/blog/engaging-black-students-in-computing-uk-schools-joe-arday/

Joe Arday.

On the occasion of Black History Month UK, we speak to Joe Arday, Computer Science teacher at Woodbridge High School in Essex, UK, about his experiences in computing education, his thoughts about underrepresentation of Black students in the subject, and his ideas about what needs to be done to engage more Black students.

To start us off, can you share some of your thoughts about Black History Month as an occasion?

For me personally it’s an opportunity to celebrate our culture, but my view is it shouldn’t be a month — it should be celebrated every day. I am of Ghanaian descent, so Black History Month is an opportunity to share my culture in my school and my community. Black History Month is also an opportunity to educate yourself about what happened to the generations before you. For example, my parents lived through the Brixton riots. I was born in 1984, and I got to secondary school before I heard about the Brixton riots from a teacher. But my mother made sure that, during Black History Month, we went to a lot of extracurricular activities to learn about our culture.

For me it’s about embracing the culture I come from, being proud to be Black, and sharing that culture with the next generation, including my two kids, who are of mixed heritage. They need to know where they come from, and know their two cultures.

Tell us a bit about your own history: how did you come to computing education?

So I was a tech professional in the finance sector, and I was made redundant when the 2008 recession hit. I did a couple of consulting jobs, but I thought to myself, “I love tech, but in five years from now, do I really want to be going from job to job? There must be something else I can do.”

At that time there was a huge drive to recruit more teachers to teach what was called ICT back then and is now Computing. As a result, I started my career as a teacher in 2010. As a former software consultant, I had useful skills for teaching ICT. When Computing was introduced instead, I was fortunate to be at a school that could bring in external CPD (continued professional development) providers to teach us about programming and build our understanding and skills to deliver the new curriculum. I also did a lot of self-study and spoke to lots of teachers at other schools about how to teach the subject.

What barriers or support did you encounter in your teaching career? Did you have role models when you went into teaching?

Not really — I had to seek them out. In my environment, there are very few Black teachers, and I was often the only Black Computer Science teacher. A parent once said to me, “I hope you’re not planning to leave, because my son needs a role model in Computer Science.” And I understood exactly what she meant by that, but I’m not even a role model, I’m just someone who’s contributing to society the best way I can. I just want to pave the way for the next generation, including my children.

My current school is supporting me to lead all the STEM engagement for students, and in that role, some of the things I do are running a STEM club that focuses a lot on computing, and running new programmes to encourage girls into tech roles. I’ve also become a CAS Master Teacher and been part of a careers panel at Queen Mary University London about the tech sector, for hundreds of school students from across London. And I was selected by the National Centre for Computing Education as one of their facilitators in the Computer Science Accelerator CPD programme.

But there’s been a lack of leadership opportunities for me in schools. I’ve applied for middle-leadership roles and have been told my face doesn’t fit in an interview in a previous school. And I’m just as skilled and experienced as other candidates: I’ve been acting Head of Department, acting Head of Year — what more do I need to do? But I’ve not had access to middle-leadership roles. I’ve been told I’m an average teacher, but then I’ve been put onto dealing with “difficult” students if they’re Black, because a few of my previous schools have told me that I was “good at dealing with behaviour”. So that tells you about the role I was pigeonholed into.

It is very important for Black students to have role models, and to have a curriculum that reflects them.

Joe Arday

I’ve never worked for a Black Headteacher, and the proportion of Black teachers in senior leadership positions is very low, only 1%. So I am considering moving into a different area of computing education, such as edtech or academia, because in schools I don’t have the opportunities to progress because of my ethnicity.

Do you think this lack of leadership opportunities is an experience other Black teachers share?

I think it is, that’s why the number of Black teachers is so low. And as a Black student of Computer Science considering a teaching role, I would look around my school and think, if I go into teaching, where are the opportunities going to come from?

Black students are underrepresented in computing. Could you share your thoughts about why that’s the case?

There’s a lack of role models across the board: in schools, but also in tech leadership roles, CEOs and company directors. And the interest of Black students isn’t fostered early on, in Year 8, Year 9 (ages 12–14). If they don’t have a teacher who is able to take them to career fairs or to tech companies, they’re not going to get exposure, they’re not going to think, “Oh, I can see myself doing that.” So unless they have a lot of interest already, they’re not going to pick Computer Science when it comes to choosing their GCSEs, because it doesn’t look like it’s for them.

But we need diverse people in computing and STEM, especially girls. As the father of a boy and a girl of mixed heritage, that’s very important to me. Some schools I’ve worked in, they pushed computer science into the background, and it’s such a shame. They don’t have the money or the time for their teachers to do the CPD to teach it properly. And if attitudes at the top are negative, that’s going to filter down. But even if students don’t go into the tech industry, they still need digital skills to go into any number of sectors. Every young person needs them.

It is very important for Black students to have role models, and to have a curriculum that reflects them. Students need to see themselves in their lessons and not feel ignored by what is being taught. I was very fortunate to be selected for the working group for the Raspberry Pi Foundation’s culturally relevant teaching guidelines, and I’m currently running some CPD for teachers around this. I bet in the future Ofsted will look at how diverse the curriculum of schools is.

What do you think tech organisations can do in order to engage more Black students in computing?

I think tech organisations need to work with schools and offer work experience placements. When I was a student, 20 years ago, I went on a placement, and that set me on the right path. Nowadays, many students don’t do work experience, they are school leavers before they do an internship. So why do so many schools and organisations not help 14- or 15-year-olds spend a week or two doing a placement and learning some real-life skills?

A mentor explains Scratch code using a projector in a coding club session.

And I think it’s very important for teachers to be able to keep up to date with the latest technologies so they can support their students with what they need to know when they start their own careers, and can be convincing doing it. I encourage my GCSE Computer Science students to learn about things like cloud computing and cybersecurity, about the newest types of technologies that are being used in the tech sector now. That way they’re preparing themselves. And if I was a Headteacher, I would help my students gain professional certifications that they can use when they apply for jobs.

What is a key thing that people in computing education can do to engage more Black students?

Teachers could run a STEM or computing club with a Black History Month theme to get Black students interested — and it doesn’t have to stop at Black History Month. And you can make computing cross-curricular, so there could be a project with all teachers, where each one runs a lesson that involves a bit of coding, so that all students can see that computing really is for everyone.

What would you say to teachers to encourage them to take up Computer Science as a subject?

Because of my role working for the NCCE, I always encourage teachers to join the NCCE’s Computer Science Accelerator programme and to retrain to teach Computer Science. It’s a beautiful subject, all you need to do is give it a chance.

Thank you, Joe, for sharing your thoughts with us!

Joe was part of the group of teachers we worked with to create our practical guide on culturally relevant teaching in the computing classroom. You can download it as a free PDF now to help you think about how to reflect all your students in your lessons.

The post Engaging Black students in computing at UK schools — interview with Joe Arday appeared first on Raspberry Pi.

Celebrate CoderDojo’s 10th birthday with us!

Post Syndicated from Zoë Kinstone original https://www.raspberrypi.org/blog/coderdojo-10th-birthday/

We are inviting you all to a very special event this week: the CoderDojo team is hosting a 10th birthday livestream to celebrate the CoderDojo community and all that they have achieved over the last ten years.

Everyone is welcome, so mark your diary and make sure you and your favourite young coders join us for all the fun at 18:00 BST this Thursday, 28 October

Together we will hear stories from young people and volunteers around the world, and from James Whelton and Bill Liao, the co-founders of CoderDojo.

Ten years of community spirit

In July 2011, James Whelton and Bill Liao held the first-ever CoderDojo session in Cork, Ireland. They created a space for young people to learn how to create a website, design a game, or write their first program. The session was also a chance for volunteers to share their experience and time with a younger generation and their peers. It was here that the CoderDojo grassroots community came into existence, built on the values of ‘being cool’: creativity, collaboration, openness, and fun.

A Dojo session in Ireland.

These values continue to inspire young people (Ninjas) and volunteers around the world to be part of their local Dojos. In 2017, the CoderDojo Foundation, which was founded to support the CoderDojo movement, and the Raspberry Pi Foundation joined forces to better support the community to bring opportunities to more young people worldwide.

A man helps four young people to code projects at laptops in a CoderDojo session.
A Dojo session in Uganda.

The tenth year of the movement is an especially important time for us to celebrate the volunteers who have put so much into CoderDojo. As well as the livestream celebration on 28 October, the CoderDojo team has put together free digital assets to get volunteers and Ninjas in the birthday spirit, and a special birthday giveaway for Ninjas who are coding projects to mark this momentous anniversary.

Three young people learn coding at laptops supported by a volunteer at a CoderDojo session.
A CoderDojo session in India.

Ten things we love about you

In celebration of the CoderDojo movement’s 10th birthday, here’s a list of some of our favourite things about the CoderDojo community.  

1. You are always having so much fun!

Whether you’re working together in person or online, you are always having a blast!

2. You are resilient and committed to your club 

The pandemic has been an extremely difficult time for Dojos. It has also been a time of adaptation. We have been so impressed by how community members have switched their ways of running with positivity and commitment to 6. do what is best for their clubs.

A tweet about CoderDojo.

3. You support each other

Every day, Dojo volunteers support each other locally and globally to sustain the movement and help Ninjas learn — from sharing how they run sessions when social distancing is necessary, to translating online resources and web pages so that more people around the world can join the CoderDojo community.

“We know that we’re not out there alone, that there’s a whole world of people who are all collaborating with the same mission in mind is really thrilling as well.”

Nikole Vaughn, CoderDojo Collaborative in San Antonio, Texas

4. You tell the team how to support you 

Filling in surveys, emailing the CoderDojo team here, attending webinars, sharing your insights — these are all the ways you’re great at communicating your Dojo’s needs. We love supporting you!

5. You help young people create positive change in their community 

We love to hear about how CoderDojo volunteers help young people to create and learn with technology, and to become mentors for their peers. Recently we shared the stories of Avye, Laura, and Toshan, three incredible digital makers who, thanks to CoderDojo, are using technology to shape the world around them.

Laura, teenage roboticist and CoderDojo Ninja, with and-Catherine Grace Coleman.
Laura says, “I joined my local CoderDojo, and it changed my life.”

6. You love a challenge

From coding for the CoderDojo 10th birthday giveaway to the European Astro Pi Challenge, CoderDojo members love to put themselves to the test!   

7. You brought Coolest Projects into the world 

Coolest Projects is the world-leading technology fair for young people, and it originated in the CoderDojo community!

The crowd at a Coolest Projects event.

This year, in its ninth year running, Coolest Projects again was a platform for fantastic tech projects from Ninjas, including an AI bicycle app and a glove that makes music.

8. You are committed to creating inclusive spaces 

CoderDojo is a space for everyone to create and learn with technology. We love that Dojos get involved in projects such as the ‘Empowering the future’ guide to getting more girls involved in coding, and the CoderDojo Accessibility Guide to making Dojo sessions accessible for young people of all abilities and neurodiversity.

A tweet about CoderDojo.

9. You are a community that continues to grow stronger

Over the last ten years, more than 3900 Dojos in 115 countries have run sessions for over 270000 young people and have been regularly supporting 100000 young coders! You’ve certainly brought the movement a long way from that very first session in Cork.   

10. You are simply the best grassroots community on the planet! 

All the volunteers who have put their time and energy into CoderDojo have made the movement what it is today, and we’d like to say a massive thank you to each and every one of you.

A clip of David Bowie pointing at the viewer and saying 'you', with overlayed text 'you're the best'.

Let’s celebrate together! 

So prepare your favourite celebratory food and join us for the birthday livestream on Thursday 28 October at 18:00 BST! Take this chance to say hi to community members and celebrate everything that they have achieved in the last ten years.

Set a reminder for the livestream, and tell us how you are celebrating CoderDojo’s 10th birthday using the hashtag #10YearsOfCoderDojo on Twitter. 

The post Celebrate CoderDojo’s 10th birthday with us! appeared first on Raspberry Pi.

Interview with Zabbix Summit Online 2021 speaker: Brian van Baekel

Post Syndicated from Jekaterina Sizova original https://blog.zabbix.com/interview-with-zabbix-summit-online-2021-speaker-brian-van-baekel/16174/

We continue to introduce you to the speakers of Zabbix Summit Online 2021. Our next guest is Brian van Baekel – a known Zabbix evangelist and trainer who has educated hundreds of students on all the nuances of working with our monitoring system.

Hi Brian, you are often seen on Zabbix Blog – mainly as the author of technical posts. Tell us, where did you get so much practical experience in using Zabbix?

Well, I started with Zabbix in 2013 and have been working with it ever since. During those years I’ve seen so many different environments. Each with their own challenges. Every challenge forces you to find a new creative solution and if you come across it often enough, you gain experience! I started Opensource ICT Solutions in early 2018 and the only thing we do is Zabbix. Either consultancy, training, or support worldwide, as long as it is Zabbix related. So that is even more experience that’s growing day by day as we’re serving exciting customers around the globe!

Is it true that you started using Zabbix with version 1.8? In your opinion, what are the most significant changes in the Zabbix functionality when comparing Zabbix then and now?

Yes that’s true, the first Zabbix version I started with was 1.8 and at that point I was not impressed with it, to say at least. After a few weeks, I saw the potential and started to enjoy the product more and more. After some time, we upgraded to a newer version of Zabbix where Low-Level Discovery was introduced… and wow! That was (and still is) one of the most powerful things.

In general, it’s not just one significant change that impresses me most as there are countless small and major improvements. In my opinion, it’s better to look at the product as a whole and the most significant change is how mature the product became during those years. If you really want me to name some significant changes, I must think about 3:

  • Low-Level Discovery
  • Tags
  • Dashboards
At the Zabbix Summit 2021, we will be introducing version 6.0 to the community in detail. Have you checked out the roadmap yet? Please tell us, what improvements are you most excited about?

To be honest I am not only checking the roadmap on a weekly basis but following the development rather closely to make sure we can anticipate what’s going to be introduced so we know what to advise customers.

As our customers are mainly on the Long Term Support versions, I am extremely happy that what was introduced in 5.2 and 5.4 will be available in a Long Term Support release. Regarding the new features, I am really excited about BSM(Business Level Monitoring) which will give us a comprehensive look at services instead of hosts and their metrics. That’s extremely valuable. The second thing that seems promising is HA. Although we’re building HA setups ourselves on a weekly basis it’s nice to have something natively available in the product.

Can you tell us about the speech you are going to give at the Zabbix Summit 2021?

Yes of course! So, as I mentioned, working as a Zabbix consultant and trainer, I see a lot of different environments where we have to solve various challenges. One of those challenges I came across is SNMP monitoring where the devices that had to be monitored were totally not able to handle all the SNMP requests. Luckily, they are sending traps. The art is to receive the traps and utilize them in such a way that you know the status of that device within seconds without just relying on the received trap solely. If you’re creative enough, Zabbix allows you to cater for that. So I’m going to explain why you want SNMP polling combined with SNMP traps and how to react on those traps so that you know the complete status of that device. The higher-level message of this talk is “Zabbix is flexible enough. The product is not the limit, your creativity is! Think out of the box and the sky is the limit”

 

Engaging Black students in computing at school — interview with Lynda Chinaka

Post Syndicated from Janina Ander original https://www.raspberrypi.org/blog/engaging-black-students-in-computing-school-lynda-chinaka/

Lynda Chinaka.

On the occasion of Black History Month UK, we speak to Lynda Chinaka, Senior Lecturer in Computing in Education at the University of Roehampton, about her experiences in computing education, her thoughts about underrepresentation of Black students in the subject, and her ideas about what needs to be done to engage more Black students.

Lynda, to start us off, can you share your thoughts about Black History Month?

Black history is a really important topic, obviously, and I think that, when Black History Month was first introduced, it was very powerful — and it continues to be in certain places. But I think that, for where we are as a society, it’s time to move past talking about Black history for only one month of the year, albeit an important, focused celebration. And certainly that would include integrating Black history and Black figures across subjects in school. That would be a very useful way to celebrate the contributions that Black people have made, and continue to make, to society. Children need to be taught a history in which they are included and valued. Good history is always a matter of different perspectives. Too often in schools, children experience a single perspective.  

Please tell me a bit about your own history: how did you come to computing education as a field? What were the support or barriers you encountered?

In terms of my journey, I’ve always been passionate about Computing — formerly ICT. I’ve been a Computing subject lead in schools, moving on into senior management. Beyond my career in schools, I have worked as an ICT consultant and as a Teacher Leader for a London authority. During that time, my interest in Computing/ICT led me to undertake an MA in Computing in Education at King’s College London. This led me to become a teacher trainer in my current role. In some sense, I’m carrying on the work I did with the local authorities, but in a university setting. At the University of Roehampton, I teach computing to BA Primary Education and PGCE students. Training teachers is something that I’m very much interested in. It’s about engaging student teachers, supporting them in developing their understanding of Computing in the primary phases. Students learn about the principles of computing, related learning theories, and how children think and learn. Perhaps more importantly, I am keen to instil a love of the subject and broaden their notions about computing.

A teacher attending Picademy laughs as she works through an activity

In terms of the support I’ve received, I’ve worked in certain schools where Computing was really valued by the Headteacher, which enabled me to promote my vision for the subject. Supportive colleagues made a difference in their willingness take on new initiatives that I presented. I have been fortunate to work in local authorities that have been forward-thinking; one school became a test bed for Computing. So in that sense, schools have supported me. But as a Black person, a Black woman in particular, I would say that I faced barriers throughout my career. And those barriers have been there since childhood. In the Black community, people experience all sorts of things, and prejudice and barriers have been at play in my career.

Prejudice sometimes is very overt. An example I think I can share because it prevented me from getting a job: I went for an interview in a school. It was a very good interview, the Headteacher told me, “It was fantastic, you’re amazing, you’re excellent,” the problem was that there weren’t “enough Black pupils”, so she “didn’t see the need…”. And this is a discussion that was shared with me. Now in 2021 a Headteacher wouldn’t say that, but let’s just wind the clock back 15 years. These are the kinds of experiences that you go through as a Black teacher.

So what happens is, you tend to build up a certain resilience. People’s perceptions and low expectations of me have been a hindrance. This can be debilitating. You get tired of having to go through the same thing, of having to overcome negativity. Yes, I would say this has limited my progress. Obviously, I am speaking about my particular experiences as a Black woman, but I would say that these experiences are shared by many people like me.

An educator teaches students to create with technology.

But it’s my determination and the investment I’ve made that has resulted in me staying in the field. And a source of support for me is always Black colleagues, they understand the issues that are inherent within the profession. 

Black students are underrepresented in Computing as a subject. Drawing on your own work and experiences, could you share your thoughts about why that’s the case?

There need to be more Black teachers, because children need to see themselves represented in schools. As a Black teacher, I know that I have made a difference to Black children in my class who had a Black role model in front of them. When we talk about the poor performance of Black pupils, we need to be careful not to blame them for the failures of the education system. Policy makers, Headteachers, teachers, and practitioners need to be a lot more self-aware and examine the impact of racism in education. People need to examine their own policies and practice, especially people in positions of power.

A lot of collective work needs to be done.

Lynda Chinaka

Some local authorities do better than others, and some Headteachers I’ve worked with have been keen to build a diverse staff team. Black people are not well-represented at all in education. Headteachers need to be more proactive about their staff teams and recruitment. And they need to encourage Black teachers to go for jobs in senior management.

An educator helps a young person with a computing problem.

In all settings I taught in, no matter how many students of colour there were, these students would experience something in my classroom that their white counterparts had experienced all their lives: they would leave their home and come to school and be taught by someone who looks like them and perhaps speaks the same language as them. It’s enormously affirming for children to have that experience. And it’s important for all children actually, white children as well. Seeing a Black person teaching in the classroom, in a position of power or influence — it changes their mindset, and that ultimately changes perspectives.

So in terms of that route into Computing, Black students need to see themselves represented.

Why do you think it’s important to teach young people about Computing?

It’s absolutely vital to teach children about Computing. As adults, they are going to participate in a future that we know very little about, so I think it’s important that they’re taught computer science approaches, problem solving and computational thinking. So children need to be taught to be creators and not simply passive users of technology.

A Coolest Projects participant

One of the things some of my university students say is, “Oh my goodness, I can’t teach Computing, all the children know much more than me.”, but actually, that’s a little bit of a myth, I think. Children are better at using technologies than solving computing problems. They need to learn a range of computational approaches for solving problems. Computing is a life skill; it is the future. We saw during the pandemic the effects of digital inequity on pupils.

What do you think needs to change in computing education, the tech sector, or elsewhere in order to engage more Black students in Computing?

In education, we need to look at the curriculum and how to decolonise it to really engage young people. This also includes looking out for bias and prejudice in the things that are taught. Even when you’re thinking about specific computer science topics. So for example, the traditional example for algorithm design is making a cup of tea. But tea is a universal drink, it originates in China, and as a result of colonialism made its way to India and Kenya. So we drink tea universally, but the method (algorithm) for making tea doesn’t necessarily always include a china tea pot or a tea bag. There are lots of ways to introduce it, thinking about how it’s prepared in different cultures, say Kenya or the Punjab, and using that as a basis for developing children’s algorithmic thinking. This is culturally relevant. It’s about bringing the interests and experiences children have into the classroom.

Young women in a computing lesson.

For children to be engaged in Computing, there needs to be a payoff for them. For example, I’ve seen young people developing their own African emojis. They need to see a point to it! They don’t necessarily have to become computer scientists or software engineers, but Computing should be an avenue that opens for them because they can see it as something to further their own aims, their own causes. Young people are very socially and politically aware. For example, Black communities are very aware of the way that climate change affects the Global South and could use data science to highlight this. Many will have extended family living in these regions that are affected now.

So you don’t compromise on the quality of your teaching, and it require teachers to be more reflective. There is no quick fix. For example, you can’t just insert African masks into a lesson without exploring their meaning in real depth within the culture they originate from.

So in your Computing or Computer Science lessons, you need to include topics young people are interested in: climate change, discrimination, algorithms and algorithmic bias in software, surveillance and facial recognition. Social justice topics are close to their hearts. You can get them interested in AI and data science by talking about the off-the-shelf datasets that Big Tech uses, and about what impact these have in terms of surveillance and on minority communities specifically. 

Can you talk a bit about the different terms used to describe this kind of approach to education, ‘culturally relevant teaching’ and ‘decolonising the curriculum’?

‘Culturally relevant’ is easier to sit with. ‘Decolonising the curriculum’ provokes a reaction, but it’s really about teaching children about histories and perspectives on curricula that affect us all. We need to move towards a curriculum that is fit for purpose where children are taught different perspectives and truth that they recognise. Even if you’re in a school without any Black children at all, the curriculum still needs to be decolonised so that children can actually understand and benefit from the many ways that topics, events, subjects may be taught.

A woman teacher helps a young person with a coding project.

When we think about learning in terms of being culturally relevant and responsive, this is about harnessing children’s heritage, experiences, and viewpoints to engage learners such that the curriculum is meaningful and includes them. The goal here is to promote long-term and consistent engagement with Computing.

What is being missed by current initiatives to increase diversity and Black students’ engagement?

Diversity initiatives are a good step, but we need to give it time. 

The selection process for subjects at GCSE can sometimes affect the uptake of computing. Then there are individual attitudes and experiences of pupils. It has been documented that Black and Asian students have often been in the minority and experience marginalisation, particularly noted in the case of female students in GCSE Computer Science.

ITE (Initial Teacher Education) providers need to consider their partnerships with schools and support schools to be more inclusive. We need more Black teachers, as I said. We also need to democratise pathways for young people getting into computing and STEM careers. Applying to university is one way — there should be others.

Schools could also develop partnerships with organisations that have their roots in the Black community. Research has also highlighted discriminatory practices in careers advice, and in the application and interview processes of Russell Group universities. These need to be addressed.

A students in a computer science lecture.

There are too few Black academics at universities. This can have an impact on student choice and decisions about whether to attend an institution or not. Institutions may seem unwelcoming or unsympathetic. Higher education institutions need to eliminate bias through feedback and measuring course take-up. 

Outside the field of education, tech companies could offer summer schemes, short programmes to stimulate interest amongst young Black people. Really, the people in leadership positions, all the people with the power, need to be proactive.

A lot of collective work needs to be done. It’s a whole pipeline, and everybody needs to play a part.

What in your mind is a key thing right now that people in computing education who want to engage more Black students should do?

You can present children with Black pioneers in computing and tech. They can show Black children how to achieve their goals in life through computing. For example, create podcasts or make lists with various organisations that use data science to further specific causes.

It’s not a one-off, one teacher thing, it’s a project for the whole school.

Lynda Chinaka

Also, it’s not a one-off, one teacher thing, it’s project for the whole school. You need to build it into a whole curriculum map, do all the things you do to build a new curriculum map: get every teacher to contribute, so they take it on, own it, research it, make those links to the national curriculum so it’s relevant. Looking at it in isolation it’s a problem, but it’s a whole school approach that starts as a working group. And it’s senior management that sets the tone, and they really need to be proactive, but you can start by starting a working group. It won’t be implemented overnight. A bit like introducing a school uniform. Do it slowly, have a pilot year group. Get parents in, have a coffee evening, get school governors on board. It’s a whole staff team effort.

People need to recognise the size of the problem and not be discouraged by the fact that things haven’t happened overnight. But people who are in a position of influence need to start by having those conversations, because that’s the only way that change can happen, quite frankly.

Lynda, thank you for sharing your insights with us!

Lynda was one of the advisors in the group we worked with to create our recently published, practical guide on culturally relevant teaching. You can download it as a free PDF now. We hope it will help you kickstart conversations in your setting.

The post Engaging Black students in computing at school — interview with Lynda Chinaka appeared first on Raspberry Pi.

Back to the future with Zabbix

Post Syndicated from TimSmit original https://blog.zabbix.com/back-to-the-future-with-zabbix/15701/

In this blog post, we would like to show you a new theme that might seem a little familiar to you. Let’s take a little nostalgic trip down memory lane and take a look at this special frontend theme for Zabbix 5.4 reminiscent of Zabbix 1.8.

How it looks

Although the old Zabbix 1.8 design understandably has an outdated look, the colors have a nice feel to them, especially the old shade of blue.

The Zabbix 5.4 design is up to date with current standards and has a modern look and feel to it. It is meant to be simplistic with a lot of white and barely any color except for the navigation bar and widgets like the problems and availability.

My theme combines the two. It is up to date with modern standards, and it has a trusted feel to it with the old color scheme. The old color scheme gives us a nostalgic look, which will hopefully bring some joy both to the veterans and newcomers to Zabbix!

How it works

The way I made this was fairly simple. I copied a css file from the styles folder, placed it in the same folder, and renamed it. I also put the image used to change the appearance into the same folder so it is easy to find.

blue-theme.css
dark-theme.css
hc-dark.css
hc-dark.css
oldisnew.css
table_head2.gif

 

To figure out which changes should be made, I had the Zabbix GUI open in a web browser with the element inspect function. in the css file I would find the same tag/name/class/etc as in the web browser and change it to look like the appearance of version 1.8.

.menu-main > li {
line-height: 16px; }
.menu-main > li.is-selected > a {
background: url(../styles/table_head2.gif) repeat-x top left;
border-left-color: #87d1ff;
color: #ffffff; }
.menu-main > li.is-expanded > a, .menu-main > li.is-expanded > a:focus {
border-left-color: transparent;
color: #ffffff; }
.menu-main > li:not(.is-expanded) .submenu {
max-height: 0 !important; }
.menu-main > li > a {
background:url(../styles/table_head2.gif) repeat-x top left;
color: #ffffff; }

For example here is where I changed the background of the dropdowns from the side menu into the image from Zabbix 1.8 which gives the menu an appealing new look.

For the theme to show up in the User settings it uses an add-on for the APP.php.

class APP extends ZBase {
   public static function getThemes() {
   return array_merge(parent::getThemes(),
   ['oldisnew' => _('Old is New')]);
}
}

The add-on is included in our Github Repository, you can copy and paste it into the APP.php file.

I hope you like the theme. It is available for download at the Opensource ICT Solutions Github. Just follow the link below:

https://github.com/OpensourceICTSolutions/zabbix-5-old-version-1_8-theme .

The Github contains an up-to-date Readme for installation, but, here is a short explanation on how to install it:

1. Navigate to the link above.
2. Download the three files: (oldisnew.css),(tablehead2.gif) and (APP_add_on.text).
3. On your Zabbix server CLI there should be a directory called /usr/share/zabbix/assets/styles/. Put the (oldsinew.css) and (tablehead2.gif) files here.
4. For (APP_add_on.txt) add the text to the APP.php located at the directory /usr/share/zabbix/include/classes/core/ inside of (class APP extends ZBase). (this allows you to actually see the theme inside of the dropdown.)
5. Now, at the Zabbix GUI navigate to Profile under User settings and change the theme.
6. Enjoy your new theme!

Introducing raspberrypi.com

Post Syndicated from Philip Colligan original https://www.raspberrypi.org/blog/introducing-raspberrypicom/

I am delighted to announce the launch of raspberrypi.com — a new website dedicated to Raspberry Pi computers and associated technologies. Head on over to find all about our low-cost, high-performance PCs, add-on boards or HATs, microcontrollers, accessories, and much more. 

As well as being able to learn about and purchase the full range of hardware products, on the new website you can download our latest software, find detailed technical documentation, connect with the community on the forums, and read the latest news about Raspberry Pi technologies and how they’re being used to change the world. 

What’s changing at raspberrypi.org

This website (raspberrypi.org) will continue to be the home for the Raspberry Pi Foundation and all of our educational initiatives to help young people learn about computers and how to create with digital technologies.

That includes online resources to help young people learn how to code, information about our networks of Code Clubs and CoderDojos, training and support for teachers and other educators, and access to the world’s leading-edge research into computing education.

You’ll still be able to find loads of resources about Raspberry Pi computers in education, and cool opportunities for young people to learn how to code and create with Raspberry Pi technologies, whether that’s our space programme Astro Pi, or building robots with Raspberry Pi Pico.

Why the change?

When raspberrypi.org was first launched as a WordPress blog in 2011, we were talking about a low-cost, programmable computer that was being designed for education. 

Fast-forward a decade, and we are now speaking about an increasingly broad range of technology and education products and services to industry, hobbyists, educators, researchers, and young people. While there is lots of overlap between those communities and their interests, it is becoming increasingly difficult to address everyone’s needs on one website. So this change is really all about making life easier for you. 

We will continue to provide lots of links and connections between the two sites to make sure that you can easily find what you’re looking for. As ever, we’d love to hear your feedback in the comments below. 

Connect with us on our new social media channels

Alongside the changes to the websites, we’re also launching new social channels that are focused on the Foundation’s educational initiatives. We look forward to seeing you there.

The post Introducing raspberrypi.com appeared first on Raspberry Pi.

Celebrating the community: Yolanda

Post Syndicated from Katie Gouskos original https://www.raspberrypi.org/blog/community-stories-yolanda-payne-educator-equity/

So far in our series of community stories, we’ve collaborated with young people from the UK, India, and Romania who are getting creative with technology to change the world around them.

Yolanda Payne.

Our next community story comes from a highly regarded community member who has been connecting young people with opportunities to learn and create with technology throughout her career. A US-based educator with over twenty years of experience, Yolanda Payne shares our mission to put computing and digital making into the hands of people all over the world.

“The biggest reason I’m so invested in technology is because people invested in me.”

Yolanda Payne

Meet Yolanda

Yolanda Payne is an educator you might recognise from our online courses. Based in Atlanta, Georgia in the USA, she’s passionate about making technology accessible to all and helping young people become technology creators.

Join us in celebrating Yolanda by sharing her story on Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook! 

Yolanda says, “The biggest reason I’m so invested in technology is because people invested in me. They saw something that I was good at, showed me opportunities, and so in turn, that was my philosophy in teaching.” 

Yolanda got her first computer at a young age and was hooked instantly: it opened up many new opportunities and led her to choosing a career in education. She says, “The computer gives me the tools to be an artist, it gives me the tools to create things, and if it does that for me, then just imagine what it will do for kids!”

“If you give a teacher a Raspberry Pi and show them these resources, they’re going to be hooked.”

Yolanda Payne

Yolanda has spent her entire professional life dedicated to education. She gained a bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education from Mississippi University for Women; a master’s degree in Instructional Technology from Mississippi State University; and Educational Specialist degrees from the University of Florida and the University of Georgia in Curriculum and Instruction, and in Language and Literacy.

A female computing educator with three female students at laptops in a classroom.

Throughout her twenty-one years as a classroom teacher and her time running Code Clubs, Yolanda found joy in supporting students who have multiple challenges or complex needs, and in seeing them thrive in the subject of computer science. Yolanda points out, “I worked with both students that were considered to be in special education and students that were gifted. And one of the biggest things that I saw that I don’t think people realise, especially about students in special education: they are used to solving problems. […] You’d be very surprised at how real-life problem-solving skills flow very easily into computer science.”

Yolanda now works as a Research Associate at the Georgia Institute of Technology. We are tremendously thankful for her contributions as an educator and an advocate for technology and young people. 

Please join us in celebrating her story by sharing it on Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook! 

The post Celebrating the community: Yolanda appeared first on Raspberry Pi.

Revealing Zabbix Summit Online 2021 Agenda. Interview with Jacob Robinson

Post Syndicated from Jekaterina Sizova original https://blog.zabbix.com/revealing-zabbix-summit-online-2021-agenda-interview-with-jacob-robinson/15803/

This year’s Zabbix Summit 2021 will take place online on October 21. We decided to introduce you to the speakers and reveal some of the topics that will be covered during the event. Our first interviewee will be Jacob Robinson, who is speaking at this year’s Zabbix summit for the first time.

Hi Jacob, we are pleased to welcome you! We mentioned above that this year would be your debut speaking at our big event about monitoring. What was your primary motivation for giving the talk?

Hi, thank you, that is correct it is my first time speaking at any Zabbix event. My goal is to help let others know the unique way I am using Zabbix so they may benefit from it. I would really like to expand the system I have built and find others to use it and potentially contribute requests and development. I hope that the talk sparks some interest in the community, and I can connect with some people to discuss it more.

Would you like please to uncover your speech a bit? What should summit attendees expect?

Sure, my speech explains a project I developed that automatically detects, identifies, and creates hosts in Zabbix so that users never need to manually create any hosts. It also obtains MAC addresses, switch port configurations, and many other host details that are automatically entered into Zabbix even over large corporate networks.

Can you tell us about yourself and your experience with Zabbix? What exciting projects have you worked on?

I have been using Zabbix for around 3 years now to provide global monitoring of AV, Networking, and Security for WeWork. Everything I have done at WeWork has been very exciting, there have been integrations with several APIs, developing a custom Okta integration with Zabbix, controlling thousands of televisions and tracking electricity cost savings with Zabbix, and the challenges involved with monitoring WeWork’s network of over 150,000 active hosts. I also run a small blog, monitoreverything.net, where I try to write detailed documentation of things that I have done in Zabbix.

Can you tell us about your professional plans? In addition, should we wait for you at the Zabbix Summit in the following years with new and insightful cases (maybe even offline in Riga, who knows)?

My last job was working as an Audio-Visual engineer, and I transitioned into a Systems Infrastructure engineer so I’m not sure what I will do next. I have been enjoying developing and supporting Zabbix so I will likely continue to do that. I plan to be in-person at Zabbix Summit when it is possible!

Top 5 reasons to choose Zabbix for network monitoring

Post Syndicated from Dmitry Lambert original https://blog.zabbix.com/top-5-reasons-to-choose-zabbix-for-network-monitoring/15247/

There are many monitoring solutions and monitoring tools that you can use for different monitoring tasks. But in this post and video, we will focus only on Zabbix and the top five features making Zabbix the best choice to monitor your home office as well as enterprise instances or projects.

Contents

I. Free and open-source solution (0:44)
II. Wide functionality (1:43)
III. No access to your data (03:53)
IV. Balance of flexibility and simplicity (5:35)
V. Commercial services (7:55)

Free and open-source solution

First, Zabbix is a free and open-source solution covered by General Public License (GPL) v2. This means that the Zabbix source code is readily available and can be redistributed or modified. With this in mind, you can always create your own version of Zabbix, if you’re willing to play around with the source code or have a great idea on how to improve the product.

Zabbix software properties

There are no paid versions of Zabbix, no paid functionality, and no hidden costs. You can monitor any number of devices and define your own data retention policies at no cost at all.

All of the latest features are absolutely free and available in the latest version of Zabbix. You can visit zabbix.com, click the Download button, choose the platform that is best for you and install Zabbix packages on it. Zabbix can be deployed on any kind of environment, be it a virtual machine, physical servers, cloud environments, or even a Docker container. After you have downloaded Zabbix, you are ready to go ahead with the latest Zabbix feature set.

Selecting platform to install Zabbix n Zabbix.com/download

Rich feature set

Zabbix is a fully enterprise-ready product with a wide set of features that you can use to achieve any of your monitoring tasks. As a tool, Zabbix is not focused on any single thing, offering users extreme flexibility. For instance, you can monitor Windows or Linux machines agentlessly or opt-in to install a Zabbix agent on them. On the other hand, to monitor network devices, SNMP monitoring might be the easiest approach. All it takes to start monitoring your end-points is creating an item, specifying the metric that you want to monitor together with the data collection interval, and you are good to go.

Configuring SNMP monitoring parameters

After we have collected the data, we can configure our problem thresholds (also known as triggers in Zabbix) by navigating to Configuration > Hosts > Triggers. Triggers are definitions of our problem thresholds, where you can define a problem threshold, when do you consider your metric to be within that threshold and how do you recover from the problem.

There is a wide array of so called trigger functions – these allow us to define thresholds in different ways. For example, we can analyze the last received value, averages, minimum and maximum values over some time, look for a specific string in a value and much, much more!

 

We also need to define a way of reacting to a problem – should we receive an e-mail if something goes wrong? Or maybe we want to try and remediate the issue automatically by executing a command or a script? This is where the so-called Actions come in. Actions are based on and/or conditions, that allow you to very granularly define how you’re going to react to a particular problem.

For example, you might define an action that states “If the Trigger name contains ‘SNMPSim’ send an email or a mobile text message to our Network administrator. If the problem still persists after 10 minutes, execute a locally stored script that should fix the problem.

Trigger actions

Once you have defined your items, triggers and actions, it’s time to present this information in a user-friendly fashion. For this, you can create a set of multi-page dashboards where you can see all of your collected data by utilizing different dashboard widgets together with a list of active problems,

display the collected metrics on graphs and provide an overview of your infrastructure state on network maps.

The dashboard is completely dynamic and interactive — you can zoom in on any point in time in your graphs, create interactive map hierarchies, navigate to different sections of Zabbix and much more.

Zabbix also supports SLA monitoring for your IT business services. You can define your IT service trees, link them to existing triggers and have access to different SLA related views.

Configuring and monitoring SLA

Inventory collection and storage is also natively supported by Zabbix. You can collect any inventory information from your devices – your device serial numbers, locations, software versions and much more. This can be done in many different ways – the inventory information can be captured from the collected metrics, populated manually or updated by using the Zabbix API. This information can be used to access different inventory views and group your devices based on the collected inventory data.

You own your data

There are many different ways to deploy Zabbix. You can navigate to zabbix.com/download page and select the installation method that fits your requirements. For Zabbix packages you have the option to choose the required Zabbix version, select from multiple operating systems – from the Red Hat Enterprise Linux to Raspberry Pi, as well as the specific OS version, the database backend, and the web server backend. After everything is selected, you will be presented with a comprehensive list of commands that you can use to get Zabbix up and running in minutes.

Zabbix Packages

If you are interested in cloud deployments then you can also run Zabbix in many different cloud environments, such as AWS, Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud, DigitalOcean, Linode, Red Hat OpenShift, Oracle Cloud or Yandex Cloud. All of these options offer full Zabbix functionality with native cloud images.

Zabbix Cloud images

Docker images are also available for different Zabbix components. You can run a single component in a container or deploy the whole Zabbix architecture in a containerized environment. The Docker hub page contains a comprehensive list of environment variables and examples of how to deploy container images with a single command.

 

The quickest way to deploy Zabbix, especially in a PoC environment, would be the Zabbix Appliance. Zabbix Appliance is a virtual machine image with all of the Zabbix components already pre-configured for you. Simply download the image for the hypervisor of your choice, deploy it and you are good to go.

 

The Zabbix source code is also available for download for different Zabbix versions. This approach is useful for more exotic environments, where installing via packages is not an option.

Zabbix Sources

Agents are available for download via packages, but if packages is not an option, you can always download the precompiled agents for many different operating systems, including Windows.

Zabbix agents

No matter which option you choose, Zabbix LLC never has any access to your configuration or history data. You are fully in control of your deployment and the data in it. This way you have the guarantee that your data belongs only to you.

Balance of flexibility and simplicity

A good monitoring solution should be simple and approachable even for users that are not experts in monitoring, Linux system, scripting and any other DevOps-related skills. However, simplicity usually comes with at a cost of functionality. If the tool focuses too much on simplicity, it would inevitably restrict the end-users in the set of functionality that they have available for them.

Zabbix provides a balance of simplicity and flexibility. While the amount of features in Zabbix may seem daunting at first, the flexibility it provides is the key benefit of Zabbix. With Zabbix, you can easily extend the out-of-the-box monitoring approaches with your custom monitoring methods. If you have in-house applications specific to your company, you can always extend the Zabbix monitoring functionality and create your own custom checks or use scripts or commands to collect the data. This way you can define custom methods not only for data collection, but also use scripting for robust automatic issue remediation.

This gives you a huge variety of features that you can utilize in Zabbix either by using out-of-the-box templates or defining your own custom checks. All of this can be done within a single central frontend.

Even if you’re monitoring 50 branches in different countries within one Zabbix installation, a Zabbix administrator will be able to maintain and change the configuration — add new items, triggers, etc. Zabbix is also a great fit for multi-tenant environments. The robust permission and role schema enable you to define multiple Zabbix administrators that can have granular access to monitoring entities within their organization.

Commercial services

Open-source solutions are great as you can download the product at any time, irrespective of your goals and use them for both small home lab environments and large enterprise infrastructures. Similar to many open-source solutions, Zabbix also has a large and passionate international community of users ready to help you out on the official forums, different social networks, Zabbix subreddit and other communication channels.

If this not sufficient and you’re still feeling overwhelmed by all of the available features and require additional help to deploy your environment with best practices in mind – this is where the Zabbix commercial services come into play.

Commercial services

  • Zabbix team offers multiple commercial services, starting with a multiple-tier technical support. With technical support services, Zabbix experts will have your back and help you with fixing any issues and answer all of your questions 24/7.
  • Zabbix team also offers consulting services, where you can address any topic that you wish to discuss to Zabbix experts — how to deploy Zabbix and start monitoring your infrastructure, whether Zabbix is able to cover all of your needs, receive help with tuning Zabbix configuration and much more.
  • Turnkey solutions allow you to engage Zabbix professionals and build everything from scratch with best practices and scalability in mind.
  • Zabbix team can lend you a hand with Template building services for your custom in-house application.
  • The Zabbix team will document all of the performed steps, so you can have a clear view of what has been done and what was the reason behind it. You can utilize this knowledge down the line to learn and be able to follow the best practice approaches on your own.
  • Upgrade procedures can be extremely stressful – you may be worried about minimizing downtime, following your organizational SLA’s or maybe you simply aren’t sure how to properly perform an upgrade. Once again, the Zabbix team can do this for you, document it and guide you through the process so you can learn from it and do it yourself in the later versions.
  • Need help with troubleshooting an ongoing issue? Then the remote troubleshooting services are for you. Zabbix team can help you get to the bottom of any issues you may have with your Zabbix architecture.

Zabbix is an extremely fast-growing enterprise-ready project with a vast set of functionality trusted by global brands, capable to support collection of hundreds of thousands of metrics with real-time 24/7 data analysis, powerful visualization options, robust permission schema, out of the box reports and the ability to tailor the tool to your specific needs.

If you have never tried Zabbix, this might be the perfect moment to visit zabbix.com, click Download, and download Zabbix on your local test environment and try to monitor a couple of hosts to get acquainted with the product. I am sure that you’re going to be more than satisfied with the results!

 

Celebrating the community: Toshan

Post Syndicated from Katie Gouskos original https://www.raspberrypi.org/blog/community-stories-toshan-coding-mentor/

Today we bring you the fourth film in our series of inspirational community stories! Incredible young people from the community have collaborated with us to create these videos, where they tell their tech stories in their own words.

Toshan, an Indian teenager in Bangalore.
Toshan had community support when he started learning to code, so now he mentors other young people at his CoderDojo club.

Watch the new film to meet a “mischievous” tech creator who is helping other young people in his community to use technology to bring their ideas to life.

This is Toshan

Toshan’s story takes place in his hometown of Bangalore, India, where his love for electronics and computing sent him on a journey of tech discovery! 

Help us celebrate Toshan by liking and sharing his story on Twitter, Linkedin, or Facebook!

Toshan (16) first encountered coding aged 12, thanks to his computing teacher Miss Sonya. Describing his teacher, he says: “The unique thing is, she just doesn’t stop where the syllabus ends.” The world of digital making and Raspberry Pi computers that Miss Sonya introduced him to offered Toshan “limitless opportunities”, and he felt inspired to throw himself into learning.

“If we help people with their ideas, they might bring something new into the world.”

Toshan

Having found help in his local community and the online Raspberry Pi Foundation community that enabled him to start his tech journey, Toshan decided to pass on his skills: he set up a CoderDojo for other young people in Bangalore when he was 14. Toshan says, “I wanted to give something back.” Mentoring others as they learn coding and digital making helped his confidence grow. Toshan loves supporting the learners at his Dojo with problem-solving because “if we help people with their ideas, they might bring something new into the world.”

Toshan, an Indian teenager, with his mother and father.

Supported by his mum and dad, Toshan’s commitment to helping others create with technology is leading him to extend his community beyond the city he calls home. Through his YouTube channel, he reaches people outside of Bangalore, and he has connected with a worldwide community of like-minded young tech creators by taking part in Coolest Projects online 2020 with an automated hand sanitiser he built.

Toshan’s enthusiasm and love for tech are already motivating him to empower others, and he has only just begun! We are delighted to be a part of his journey and can’t wait to see what he does next.

Help us celebrate Toshan by liking and sharing his story on Twitter, Linkedin, or Facebook!

The post Celebrating the community: Toshan appeared first on Raspberry Pi.

Meet Laura Kampf: Wood and metalworker

Post Syndicated from Alex Bate original https://www.raspberrypi.org/blog/meet-laura-kampf-wood-and-metalworker/

Laura Kampf, the Köln-based wood and metalworker with a mild tiny house and Leatherman obsession sat down (virtually) with Alex Bate to talk about prison tattoo machines, avoiding your nightmares, and why aggressive hip-hop and horror movies inspire her weekly project builds.

Smudo the workshop dog was also there, which seems to be becoming a recurring and pleasant feature of HackSpace magazine interviews.

laura kampf
In five years, Laura has uploaded over 200 videos to YouTube

Alex: Your videos feel very unique in how they’re produced. It feels as though we’re in the workshop watching you get on with your day. That you’d be doing this regardless of whether the camera was there or not.

Laura: Yeah, that’s absolutely it. I mean, I document it for YouTube because I’m aware that this is the only place for me. And the documentation, that’s the work part, like setting up the camera, thinking about the story. But the physical work of building something, that’s a form of meditation. That’s just my happy place. And I know I have to document my work because I have to do something to make a living, right? I can’t just play. So YouTube is my work. But making is just, it’s just what I do, and I feel more and more that this is the only place for me.

And this is probably how musicians feel when they are performing on stage. You know, this – being in my shop, I feel so comfortable. And I feel so good. I don’t have that anywhere else. 

Subscribe to Laura Kampf on YouTube

I remember seeing that you went to design school. Is that where your journey as a maker started or does creativity run in your family? I know your brother is creative  (instagram.com/zooburger), but what about your parents?

My brother is super-creative, but my parents, not so much. My grandfather was an engineer. So I think 
it kind of skipped a generation.

In design school, there was a project where we had to build something out of everyday objects. And it was for us, the designers, to get away from the computers and just do something with our hands. I built a tattoo machine, like a prison-style tattoo machine. And I was hooked. I remember coming home and I was so moved by the whole thing. Even though the machine looks terrible, everything fell into place. 

Because all my life, people were telling me you need to find this one thing that you’re really good at and then just keep doing that. I think it’s also a German thing, you know, like, be perfect at one thing, and then you’ll be the best in your field. And I could never focus on one thing and building this tattoo machine; there were so many different things coming together. 

I had all this interest in so many different fields and I could use them for the project – I enjoyed drawing fonts and learned how to do old-school tattoo lettering, and I could do a little bit of electronics to hook up a switch. All these things, I thought it was super-interesting. It was the first time I could just use little bits of everything I knew to make something that was really cool, and I was hooked after that.

laura kampf
Laura works mostly with wood and metal in her weekly videos

Have you tattooed yourself with the tattoo machine?

I wanted to and then, thank God, because I was really young, it’s very likely that I would have done that, a tattoo artist came by and I showed him the machine, and he was like, “Don’t do it. It’s running way too fast. You will make mincemeat out of your skin”. But I bought pigs legs and pig’s ears and tattooed them. I couldn’t eat pig for probably two years after that. It was so warm, and tattooing the piece for a couple hours, the fat was running out of it – it was disgusting.

It’s interesting that if you look at the stuff that you’re making now, the anchor point that started all of this is a prison tattoo machine.

Looking back, I remember the little things that I made; when I showed them to people, they just didn’t show the same excitement for them as I did. And it was such a disappointment until I realised that no, the stuff I was making was really bad. That’s why no one was excited, because I didn’t know what I was doing. Once I got better and better, and especially with YouTube and talking to the community – well, I’m preaching to the choir here; everyone knows making is fantastic, and we have a very focused, niche community – and they get it.

laura kampf dog
All good workshops need a dog

Do you feel like a bit of a sense of responsibility being a woman in this community, being queer in this community? Two of the things that are a minority in this field. Do you feel that affects your work at all? 

I didn’t to begin with, I have to say. In the beginning, I felt more that it wasn’t about me, it was about the things that I make, and my sexuality and my gender don’t play a role in this. I don’t think about my sexuality all day long; I don’t think about the fact I’m a girl all day long, so why would it be in my videos? But I have to say that I changed my mind about these things. Because visibility is really important.

I had this really weird experience at the 10 Maker event a few years ago. I was wearing this T-shirt I got for free on one Christopher Street Day, it says ‘Gay Okay’. I love that shirt; it’s a really nice fit. I went to get some groceries with Brett from Skull and Spade and Hassan from HABU, and there was this girl, maybe eleven or twelve years old, and she saw me wearing that shirt, hanging out with regular dudes, doing regular stuff in a regular supermarket, and her jaw dropped. We were in the countryside, you don’t see things like rainbow flags there. And I could tell she’s maybe gay too, and it was so good for her to see that. There’s nothing different about you – you can still hang out with guys, you can still,   you know, go shopping and all these things. That’s when I realised, institutions like Christopher Street Day are so important, but it’s also important to just have it integrated into regular stuff, not just special occasions. Today’s International Women’s Day? Well, we need to celebrate girls every day; every day you need to celebrate these things. 

So, I kind of made it a habit to have rainbow flags in my videos. Not every video, and never super-obvious, but in the background, when I talk to the camera sometimes. I do wear my Gay Okay shirt every once in a while. I don’t want to make it a point because people like to put you in drawers. And, once you’re the queer maker, you’re the queer maker, and that’s all people want to talk about. And I don’t want that because I still think, at the end of the day, it’s about the things I build and not about me and my sexuality and gender. But, yeah, to just sprinkle it in every once in a while, I think it’s very important.

I don’t get much negativity about this. I was surprised, pleasantly so, obviously, but yeah, a couple of days ago, I wore my Gay Okay t-shirt in my Instagram Stories, and people applauded me for it, and that’s really interesting. I would never have thought that.

laura kampf
It might not look like it now, but this will become a pub on wheels

Do you get much trolling at all? Or are you spared from it?

I think, at the beginning of my YouTube career, I was growing really fast and really, like, exponentially. And I had a couple of videos that went viral, like the beer bike, that went outside of the community. For those viral videos, you get negativity. They don’t know who you are, they don’t know the context, they don’t know what I’m doing. That’s why I hate having viral videos. It brings in the worst. I like to be in this little lake, surrounded by my followers.

A few people have said that, actually. That it’s the worst. It’s the thing everybody aims for and then, when you get there, you wish you weren’t.

Yeah, they take you out of context. Those people, they see one of my videos, they don’t know that I’m building something. And that’s another interesting thing that your community learns about you. They know I build something every week for the past six years. Every week, it can’t be the Holy Grail every freaking week. Sometimes it’s bad, but it’s stuff that I did that week – it’s documentation.

When I was a kid, I remember my mind was blown that The Simpsons had a different intro every episode. Something different happens every time. I couldn’t believe that, and how much work went into it. I think it primed me for being a weekly creator.

The tattoo machine that started it all
The tattoo machine that started it all

It’s impressive. There aren’t a lot of makers releasing weekly videos, and many that do are releasing build videos in weekly parts. And you just come along and go ta-da!

Haha, but not every video is a good idea. Some of them are really bad ideas. But that’s my privilege, you know, that I can still do that. Because I have to, otherwise there wouldn’t be a video, and I love that because the pressure helps me keep going. And the process is the same. It doesn’t matter if you’re building a tiny house or a scratch post for a cat. The process is me, being in the shop, listening to podcasts, listening to music, enjoying my tools, playing with the material – it’s all the same, it doesn’t really matter. 

So, the public bench stuff that I’ve been doing lately, I get so many questions like, “Oh no, how could you leave the bench” and, like, I don’t give a damn about the bench. It’s not the bench, it’s the process that I enjoy. I could literally throw everything that I build away – I could throw it in the trash right away. I wouldn’t mind. I’m so focused on the process.

I was going to ask you about the bench, because it was recently vandalised and so you made another one. Most people would probably just not, would just raise their hands in defeat and leave it. But you just made it again. 

I was expecting it to break eventually. And, to be honest, I was kinda hoping for it because I wanted to do it again. And, this time, I’m actually hoping for it to get broken again because I want to do it again.

Laura’s bike frame cup holder

I may be making this up, but I’m sure you once mentioned that it’s illegal to sell furniture in Germany unless you’re registered. Is that right?

Yeah, it’s a very broad description of this, but the craftsmanship in Germany is of a very high standard, right? At least we like to think so. So, if you want to be a carpenter, you’re first an apprentice for three years or so, then you can be a carpenter and work under a master carpenter. If you want to educate other apprentices, or if you want to sell certain furniture, I think chairs is one of them, then you have to be a master. And it’s the same for every field. I think the most plausible is electricians. If you are not a master electrician, you cannot, say, make a lamp and sell it.

But my interest is so general. I wanted to make lamps, but the notion of designing a lamp that’s made out of wood and then obviously has electricity in it, it’s just impossible. 

I spoke to the TÜV and asked them, if I design a lamp and want to sell it in a   store, how do I do it. And I would have to get it checked by their institution, which is a couple of hundred euros, and get a certificate. But I would have to do this for the next lamp design, and the next. And that makes them so expensive. I can’t sell a lamp for 150 euros if it costs me more than that to get it checked. I’m not interested in mass production, I want to make one-off pieces. 

I had already quit my job when I discovered this and remember having a big knot in my stomach thinking, ‘what do I do?’, and YouTube was the answer. 

Could you not use YouTube as a way of selling lamps? It’s not a lamp, it’s a video prop?

Yeah, there are loopholes – this is not a lamp, this is art. But, when I quit my job to become a self-employed lamp seller, I really only quit my job because I hated working for other people, not because it was my dream to sell furniture and lamps. I didn’t know YouTube really existed as a thing for me, and once I figured out people were actually making money off this, I was like, OK, I need to get a camera, I need to give this a try. Because that would be better than building stuff to sell it. I wasn’t interested in selling stuff. I don’t want clients. I don’t want that pressure from anyone else except me, so YouTube worked out perfectly for me. 

How to build a tattoo machine from scratch – one of Laura’s most popular videos

The job you quit was as a Display Artist for Urban Outfitters, if I remember correctly? Designing displays within a store. That sounded like a brilliant job.

It was. It was a great job, but it wasn’t for me. It was probably the perfect job, but I am not a good employee. I was asked a couple of years ago if I would do a talk about my career and how I made this job for myself and followed my dreams, blah, blah. I don’t like ‘follow your dreams’. It was the other way around. I avoided my nightmares. That’s how I got here. I never dreamed of this, I didn’t know this existed. So, I think avoiding your nightmares is much more efficient than following your dreams.

With your design school background, when you create something, how much of that project is art over functionality? Dovetails versus pocket holes for instance. 

It’s more, and this is hard to explain, but I have this internal measuring unit of how much work should go into a project. I know how much time I can put into a project, and there’s this bucket of work I’ve put into it, and depending on how full the bucket is determines how the project looks and whether I use pocket holes or dovetails, for example.

You work a lot with wood and with metal, as well as a few other materials, all of which require their own set of skills. Where have you learned all your techniques?

All YouTube. That’s the cool thing. It’s all full circle. There are some things – I had a couple of jobs where I learned some skills. I worked as a flight case builder for three years, just filling those black flight cases. Which sounds very, very trivial. It’s not though, It’s crazy. You have to work so precisely, otherwise, the catches won’t close and all these things, and everything is building boxes. So I learned a bunch of stuff there. It was my Karate Kid apprenticeship. But a lot of it is YouTube. I remember watching Jimmy DiResta – I saw his TV show online, and then I watched a bunch of his videos without realising it was the same guy. Eventually, I noticed he had a weekly schedule and a podcast, and it was all exactly what I needed to see and hear. Right when I quit my job and I couldn’t sell lamps, there were these people telling me that they do this for a living. It was perfect timing. I feel like I’m the second generation YouTuber and they’re the first. 

Laura’s cargo bike

As well as those makers, what else influences your work?

I like to listen to a lot of hip-hop, like super-aggressive hip-hop that is the complete opposite of me and has nothing to do with my world. And I like to watch horror movies, super-scary and bloody horror movies. I like to explore the opposite of what I have. A view into a completely different world. The Fantasy Filmfest is a huge inspiration for me. These movies that go right to DVD; they don’t go into the big theatres. I like to think about how they got made? How did they think of that? That’s the biggest inspiration. And, with hip-hop, the personas, and why they feel like they do, and how do they come up with those lines. They’re in their own universe, they have their own rules. I just love that. It’s how I feel when I’m building stuff. I’m telling myself a story that I don’t know the ending of. I don’t like to make sketches, I don’t like to know if it works. If I see someone else had the idea and did a full video about it, I don’t even want to do the idea anymore. I want to have that unknown. This is the idea, this is the stuff you have, now try to make it happen.

Is there anything still on the list? Projects you still want to work on?

I don’t know if you saw it on Instagram, but I bought a Multicar. It’s so good. It’s the slowest car ever; it is painfully slow – 45 kilometres an hour and that’s it. But it has torque; you can tow pretty much everything with it. So my plan is to take the world’s smallest pub that I built a couple months ago and put it on at the back of the Multicar.

Something is holding me back at the moment, though. I have all the parts, I should be able to do it, but I don’t know what it is. I experience that quite often – I have an idea, and everything should be good to go, but I’m not doing it. And then, eventually, it turns out I wasn’t sure about the colour, or something else that was missing that I didn’t know at the time. So I don’t push it. But that’s the project I’m looking forward to.

Do you think you’ll ever just get to the point where you’re going to stop doing weekly videos? Or is this you for life?

I don’t know. Like, that’s the one thing that I’m really scared of, like, what happens when I get sick? Because at the beginning of the year, I hired my best friend. So now we’re both relying on my mental and physical health. So I think it’s a good idea to broaden stuff and have more income streams. I love doing the TV stuff [Laura recently started presenting a new TV show], because whenever I’m working with the TV people, I think, like, oh man, I love YouTube. And, when I do too much YouTube, I start really looking forward to working with actual professionals again. It’s a cool balance. I kind of hope that I can keep doing this. You know, I think it’s really cool. And as I said, there’s no other place for me. Where would I go?

Clever keyring with screwdriver

You have YouTube, you have TV, you have your podcast, and you sell merchandise. Is there anything left?

I think I would like to actually have a couple of products now. Some of the furniture I’m building, if you look at them in a different context to ‘this is just what I built this week’ and is only the product of seven days’ worth of work, I think some of those ideas aren’t that bad. And if you put some more work into them, they could be pieces that would sell. But I would want someone who takes the prototypes and does the whole production for me. I’m not interested in all that. But I think it would be cool to have a line of plywood furniture.

So we won’t be seeing a run of the Laura Kampf bench across Köln?

A newspaper interviewed me about the bench. And for the interview, they also approached the city saying, hey, wouldn’t you want to work with her? And you know, maybe collaborate on this because this might be a cool thing. And they said that they don’t have the personnel. But honestly, if they would have done it, that would have made it so boring. Working with somebody in an office telling me where the broken benches are so I can go and fix them. That’s a job.

Laura’s beer bike

Is there anything you’ve ever made that you haven’t wanted to share? A build just for you?

Until I hit publish, I feel like that every week. It feels like I’m just making it for myself. I talk very positively about YouTube, and that’s genuinely how I feel about it, but sometimes it’s really hard on me because I’ll work seven days on a video, think it’s the best thing I ever did, and it makes me so happy. I’ll edit it for hours, sink all this time into it, all this energy, and then the video tanks, and it kinda ruins it for me. I’m in a super-good mood right now because the bench video did so well, and people understand what I’m trying to say. But, there are other cases where it doesn’t work as well, and where I feel like I’ve dropped the ball and couldn’t get my excitement across. And that’s always super-disappointing because I’m always excited about the stuff I make; I always have some angle I find super-interesting, otherwise, I’m not motivated to do it. And, when the video tanks, it makes me feel like I lost the opportunity to spread that excitement, to spread that motivation, and that feels like I wasted my time. And that’s the downside of YouTube. 

I mean, I think every creator takes it in a different way. And you need to find a way to deal with this, and it’s really important to talk about it. This is my dream job and I can do whatever I want to do as long as I don’t drop the ball. I hired my friend, so now I can’t drop the ball for the both of us.

Laura appeared in our video “How do you define ‘maker’?”

Laura Kampf produces a video every Sunday on her YouTube channel. You can also follow her on Instagram and, for any German-speaking readers, her podcast – Raabe & Kampf – with friend and journalist Melanie Raabe can be found wherever you listen to podcasts. 

HackSpace magazine issue 45 out NOW!

Each month, HackSpace magazine brings you the best projects, tips, tricks and tutorials from the makersphere. You can get it from the Raspberry Pi Press online store or your local newsagents.

Hack space magazine issue 45 front cover

As always, every issue is free to download from the HackSpace magazine website.

The post Meet Laura Kampf: Wood and metalworker appeared first on Raspberry Pi.

Celebrating the community: Laura

Post Syndicated from Katie Gouskos original https://www.raspberrypi.org/blog/community-stories-laura-robotics-girls-tech/

We love seeing all the wonderful things people are doing in the community — that’s why we’re sharing our new series of short films documenting some of the incredible journeys of community members in all corners of the globe!

A young woman with a robot she has built.
Laura found her peer group at a local CoderDojo and has travelled the world with her friends and the robots they have built together.

Today we bring you the third wonderful film in this series of community stories. For the series, we’ve been super lucky to collaborate with digital makers all over the world, and today’s story exemplifies how truly global the community is.

Watch our video to find out how this ambitious young digital maker’s passion for creating with technology has propelled her around the world! 

Say hi to Laura

Laura’s journey began in her hometown of Timișoara, Romania. In Laura’s words: “I joined my local CoderDojo, and it changed my life.”

Help us celebrate Laura by liking and sharing her story on Twitter, Linkedin, or Facebook!

Laura (17) started attending her CoderDojo coding club four years ago because she loves problem-solving and wanted to learn more about how digital technology works. Her biggest discovery at CoderDojo, however, was the other young people there, who were just as passionate about technology as she was. Laura says, “I had the opportunity to meet people with the same interests. Everybody was working, exchanging ideas, having fun!”

Laura and the new friends she made worked together to solve problems in their local community: they built an autonomous waste-collecting robot and a drone-mounted air pollution monitor. 

“I want to bring a change to the world.”

Laura

But Laura’s tech journey did not stop there. In 2017, she travelled to Dublin to present her latest project — a Raspberry Pi-powered, mind-controlled robot! — at Coolest Projects International, which introduced her to a global community of digital makers. And since then she’s even taken part in a robotics competition at MIT!

At a Coolest Projects event, a teenage girl tests out her mind-controlled robot at a laptop with a man.
At Coolest Projects International 2017, Laura demonstrated her mind-controlled robot to our CEO Philip — she said the robot worked really well with Philip because he has no hair!

Working alongside like-minded peers and connecting with a global community of young tech creators has had a profound impact on Laura. She says, “I never imagined that I would have so many opportunities to travel, expand my horizons, and meet so many people. It’s thanks to CoderDojo and Coolest Projects that I’ve been able to build an amazing network of friends, and together we’re ready to take on the world.” 

We are so excited to see what Laura will do next. Help us celebrate Laura by liking and sharing her story on Twitter, Linkedin, or Facebook!

The post Celebrating the community: Laura appeared first on Raspberry Pi.

Community stories: Avye

Post Syndicated from Katie Gouskos original https://www.raspberrypi.org/blog/community-stories-avye-robotics-girls-tech/

We’re excited to share another incredible story from the community — the second in our new series of inspirational short films that celebrate young tech creators across the world.

A young teenager with glasses smiles
Avye discovered robotics at her local CoderDojo and is on a mission to get more girls like her into tech.

These stories showcase some of the wonderful things that young people are empowered to do when they learn how to create with technology. We hope that they will inspire many more young people to get creative with technology too!

Meet Avye

This time, you will meet an accomplished, young community member who is on a quest to encourage more girls to join her and get into digital making.

Help us celebrate Avye by liking and sharing her story on Twitter, Linkedin, or Facebook!

For as long as she can remember, Avye (13) has enjoyed creating things. It was at her local CoderDojo that seven-year-old Avye was introduced to the world of robotics. Avye’s second-ever robot, the Raspberry Pi–powered Voice O’Tronik Bot, went on to win the Hardware category at our Coolest Projects UK event in 2018.

A girl shows off a robot she has built
Avye showcased her Raspberry Pi–powered Voice O’Tronik Bot at Coolest Projects UK in 2018.

Coding and digital making have become an integral part of Avye’s life, and she wants to help other girls discover these skills too. She says, I believe that it’s important for girls and women to see and be aware of ordinary girls and women doing cool things in the STEM world.” Avye started running her own workshops for girls in their community and in 2018 founded Girls Into Coding. She has now teamed up with her mum Helene, who is committed to helping to drive the Girls Into Coding mission forwards.

I want to get other girls like me interested in tech.

Avye

Avye has received multiple awards to celebrate her achievements, including the Princess Diana Award and Legacy Award in 2019. Most recently, in 2020, Avye won the TechWomen100 Award, the Women in Tech’s Aspiring Teen Award, and the FDM Everywoman in Tech Award!

We cannot wait to see what the future has in store for her. Help us celebrate Avye and inspire others by liking and sharing her story on Twitter, Linkedin, or Facebook!

The post Community stories: Avye appeared first on Raspberry Pi.

Celebrating the community: Zaahra and Eesa

Post Syndicated from Katie Gouskos original https://www.raspberrypi.org/blog/community-stories-zaahra-eesa-coding-team/

Today we are launching an exciting series of impact stories from the community, to shine a spotlight on some of the young people who are learning and creating with technology through our educational initiatives.

A sister and brother smiling while doing digital making at a laptop
Zaahra and Eesa have been learning to create technology through attending Code Club and taking part in Coolest Projects!

These stories get to the heart of our mission: to put the power of computing and digital making into the hands of people all over the world.

Designed in close collaboration with families across the world, our new series of short inspirational films showcases some of the wonderful things that young people are empowered to do when they learn to use technology to address the issues that matter to them.

We are incredibly proud to be a part of these young people’s journeys — and to see the positive impact of engaging with our free programmes, coding clubs, and resources. We can’t wait to share their unique experiences and achievements with you as we roll out the series over the next few months.

And we invite you to celebrate these young people by liking and sharing their stories on social media!

Meet Zaahra and Eesa 

The first story takes you to a place not far from our home: London, UK.

Help us celebrate Zaahra and Eesa by liking and sharing their story on Twitter, Linkedin, or Facebook!

Zaahra (12) and Eesa (8) are a sister and brother coding team and live in East London. For the last four years they’ve been learning about computing and digital making by attending regular sessions at their local Code Club. Zaahra and Eesa love working as a team and using technology to solve problems around them. When they found it difficult to communicate with their grandparents in their first language, Sylheti, the siblings decided to code a language learning app called ‘Easy Sylheti’. Eesa says, “We wanted to create something that was helpful to us, but also to our family and the community.”

A girl and boy standing on the grass in a park

When Zaahra and Eesa decided to take part in the Coolest Projects online tech showcase with their app, they never expected that it would be picked as a favourite by Coolest Projects special judge Eben Upton, CEO and co-inventor of Raspberry Pi!

“I’ve discovered that I’m capable of a lot more than I thought.”

Zaahra

Describing the effect of learning to create with technology and seeing the success of their app, Zaahra declares, “I’ve discovered that I’m capable of a lot more than I thought.” And she’s using her new-found confidence to continue helping her community: Zaahra has recently taken up a role as youth member on the Newham Youth Empowerment Fund Panel.

Help us celebrate Zaahra and Eesa by liking and sharing their story on Twitter, Linkedin, or Facebook!

The post Celebrating the community: Zaahra and Eesa appeared first on Raspberry Pi.

Auto-healing Kafka connector tasks with Zabbix

Post Syndicated from Ronald Schouw original https://blog.zabbix.com/auto-healing-kafka-connector-tasks-with-zabbix/14269/

In this post, we will talk about the low-level discovery of Kafka connectors and tasks. When a Kafka task fails, a trigger is fired, which starts a remote command to restart the failed Kafka task. Of course, with the necessary logging around it.

You can find the template and scripts on the Zabbix share. But first, let’s talk a little bit about Kafka producers and consumers.  Let’s say you have got a couple of connectors set up, pulling data from Postgres with Debezium and streaming it into Elasticsearch. The Postgres source is a bit flaky and goes offline periodically. If you view the status of the Postgres source, the producer, you noticed the task is failed. Kafka does not restart the failed task out of the box. We don’t wait for the customer to complain, but we let Zabbix actively monitor the tasks. A failed connector task is easy to restart using the Rest API.  But manually restarting and watching a task is annoying. We used to do that at our business. Now Zabbix comes into play and restarts the failed Kafka task automatically. And we do sleep well.

About Kafka

Apache Kafka is a community distributed event streaming platform capable of handling trillions of events a day. Initially conceived as a messaging queue, Kafka is based on an abstraction of a distributed commit log. Since being created and open-sourced by LinkedIn in 2011, Kafka has quickly evolved from messaging queue to a full-fledged event streaming platform.

First, let’s do a curl and check the failed connector task.

curl -s "http://localhost:8083/connectors"| 
jq '."connector_sink-test"| .status.tasks'
[{
"id": 0,
"state": "RUNNING",
"worker_id": "connect1.test.com:8083"
},
{
"id": 1,
"state": "FAILED",
"worker_id": "connect2.test.com:8083"
}]

So this is where the fun starts – we have a connector task with id “1” which has failed. At the end of the blog, Zabbix restarts the connector, but first, let’s look at an example. This curl post should restart the connector task: connect2.test.com id:1

curl -X POST http://localhost:8083/connectors/connect2.test.com/tasks/1/restart
Low-level discovery

The zabbix_kafka_connector template does work out of the box. To implemented the use cases provided in this blog  you will need the scripts bundled together with the template. Kafka connectors can have multiple tasks. First, we determine the connectors and later the state of the connectors and tasks. Let’s run the following script – api_connectors.sh. I suggest you execute the script via a cronjob every 5 minutes, depending on your priority to run the curl jobs.

api_connectors.sh

curl http://localhost:8083/connectors?expand=status | jq > check_connectors
curl http://localhost:8083/connectors | jq .[] > get_connectors

It creates two files, check_connectors, and  get_connectors. Needless to say, we use curl with authentication in the production environment.

The next shell script get_connector_data.sh uses check_connectors and get_connectors files as input. It defines the connector {#CONNECTOR} and the connector tasks {#CONNECTOR_ID} with the corresponding ID used by low-level discovery. Down the line it might be more efficient to rewrite it as a python script. Json query is our useful friend here. The script is used by a user parameter later on.

get_connector_data.sh

#!/bin/sh
CONNECTOR=$(cat get_connectors)
CONNECTOR_IDS=$(cat get_connectors | tr -d ")
FIRST="1"
#create zabbix lld discovery connectors
echo "{"
echo " "data":["
for i in $CONNECTOR
do
if [ "$FIRST" -eq 0 ]
then
printf ",n"
fi
FIRST="0"
printf " {"{#CONNECTOR}": $i}"
done
#create zabbix lld discovery task connectors
for i in $CONNECTOR_IDS
do
IDS=$(cat check_connectors | jq --arg i ${i} -r '."'${i}'"| .status.tasks[].id')
for z in $IDS
do
if [ "$FIRST" -eq 0 ]
then
printf ",n"
fi
FIRST="0"
printf " {"{#CONNECTOR_ID}": "${i}-${z}"}"
done
done
#
printf "n ] n}"

Part of the script output will look like this, depending, of course, how many connectors there are and tasks in your Kafka environment.

{
"data":[
{"{#CONNECTOR}": "source_invoices-prod"},
{"{#CONNECTOR}": "employee_sink-prod"},
{"{#CONNECTOR_ID}": "ource_invoices-prod-0"},
{"{#CONNECTOR_ID}": "source_invoices-prod-1"},
{"{#CONNECTOR_ID}": "employee_sink-prod-0"},
{"{#CONNECTOR_ID}": "employee_sink-prod-1"},
{"{#CONNECTOR_ID}": "employee_sink-prod-2"},
{"{#CONNECTOR_ID}": "employee_sink-prod-3"}
]
}
Template.

We will define a template with the LLD rule in it and later attach the template to a host. Create a template Configuration > Templates > Create template.  Give it a name according to your choice: Template_kafka_connector or some other name, depending on your template naming policies.

Discovery rule

Next, we create a discovery rule. Keep lost resources period is an arbitrary value here – once again, depending on your policies regarding LLD entities.
In this case, we will discard the lost resource immediately – Keep Lost resources (0). This can be a bit more database friendly, in case when Kafka creates hundreds of connectors. The update interval is the same as the cronjob interval.

Configuration > Templates > your created template > discovery > create discovery rule

The key is used by the User Parameter further in the blog

Item prototype.

We will create two item prototypes, one for the connector and one for the task of the connector with the corresponding ID of the task. The ID is important because we want to restart the correct task later.

Name: State of {#CONNECTOR} connector
Key: state[{#CONNECTOR}]

Configuration > Templates > your created template > item prototypes > create item prototype

Trigger prototypes

Four trigger prototypes have been created. They are sets of two. The sets have different severities. The highest severity only fires after six hours and is intended for the operation center. Most times, Zabbix will restart the failed task within 5 or 10 minutes. It is then not necessary to burden the operation center with this. I will explain the most important trigger. This trigger will soon be used in an action to start the remote command. The URL macro {TRIGGER.URL} is used, which determines the ID of the task that should be restarted. There are probably other solutions, but this one works well and is stable.

Configuration > Templates > your created template > item prototypes > create trigger prototype


The other trigger examples are provided below.

Name: Kafka Connector task {#CONNECTOR_ID} on {HOST.NAME} is not RUNNING
Expression: {C_Template kafka Connector:task[{#CONNECTOR_ID}].str(RUNNING,6h)}=0 and {C_Template kafka Connector:task[{#CONNECTOR_ID}].str(FAILED)}=1
Severity Warning
Name: Kafka Connector {#CONNECTOR} on {HOST.NAME} is FAILED
Expression: {C_Template kafka Connector:state[{#CONNECTOR}].str(FAILED)}=1
Severity: Not classified
Name: Kafka Connector {#CONNECTOR} on {HOST.NAME} is not RUNNING
Expression: {C_Template Kafka Connector:state[{#CONNECTOR}].str(RUNNING,6h)}=0 and {C_Template Kafka Connector:state[{#CONNECTOR}].str(FAILED)}=1
Severity: warning
Userparameter

Three User Parameters are required—one for the low-level discovery and two for the items.

UserParameter=connector.discovery,sh /etc/zabbix/get_connector_data.sh
UserParameter=state[*],/etc/zabbix/check_connector.sh $1
UserParameter=task[*],/etc/zabbix/check_task_connector.sh $1

check_connector.sh script gets the state of the connector.

#!/bin/sh
CONNECTOR="$1"
cat /etc/zabbix/check_connectors | jq --arg CONNECTOR "${CONNECTOR} " -r '."'${CONNECTOR}'" | .status.connector.state'

check_task_connector.sh  Does a check on the connector task. A disadvantage of this construction is that the connector can have a maximum of 10 tasks. At ID -10 or higher, the check fails. But that’s unusual in Kafka to deploy a connector with so many tasks.

#!/bin/sh
value=$1
CONNECTOR=$(echo ${value::-2})
IDS=$(echo ${value:(-1)})
cat /etc/zabbix/check_connectors | jq --arg CONNECTOR "${CONNECTOR}" --arg IDS '${IDS}' -r '."'${CONNECTOR}'" | .status.tasks[]| select(.id=='$IDS').state'
Zabbix-agent

When all scripts are in the right place, we make a small adjustment to the Zabbix agent config. The LogRemoteCommands option is not necessary, but it is useful for debugging. Restart the Zabbix agent afterward. Add the Kafka template to a host, and we can proceed.

EnableRemoteCommands=1
LogRemoteCommands=1
Action auto-healing

Let’s define some actions that can heal our connector tasks by automatically restarting a Kafka task with an action. Create a new action –  you can choose any conditions that can be applied to your trigger.

Configuration > actions > event source – triggers > create action.

Create an operation. This can be a bit tricky. In my case, I restart the tasks every five minutes for the first half-hour. If unsuccessful, the Kafka admins will receive an email. After that, the tasks are restarted every hour for three days. In practice, this has never happened, but such a situation can occur over the weekend, for example. After three days, the operation stops and sends a final email. Usually, the task starts the first time – if not, then the second attempt is sufficient in 99% of the cases.

Restart script.

You will probably have to adapt the script to your own environment. We have built-in some extra logging. This is certainly useful during the initial setup.

#!/bin/sh
LOG=/var/log/zabbix/restarted-connector.log
value=$(echo $1 | awk -F "/" '{print $(NF)}')
echo $value
CONNECTOR=$(echo ${value::-2})
IDS=$(echo ${value:(-1)})
curl -v -X POST http://localhost:8083/connectors/"{$CONNECTOR}"/tasks/"{$IDS}"/restart 2>&1 | tee -a $LOG
echo "Connector $CONNECTOR ID $IDS has been restarted at $(date)" >> $LOG

The {TRIGGER.URL} macro is used here, not intended to be used this way out of the box by Zabbix, but it gets the job done for this use case. The awk ensures that the http: // is fetched.

If you have any other suggestions on how to improve the scripts or the templates – you are very much welcome to leave a comment with your idea!

Credits.

I am inspired by Robin Moffatt at Confluent and not in the last place my colleague Werner Dijkerman at fullstaq

Zabbix 5.0 – My happiness and disenchantment

Post Syndicated from Dennis Ananiev original https://blog.zabbix.com/zabbix-5-0-my-happiness-and-disenchantment/14107/

Zabbix is an open-source solution, and all features are available out of the box for free. You don’t have to pay for the pro, or business, or community versions. You can download Zabbix source files or packages from the official site and use them in your enterprise or your home lab, test and apply or even suggest your changes. Zabbix offers many new features in every release, and it’s an excellent approach to interact with the community. This post will share my experience with Zabbix and my opinion of improvements made in Zabbix 5.2.

Contents

I. Pros (3:49)

    1. Global view Dashboard (3:49)
    2. Host configuration (7:19)
    3. Discovery rules (11:56)
    4. Maintenance (15:46)

II. Cons (20:13)

Pros

Global view Dashboard

Improvements start from the central Zabbix 5.2 dashboard — it’s totally different from the earlier versions. Now it looks more clear and user-friendly.

Global view Dashboard

Now, we have a hiding vertical menu. Since this is a Global view dashboard, we can see hosts by availability and problems by the severity level (we didn’t have this opportunity in earlier versions), as well as system information.

From the Global view dashboard, you can configure the widgets. For instance, you can choose how many lines you can see in the problems panel.

Configuring widgets in the Dashboard

In earlier versions, you could see only 20 problems in your Dashboard, and you could change this parameter only in the Zabbix source code if you had some PHP knowledge. Now you can choose how many problems you display in the Show line field. This is really convenient as you might have a really enormous infrastructure and almost 200 problems per day filling in the Dashboard. In earlier versions, if the Zabbix Server was down, you could not see the previous problems without opening the menu “Last values”. Now you can choose the number of problems to display. In addition, you can choose to display the problems of a certain severity level only or to display only tags. For duty admins, it’s pretty good to see operational data with problems and show unacknowledged only.

This is convenient to Zabbix engineers or admins as sometimes admins monitor only certain parts of the infrastructure: some servers, databases, or middleware levels. In this case, you can choose to display Host groups or Tags for different layers. Then all you need is to click Apply.

Host configuration

There are many other configuration options that make the life of an engineer more comfortable. For instance, in Configuration > Hosts, new features are available.

New Hosts configuration

  • Here, as opposed to the earlier Zabbix versions, you can filter hosts by a specific proxy or specific tags. This made it hard to understand, which proxy was monitoring a specific host, especially if you were monitoring, for instance, one or two thousand hosts. The new feature saves you a lot of time as you don’t have to open other pages and try to find the necessary information.
  • Another new feature in the Hosts dashboard is the improved Items configuration.

Improved Items configuration

Here, if you click any item, for instance, the one collecting CPU data, you can now use the new Execute now and Test buttons to test values without waiting for an update interval.

New Execute now and Test buttons

So, if you click Test > Get value and test, you can get the value from a remote host immediately.

Using Get value and test button

Clicking the Test button, you can also check the correct Type for your data collection. Execute now allows you to pull a request to the remote host and return data back without waiting for a response, and immediately find the required information in the Latest data without waiting for an update interval.

Requesting data without waiting for update interval

You normally don’t need to collect data such as hostname or OS name very often. Such data is collected once per day or once per hour. However, you might not want to stay online waiting for collection. So, you can click Execute now and collect the data immediately.

NOTE. Execute now and Test buttons are available only starting from Zabbix 5.x.

Discovery rules

  • Another Zabbix configuration tool — Discovery rules were also improved. Previously, if we needed to discover some data, for instance, from a Linux server, such as Mounted filesystem discovery or Network interface discovery, we had to stay online and wait for the data to be collected. Now with Execute now and Test buttons, you don’t have to wait for the stated update interval and get values immediately.

New Discovery rules options

So, if you click Get value and test, you immediately get all data Types and all file system names for all partitions on the server, as well s JSON array. Here, you can check what data you do and don’t need and then exclude certain data using regular expressions. It’s a really big achievement to add the ability Test and Execute Now button everywhere because it makes system more complex and dynamic.

  • In earlier Zabbix versions, in Item prototypes, we couldn’t change anything in bulk. You had to open each of the items, for instance, Free nodes or Space utilization, and change what you need for each of them. Now, you can check All items box and use Mass update button.

Mass update for Items prototype

For instance, we can change all update intervals for all items at once.

Changing all update intervals at once

Previously, we could mass update only items and some triggers, while now we can use Mass update for item prototypes as well. Item prototypes are used very often in our everyday operations, for instance, to discover data by SNMP as SNMP is collecting data for network or storage devices where item prototypes are really important. For instance, NetApp storage may have about 1,500 items, and it is really difficult to change update interval history for such an enormous number of items. Now, you just click Mass update, change parameters for item prototypes, and apply changes to all items at once.

Maintenance

Maintenance has been a headache for many Zabbix engineers and administrators for ages. In Zabbix 4.2, we had three Maintenance menus: Maintenance, Periods, and Hosts and groups.

Maintenance settings in earlier Zabbix versions

Windows or Linux administrators using Zabbix only for monitoring their stuff could just select the period using Active since and Active till and didn’t know what to do if data collection and maintenance didn’t work correctly. For instance, if we started replacing RAM in the data center at 8 a.m. and spent two hours, we could set Active till to 10 a.m. However, surprisingly, it didn’t work.

In Zabbix 5.x, the team used a different approach — a separate menu for all items, which previously was displayed in three separate tabs.

Now you can set up all parameters in one window.

Improved Maintenance settings

NOTE. In most cases, Active since and Active till don’t work correctly for setting up downtime. To set up the downtime, the Period field should be used to choose Period type, date, and the number of days or hours needed to fix RAM in our example.

 

Maintenance period settings

Setting downtime period due to maintenance

This change is not intuitive; however, you should put attention to your Maintenance period settings when receiving calls from your admins and engineers about maintenance alerts. In addition, Maintenance period settings are more detailed, so you just need to practice selecting the required parameters. However, this is the question to the Zabbix team to make these parameter settings more user-friendly.

Cons

Unfortunately, some problems have been inherited from the earlier Zabbix versions.

  • For instance, in Administration > Users you still can’t change any parameters or clone users with the same characteristics, you have to create each user separately. If you have a thousand users, this will give you a headache to create all of them manually if you don’t know much about Zabbix API or Ansible.

Limited Users setting options

  • In addition, Zabbix doesn’t have any mechanisms for importing LDAP/SAML users and LDAP?SAML groups. It is still hard to create and synchronize this account with, for instance, Active Directory or other service directories. Active Directory administrator might change the users’ surname and move them to some other department, and Zabbix administrator won’t know about this due to this synchronization gap.
  • There are obvious drawbacks to the Zabbix menu. For instance, Hosts are still available under Monitoring, Inventory, and Configuration sections, which might be messy for the newbies as it is difficult to decide, which menu should be used. So, merging these menus will be a step forward to usability.
  • Lastly, in the Configuration > Hosts menu there was a drop-down list for host groups and templates, but in the newest Zabbix only the Select button is left. Now, without the drop-down list, it is tricky for newbies to choose host groups and templates.

Selecting host groups and templates