Tag Archives: community

What’s Up, Home? – Monitor your website visitor rate

Post Syndicated from Janne Pikkarainen original https://blog.zabbix.com/whats-up-home-monitor-your-website-visitor-rate/25660/

Can you monitor your website visitor rate with Zabbix? Of course, you can! By day, I am a lead site reliability engineer in a global cyber security company. By night, I monitor my home with Zabbix & Grafana and do some weird experiments with them.

I have this website hosted in a domain hotel, and among other features, the admin panel has some standard website access log analyzers (such as awstats) available for me to see the activity of this site. That’s cool, but also boringly easy, and requires me to log in to that admin panel instead of me using my trusted single pane of glass that is Zabbix.

Let’s connect to site logs

If I log in to my site over ssh/sftp, my home directory has a preconfigured access_logs directory. Like the name says, it contains the website access logs in the usual format you would expect it to be:

35.166.xxx.xxx – – [26/Jan/2023:04:24:37 +0200] “GET / HTTP/1.1” 200 10055 “http://whatsuphome.fi” “Mozilla/5.0 (X11; Linux x86_64) AppleWebKit/537.36 (KHTML, like Gecko) Chrome/83.0.4103.97 Safari/537.36”

That’s great, but how to monitor that in real time with Zabbix? Let’s use sshfs — it’s like NFS or CIFS, but allows you to mount stuff over ssh. On my dear Raspberry Pi 4, which runs my Zabbix, running

sudo mkdir /var/log/whatsuphome && sudo chown zabbix /var/log/whatsuphome

sudo sshfs -o allow_other [email protected]:access_logs /var/log/whatsuphome

did mount my remote server access_logs directory perfectly fine.

Time for monitoring

Now that we have our log file, the rest is very straightforward and standard log file monitoring. First, let’s add a master item that reads the log.

Nothing too difficult yet.

Next, let’s add a dependent item that grabs the visitor IP address part from a log line.

… and some item preprocessing to grab only the IP


Sorry about that ugly regular expression.

… after adding a few more items, here’s my template.

I’m currently not parsing the referrer, exact URL, or user-agent values, as for the most part those would just add unnecessary noise and load for my poor little home Zabbix.

Dashboard time!

So, finally, I created a dashboard showing the number of unique IP addresses & hits during the past 24 hours and some graphs. Now that I’ve not posted any posts in a while, welcome to Tumbleweedville!

It’s so silent in here that I can hear my own typing.

After publishing this post, I’ll wait for a while and then update the post with a new screenshot, so we’ll get to see the incredible visitor surge that will be counted in at least tens of new IP addresses.

Update #1 about 15 minutes after publishing the post

Clearly some movement in the access log needle!

Update #2 about 15 minutes after publishing the post

Almost 400 unique IP addresses already? Hello, dear readers and bots.

Update #3 about 15 minutes after publishing the post

Even though IP addresses are a bad way to measure the actual amount of visitors, roughly 400 unique new addresses after publishing my post are very good. Thanks, bots and readers!

This post was originally published on the author’s page.

Celebrate Pi Day by supporting the Raspberry Pi Foundation

Post Syndicated from Philip Colligan original https://www.raspberrypi.org/blog/pi-day-2023-support-computing-education/

Today is officially Pi Day. 

While 14 March is an opportunity for our American friends to celebrate the mathematical constant Pi, we are also very happy to make this day a chance to say a massive thank you to everyone who supports the Raspberry Pi Foundation’s work through their generous donations.

More than computers

You may know that the Raspberry Pi story started in Cambridge, UK, in 2008 when a group of engineers-cum-entrepreuers set out to improve computing education by inventing a programmable computer for the price of a textbook.

A group of young people investigate computer hardware together.

Fast forward 15 years and there are 50 million Raspberry Pi computers in the world, being used to revolutionise education and industry alike. Removing price as a barrier for anyone to own a powerful, general-purpose computer will always be an important part of our mission to democratise access to computing.

What we also know today is that access to low-cost, high-quality hardware is essential, but it’s not enough. 

If we want all young people to be able to take advantage of the potential offered by technological innovation, then we also need to support teachers to introduce computing in schools, find ways to inspire young people to learn outside of their formal education, and make sure that everything we do is informed by rigorous research.

Kenyan educators work on a physical computing project.

That’s the focus of our educational mission at the Raspberry Pi Foundation, and we couldn’t do this work without your support. 

What we achieve for young people thanks to your support 

We are fortunate that a large and growing community of people, corporations, trusts, and foundations makes very generous donations to support our educational mission. It’s thanks to you that we are able to achieve what we do for young people and educators: 

  • In 2022 alone, over 3.54m people engaged with our free online learning resources for young people, including brand-new pathways of projects for HTML/CSS, Python, and Raspberry Pi Pico
  • Supported by us, more than 4500 Code Club and CoderDojos are running in 103 countries, and an additional 2891 clubs that were disrupted by the coronavirus pandemic tell us that they are actively planning to start running sessions for young people again soon. 
  • We engaged over 30,000 young people in challenges such as Astro Pi and Coolest Projects, enabling them to showcase their skills, think about how to solve problems using technology, and connect with like-minded peers.
A young coder shows off her tech project Five young coders show off their robotic garden tech project for Coolest Projects to two other young tech creators.
  • We have supported tens of thousands of computing teachers through our curriculum, resources, and online training. For example, The Computing Curriculum, which we developed as part of the National Centre for Computing Education in England, is now being used by educators all over the world, with 1.7m global downloads in 2022. 
  • We completed and published the findings of the world’s largest-ever research programme testing how to improve the gender balance in computing. We are now working on integrating the insights from the programme into our own work and making them accessible and actionable for practitioners.

Trust me when I say this is just a small selection of highlights, all of which are made possible by our amazing supporters. Thank you, and I hope that we made you proud. 

Get involved today

If you haven’t yet made a donation to our Pi Day campaign, it’s not too late to get involved. Your donation will help inspire the next generation of digital technology creators.

The post Celebrate Pi Day by supporting the Raspberry Pi Foundation appeared first on Raspberry Pi.

What’s Up, Home? – Raspberry Pi 4: goodbye or good buy for running Zabbix?

Post Syndicated from Janne Pikkarainen original https://blog.zabbix.com/whats-up-home-raspberry-pi-4-goodbye-or-good-buy-for-running-zabbix/25558/

Is Raspberry Pi 4 a goodbye or a good buy for running Zabbix? How is it performance-wise? Is it reliable? Here’s my nine-month review of it, with a splash of appliance/application performance monitoring.

In about April 2022 when it became clear that I am going to continue my home monitoring project, I bought a Raspberry Pi 4 to run the show. Here’s my opinion on how well it is suited for running Zabbix.

Installing Zabbix

Applying that delicious layer of Zabbix on top of your Raspberry Pi 4 cake is extremely straightforward, as just like for every other platform that Zabbix officially supports, they do have packages and instructions to set up what you’d like to run.

So many options to choose from!

After installing the packages, the next steps are just like with Zabbix running on any other platform, so I am not going to dive into that now.

Modifications to my Raspberry setup

As I do not need to run a graphical environment on my Raspberry, I did disable the graphical environment from starting at all to save some precious RAM and other resources.

After some time I did also purchase an external USB hard disk, as the memory card from where Raspberry Pi 4 runs its OS is not very snappy, especially with write operations, and can also run tight on free space.

Other than that, my Raspberry Pi 4 is running pretty much by default.

How about the performance?

The graphs that you are about to see are from nine months period of time, as that’s about as long I have had the device.

No problem with the CPU usage. It’s been creeping up a little bit over time though, as I have been adding new items to monitoring and also additional software, such as HomeBridge and Home Assistant.

It still has available memory, even though the device runs Zabbix server, MariaDB, Grafana, Mosquitto, Home Assistant and HomeBridge.

As you can see, the number of running processes has grown significantly as I have been adding other stuff than Zabbix.

It’s easy to see when I did switch from an internal memory card to an external USB drive. The disk I/O utilization percentage is hovering at very tolerable levels.

I/O latency has remained about the same.

With only Zabbix, MariaDB and Grafana running the device remained around the 55-60C area, but has been warming to about 70C with the additional software. Still not too bad.

Splash of APM

Have you ever wondered what happens to the memory usage of a wrapper shell script that runs other scripts in a loop and keeps doing that until it’s manually stopped? This happens, it’s boringly stable. The results are brought you to by Zabbix Agent 2 process discovery.

Really, it does not vary much.

But as I have been adding new stuff, clearly the OS needs to do some more swapping and even the script has more page faults than before.

There’s more than that to process discovery, but those were some examples.

Zabbix server itself is doing very well, here are some example stats.

My conclusion: Raspberry Pi 4 is an excellent Zabbix server for smaller environments and a very good Zabbix proxy candidate. It’s been rock solid.

This post was originally published on the author’s page.

What’s Up, Home? – Follow the news

Post Syndicated from Janne Pikkarainen original https://blog.zabbix.com/whats-up-home-follow-the-news/25497/

Can you follow the news with Zabbix? Of course, you can! By day, I am a lead site reliability engineer at a global cyber security company. By night, I monitor my home with Zabbix & Grafana and do some weird experiments with them. Welcome to my blog about the project.

A long time ago, before the dawn of social media, RSS (Really Simple Syndication) readers were all the rave. Instead of visiting each site you followed individually, you could add their RSS feeds to your RSS reader, which then would show you the latest news titles from as many sources as you wanted. Not only the titles, but depending on the news site you could also read a teaser or even the full news through your RSS reader without ever visiting the site itself.

Is RSS still a thing?

This was all good for the end-users, but the beancounters at the news companies got worried, as of course without visits to news sites, the advertisement income would come down, too. RSS readers can still be useful, but…. oh, I’ll need to stop, this is not the scope of this blog post.

Instead, the underlying technology of RSS is what makes it interesting. It’s just XML, so easy to consume by whatever software. Even though RSS is not a media darling anymore, it’s useful for gathering info from various sources to be then utilized somewhere else — like in Zabbix.

Let’s follow this site

So, how to follow the latest posts on this site through Zabbix? Easy, as this is just about parsing some XML.

Let’s begin with adding a new HTTP agent item.

With that in place, let’s add some dependent items, with the end result being this:

Each of those is just dependent items with some item pre-processing — the example below parses the first occurrence of title to the text.

How to use this?

In this case, I created a separate dashboard to show the latest blog post title, a link to it and the publication date. Wouldn’t be too hard to create a custom Zabbix module to make this fancier, but let’s leave it for another day. For now, by just using Item value widget types, we get this.

In the real world, there are plenty of actual use cases. Use it to alert you about the latest vulnerabilities, updates or other news about the stuff you have in your environment. Create a news dashboard for your security operations team or developers. If your own products do utilize RSS for something, this also can be very handy for end-to-end testing, as both Zabbix and your eyes can spot visually if something is not right. I’m sure you can come up with more and better ideas.

I have been working at Forcepoint since 2014 and never get tired of the news. — Janne Pikkarainen

This post was originally published on the author’s page.

Data Buffering in Zabbix Proxy

Post Syndicated from Markku Leiniö original https://blog.zabbix.com/data-buffering-in-zabbix-proxy/25410/

One of the features of Zabbix proxy is that it can buffer the collected monitoring data if connectivity to Zabbix server is lost. In this post I will show it happening, using packet capture, or packet analysis.

Zabbix setup and capturing Zabbix proxy traffic

This is the setup in this demo:

  • One Zabbix server in the central site (IPv6 address 2001:db8:1234::bebe and DNS name zabbixtest.lein.io)
  • One Zabbix proxy “Proxy-1” in a remote site (IPv6 address 2001:db8:9876::fafa and IPv4 address
  • One Zabbix agent “Testhost” on a server in the remote site, sending data via the proxy

For simplicity, the agent only monitors one item: the system uptime (item key system.uptime using Zabbix active agent), with 20 seconds interval. So that’s the data that we are expecting to arrive to the server, every 20 seconds.

The proxy is an active proxy using SQLite database, with these non-default configurations in the configuration file:


The proxy “Proxy-1” has also been added in Zabbix server using the frontend.

I’m using Zabbix server and proxy version 6.4.0beta5 here. Agents are normally compatible with newer servers and proxies, so I happened to use an existing agent that was version 4.0.44.

With this setup successfully running, I started packet capture on the Zabbix server, capturing only packets for the proxy communication:

sudo tcpdump host 2001:db8:9876::fafa -v -w proxybuffer.pcap

After having it running for a couple of minutes, I introduced a “network outage” by dropping the packets from the proxy in the server:

sudo ip6tables -A INPUT -s 2001:db8:9876::fafa -j DROP

I kept that drop rule in use for a few minutes and then deleted it with a suitable ip6tables command (sudo ip6tables -D INPUT 1 in this case), and stopped the capture some time after that.

Analyzing the captured Zabbix traffic with Wireshark

I downloaded the capture file (proxybuffer.pcap) to my workstation where I already had Wireshark installed. I also had the Zabbix dissector for Wireshark installed. Without this specific dissector the Zabbix packet contents are just unreadable binary data because the proxy communication is compressed since Zabbix version 4.0.

You can download the same capture file here if you want to follow along:

After opening the capture file in Wireshark I first entered zabbix in the display filter, expanded the Zabbix fields in the protocol tree a bit, and this is what I got:

(Your Wireshark view will probably look different. If you are interested in changing it, see my post about customizing Wireshark settings.)

Since this is an active proxy communicating with the server, there is always first a packet from the proxy (config request or data to be sent) and then the response from the server.

Let’s look at the packets from the proxy only. We get that by adding the proxy source IP address in the filter (by typing it to the field as an ipv6.src filter, or by dragging the IP address from the Source column to the display filter like I did):

Basically there are two types of packets shown:

  • Proxy data
  • Request proxy config

The configuration requests are easier to explain: in Zabbix proxy 6.4 there is a configuration parameter ProxyConfigFrequency (in earlier Zabbix versions the same was called ConfigFrequency):

How often proxy retrieves configuration data from Zabbix server in seconds. Active proxy parameter. Ignored for passive proxies (see ProxyMode parameter). https://www.zabbix.com/documentation/devel/en/manual/appendix/config/zabbix_proxy

It defaults to 10 seconds. What basically happens in each config request is that the proxy says “my current configuration revision is 1234”, and then the server responds to that.

Note: The configuration request concept has been changed in Zabbix 6.4 to use incremental configurations when possible, so the proxy is allowed to get the updated configuration much faster compared to earlier default of 3600 seconds or one hour in Zabbix 6.2 and earlier. See What’s new in Zabbix 6.4.0 for more information.

The other packet type shown above is the proxy data packet. It is actually also used for other than data. In proxy configuration there is a parameter DataSenderFrequency:

Proxy will send collected data to the server every N seconds. Note that active proxy will still poll Zabbix server every second for remote command tasks. Active proxy parameter. Ignored for passive proxies (see ProxyMode parameter). https://www.zabbix.com/documentation/devel/en/manual/appendix/config/zabbix_proxy

The default value for it is one second. But as mentioned in the quote above, even if you increase the configuration value (= actually decrease the frequency… but it is what it is), the proxy will connect to the server every second anyway.

Note: There is a feature request ZBXNEXT-4998 about making the task update interval configurable. Vote and watch that issue if you are interested in that for example for battery-powered Zabbix use cases.

The first packet shown above is (JSON reformatted for better readability):

    "request": "proxy data",
    "host": "Proxy-1",
    "session": "38cca0391f7427d0ad487f75755e7166",
    "version": "6.4.0beta5",
    "clock": 1673190378,
    "ns": 360076308

There is no “data” in the packet, that’s just the proxy basically saying “hey I’m still here!” to the server so that the server has an opportunity to talk back to the proxy if it has something to say, like a remote command to run on the proxy or on any hosts monitored by the proxy.

As mentioned earlier, the test setup consisted of only one collected item, and that is being collected every 20 seconds, so it is natural that not all data packets contain monitoring data.

I’m further filtering the packets to show only the proxy data packets by adding zabbix.proxy.data in the display filter (by dragging the “Proxy Data: True” field to the filter):

(Yes yes, the topic of this post is data buffering in Zabbix proxy, and we are getting there soon)

Now, there is about 20 seconds worth of packets shown, so we should have one actual data packet there, and there it is, the packet number 176: it is about 50 bytes larger than other packets so there must be something. Here is the Data field contents of that packet:

    "request": "proxy data",
    "host": "Proxy-1",
    "session": "38cca0391f7427d0ad487f75755e7166",
    "history data": [
            "id": 31,
            "itemid": 44592,
            "clock": 1673190392,
            "ns": 299338333,
            "value": "1686"
    "version": "6.4.0beta5",
    "clock": 1673190393,
    "ns": 429562969

In addition to the earlier fields there is now a list called history data containing one object. That object has fields like itemid and value. The itemid field has the actual item ID for the monitored item, it can be seen in the URL address in the browser when editing the item in Zabbix frontend. The value 1686 is the actual value of the monitored item (the system uptime in seconds, the host was rebooted about 28 minutes ago).

Let’s develop the display filter even more. Now that we are quite confident that packets that have TCP length of about 136-138 bytes are just the empty data packets without item data, we can get the interesting data packets by adding tcp.len > 140 in the display filter:

When looking at the packet timestamps there is the 20-second interval observed until about 17:08:30. Then there is about 3.5 minutes gap, next send at 17:11:53, and then the data was flowing again with the 20-second interval. The 3.5 minutes gap corresponds to the network outage that was manually caused in the test. The data packet immediately after the outage is larger than others, so let’s see that:

    "request": "proxy data",
    "host": "Proxy-1",
    "session": "38cca0391f7427d0ad487f75755e7166",
    "history data": [
            "id": 37,
            "itemid": 44592,
            "clock": 1673190512,
            "ns": 316923947,
            "value": "1806"
            "id": 38,
            "itemid": 44592,
            "clock": 1673190532,
            "ns": 319597379,
            "value": "1826"
--- JSON truncated ---
            "id": 45,
            "itemid": 44592,
            "clock": 1673190672,
            "ns": 345132325,
            "value": "1966"
            "id": 46,
            "itemid": 44592,
            "clock": 1673190692,
            "ns": 348345312,
            "value": "1986"
    "auto registration": [
            "clock": 1673190592,
            "host": "Testhost",
            "ip": "",
            "port": "10050",
            "tls_accepted": 1
    "version": "6.4.0beta5",
    "clock": 1673190708,
    "ns": 108126335

What we see here is that there are several history data objects in the same data packet from the proxy. The itemid field is still the same as earlier (44592), and the value field is increasing in 20-second steps. Also the timestamps (clock and nanoseconds) are increasing correspondingly, so we see when the values were actually collected, even though they were sent to the server only a few minutes later, having been buffered by the proxy.

That is also confirmed by looking at the Latest data graph in Zabbix frontend for that item during the time of the test:

There is a nice increasing graph with no gaps or jagged edges.

By the way, this is how the outage looked like in the Zabbix proxy log (/var/log/zabbix/zabbix_proxy.log on the proxy):

   738:20230108:170835.557 Unable to connect to [zabbixtest.lein.io]:10051 [cannot connect to [[zabbixtest.lein.io]:10051]: [4] Interrupted system call]
   738:20230108:170835.558 Will try to reconnect every 120 second(s)
   748:20230108:170835.970 Unable to connect to [zabbixtest.lein.io]:10051 [cannot connect to [[zabbixtest.lein.io]:10051]: [4] Interrupted system call]
   748:20230108:170835.970 Will try to reconnect every 1 second(s)
   748:20230108:170939.993 Still unable to connect...
   748:20230108:171040.015 Still unable to connect...
   738:20230108:171043.561 Still unable to connect...
   748:20230108:171140.068 Still unable to connect...
   748:20230108:171147.105 Connection restored.
   738:20230108:171243.563 Connection restored.

The log looks confusing at first because it shows the messages twice. Also, the second “Connection restored” message arrived almost one minute after the data sending was already restored, as proved in the packet list earlier. The explanation is (as far as I understand it) that the configuration syncer and data sender are separate processes in the proxy, as described in https://www.zabbix.com/documentation/devel/en/manual/concepts/proxy#proxy-process-types. When looking at the packets we see that at 17:12:43 (when the second “Connection restored” message arrived) the proxy sent a proxy config request to the server, so apparently the data sender tries to reconnect every second (to facilitate fast recovery for monitoring data), while the config syncer only tries every two minutes (based on the “Will try to reconnect every 120 second(s)” message, and that corresponds to the outage start time 17:08:35 plus 2 x 2 minutes, plus some extra seconds, presumably because of TCP timeouts).

There were no messages on the Zabbix server log (/var/log/zabbix/zabbix_server.log) for this outage as the outage did not happen in the middle of the TCP session and the proxy was in active mode (= connections are always initiated by the proxy, not by the server), so there was nothing special to log in the Zabbix server process log.

Configurations for the proxy data buffering

In the configuration file for Zabbix proxy 6.4 there are two configuration parameters that control the buffering: ProxyLocalBuffer

Proxy will keep data locally for N hours, even if the data have already been synced with the server. This parameter may be used if local data will be used by third-party applications. (Default = 0) https://www.zabbix.com/documentation/devel/en/manual/appendix/config/zabbix_proxy


Proxy will keep data for N hours in case of no connectivity with Zabbix server. Older data will be lost. (Default = 1) https://www.zabbix.com/documentation/devel/en/manual/appendix/config/zabbix_proxy

The ProxyOfflineBuffer parameter is the important one. If you need to tolerate longer outages than one hour between the proxy and the Zabbix server (and you have enough disk storage on the proxy), you can increase the value. There is no separate filename or path to configure because proxy uses the dedicated database (configured when installed the proxy) for storing the buffered data.

The ProxyLocalBuffer parameter is uninteresting for most (and disabled by default) because that’s only useful if you plan to fetch the collected data directly from the proxy database into some other external application, and you need to have some flexibility for scheduling the data retrievals from the database.

This post was originally published on the author’s blog.

Register your project for Coolest Projects 2023 now

Post Syndicated from Helen Gardner original https://www.raspberrypi.org/blog/register-for-coolest-projects-2023/

Young creators, it’s time to share your ideas with the world! Registration for Coolest Projects is now open.

Coolest Projects logo.

Coolest Projects is an online showcase celebrating all young people who create with digital technology. From today, Monday 6 February, young people can register their projects on the Coolest Projects website. Registered projects will be part of the online showcase gallery, for people all over the world to see.

By entering your digital tech creations into Coolest Projects, you’ll have the chance to get personalised feedback about your project, represent your country in the online showcase, and get fun, limited-edition swag. Your project could even be selected as a favourite by our very special VIP judges.

What you need to know about Coolest Projects

Coolest Projects is an online celebration of young digital tech creators worldwide, their skills, and their wonderful creative ideas. We welcome all kinds of projects, from big to small, beginner to advanced, and work in progress to completed creation.

A young person creating a project at a laptop. An adult is sat next to them.

Here’s what you need to know:

  • Coolest Projects is all online and completely free
  • All digital technology projects are welcome, from very first projects to advanced builds, and they don’t have to be complete
  • Young creators up to age 18 from anywhere in the world can take part individually or in teams of up to five friends
  • Projects can be registered in one of six categories: Scratch, games, web, mobile apps, hardware, and advanced programming
  • Registration is now open and closes on 26 April 2023
  • All creators, mentors, volunteers, teachers, parents, and supporters are invited to the special celebration livestream on 6 June 2023

Five steps to taking part in Coolest Projects

  1. Imagine your idea for a project
  2. Choose your project category
  3. Gather a group of friends or work by yourself to make your project
  4. Register the project in a few clicks to share it in the showcase gallery
  5. Explore the other projects from around the world in the showcase gallery, and join the community at the special celebration livestream
A group of young people plan their projects on laptops.

If you’d like help with your idea or project, take a look at our free, step-by-step Coolest Projects workbook and coding project guides. You can also get inspired by all the creations in the 2022 showcase gallery.

You are also very welcome to register a tech project you’ve already made and want to share with the world this year.

We offer free resources to help mentors and parents support young people through the process of taking part in Coolest Projects, from imagining ideas, to creating projects, to registration.

A parent and young person work on a digital making project at home.

There are loads more announcements to come, so make sure to subscribe to the Coolest Projects newsletter to be the first to find out about this year’s VIP judges, limited-edition digital swag, and much more.

The post Register your project for Coolest Projects 2023 now appeared first on Raspberry Pi.

What’s Up, Home? – Baby, Don’t Cry

Post Syndicated from Janne Pikkarainen original https://blog.zabbix.com/whats-up-home-baby-dont-cry/25354/

Can you detect a crying baby with Zabbix? Of course, you can! By day, I am a monitoring tech lead in a global cyber security company. By night, I monitor my home with Zabbix & Grafana and do some weird experiments with them. Welcome to my blog about the project.

Time really flies. Our little baby girl at home is already about three and a half months old, and that shows in so many ways. If during her first month or two she cried quite a lot and quite easily due gassy stomach and whatnot, she nowadays mostly is a chill mini-human just observing the world.

Which then raised the question for me — how often she cries? Could I monitor that? Oh yes. And oh no. We’ll get to no part later, but let’s start with the good bits.

Hey Siri, help me

As I pretty much always have my iPhone with or near me, and wear my Apple Watch nearly 24×7, I thought I would give their sound recognition abilities a try.

To start, I opened the Settings on my iPhone and went to Accessibility Sound recognitionBaby crying and enabled that.

Next, I opened Shortcuts and created a new Personal automation.

Here’s the advanced CRYENGINE in action.

So, every time my iDevice thinks that our baby is crying, it appends to a text file stored on my iCloud account.

Zabbix Time!

How to get that data to Zabbix?

I have a MacBook Pro and a Zabbix agent running on that, so the next natural step was to make it monitor that particular text file. There would be so many ways to detect if this file has been changed; as I’m appending to the text file, I just made Zabbix keep an eye on the file size.

How does that look like on my graphs? Not so surprisingly, the value changes.

I also set up a simple trigger that screams if the file size has changed since the last check.

The result? Well, here’s some alert history.

Sleep Learn Adapt reporting

I also added our baby as a Service to my Zabbix, just because it was too fun to skip as the terminology involves child services, parent services and such.

And here’s a totally inaccurate and unmeaningful SLA report about her.

The wobbly bits

Just like our baby is still clumsy and has a lot to learn, it seems that Siri is like that too when it comes to detecting emotions. Yes, Siri can detect if our baby is crying, but it also easily gets worried whenever our baby makes loud joyful sounds. It reminds me of the golden times when T-800 practiced smiling. It just doesn’t know or understand human feelings. At least, not yet.

Then the other odd part is that about one day after I enabled the cry detection on my iPhone, it’s not doing it anymore. Did the detection process crash? Probably. I have not restarted my iPhone yet, because I just could not bother to do that yet. But, in theory, we can detect a crying baby, or many more usual sounds like a doorbell, a dog barking just by using Siri and Zabbix.

I have been working at Forcepoint since 2014 and I think my human skills still beat the ones Siri has. — Janne Pikkarainen

This post was originally published on the author’s LinkedIn account.

Code to the beat of your own drum during Black History Month 2023

Post Syndicated from Kevin Johnson original https://www.raspberrypi.org/blog/coding-projects-black-history-month-2023/

When we think about a celebration, we also think about how important it is to be intentional about sound. And with this month of February being a celebration of Black history in the USA, we want to help you make some noise to amplify the voices, experiences, and achievements of the Black community.

Two young people using laptops at a Code Club session.

From the past and present, to those still to come in the future, countless remarkable achievements have been made by Black individuals who have chosen to move to the beat of their own drum. Music and sound can be tools to tell stories, to express ourselves, to promote change, to celebrate, and so much more. So take some time this month to make your own music with your young coders and start dancing.                

Of course, choosing to dance is not the same as choosing to devote your life to the equality and freedom of all people. But it reminds us that you can incite change by choosing to do what is right, even when you feel like you’re the only one moving to the music. It won’t be long before you see change and meet people you resonate with, and a new sound will develop in which everyone can find their rhythm.

So join us this month as we explore the power of code and music to celebrate Black History Month.

Projects to help you find your rhythm

We’ve selected three of our favourite music-related projects to help you bring a joyful atmosphere to your coding sessions this month. All of the projects are in Scratch, a programming language that uses blocks to help young people develop their confidence in computer programming while they experiment with colours and sounds to make their own projects.  

Drum star | Scratch

Find your rhythm with this clicker game where you earn points by playing the drums in different venues. The project is one of our Explore projects and it includes step-by-step instructions to help young creators develop their skills, confidence, and interest in programming. This makes it a great option for beginners who want to get started with Scratch and programming.


Music maker | Scratch

Code to the beat of your own drum — or any instrument you like. Use this project to create your own virtual musical instrument and celebrate a Black musician you admire. For young people who have some experience with Scratch, they may enjoy expressing themselves with this Design project. Our Design projects give young people support to build on their experience to gain more independence coding their own ideas.


Binary hero | Scratch

Can you keep up with the beat? Prove it in this game where you play the notes of a song while they scroll down the screen. You could choose to include a song associated with a moment in Black history that is meaningful to you. This project is a great opportunity for young people to expand their programming knowledge to create lists, while they also test their reaction skills with a fun game.


For young creators who want to create projects that don’t involve music or sound, check out these projects which can help you to:

Let us know how you’re celebrating Black History Month in your community on Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, or Instagram all month long!

Black stories to inspire you to move

Learn about our partnership with Team4Tech and Kenya Connect, with whom we are empowering educators and students in rural Kenya to use the power of coding and computing to benefit their communities.

A young person uses a computer.
  • I Belong in Computer Science: Salome Tirado Okeze

Meet Salome, a computer science student from the UK who shares her experiences and advice for young people interested in finding out where computer science can lead them. Salome was one of the first people we interviewed for our ‘I belong’ campaign to celebrate young role models in computer science.


Research to help set the tone  

We believe that creating inclusive and equitable learning environments is essential to supporting all young people to see computer science as an opportunity for them. To help engage young people, especially those who are underrepresented in computer science classrooms, we are carrying out research with teachers to make computing culturally relevant. Our work promoting culturally relevant pedagogy in educational settings in England has been impacted by projects of many US researchers who have already contributed heavily to this area. You can learn about two of these projects in this blog post.

Educators who want to find out how they can use culturally relevant pedagogy with their learners can download our free guidelines today.

An educator explains a computing concept to a learner.

We would also like to invite you to our monthly research seminar on 7 February 2023, when we will be joined by Dr Jean Salac who will be sharing their research on Moving from equity to justice in computing instruction for youth. Dr Salac’s session is part of our current series of seminars that centres on primary school (K–5) teaching and learning of computing. The seminars are free and open to everyone interested in computing education. We hope to see you there! 

The post Code to the beat of your own drum during Black History Month 2023 appeared first on Raspberry Pi.

Monitoring your cat’s health with Zabbix and the Litter Robot 3

Post Syndicated from Nathan Liefting original https://blog.zabbix.com/monitoring-your-cats-health-with-zabbix-and-the-litter-robot-3/22413/

In this blog post, you will learn how to set up monitoring for your Litter Robot 3. There’s some amazing community scripts already available to connect to the Litter Robot through a selfmade API, which we’ll be using in combination with some Python scripts and Zabbix.



Technology is everywhere. On the streets, in our offices and even in our houses. This also means that many people have ‘smart’ lighting, fridges, cameras and a lot more. Personally, I have avoided these home automations for a long time, deeming them time-consuming. But, I think any IT Engineer sometimes feels there is a need to build and automate more and more. Thus, my house has also had a bit of smart home make-over and I’ve started setting up Zabbix at home to monitor everything ‘smart’.

One of the things I cannot live without in our house is our smart litterbox. It keeps the litterbox clean and the smell in the house nice, as well as it provides some very useful insights into my cats ‘potty’ behaviour. One of my cats “Jerry” has some issues with Feline Urinary Tract Disease (FLUTD). This has led Jerry to have some odd litterbox usage, which in his case can be fatal if not treated early on.

So, let’s bring Zabbix into the mix! Even though the Litter Robot has an app where I can see the usage, I want to be able to receive alerts from Zabbix if the Litter Robot usage goes over a certain threshold. Alerting me early on if issues might be arising again. Let’s set things up.

How to

Setting up the script

To make this all possible, we will need to get some information from our Litter Robot or Litter Robots if we have more than one in our account. There’s no official documented API available for the Litter Robot, but there is a way to get information from the device by connecting to the Whisker services. To make things easy for us, we’ll be using a community-made Python library to set up the connection and execute some functions:


This library contains a number of functions that we can utilize to get information from the Litterbox, but also to make changes to it:

  • refresh()
  • start_cleaning()
  • reset_settings()
  • set_panel_lockout()
  • set_night_light()
  • set_power_status()
  • set_sleep_mode()
  • set_wait_time()
  • set_name()
  • reset_waste_drawer()
  • get_activity_history()
  • get_insight()

Utilizing this library we’ve made some scripts available at the Github page below.


Login to your Zabbix environment and install the Python library to your Zabbix server or proxy first with:

pip install pylitterbot

Next, execute the following command to download the scripts and put them in the right location.

mkdir /usr/lib/zabbix/
mkdir /usr/lib/zabbix/litterrobot/
cd /usr/lib/zabbix/litterrobot/

wget https://raw.githubusercontent.com/OpensourceICTSolutions/zabbix-litterrobot/main/litterrobot_get_robots.py
wget https://raw.githubusercontent.com/OpensourceICTSolutions/zabbix-litterrobot/main/litterrobot_get_insights.py
wget https://raw.githubusercontent.com/OpensourceICTSolutions/zabbix-litterrobot/main/litterrobot_get_activity.py

These scripts will have to be executed by Zabbix server’s (or proxy’s) local Zabbix agent, and thus we’ll also have to download the correct UserParameter files.

cd /etc/zabbix/zabbix_agent2.d/
cd /etc/zabbix/zabbix_agentd.d/

wget https://raw.githubusercontent.com/OpensourceICTSolutions/zabbix-litterrobot/main/litterrobot_userparams.conf

Then, we have to make sure that the Zabbix agent will be able to use these new parameters by enabling unsafe user parameter option (since there is an @ in the username). Edit /etc/zabbix/zabbix_agent2.conf or /etc/zabbix/zabbix_agentd.conf and add the following:


Then we restart the agent with the following command:

systemctl restart zabbix-agent
systemctl restart zabbix-agent2

Setting up Zabbix

With the scripts in place and the Zabbix agent ready to execute them, we can set up our monitoring in the Zabbix frontend. To do this, we will have to download and import the template. You can find the 6.2 version template here: https://github.com/OpensourceICTSolutions/zabbix-litterrobot/blob/main/zabbix_litterrobot_python_template.yaml

After downloading the template, import it into Zabbix.

Create a new host for your Litter Robot:

Then make sure to add your username and password as macros:

The result

The result is that we can now find all of our important information about the Litter Robot 3 in Zabbix:

Not only that, after we have an idea of how many times per day our cat(s) usually go to the toilet we can start to use the triggers:

There’s a message for when the drawer is full, but also a Warning and High trigger for when there are more than 12 or 15 cycles respectively. This is a default set for my two cats, your cats might have different potty behavior – update your macros accordingly.

As well as create some useful graphs:


Our pets are a big part of our life and sometimes it can be hard to communicate with them. Cats are very likely to hide their feelings, but one of the telling signs something is wrong with them is the number of times they visit the litterbox. Jerry has had a hard time, but our Litter Robot has helped us and our veterinary keep an eye on him to get ahead of his FLUTD. Using Zabbix we can keep Jerry out of surgery as much as possible.

And keep both (Midna on the left, Jerry on the right) of them racing through the house and enjoying all of their 9 lives.

I hope you enjoyed reading this blog post and if you have any questions or need help configuring anything in your Zabbix setup feel free to contact me and the team at Opensource ICT Solutions. We build a ton of cool integrations like this and much more!

Nathan Liefting


A close up of a logo Description automatically generated

LLD Filtering with Macros

Post Syndicated from Markku Leiniö original https://blog.zabbix.com/lld-filtering-with-macros/24959/

When configuring monitoring and using templates in Zabbix you often see low-level discovery (LLD) used for finding out the monitored components or features of a host. In this post, I will explain how user macros and regular expressions are used in LLD for filtering the discovery results.

I’m using the Network Generic Device by SNMP template as an example. (Note that by using the dropdown menu in the top of that linked page you can select the Zabbix version you are using. It defaults to Master, which means the latest Zabbix version that is being developed, currently 6.4.)

Let’s see the Network interfaces discovery rule and specifically the Filters tab:

Discovery rule filters

All these filters use regular expressions to match (or not match) the LLD macro value. For example:


These are the macros defined in the template:

Macros defined in the template

There we see that {$NET.IF.IFNAME.MATCHES} is defined with a value: ^.*$

That is a regular expression (often called regexp or regex). I won’t try to make this post a full regular expression tutorial, but there is:

  • ^ = match the beginning of the string
  • . = match any single character
  • * = match zero or more occurrences of the previous element (which is any character in this case)
  • $ = match the end of the string

Basically, that means: “match any kind of string, empty or not”

(In this case a shorter .* would mean the exact same thing, but that’s how the template was configured when I downloaded it.)

When the discovery runs, it finds all network interfaces and assigns values to all of the LLD macros (like the interface name to {#IFNAME}), and then the filters are tested.

In the LLD filters Type of calculation is usually set to “And” (see the first screenshot), so that all filters need to be true for the interface to be discovered (in other words, if any of the filters is false, then no item is created for that interface).

If you want to change the filtering by modifying the macros, here is the thing:

  • You don’t modify the macros in the template.
  • You should modify the macros in the host that is using the template.

When you go to the Macros tab on your host, there is the Inherited and host macros button. After clicking it, you will also see all macros that are defined in the templates that the host is using:

Inherited and host macros for a host

You can click the Change link for any of the macros to enter a new value for that macro, and that value will then be used for everything for this host. The value in the template will thus act as a default value that is used whenever there is no other value set at the host level.

If you for example want to discover only interfaces that start with “wan”, “lan” or “vlan”, you can use this regexp in {$NET.IF.IFNAME.MATCHES} macro (again, change it in the host macros, not in the template): ^(wan|lan|vlan)

It means:

  • match “wan”, “lan” or “vlan”
  • but only if they are in the beginning of the string.

This is the same, just grouped differently: (^wan|^lan|^vlan)

If you at the same time want to exclude interface “vlan999”, you can use {$NET.IF.IFNAME.NOT_MATCHES} macro for that (note the “does not match” selection in the LLD filters list). The default value for that macro is:

(^Software Loopback Interface|^NULL[0-9.]*$|^[Ll]o[0-9.]*$|^[Ss]ystem$|^Nu[0-9.]*$|^veth[0-9a-z]+$|docker[0-9]+|br-[a-z0-9]{12})

Quite a mouthful, but it is basically a long list of “or” patterns separated by the vertical bar (|). You can add your own exclusion there inside the parenthesis, separated by |, or if you know that’s the only thing you want to exclude in that particular host, you can just replace the whole string with ^vlan999$ to exclude only vlan999 (and not for example lan999 or vlan9999). Note the use of ^ and $ to make sure it only matches the full interface name, not any partial names.

A common “not matches” macro value for me is something like this: ^(Nu|Tunnel|Loopback|VoIP)

It will exclude all those Null0, Loopback0 and other virtual interfaces that may exist on the device by default but won’t usually be useful in Zabbix statistics. I will always exclude these kinds of interfaces to reduce polling intensity and save database capacity.

It should also be said that all these regular expressions are case-sensitive, so use upper case or lower case as appropriate in your particular device, or expand the regexp to include various syntaxes as needed.

To conclude: When you want to reconfigure the discovery for a host:

  • See the filters that are used in the discovery rule
  • Check which macros are used in the filters
  • In the host you are configuring, change the macro values to achieve the desired filtering results.

This post was originally published on the author’s blog.

Celebrating the community: Adarsh

Post Syndicated from Meg Wang original https://www.raspberrypi.org/blog/celebrating-the-community-adarsh/

In our work, we get to meet so many super inspiring young people who make things with technology. Our series of community stories is one way we share their journeys and enthusiasm for digital making with you.

Today we’re introducing you to Adarsh from California, USA.

Young tech creator Adarsh with his Raspberry Pi projects.

Meet Adarsh

Help us celebrate Adarsh and inspire other young people by sharing his story on Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, or Instagram.

We first met Adarsh at the Coolest Projects USA showcase in 2019, when he was 15 years old. Adarsh was chosen as the Coolest Projects judges’ favourite in the showcase’s Hardware category for making a Smart Sprinkler System, which can serve an entire community. He was inspired to create this project by the need he saw in California to manage water during a drought. Using a Raspberry Pi computer, he built a moisture sensor–based sprinkler system that integrates real-time weather forecast data and Twitter feeds to dispense only optimum amounts of water, in compliance with city water regulations. Adarsh says:

“The world around us right now has a lot of different problems that need to be solved and so the way that I get inspired is by looking outwards.”

In 2020, Coolest Projects Global went online with young people across the world sharing their tech projects, and Adarsh created a project for the showcase to solve another real-life problem he had witnessed. When Adarsh had been in middle school, his mother had to be rushed to hospital with a sudden heart problem. The experience of seeing her hooked up to lots of vital sign monitors, with the wires hindering her movement, stayed in his memory. It led Adarsh to create another tech project: the Contactless Vital Signs Monitor. This low-cost device can be used to monitor a person’s skin temperature, heart rate, respiratory rate, blood pressure, and oxygen saturation without needing to be in direct contact with them. Adarsh’s contactless monitor lets patients rest more comfortably and also keeps healthcare staff safer from infections.

Tech creator Adarsh and his mother on a walk in their California neighbourhood.
Adarsh and his mother on a walk in their California neighbourhood.

Adarsh entered his Contactless Vital Signs Monitor in the Davidson Fellows Scholarship programme, which recognises students who have completed significant projects that have the potential to benefit society.

Adarsh has this message for other young people who think they might like to try creating things with tech:

“None of these projects, to get to the stage where they are today, were without frustration or difficulties. That’s part of the process. You should expect that. Because of all the struggles I had, the fact that I was able to build all of this is so much more rewarding to me.”

Helping each other solve problems

A big part of coding and digital making is problem-solving and collaboration. Adarsh told us that he had a really great mentor, Johan, who introduced him to coding and Raspberry Pi hardware, and showed him where Adarsh could ask for help online.

“[The Raspberry Pi community] is such a large and inclusive community. It welcomes young students — even older adults who are first starting to develop their interest in computer science — and we all are developing our own skills, our own projects, and our own passions together, and while doing so, we’re helping each other out.”

Tech creator Adarsh and his mentor Johan.
Adarsh with his mentor Johan.

The future for Adarsh

Now a freshman at Stanford University, Adarsh is currently doing an epidemiology-related research project about the relationship between COVID-19 mutations and environmental, health, and demographic statistics. He wants to focus either on biomedical engineering or environmental engineering in his studies.

“Really [what I’m studying at university] is going to involve engineering or computer science largely due to the Raspberry Pi and the early influence it has had on my life.”

Thanks for inspiring us, Adarsh, and for letting us share your story with the community!

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

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What to expect from the Raspberry Pi Foundation in 2023

Post Syndicated from Philip Colligan original https://www.raspberrypi.org/blog/raspberry-pi-foundation-plans-2023/

Welcome to 2023.  I hope that you had a fantastic 2022 and that you’re looking forward to an even better year ahead. To help get the year off to a great start, I thought it might be fun to share a few of the things that we’ve got planned for 2023.

A teacher and learner at a laptop doing coding.

Whether you’re a teacher, a mentor, or a young person, if it’s computer science, coding, or digital skills that you’re looking for, we’ve got you covered. 

Your code in space 

Through our collaboration with the European Space Agency, theAstro Pi, young people can write computer programs that are guaranteed to run on the Raspberry Pi computers on the International Space Station (terms and conditions apply).

Two Astro Pi units on board the International Space Station.
The Raspberry Pi computers on board the ISS (Image: ESA/NASA)

Astro Pi Mission Zero is open to participants until 17 March 2023 and is a perfect introduction to programming in Python for beginners. It takes about an hour to complete and we provide step-by-step guides for teachers, mentors, and young people. 

Make a cool project and share it with the world 

Kids all over the world are already working on their entries to Coolest Projects Global 2023, our international online showcase that will see thousands of young people share their brilliant tech creations with the world. Registration opens on 6 February and it’s super simple to get involved. If you’re looking for inspiration, why not explore the judges’ favourite projects from 2022?

Five young coders show off their robotic garden tech project for Coolest Projects.

While we all love the Coolest Projects online showcase, I’m also looking forward to attending more in-person Coolest Projects events in 2023. The word on the street is that members of the Raspberry Pi team have been spotted scouting venues in Ireland… Watch this space. 

Experience AI 

I am sure I wasn’t alone in disappearing down a ChatGPT rabbit hole at the end of last year after OpenAI made their latest AI chatbot available for free. The internet exploded with both incredible examples of what the chatbot can do and furious debates about the limitations and ethics of AI systems.

A group of young people investigate computer hardware together.

With the rapid advances being made in AI technology, it’s increasingly important that young people are able to understand how AI is affecting their lives now and the role that it can play in their future. This year we’ll be building on our research into the future of AI and data science education and launching Experience AI in partnership with leading AI company DeepMind. The first wave of resources and learning experiences will be available in March. 

The big Code Club and CoderDojo meetup

With pandemic restrictions now almost completely unwound, we’ve seen a huge resurgence in Code Clubs and CoderDojos meeting all over the world. To build on this momentum, we are delighted to be welcoming Code Club and CoderDojo mentors and educators to a big Clubs Conference in Churchill College in Cambridge on 24 and 25 March.

Workshop attendees at a table.

This will be the first time we’re holding a community get-together since 2019 and a great opportunity to share learning and make new connections. 

Building partnerships in India, Kenya, and South Africa 

As part of our global mission to ensure that every young person is able to learn how to create with digital technologies, we have been focused on building partnerships in India, Kenya, and South Africa, and that work will be expanding in 2023.

Two Kenyan educators work on a physical computing project.

In India we will significantly scale up our work with established partners Mo School and Pratham Education Foundation, training 2000 more teachers in government schools in Odisha, and running 2200 Code Clubs across four states. We will also be launching new partnerships with community-based organisations in Kenya and South Africa, helping them set up networks of Code Clubs and co-designing learning experiences that help them bring computing education to their communities of young people. 

Exploring computing education for 5- to 11-year-olds 

Over the past few years, our research seminar series has covered computing education topics from diversity and inclusion, to AI and data science. This year, we’re focusing on current questions and research in primary computing education for 5- to 11-year-olds.

A teacher and a learner at a laptop doing coding.

As ever, we’re providing a platform for some of the world’s leading researchers to share their insights, and convening a community of educators, researchers, and policy makers to engage in the discussion. The first seminar takes place today (Tuesday 10 January) and it’s not too late to sign up.

And much, much more… 

That’s just a few of the super cool things that we’ve got planned for 2023. I haven’t even mentioned the new online projects we’re developing with our friends at Unity, the fun we’ve got planned with our very own online text editor, or what’s next for our curriculum and professional development offer for computing teachers.

You can sign up to our monthly newsletter to always stay up to date with what we’re working on.

The post What to expect from the Raspberry Pi Foundation in 2023 appeared first on Raspberry Pi.

Building community with our global clubs partners

Post Syndicated from Isabel Ronaldson original https://www.raspberrypi.org/blog/building-community-global-clubs-partners-code-club-coderdojo/

As part of our mission to enable young people to realise their full potential through the power of computing and digital technologies, we work in partnership with organisations around the globe to grow and sustain the Code Club and CoderDojo networks of coding clubs for young people. These organisations are our global clubs partners, and they undertake activities including training educators and volunteers, providing access to equipment, and running clubs and events for young people at a local or national level.

Educator training in a classroom in Benin.
Educator training in Benin, run by our global clubs partner Impala Bridge.

Meeting in the middle

Given that many people at the Raspberry Pi Foundation are based in the UK and Ireland, and that meeting in person has been restricted during the coronavirus pandemic, our work to connect with the global clubs partners network has largely taken place via video calls these last years. We don’t only connect with partners one to one, we also link them to each other so they can share insights, approaches, and resources. Video calls offer a unique opportunity for bringing together partner organisations located all over the world, but they provide a very different experience to building community in person.

A group of educators.
Our meetup in Malaysia brought together global clubs partners from Malawi, Tanzania, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Australia, Aotearoa New Zealand, Vietnam, and Malaysia itself.

With a network of 41 organisations in 35 countries, meeting in person requires careful consideration so we can accommodate as many partners as possible. That’s why we decided to hold several regional meetups in 2022 to make it feasible for all partners to join at least one. In October, a meetup took place in the Netherlands, coinciding with DojoCon Netherlands run by local partners. Our most recent meetup happened in early December, the day before the Coolest Projects Malaysia 2022 event, in Penang on the west coast of Malaysia.

Workshop attendees stand around a table.
Meetups with global clubs partners are about connection and knowledge sharing.

At the December meetup, we welcomed participants from 10 partner organisations across Asia, Oceania, and Africa. This group spent a whole day building connections and sharing their work with each other. Together we covered several areas of interest, including volunteer recruitment, training, and recognition — all crucial topics for organisations that rely on volunteers to support young people. Meet-up participants shared resources, discussed how to sustainably grow networks, and planned for the future. The next day, participants had the chance to visit Coolest Projects Malaysia to find even more inspiration while seeing local young people showcase their own tech creations.

At Coolest Projects, a group of people explore a coding project.
At Coolest Projects, young people from Code Clubs, CoderDojos, and beyond showcase tech projects they’ve made.

Although it was only one day, the impact of the meetup has been clear. As we had hoped it would, feedback from the partner organisations was very positive and revolved around community and learning, with participants expressing “feeling better connected” and “interconnectedness”, as well as “learning a lot” and “sharing best practices”. One participant even volunteered to host a future meetup, saying “Next year I would like to run this in my country.”

Workshop attendees at a table.
At the meetup, we discussed topics including club volunteer recruitment, training, and recognition.

Here at the Foundation, we very much share these sentiments. Ellie Proffitt, Code Club Global Partnerships Manager, said: “It was great to see our partners sharing how they support their clubs with each other and bouncing new ideas around. I think we all left feeling very inspired.”

Looking to the future

After the success of these in-person meetups in 2022, we and our global clubs partners are looking forward to future opportunities to work together. Planning for 2023 is of course well underway, with creative, ambitious projects and new partnerships in the pipeline. We all feel renewed in our commitment to our work and mission, and excited for what’s on the horizon. In the words of Sonja Bienert, Senior Community Manager: “Through this collaboration, we’ve reached a new level of trust that will positively influence our work for a long time to come.”

You can find out more about joining our global clubs partner community on the CoderDojo and Code Club websites, or contact us directly with your questions or ideas about a partnership. 

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What’s Up, Home? – Catching the Northern Lights

Post Syndicated from Janne Pikkarainen original https://blog.zabbix.com/whats-up-home-catching-the-northern-lights/24836/

Can you monitor Northern Lights with Zabbix? Of course, you can! By day, I am a monitoring tech lead in a global cyber security company. By night, I monitor my home with Zabbix & Grafana and do some weird experiments with them. Welcome to my blog about this project.

Christmas is coming, and (at least if you believe Hollywood movies) part of that magic would be staring at the sky and marvel the Northern Lights. Well, in practice you probably won’t see them, as even if the Northern Lights would be up there, a thick layer of clouds will probably prevent you from seeing them. Or then you live in an area with so many street lights that you don’t see the sky properly.

We have tried to watch them several times with my wife, but our attempts all over the years and all the seasons have failed so far. But, for the sake of the Christmas spirit, let’s imagine you could actually see the lights.

Getting the data

There are probably actual APIs for getting the data — at first, I went to NASA’s open data site but then quickly gave up; there’s so much data that I would not have an actual idea how to start parsing this beautiful sky flames phenomenon.

Admitting my lameness, I next came up with plan B. The Finnish Institute of meteorology has this page for space weather & Northern Lights predictions. Sorry, the page is all in Finnish, so likely it looks like an alien language to you. Anyway, there’s this snippet that shows the probability of Northern Lights tonight (“Tänä yönä”), tomorrow (“Huomenna” and the day after tomorrow (“Ylihuomenna”).

Is that some kind of advanced form of encryption? No, that’s just the Finnish language for you.
Making it work

But how to parse that? Well, of course, with Zabbix, that is easy with the HTTP Agent item type. It allows you to grab website content and then perform all the advanced processing for the data you would expect from Zabbix item preprocessing.

Then, using dependent items — one for tonight, one for tomorrow, one for the day after tomorrow — and item preprocessing we can extract the interesting bits.

And see, it works!

I also created a (still boring-looking) dashboard, which shows me the current values.

The problem I now have is that I don’t know all the values the page could contain — when I created this blog post, the chances of seeing the Northern Lights were small (“pieni”) or smallish (“pienehkö”). Well, I keep checking my dashboard from now on! For now, I could create triggers that would alert me if the values would be something else than “pieni” or “pienehkö”, but did not have time for that yet.

I have been working at Forcepoint since 2014 and I bring many Nordic values to the company, even though I’m not lucky with the Northern Lights. — Janne Pikkarainen

This post was originally published on the author’s LinkedIn account.

What’s Up, Home? – Have a Nice Flight!

Post Syndicated from Janne Pikkarainen original https://blog.zabbix.com/whats-up-home-have-a-nice-flight/24755/

Can you monitor the FlightGear flight simulator with Zabbix? Of course, you can! By day, I am a monitoring tech lead in a global cyber security company. By night, I monitor my home with Zabbix & Grafana and do some weird experiments with them. Welcome to my blog about this project.

FlightGear is an awesome free, open-source flight simulator. I am not a pilot, not even a good virtual pilot, in fact, probably the virtual cabin crew would be chanting “BRACE! BRACE! BRACE! HEAD DOWN! STAY DOWN!” to my virtual passengers. Anyway, learning to fly would be awesome.

But what good would be virtual flying without any monitoring? Most people, they wouldn’t care about monitoring. For me, that’s everything I care about with this experiment.

FlightGear Properties

FlightGear can expose all kinds of flight-related data in many different ways; XML logging and via its built-in HTTP server, for example. This time I used its HTTP server, and cherry-picked only a few values (aircraft latitude, longitude, altitude, and speed), as the complete property list is LONG, and I do not understand most of it.

Anyway, you get the FlightGear HTTP server up and running by launching it like

fgfs –httpd=5480

… where 5480 is the port number where HTTP server will be listening on.

You will then have a property browser available on http://localhost:5480/json/ which is from where I found the values I wanted to harvest for my little experiment to see if this thing would fly.

Adding items to Zabbix

To get these values monitored, I added two new master items to Zabbix: one for velocities and one for the position. Then, dependent items are using those master items.

My latitude/longitude items also do populate the Zabbix inventory latitude/longitude fields for my aircraft.

Does it fly?

Yes, it does. I can now have data about my virtual flight.

And thanks to inventory fields, I can show the location of my virtual aircraft on Zabbix geomap.

If you are a flight simulator enthusiast, feel free to use this technique and possibly gather all the values from FlightGear property browser by using low-level discovery. For my little test, I did not bother.

I have been working at Forcepoint since 2014 and have learnt that proper monitoring makes sure your projects do takeoff without too much pain. — Janne Pikkarainen

This post was originally published on the author’s LinkedIn account.

What’s Up, Home? – No More Blackouts with Zabbix HA Cluster

Post Syndicated from Janne Pikkarainen original https://blog.zabbix.com/whats-up-home-no-more-blackouts-with-zabbix-ha-cluster/24738/

Can you have a Zabbix HA cluster at home? Of course, you can! By day, I am a monitoring tech lead in a global cyber security company. By night, I monitor my home with Zabbix & Grafana and do some weird experiments with them. Welcome to my blog about this project.

The winter has come, and due to world events, it might bring one to two hours of rolling blackouts here in Finland, too. As I have my home Zabbix running on my Raspberry Pi, without a UPS this would mean my Zabbix possibly could not monitor the actual duration of the outages, as my Zabbix server would be without power, too, right?

No. Thanks to the simplicity of setting up a HA cluster with Zabbix, I now have a two-node Zabbix server setup at home, with the standby node running on my laptop, which of course can run on battery for the duration of the blackout. So, while this post is kind of boring — I’m not introducing anything weird to monitor today — I hope the post encourages you to try out the high-availability features of Zabbix. It’s easy!

Set up the nodes

As written on Zabbix documentation, setting up HA on Zabbix means two additional lines added to your zabbix_server.conf file:

  • HANodeName for the descriptive, unique name of the node
  • NodeAddress, which should be the address Zabbix front-end will then use

That’s it! And, that is what I did. Then make sure your Zabbix servers point to the same database, and that all your Zabbix servers can connect to that database.

But does it work?

Of course, it does! Here’s the status as seen from Zabbix Reports System Information:

And here’s the status as reported by sudo zabbix_server -R ha_status from the command line on my Raspberry Pi:

Out of curiosity, I tried out what happens if I try the same command on my laptop. This happens:

Still to do

As nowadays due to our baby my time is very limited, I do have one remaining task to make this perfect: to set up a database cluster. For now, MariaDB is running on my Raspberry Pi only, so I would need to spread it to run on my laptop, too. I will most likely do this with MariaDB Galera Cluster, but that will be another story.

Winter, you might take out my electricity, but you won’t take down my Zabbix.

I have been working at Forcepoint since 2014 and I won’t let my systems go down. — Janne Pikkarainen

This post was originally published on the author’s LinkedIn account.

Fast Way to Upgrade Your Zabbix Knowledge

Post Syndicated from Nicole Makarova original https://blog.zabbix.com/fast-way-to-upgrade-your-zabbix-knowledge/20267/

Since Zabbix 6.0 LTS has been released with a lot of new features and improvements, it might be tricky for one to figure out how to use these features on their own. Here, Zabbix comes to the rescue with Upgrade Training Courses to boost your knowledge in just one day.

If you previously completed the Zabbix 5.0 core training, the Upgrade Program will be an excellent way to learn about the recent improvements and add-ons of the new version without retaking the entire course. It is akin to a crash course that saves you both time and effort.

Zabbix Upgrade Training Program Overview

The Upgrade Training Program consists of two courses: Zabbix 6.0 Certified Specialist Upgrade Course and Zabbix 6.0 Certified Professional Upgrade Course. Let us tell you more about each upgraded training.

The Certified Specialist Upgrade Course covers the updated and new features of the basics, such as different data collection approaches, problem detection, data preprocessing, different visualization features, and more. Some of the long-awaited features you will get familiar with during the upgrade course are new Dashboard Widgets (e.g.: Item Value Widget), Top Hosts Widget, and the ability to display your monitored infrastructure on the Geomap Widget. Another thing that might serve your interest is the Service Monitoring section, which has been completely redesigned with a focus on flexible business service monitoring, alerting, and root cause analysis.

On the contrary, Certified Professional Upgrade Course focuses on advanced environments, where infrastructure scalability and redundancy are the common requirements. Hence, this course includes six major features, with two of them being High Availability and Advanced Problem Detection. The Zabbix server High Availability feature allows you to deploy multiple Zabbix servers that will remain in standby mode and will be failed over if the currently active server becomes unavailable. The Advanced Problem Detection section focuses on anomaly detection and baseline monitoring features, as Zabbix now supports history functions. This means that Zabbix can semi-automatically detect anomalous values and create alerts if such values are detected. The same approach can be used in baseline monitoring: Zabbix can now calculate baseline values for your metrics and react if your values are outside of this baseline.

As you see, such extensive training wraps up all the meaningful recent improvements of Zabbix 6.0 and delivers them to you in one day, not requiring you to spend a week on the course retake. And besides, it is also cheaper than the entire course.

This is the first time Zabbix is providing a quick and easy way to upgrade existing Zabbix 5.0 Specialist and Zabbix 5.0 Professional certifications to Zabbix 6.0. The course is designed for experienced Zabbix administrators, who are working with Zabbix 5.0 on daily basis. The one-day course featuring all important changes and updates in the most recent Zabbix LTS version is a very cost and time-efficient option.
– Kaspars Mednis, Chief Trainer at Zabbix

Applying for the Right Course

Now it is time to pick the right Upgrade Course to apply for if you are ready to evolve your Zabbix skills. Here are a few hints on how to do it.

If you have already completed our core training and received the Zabbix 5.0 Certified Specialist Certificate, you should apply for the Zabbix 6.0 Certified Specialist Upgrade Course. This one-day course includes 5 hours of training and a one-hour exam that will challenge you to check your knowledge of the whole Zabbix 6.0 LTS version and its new features.

Therefore, if you were certified as a 5.0 Certified Professional, go for the Zabbix 6.0 Certified Specialist + Professional Upgrade Course bundle. This one includes both: Specialist and Professional courses and lasts a little longer. After completing the Specialist course, Professionals will have their additional 1.5-hour training and a 30-minute exam to master their knowledge.

Useful Things to Know

We suggest revising your knowledge of the Zabbix usage, as the exam of the Upgrade Training Program includes questions about both: the entire Zabbix 6.0 LTS release, as well as new features and improvements. Feel free to use your Zabbix 5.0 materials from the previous core training you have completed or explore Zabbix Documentation in case the materials are unavailable to you for some reason.

Please, bear in mind that 6.0 Certified Professional Upgrade training is meant only for the 5.0 Certified Professionals who have previously acquired the 6.0 Certified Specialist level.

The Upgrade Training Program is available online all over the world in different languages and for various time zones. And what’s more, upon successful course completion, you will receive an official Zabbix training certificate stating you have upgraded to the Zabbix 6.0 Certified Specialist or Professional.

Ready for takeoff? Then check out the full schedule and cost of the program on our Upgrade Courses page and pick your training. For even more details, please contact our Sales Team.

Discover more courses and make a solid investment into your Zabbix skills by applying to:
Core Training Courses to become a professional or an expert
Extra Courses to study in depth one specific monitoring topic
Exams to prove your Zabbix knowledge


What’s Up, Home? – Zabbix the Storyteller

Post Syndicated from Janne Pikkarainen original https://blog.zabbix.com/whats-up-home-zabbix-the-storyteller/24629/

Can you create fairy tales with Zabbix? Of course, you can! By day, I am a monitoring technical lead in a global cyber security company. By night, I monitor my home with Zabbix & Grafana and do some weird experiments with them. Welcome to my blog about this project.

We all know how Zabbix has a never-ending list of integrations for just about everything — need to integrate it with OpsGenie, PagerDuty, Teams, Slack, or something else? No problem, there’s probably a ready-made integration for that already.

But, based on questions I’ve received over the years at work, not everyone realizes how utterly powerful the alert message templating engine is for you to create custom messages with the help of built-in macros and of course the user macros you can define. The default Zabbix HTML e-mail message template is very compact in its format, and for me easy to read, but years ago someone at work told me that the alerts were not easy for him to follow.

What I did back then was that I created an alert template of my own, which tells about the events in a bit different format, here’s a short snippet from those alerts.

Fairy tale time!

Now that at home we have our almost-three-months-old-baby, I’m using her as the perfect excuse to make Zabbix alerts to be like fairy tales. You know the drill. Your kiddo wants to hear yet another story before he or she falls asleep, and you have already run out of fresh stories to read.

What if your Zabbix would generate fairy tales for you? Well, not really, but at least the following would make the stories a bit more amusing to you and very confusing to your kid.

Let’s first create a new media type via Zabbix Administration –> Media types. For this, I just cloned the default HTML e-mail media type and gave it a name.

And then, my fantastic story template looks like this:

Add the template to user media type

Next, to actually receive these alerts, you need to configure your user profile and in its media types add the new media type.

Using the template

Getting the new template into use is easy; just go to Zabbix Configuration –> Actions and create a new trigger action with whatever conditions you like.

And then on Operations tab make Zabbix send the alerts via your new fairy tale media type.

The alert e-mail

So this is how the e-mail looks like.

Now go and add some CSS, pictures, whatever you like to your stories. And, perhaps, unlike me, go and change the {ITEM.DESCRIPTION} macro to contain also some instructions what to do with the alert, like at our custom alerts at work I have a tendency to add some hints about how to resolve the issue.

I have been working at Forcepoint since 2014 and I would have many stories to tell you about all these years. — Janne Pikkarainen

This post was originally published on the author’s LinkedIn account.

The post What’s Up, Home? – Zabbix the Storyteller appeared first on Zabbix Blog.

Celebrating the community: Selin

Post Syndicated from Rosa Brown original https://www.raspberrypi.org/blog/celebrating-the-community-selin/

We are so excited to share another story from the community! Our series of community stories takes you across the world to hear from young people and educators who are engaging with creating digital technologies in their own personal ways. 

Selin and a robot she has built.
Selin and her robot guide dog IC4U.

In this story we introduce you to Selin, a digital maker from Istanbul, Turkey, who is passionate about robotics and AI. Watch the video to hear how Selin’s childhood pet inspired her to build tech projects that aim to help others live well.  

Meet Selin 

Selin (16) started her digital making journey because she wanted to solve a problem: after her family’s beloved dog Korsan passed away, she wanted to bring him back to life. Selin thought a robotic dog could be the answer, and so she started to design her project on paper. When she found out that learning to code would mean she could actually make a robotic dog, Selin began to teach herself about coding and digital making. Selin has since built seven robots, and her enthusiasm for creating digital technologies shows no sign of stopping.    

Selin is on one knee, next to her robot.
Selin and her robot guide dog IC4U.

One of Selin’s big motivations to explore digital making was having an event to work towards. When she discovered Coolest Projects, our global technology showcase for young people, Selin set herself the task of making a robot that she could present at the Coolest Projects event in 2018. 

When thinking about ideas for what to make for Coolest Projects, Selin remembered how it felt to lose her dog. She wondered what it must be like when a blind person’s guide dog passes away, as that person loses their friend as well as their support. So Selin decided to make a robotic guide dog called IC4U. She contacted several guide dog organisations to find out how guide dogs are trained and what they need to be able to do so she could replicate their behaviour in her robot. The robot is voice-controlled so that people with impaired sight can interact with it easily. 

Selin and the judges at Coolest Projects.
Selin at Coolest Projects International in 2018.

Selin and her parents travelled to Coolest Projects International in Dublin with Selin’s robotic guide dog, and Selin and IC4U became a judges’ favourite in the Hardware category. Selin enjoyed participating in Coolest Projects so much that she started designing her project for next year’s event straight away:    

“When I returned back I immediately started working for next year’s Coolest Projects.”  


Many of Selin’s tech projects share a theme: to help make the world a better place. For example, another robot made by Selin is the BB4All — a school assistant robot to tackle bullying. And last year, while she attended the Stanford AI4ALL summer camp, Selin worked with a group of young people to design a tech project to increase the speed and accuracy of lung cancer diagnoses.

Through her digital making projects, Selin wants to show how people can use robotics and AI technology to support people and their well-being. In 2021, Selin’s commitment to making these projects was recognised when she was awarded the Aspiring Teen Award by Women in Tech.           

Selin stands next to an photograph of herself. In the photograph she has a dog on one side and a robot dog on the other.

Listening to Selin, it is inspiring to hear how a person can use technology to express themselves as well as create projects that have the potential to do so much good. Selin acknowledges that sometimes the first steps can be the hardest, especially for girls  interested in tech: “I know it’s hard to start at first, but interests are gender-free.”

“Be curious and courageous, and never let setbacks stop you so you can actually accomplish your dream.”    


We have loved seeing all the wonderful projects that Selin has made in the years since she first designed a robot dog on paper. And it’s especially cool to see that Selin has also continued to work on her robot IC4U, the original project that led her to coding, Coolest Projects, and more. Selin’s robot has developed with its maker, and we can’t wait to see what they both go on to do next.

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

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

What’s Up, Home? – Backups Matter!

Post Syndicated from Janne Pikkarainen original https://blog.zabbix.com/whats-up-home-backups-matter/24566/

Can you monitor your backups with Zabbix? Of course, you can — and you should! By day, I am a monitoring tech lead in a global cyber security company. By night, I monitor my home with Zabbix & Grafana and do some weird experiments with them. Welcome to my blog about this project.

Some time ago, Zabbix blog had an excellent read about how to back up Zabbix. While I’m next time coming up with something Completely Else in this blog, this week I wanted to remind you about backups.

The topic came into my mind as my old trustworthy Apple Time Capsule from 2013 probably just said “No, I don’t want to do this job anymore”. It’s a good thing that I also regularly back up my Mac to an external USB drive which I only keep connected to the Mac during backups and then put it in a safe place, and that I also do backup to iCloud and one other cloud service. Update one hour after publishing this blog post: Apple Time Capsule came back to life! But, I shall not trust it anymore.

But, for backing up my Raspberry Pi 4 and its Zabbix, I do something different. Let’s move on to that, shall we?

My old and trustworthy friend

A long time ago (20 years ago long time), I used BackupPC at work. Back then I liked it a lot, as it uses proven, field-tested components (Apache, Perl, rsync), it’s fast, light and does its job with no questions asked.

Until lately I took my home Zabbix backups to an external USB drive connected to our home router by letting a cron job to dump the database with mysqldump and copying some custom script directories around. As this What’s up, home? thing is now world-famous and my home Zabbix has turned into an invisible family member, it was time to take backups a bit more seriously — I don’t want to lose my precious home Zabbix configuration.

So, I went to BackupPC’s site and was surprised that it’s still developed! Kind of the latest release is from 2020, and oh boy, it’s much more polished than it was 20 years ago.

Faster than I can say “BA-NA-NA”, I typed sudo apt install backuppc on my spare laptop, which nowadays runs Ubuntu 22.04 LTS.

Meet BackupPC

Here it is! Thanks to rsync and symbolic links, this thing did deduplication long before it became trendy.

And it lets me go back in time via a nice web interface from which I can easily restore individual files, directories or just everything. On October 24th, I did some testing, so don’t scratch your head about that day in the screenshot.

Zabbix, meet BackupPC

At first, I tried to use a Zabbix community template for BackupPC. It worked — for the most part. Unfortunately, at least with a combination of Zabbix 6.2 running on Raspberry Pi 4 and BackupPC 4.4.0 running on Ubuntu 22.04 LTS, the template was unable to fetch metrics, as Zabbix agent’s web.page.get was inserting some garbage between HTTP headers and the expected JSON content — I guess I did hit this issue.

To work around the problem, I just changed the templates master item type to be HTTP Agent instead of Zabbix agent web.page.get. The difference is that with the Zabbix agent-based solution, the agent can fetch the content locally from the BackupPC server so its web interface does not need to listen on anything else than localhost, and now I opened my BackupPC to listen on the network and did let my Zabbix server to fetch the JSON.

If you want to try out my (very) slightly modified template, it’s available on my GitHub.

After the initial hurdles, the rest was a snap. Not every metric is working for me, as I understood that for them to work, I would need to use the bleeding edge version of BackupPC, but for now, this is good enough. I can get all kinds of metrics about BackupPC, below is a custom dashboard I created for it.

… and even if my BackupPC is backing up my Zabbix perfectly now, it is not backing up itself as I did not yet configure it to do so, so here’s how BackupPC would complain about my Zabbix backups too, should they be failing for any reason.

Do not trust your backups

What’s worse than having no backups at all? Doing backups, but ONLY doing backups. Especially if you are just setting up the backup routine for something completely new, it’s very likely that you miss something during the first try.

Backups are not a fire-and-forget thing, you better monitor them and regularly test them, or otherwise, it’s guaranteed that Mr. Murphy will hit you with a clue stick sooner or later.

So, here’s my €0.02:

  • Take regular backups
  • Monitor them
  • Test your backups
  • Make sure you have more than one backup (my MacBook copies the Zabbix backup files from my Ubuntu daily, too, and from there my Zabbix backups are spread to everywhere my Mac backups are)

My future development in this area includes a script that would attempt to automatically restore the database and my scripts to a VM/container, install Zabbix and see if it works. If it would not, then my Zabbix would get alerted.

I have been working at Forcepoint since 2014 and during my long IT career have learned that you always have to have a guaranteed way to restore something. — Janne Pikkarainen

This post was originally published on the author’s LinkedIn account.

The post What’s Up, Home? – Backups Matter! appeared first on Zabbix Blog.