Tag Archives: community

What’s Up, Home? – Living Inside an Audio Bubble

Post Syndicated from Janne Pikkarainen original https://blog.zabbix.com/whats-up-home-living-inside-an-audio-bubble/22541/

Can you monitor your Bluetooth headset usage hours with Zabbix? Of course, you can!

By day, I earn living by being a monitoring tech lead in a global cyber security company. By night, I monitor my home with Zabbix and Grafana and do some weird experiments with them. Welcome to my weekly blog about how I monitor my home.

I adjust and tweak myself with the power of music. Finding out the root cause for a severe outage or just fixing some less severe error becomes much more epic if I listen to Hans Zimmer’s music. Trance, drum ‘n bass, demoscene music, and retro gaming music keep me afloat if I have something simple, repetitive things to do. For some reason I write each and every of these home monitoring entries with the soundtrack from the latest Batman movie playing background, and so forth.

My music listening habits, the online meetings at work, and the fact that I mostly work from home, just like my wife, means that I use my Valco headphones several hours a day. Valco claims that their headset can provide about 40 hours runtime with a single charge, and that kind of must be true as I only charge the headset on Sundays for them to be ready for a new week on Monday morning.

But how much do I really use my Valcos? Zabbix to the rescue!

Mac to Valco, Mac to Valco, please respond

As I use my headset mostly with a MacBook, I needed to find out how to get the connection status info from macOS command line. I am sure there are more sophisticated ways of doing this, but the sledgehammer method I used is good enough for my home use.

On macOS, system_profiler command gives you back tons of data, one of the elements being the Bluetooth devices. Sure enough, my Valco headset is visible there, and so is the connection status.

Now that I have the data available, I could send all this text output to Zabbix and use Zabbix item pre-processing. This morning (yes, I created this whole thing only two-three hours ago) I did something else though.

You know, while I was testing if my attempt works in real-time, I created a terrible shell one-liner, which I now also use with Zabbix.

system_profiler SPBluetoothDataType 2>/dev/null | grep -A10 “Valcoitus Bass:” | grep “Connected:” | cut -d ‘:’ -f2 | xargs -I ‘{}’ zabbix_sender -z my.zabbix.server -s “Zabbix server” -k valco.connected -o ‘{}’

Beautiful? No. Does it work? Yes. If I remove the zabbix_sender part, this is what happens: it returns “Yes” or “No”, indicating if my headphones are connected or not.

In other words, theoretically, this tells if my headset is powered on and if I am using them. In practice, I could of course have forgotten to turn the headset off, but that really does not happen.

My MacBook now runs the one-liner every minute via a cron job, so my Zabbix receives the data in near-enough real-time.

Zabbix time!

All my efforts and the zabbix_sender command are no good if I don’t do something on the Zabbix side, too.

With zabbix_sender, you need to set up a Zabbix trapper item on Zabbix. It’s really not rocket science, check this out:

But wait! My shell responded back “Yes” or “No”, but the Type of information is set to numeric. Am I stupid? Careless? No. There’s also some preprocessing involved.

I changed the values to be numeric so I can get fancier with Grafana later on; with numeric data, I can get better statistics about how much I actually do use my headphones and get really creative.

Does it work?

Of course, it does. Here are some latest data:

… and here’s a graph:

I will tell you next week how many hours I have spent inside my active noise-cancelling bubble. Probably too many, any ear doctor would tell me.

I have been working at Forcepoint since 2014 and without music, would be way less productive. — Janne Pikkarainen

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

The post What’s Up, Home? – Living Inside an Audio Bubble appeared first on Zabbix Blog.

What’s Up, Home? – Time to Get Sirious

Post Syndicated from Janne Pikkarainen original https://blog.zabbix.com/whats-up-home-time-to-get-sirious/22400/

Can you integrate Zabbix with Siri? 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 weekly blog about the home project.

I have lost count of exactly when, but a couple of major iOS/macOS versions ago Apple’s Siri gained the Shortcuts application. It allows you to automate all kinds of stuff and do some drag-and-drop ‘programming’.

What do I use it for? You guessed it right — I integrate Shortcuts with Zabbix API.

Setting up the Zabbix side

For my home Zabbix environment, I do not have any complex access rights set. So, setting up the API token for Shortcuts to consume was almost a one-click operation. In Zabbix, I went to User settings → API tokens → Create API token and let it do its stuff.

Creating a new shortcut

Now that I have the API token in place, next we need to create the shortcut. That’s not too much work though — run the Shortcuts application and create a new shortcut. What the shortcut below does is:

  • calls Zabbix API and requests our fridge temperature
  • parses the value and appends “degrees Celsius” to it
  • returns the value

Yes, that’s all of it. Drag ‘n drop a couple of elements and assign some values. Done.

Time to get Sirious

Ok, so we have our shortcut in place. What happens if I now ask Siri to check beer temperature? This happens.

The result is actually our refrigerator temperature, the beer thing was just to make this more interesting. But, as you can see, integrating Zabbix with Siri or vice versa is not too hard.

Any real-world use cases for this, other than the geek factor? I don’t know. It might be handy to request the latest alerts or similar from Siri if I’m driving my car and I get to hear that something’s wrong at work.

I have been working at Forcepoint since 2014 and I confess I actually use Siri for some basic work stuff, too. — Janne Pikkarainen

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

The post What’s Up, Home? – Time to Get Sirious appeared first on Zabbix Blog.

What we learnt from the CSTA 2022 Annual Conference

Post Syndicated from James Robinson original https://www.raspberrypi.org/blog/what-we-learnt-from-the-csta-2022-annual-conference/

From experience, being connected to a community of fellow computing educators is really important, especially given that some members of the community may be the only computing educator in their school, district, or country. These professional connections enable educators to share and learn from each other, develop their practice, and importantly reduce any feelings of isolation.

It was great to see the return of the Computer Science Teachers Association (CSTA) Annual Conference to an in-person event this year, and I was really excited to be able to attend.

A teacher attending Picademy laughs as she works through an activity

Our small Raspberry Pi Foundation team headed to Chicago for four and a half days of meetups, professional development, and conversations with educators from all across the US and around the world. Over the week our team ran workshops, delivered a keynote talk, gave away copies of Hello World magazine, and signed up many new subscribers. You too can subscribe to Hello World magazine for free at helloworld.cc/subscribe.

We spoke to so many educators about all parts of the Raspberry Pi Foundation’s work, with a particular focus on the Hello World magazine and podcast, and of course The Big Book of Computing Pedagogy. In collaboration with CSTA, we were really proud to be able to provide all attendees with their own physical copy of this very special edition. 

It was genuinely exciting to see how pleased attendees were to receive their copy of The Big Book of Computing Pedagogy. So many came to talk to us about how they’d used the digital copy already and their plans for using the book for training and development initiatives in their schools and districts. We gave away every last spare copy we had to teachers who wanted to share the book with their colleagues who couldn’t attend.

Don’t worry if you couldn’t make it to the conference, The Big Book of Computing Pedagogy is available as a free PDF, which due to its Creative Commons licence you are welcome to print for yourself.

Another goal for us at CSTA was to support and encourage new authors to the magazine in order to ensure that Hello World continues to be the magazine for computing educators, by computing educators. Anyone can propose an article idea for Hello World by completing this form. We’re confident that every computing educator out there has at least one story to tell, lessons or learnings to share, or perhaps a cautionary tale of something that failed.

We’ll review any and all ideas and will support you to craft your idea into a finished article. This is exactly what we began to do at the conference with our workshop for writers led by Gemma Coleman, our fantastic Hello World Editor. We’re really excited to see these ideas flourish into full-blown articles over the coming weeks and months.

Our week culminated in a keynote talk delivered by Sue, Jane, and James, exploring how we developed our 12 pedagogy principles that underpin The Big Book of Computing Pedagogy, as well as much of the content we create at the Raspberry Pi Foundation. These principles are designed to describe a set of approaches that educators can add to their toolkit, giving them a shared language and the agency to select when and how they employ each approach. This was something we explored with teachers in our final breakout session where teachers applied these principles to describe a lesson or activity of their own.

We found the experience extremely valuable and relished the opportunity to talk about teaching and learning with educators and share our work. We are incredibly grateful to the entire CSTA team for organising a fantastic conference and inviting us to participate.

Discover more with Hello World — for free

Cover of issue 19 of Hello World magazine.

Subscribe now to get each new Hello World straight to your digital inbox, for free! And if you’re based in the UK and do paid or unpaid work in education, you can subscribe for free print issues.

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Young people’s projects for a sustainable future

Post Syndicated from Rosa Brown original https://www.raspberrypi.org/blog/young-peoples-projects-for-a-sustainable-future/

This post has been adapted from issue 19 of Hello World magazine, which explored the interaction between technology and sustainability.

We may have had the Coolest Projects livestream, but we are still in awe of the 2092 projects that young people sent in for this year’s online technology showcase! To continue the Coolest Projects Global 2022 celebrations, we’re shining a light on some of the participants and the topics that inspired their projects.    

Coolest Projects team and participants at an in-person event.

In this year’s showcase, the themes of sustainability and the environment were extremely popular. We received over 300 projects related to the environment from young people all over the world. Games, apps, websites, hardware — we’ve seen so many creative projects that demonstrate how important the environment is to young people. 

Here are some of these projects and a glimpse into how kids and teens across the world are using technology to look after their environment.      

Using tech to make one simple change 

Has anyone ever told you that a small change can lead to a big impact? Check out these two Coolest Projects entries that put this idea into practice with clever inventions to make positive changes to the environment.

Arik (15) from the UK wanted to make something to reduce the waste he noticed at home. Whenever lots of people visited Arik’s house, getting the right drink for everyone was a challenge and often resulted in wasted, spilled drinks. This problem was the inspiration behind Arik’s ‘Liquid Dispenser’ project, which can hold two litres of any desired liquid and has an outer body made from reused cardboard. As Arik says, “You don’t need a plastic bottle, you just need a cup!”

A young person's home-made project to help people get a drink at the press of a button.
Arik’s project helps you easily select a drink with the press of a button

Amrit (13), Kingston (12), and Henry (12) from Canada were also inspired to make a project to reduce waste. ‘Eco Light’ is a light that automatically turns off when someone leaves their house to avoid wasted electricity. For the project, the team used a micro:bit to detect the signal strength and decide whether the LED should be on (if someone is in the house) or off (if the house is empty).

“We wanted to create something that hopefully would create a meaningful impact on the world.”

Amrit, Kingston, and Henry

Projects for local and global positive change 

We love to see young people invent things to have positive changes in the community, on a local and global level.

This year, Sashrika (11) from the US shared her ‘Gas Leak Detector’ project, which she designed to help people who heat their homes with diesel. On the east coast of America, many people store their gas tanks in the basement. This means they may not realise if the gas is leaking. To solve this problem, Sashrika has combined programming with physical computing to make a device that can detect if there is a gas leak and send a notification to your phone. 

A young person and their home-made gas leak detector.
Sashrika and her gas leak detector

Sashrika’s project has the power to help lots of people and she has even thought about how she would make more changes to her project in the name of sustainability: 

“I would probably add a solar panel because there are lots of houses that have outdoor oil tanks. Solar panel[s] will reduce electricity consumption and reduce CO2 emission[s].”


Amr in Syria was also thinking about renewable energy sources when he created his own ‘Smart Wind Turbine’.  

The ‘Smart Wind Turbine’ is connected to a micro:bit to measure the electricity generated by a fan. Amr conducted tests that recorded that more electricity was generated when the turbine faced in the direction of the wind. So Amr made a wind vane to determine the wind’s direction and added another micro:bit to communicate the results to the turbine. 

Creating projects for the future  

We’ve also seen projects created by young people to make the world a better place for future generations. 

Naira and Rhythm from India have designed houses that are suited for people and the planet. They carried out a survey and from their results they created the ‘Net Zero Home’. Naira and Rhythm’s project offers an idea for homes that are comfortable for people of all abilities and ages, while also being sustainable.

“Our future cities will require a lot of homes, this means we will require a lot of materials, energy, water and we will also produce a lot of waste. So we have designed this net zero home as a solution.”

Naira and Rhythm

Andrea (9) and Yuliana (10) from the US have also made something to benefit future generations. The ‘Bee Counter’ project uses sensors and a micro:bit to record bees’ activity around a hive. Through monitoring the bees, the team hope they can see (and then fix) any problems with the hive. Andrea and Yuliana want to maintain the bees’ home to help them continue to have a positive influence on our environment.

Knowledge is power: projects to educate and inspire 

Some young creators use Coolest Projects as an opportunity to educate and inspire people to make environmental changes in their own lives.

Sabrina (13) from the UK created her own website, ‘A Guide to Climate Change’. It includes images, text, graphics of the Earth’s temperature change, and suggestions for people to minimise their waste.  Sabrina also received the Broadcom Coding with Commitment award for using her skills to provide vital information about the effects of climate change.

Sabrina’s project

Kushal (12) from India wanted to use tech to encourage people to help save the environment. Kushal had no experience of app development before making his ‘Green Steps’ app. He says, “I have created a mobile app to connect like-minded people who want to do something about [the] environment.” 

A young person's app to help people connect over a shared interest in the environment.
Kushal’s app helps people to upload and save pictures, like content from other users, and access helpful resources

These projects are just some of the incredible ideas we’ve seen young people enter for Coolest Projects this year. It’s clear from the projects submitted that the context of the environment and protecting our planet resonates with so many students, summarised by Sabrina, “Some of us don’t understand how important the earth is to us. And I hope we don’t have to wait until it is gone to realise.” 

Check out the Coolest Projects showcase for even more projects about the environment, alongside other topics that have inspired young creators.

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What’s Up, Home? – Say Cheese!

Post Syndicated from Janne Pikkarainen original https://blog.zabbix.com/whats-up-home-say-cheese/22181/

Can you take screenshots of the websites you monitor with Zabbix? Of course, you can! By day, I earn my living by being a monitoring tech lead in a global cyber security company. By night, I monitor my home. Welcome to my weekly blog about how I monitor my home with Zabbix & Grafana and do some weird experiments with them.

Proper full-stack monitoring does cover everything from the device’s physical status to what the end-user sees. However, often even with website monitoring, web admins only rely on all kinds of run-time data; operating system load, hardware health, service response times, and logs. If your site has some rarely occurring technical issue, you might not have any idea what the site looks like when the error happens. Is your site looking really wrong or is maybe just a panel or two misbehaving during some issue?

Zabbix & Selenium to the rescue!

Get your Selenium

No, even if this post is meant to provide some food for thought, I am not speaking about the selenium your metabolism needs. Instead, I am speaking about a web-test framework that allows you to automate web browsers by using Java, Python, or several other languages it supports. It’s probably most useful for web browser & website developers so they can be sure that their sites look OK on all major browsers and so forth, but why not utilize that with your monitoring, too?

With a really short Python script (or whatever language) you can spawn a headless instance of whatever browser you want and ask it to do stuff for you. In the horribly simple example above, the script can be called like

selenium_screenshot.py blog.zabbix.com

and it then saves the screenshot under /usr/share/zabbix/assets/webtest-screenshots/ directory which is accessible by my home Zabbix & Grafana.

Now, where did I put that script?

What I actually use this for at home is that whenever some lunch restaurants publish their new menus, my Zabbix grabs a screenshot of the lunch menus and I can then spy the menus without a need to go to sites by myself.

As I do not want to show the more exact locations of the places I visit, in this example I’ll show you how to screenshot the blog.zabbix.com site instead.

Hooking the script to Zabbix is easy; just add the script to Zabbix via its Administration –> Scripts, and add it as a script you can call via Actions, and if you so want, also put it as a manual action so you can call the script manually any time you want through Zabbix contextual menus.

Then just add a trigger that snaps a screenshot whenever your web test is failing.

Say cheese!

Now that we have our screenshot mechanism in place, this is how it looks through Zabbix URL widget:

… and this is how it looks when embedded to Grafana with its Text panel, HTML content type and a simple <img> tag:

What’s this useful for?

Lots of stuff. From now on, you too can easily embed a screenshot of your monitored website within your monitoring environment. Put some more panels to that dashboard showing the active alerts, graphs, run-time data, and logs, and you can have a very comprehensive full stack monitoring in place.

Or make your screenshot script more intelligent (I recommend that anyway), and make it save the files with date stamp info in filenames, so you can have a nice little time machine inside Grafana and its time picker.

Selenium can also give you many more other details, such as performance data or the URLs which were called during the page load. I’m sure that’s useful, too.

I have been working at Forcepoint since 2014 and never get tired of getting a more clear view of the status of the stuff I monitor. — Janne Pikkarainen

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Zabbix Summit: A celebration of all things monitoring and open-source

Post Syndicated from Arturs Lontons original https://blog.zabbix.com/zabbix-summit-a-celebration-of-all-things-monitoring-and-open-source/21738/

Many of us have visited a number of different conferences over the years. The setting and the goal of the conferences can vary by a large degree – from product presentations to technology stack overviews and community get-togethers. Zabbix Summit is somewhat special in that, as it aims to combine all of the aforementioned goals and present them in a friendly, inclusive, and approachable manner.

As an open-source product with a team consisting of open-source enthusiasts, it is essential for us to ensure that the core tenets of what we stand for are also represented in the events that we host, especially so for Zabbix Summit. Our goal is for our attendees to feel right at home and welcome during the Summit – no matter if you’re a hardened IT and monitoring professional or just a beginner looking to chat and learn from the leading industry experts.

Connecting with the Zabbix community

Networking plays a large part in achieving the goals that we have set up for the event. From friendly banter during coffee breaks and speeches (you never know when a question will turn into a full-fledged discussion) to the evening fun-part events – all of this helps us build our community and encourages people to help each other and mutually contribute to each other’s projects.

Of course, the past two years have challenged our preconceptions of how such an event can be hosted in a way where we achieve our usual goals. While hosting a conference online can make things a bit more simple (everyone is already in the comfort of their home or office and organizers don’t have to spend time and other resources renting a venue, for example) the novelty of “online events” can wear of quite quickly. The conversations don’t flow as naturally as they do in person. Perusing through a list of attendees in Zoom isn’t quite the same as noticing a friend or recognizing an acquaintance while standing in line at the snack bar. As for the event speakers – steering your presentation in the correct direction can be quite complex without observing the emotional feedback of your audience. Are they bored? Are they excited? Is everyone half asleep 5 minutes in? Who knows.

With travel and on-premise events slowly becoming a part of our lives again, we’re excited to get back to our usual way of hosting Zabbix Summit. In 2022, it will be held on-premises in Riga, Latvia on October 7-8, and we can’t wait to interact with our community members, clients, and partners face-to-face again!

Making the best Zabbix Summit yet

As with every Zabbix Summit, this year’s event will build on the knowledge and feedback we have gained in previous years to make this year’s Summit the best it has ever been. This year will be special for us – we will be celebrating the 10th anniversary of the Zabbix Summit hosted on-premises! In addition to conducting the event on-site, we will also be live-streaming the event online, so if you can’t meet us in person – tune in and say hello to the Zabbix team virtually!

Zabbix Summit 2019 conference venue

Over the years we have managed to define a set of criteria for the Zabbix Summit speeches with the goal to provide content that can deliver unique value to our attendees. As a Zabbix certified trainer, a Zabbix fan, and a long-time Zabbix user, I know that there are certain types of speeches that immediately attract my attention:

  • In-depth Zabbix functionality overviews from Zabbix experts or Zabbix team members
  • Unique business monitoring use cases
  • Custom Zabbix integrations, applications, and extensions
  • How Zabbix is used in the context of the latest IT trends (e.g.: Kubernetes, cloud environments, configuration management tools such as Ansible and Chef)
  • Designing and scaling Zabbix deployments for different types of large and distributed environments

This is something that we try to put extra focus on for the Zabbix Summit. Speeches like these are bound to encourage questions from the audience and serve as a great demonstration of using Zabbix outside the proverbial box that is simple infrastructure monitoring.

Looking back at Zabbix Summit 2021, we had an abundance of truly unique speeches that can serve as guidelines for complex monitoring use cases. Some of the speeches that come to mind are Wolfgang Alper’s Zabbix meets television – Clever use of Zabbix features, where Wolfgang talked about how Zabbix is used in the broadcasting industry to collect Graylog entries and even monitor TV production trucks!

Not to mention the custom solution used for host identification and creation in Zabbix called Omnissiah, presented during the last year’s Zabbix Summit by Jacob Robinson.

As Zabbix has greatly expanded its set of features since the previous year’s summit, this year we expect the speeches to cover an even larger scope of topics related to many different industries and technology stacks.

Workshops – what to expect

Workshops are a whole other type of ordeal. In an environment where we can have participants coming from different IT backgrounds with very different skill sets, it’s important to make the workshop interesting, while at the same time making it accessible to everyone.

Zabbix workshop session at the Zabbix Summit 2019

There are a few ways we go about this to ensure the best possible workshop experience for our Zabbix Summit attendees:

  • Use native Zabbix features to configure and deploy unique use cases
  • Focus on a thorough analysis of a particular feature, uncovering functionality that many users may not be aware of
  • Demonstrate the latest or even upcoming Zabbix features
  • Interact with the audience and be open to questions and discussions

In the vast majority of cases, this allows keeping a smooth pace during the workshop while also having fun and discussing the potential use cases and the functionality of the features on display.

Becoming Zabbix certified during Zabbix Summit 2022

But why stop at workshops? During the Zabbix Summit conferences, we always give our attendees a chance to test their knowledge by attempting to pass the Zabbix certified user, specialist, or professional certification exams. The exams not only test your proficiency in Zabbix but can also reveal some missing pieces in your Zabbix knowledge that you can discuss with the Zabbix community right on the spot. Receiving a brand new Zabbix certificate is also a great way to start your day, won’t you agree?

A moment of jubilation for our freshly certified Zabbix specialists and professionals

This year the Summit attendees will also get the chance to participate in Zabbix one-day courses focused on problem detection, Zabbix security, Zabbix API, and data pre-processing. Our trainers will walk you through each of these topics from A-Z and they’re worth checking out both for Zabbix beginners as well as seasoned Zabbix veterans. I can attest that by the end of the course you will have a list of features that you will want to try out in your own infrastructure – and I’m saying that as a Zabbix-certified expert.

As for those who already have Zabbix 5.0 certifications – we’ve got a nice surprise in store for you too. We will be holding Zabbix certified specialist and professional upgrade courses, which will get you up to speed with the latest Zabbix 6.0 features and upgrade your certification level to Zabbix 6.0 certified specialist and professional.

Scaling up the Zabbix Summit

But we haven’t slumbered for the last two years of working and hosting events remotely. We have continued growing as a team and expanding our partner and customer network. Who knows what surprises October will bring, but currently our plan is for Zabbix Summit 2022 to reflect our growth.

Zabbix team at the Zabbix Summit 2019

Currently, we stand to host approximately 500 attendees on-site and expect the online viewership to reach approximately 7000 unique viewers from over 80 countries all across the globe.

With over 20 speakers from industries such as banking and finance, healthcare and medical, IT & Telecommunications, and an audience consisting of system administrators, engineers, developers, technical leads, and system architects, Zabbix Summit is the monitoring event for knowledge sharing and networking across different industries and roles.

The fun part

Spending the major part of the day networking and partaking in knowledge sharing can be an amazing experience, but when all is said and done, most of us will want to unwind after an eventful day at the conference. The Zabbix Summit conference fun part events are where you will get to strengthen your bonds with other fellow Zabbix community members and simply relax in an informal atmosphere.

Zabbix Summit 2019 Sunset afterparty

The Zabbix Summit fun part consists of three parties.

  • Kick off Zabbix Summit 2022 by joining the Zabbix team and your fellow conference attendees for an evening of social networking and fun over cocktails and games at the Meet & Greet party.
  • Join the main networking event to mark the 10th anniversary of the Zabbix Summit. Apart from good vibes, cool music, and like-minded people, expect the award ceremony honoring the most loyal Zabbix Summit attendees, fun games to play, and other entertaining activities.
  • Celebrate the end of the Zabbix Summit 2022 by attending the closing party where you can network with conference peers and discuss the latest IT trends with like-minded people in a relaxed atmosphere.
Zabbix Summit 2019 Main party

Invite a travel companion

Zabbix Summit is also a great chance to take a friend or a loved one to the conference. The conference premises are located in the very heart of Riga – perfect for taking strolls across and exploring Riga Old Town.

If you’re interested in a more guided experience for your companion, we invite you to register for the Travel companion upgrade. Your travel companion will get to enjoy the Riga city tour followed by a lunch with the rest of the guests accompanying the Zabbix conference participants. Last time, we nurtured our travel companions with a delightful tour across the Riga Central market, accompanied by the Latvian-famous chef Martins Sirmais, and full of local food tasting. Our team is preparing something special also for this year. The tour will take place on October 7 during the conference time.

Visit the Zabbix offices

Are you a fan of the product and what we stand for? Why not pay us a visit and attend the Zabbix open doors day on October 6 from 13:00 till 15:00. Take a tour of the office and sit down with us for an informal chat and a cup of coffee or tea. There won’t be any speeches, workshops, or presentations, just friendly conversations with Zabbix team, our partners, and the community to warm up before the Summit. Although, there might be friendly foosball and office badminton tournaments if any volunteers will appear.

Welcoming our community members at the Zabbix Summit 2019 Open Doors day

All things said and done – Zabbix Summit is not only about deep technical knowledge and opinion sharing on monitoring. It is and has always been primarily a celebration of the Zabbix community. It is the community feedback that largely shapes the Zabbix summit and helps us build upcoming events on the foundations laid in the previous year. Throughout the years Zabbix summit has grown into much more than a simple conference – it’s an opportunity to travel, visit us, connect with like-minded people and spend a couple of days in a relaxed atmosphere in the heart of a beautiful Northern European city.

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How to create great educational video content for computing and beyond

Post Syndicated from Michael Conterio original https://www.raspberrypi.org/blog/how-to-create-educational-video-content-computing-computer-science/

Over the past five years, we’ve made lots of online educational video content for our online courses, for our Isaac Computer Science platform for GCSE and A level, and for our remote lessons based on our Teach Computing Curriculum hosted on Oak National Academy.

We have learned a lot from experience and from learner feedback, and we want to share this knowledge with others. We’re also aware there’s always more to learn from people across the computing education community. That’s one reason we’re continually working to broaden the range of educators we work with. Another is that we want all learners to see themselves represented in our educational materials, because everyone belongs in computer science.

Facilitators and participants involved in the Teach Online programme.
RPF staff and the Teach Online participants

To make progress with all these goals, we ran a pilot programme for educators called Teach Online at the end of 2021 and the start of 2022. Through Teach Online, we provided twelve educators with training, opportunities, and financial and material support to help them with creating online educational content, particularly videos.

Over five online sessions and a final in-person day, we trained them in not only the production of educational videos, but also some of the pedagogy behind it. The pilot programme has now finished, and we thought we’d share some of the key points from the sessions with you in the wider community.

Learning to create a great online learning experience

When you learn new skills and knowledge, it’s important to think about how you apply these. For this reason, a useful question you can use throughout the learning process is “Why?”. So as you think about how to create the best online learning experience, ask yourself in different contexts throughout the content design and production:

  • Why am I using this style of video to illustrate this topic?
  • Why am I presenting these ideas in this order?
  • Why am I using this choice of words?

For example, it’s easy to default to creating ‘talking head’ videos featuring one person talking directly to the camera. But you should always ask why — what are the reasons for using a ‘talking head’ style. Instead, or in addition, you can make videos more engaging and support the learning experience by:

  • Turning the video into an interview
  • Adding other camera angles or screencasts to focus on demonstrations
  • Cutting away to B-roll footage (additional video that can provide context or related action, while the voiceover continues) or to still images that help connect a concept to concrete examples
Teach Computing programme participant.
Teach Online participants explored different ways to make their videos engaging

Planning is key

By planning your content carefully instead of jumping into production right away, you can:

  • Better visualise what your video should look like by creating a storyboard
  • Keep learners engaged by deliberately splitting learning up into smaller chunks while still keeping a narrative flow between them
  • Develop your learners’ understanding of key computing concepts by using semantic waves to unpack and repack concepts

The Teach Online participants told us that they particularly enjoyed learning more about planning videos:

“I now understand that a little planning can make the difference between a mediocre online learning experience and a professional-looking valuable learning experience.” – Educator who participated in our Teach Online programme

“Planning the session using a storyboard is so helpful to visualise the actual recording.” – Educator who participated in our Teach Online programme

Storyboard from a Teach Computing participant.
Storyboards are a great option to plan online learning experiences

Considering equity, diversity, and inclusion

We are committed to making computing and computer science accessible and engaging, so we embed measures to improve equity, diversity, and inclusion throughout our free learning and teaching resources, including the Teach Online programme. It’s important not to leave this aspect of creating educational content as an afterthought: you can only make sure that your content is truly as equitable and inclusive as you can make it if you address this at every stage of your process. As an added bonus, many ways of making your content more accessible not only benefit learners with specific needs, but support and engage all of your audience so everyone can learn more easily.

Best practices that you can use while creating online content include:

Connecting with your learner audience

One of video’s key advantages is the ability to immediately connect with the audience. To help with that, you can try to talk directly to a single viewer, using “you” and “I” rather than “we”. You can also show off your personality in the presentation slides you use and the backgrounds of your videos.

“[I will use my learning from the programme] by adapting teaching and learning to actively engage learners.” – Educator who participated in our Teach Online programme

It’s important to find your own personal presenting style. There is not one perfect way to present, and you should experiment to find how you are best able to communicate with your viewers. How formal or informal will you be? Is your delivery calm or energetic? Whatever you decide, you may want to edit your script to better fit your style. A practical tip for doing this is to read your video scripts aloud while you are writing them to spot any language that feels awkward to you when spoken. 

“It was really great to try the presenting skills, and I learned a lot about my style.” – Educator who participated in our Teach Online programme

A videographer preparing to film a course presenter.

Connecting with each other

Throughout the Teach Online programme, we helped participants create a community with each other. Finding your own community can give you the support that you need to create, and help you continue to develop your knowledge and skills. Working together is great, whether that’s collaborating in-person locally, or online via for example the CAS forums or social media.

“I very much liked the diverse group of educators in this programme, and appreciated everyone sharing their experiences and tips.” – Educator who participated in our Teach Online programme

The Teach Online graduate have told us about the positive impact the programme has had on their teaching in their own contexts. So far we’ve worked with graduates to create Isaac Computer Science videos covering data structures, high- and low-level languages, and string handling.

What do you want to know about creating online educational content?

There is a growing need for online educational content, particularly videos — not only to improve access to education, but also to support in-person teaching. By investing in training educators, we help diversify the pool of people working in this area, improve the confidence of those who would like to start, and provide them with the skills and knowledge to successfully create great content for their learners.

In the future we’d also like to support the wider community of educators with creating online educational content. What resources would you find useful? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

The post How to create great educational video content for computing and beyond appeared first on Raspberry Pi.

What’s Up, Home? – The Relaxing Breeze

Post Syndicated from Janne Pikkarainen original https://blog.zabbix.com/whats-up-home-the-relaxing-breeze/22031/

Can you monitor a home air conditioner 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. Welcome to my weekly blog about how I monitor my home with Zabbix & Grafana and do some weird experiments.

At the moment I was writing this blog post, the summer — and thus maybe the heat wave season — was only approaching. For the past two summers, our home has been a hot place to be. Enough is enough, so that day we got an air conditioner. It’s not a very high-end model, but these things currently come with built-in Wi-Fi.

Wouldn’t it be cool to monitor that with Zabbix? Yes.

Wi-Fi, do you read me?

Getting the air conditioner connected to our Wi-Fi was as easy as the manual promised: press the Health button eight times in a row and wait until the air conditioner says “be-be-be-be-be-beep”. Sure enough, that happened, and moments later the AC Freedom app I installed on my iPhone started to show this.

For a normal person, this would be more than enough. For me, this was only the beginning and the next step would be adding the thing to Zabbix.

Encountering headwind

Checking the first things first — no, Zabbix does not seem to support this AC out of the box. No worries, that is not the end of the world, it just slightly slows things down, and also makes things a bit more interesting.

Now that the AC was connected to our Wi-Fi, I first went to check out some data about the AC from the Wi-Fi admin interface. It revealed to me that the device contains network hardware by Broadlink in it. Ah-ha! Search engine, here I come!

Moments later, I found out Broadlink Air Conditioners to Mqtt.

Okay, MQTT it is. That’s a lightweight protocol designed for IoT device communication, and I had absolutely no clue how that worked, as this was the first time I got to use it. It would blow if this step proved to be too cumbersome.

Luckily, thanks to open source and 2022, getting it to run was not that hard.

It’s nearly summer, welcome mosquitos

The aforementioned Broadlink AC to MQTT quickly raised my confidence, as it immediately found my new device. Yes, I can do this!

… that’s nice, but how to use this any further? I could not see any MQTT messages anywhere.

Soon enough I realized I need to install an MQTT message broker to catch the messages and I found Eclipse Mosquitto.

An apt install mosquitto mosquitto-clients and some config file guessing later my jaw dropped, as I saw this:

Wow, that’s a wind-wind situation. It returns sane values! My next step was then to find out if I can somehow access those URL-like paths with Zabbix.

With Zabbix, MQTT is just a breeze

I remembered from some ancient Zabbix Summit that Zabbix 5.x gained Modbus/MQTT support. My Raspberry Pi 4 is running Zabbix 6.0.4, so certainly that part should be covered.

In the end, getting MQTT to run with Zabbix was almost too easy. Zabbix agent 2 has native MQTT support with its mqtt.get active check, so I tried to add an item like this:

And, as this is Zabbix, of course, it works:

Yay! From now on, my home Zabbix can alert me about the AC as well and generate some fancy graphs.

What’s next?

As I’ve got the AC unit recently and this is just the beginning, I still have more things to add later.

  • Add some “Yikes! It’s too hot!” triggers
  • Create a Grafana dashboard
  • Try out if I can adjust the air conditioner settings using Zabbix

Anyway, in the end, this certainly was easier than I expected.

I have been working at Forcepoint since 2014 and monitoring has never been cooler. — Janne Pikkarainen

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

Keep Things Cool with Zabbix

Post Syndicated from Laura Schilder original https://blog.zabbix.com/keep-things-cool-with-zabbix/21534/

Do your friends, colleagues or maybe even your significant other have a nasty habit of leaving the fridge half-open causing you a frustrating evening and potentially even ruining your cherished batch of pistachio-flavored ice cream?

With the right thermometer and a little Zabbix knowledge, you can configure Zabbix to keep a watchful eye on the temperature of your fridge and alert you whenever things in your fridge are about to stop being cool.


The Internet of things represents objects that are capable of autonomously transferring data over a network. The objects can be something like a temperature sensor, a smart fridge, or an electric scooter Even a garbage can and a vending equipped with proper sensors can be IoT objects.

Well, let’s go back to the thermometer that I was talking about. That thermometer is also an IoT device and it uses a specific protocol; for this specific one, we will use an aggregator: The Things Network (TTN).

But why do we need an aggregator? If you plan on monitoring a large number of sensors you will have to establish connections to each of these sensors individually. An aggregator can be used as the central point of communication, instead of directly connecting to each of the sensors.

In this blog post we will be using the following components:

  • Mini hub TBMH100 (the gateway)
  • Dragino LHT65 (the thermometer)

The Things Network

Now, not just any thermometer can connect to the internet. But the thermometer I used is one from The Things Network. The Things Network is open source, just like Zabbix, and works with LoRaWAN. If you do not know what LoRaWAN is just keep reading and I will explain what it is.

LoRaWAN stands for Long Range Wide Area Network and it’s a protocol that is made for long-distance communication and low power consumption. Certain nodes use this protocol and send information via radio. For Europe the frequency used for transferring data is 868MHz. This is how the thermometer sends the temperature to The Things Network.

Before we are able to see the sent values, we do have to configure a gateway and add it to The Things Network. After adding a gateway to TTN, the only thing remaining is having to add the thermometers. All of this information is also available in The Things Network console. We’re going to set up an MQTT connection via The Things Network console, and configure it so Zabbix can collect, process, and visualize your IoT data, as well as receive alerts whenever the temperature in our fridge gets too hot or too cold.

What is MQTT? In short –  MQTT is a lightweight network protocol. MQTT is designed for remote locations that have devices with resources that have limited bandwidth. It has to run over a transport protocol and is characterized by: Ordered, lossless and bi-directional connections. Typically, TCP/IP connections are used for this. It also is an OASIS standard and an ISO recommendation.

TTN configuration

Let’s start by adding a gateway to The Things Network. To do that, you will have to create an account on the things stack and own a gateway. But, before we get started, check what kind of gateway you have. We will be using the gateway that is meant to be inside a building. If that is done let’s start with adding it to TTN.

Let’s start at the beginning. Open the TTN webpage and log in. Easy as that. Now when you see this screen: click on the Go to gateways button.

After that, you click on the white Claim gateway button. Do not confuse it with the Add gateway button – we need to press Claim gateway.

All the fields you see on the next page will have to be filled in:

As I mentioned before the frequency should be around 868MHz. For this example, I will just use the recommended frequency. After that, click on the Claim gateway button. The gateway should work after this. If you do not know what to fill in the form fields, you can find all the information you need on the backside of your gateway.

This is what it will look like when you have successfully claimed the gateway:


Since we now have a gateway we can add the thermometer to The Things Network. To do this, we have to go to the Application tab in the console. Once we clicked on the Application tab, it will be empty. We will have to make our own application before we can add the thermometer and we will do that by pressing the Add application button. Once clicked, you should see the following:


After you have created your application, click on it and you will see a screen like this:

There you will have to go to End devices and click on Add devices. It will bring you to a screen like this:

Now, you will see just one drop-down menu, but once you start filling them in, additional menus will show up. In our case, we’re using a thermometer from Dragino. After filling in the model and region, the screen should look something like this:


For step two, we had to grab the box in which the sensor was shipped. Inside the box is a sticker with all the information that you need. When you have filled in all the fields, click on the Add device button. After adding the device it will look something like this:


Now, that’s all for adding the thermometers. If everything works, we will just have to set up an MQTT connection between The Things Network and Zabbix. On the TTN side, we have to go to integrations, and then MQTT. Everything you have on that page we can just copy. Generate an API key and copy it. Save it as we will need it later.


After all these steps on The Things Network side, we will finally move to Zabbix. What we will do first in Zabbix is make sure that we can get the information from The Things Network. This will be done via MQTT. For that, we will need Zabbix agent 2. Now there are of course more steps than just that. So, let me explain.

Zabbix MQTT

Let’s start by downloading Zabbix agent 2 (if you already have it you can skip this step) for that we will use this command:

dnf install zabbix-agent2

Once the agent is installed, we will have to modify the config file:

vim /etc/zabbix/zabbix_agent2.conf

I am using vim, but if you want to use something else, feel free to use another text editor. Once the configuration file has been opened, we will go ahead and change the Hostname parameter. We will be changing it to this:


Don’t forget to start (or restart, if the agent 2 has already been installed) your agent 2 service.

systemctl start zabbix-agent2

Now that we have that out of the way we can start by making a new host. It will be a regular Zabbix host. This is what mine looks like:

Note that the Host name here matches the Hostname parameter which we edited in the previous step.  Do you recall when I said that you have to copy all the MQTT information from The Things Network? Well, we will use it here. We will have to make an item that will use the Zabbix agent (active) item type to get the information. Now, for the key, we can select the mqtt key from Zabbix but we will be missing some of the required parameters. The key will have to look something like this:


In the end, the item itself will look something like this:

In our case, the key looks like this:

mqtt.get[tls://eu1.cloud.thethings.network:8883, #, [email protected], NNSXS.EMK3T5FLBB2YPLYWXLP7BYOG7JHFSBKEUG23BMY.IJSZ4AC475CU5JJOLRJRYLDU6MXEODWCUYIOLZSAWSXP4L32473Q].

To check if it works just navigate to MonitoringLatest data, find our host and you should see the collected data. It should look something like this:

{"v3/[email protected]/devices/eui-a84041a4e10000/up":"{\"end_device_ids\":{\"device_id\":\"eui-a84041a4e1000000\",\"application_ids\":{\"application_id\":\"thermometers\"},\"dev_eui\":\"A84041A4E10000\",\"join_eui\":\"A000000000000100\",\"dev_addr\":\"260B4F08\"},\"correlation_ids\":[\"as:up:01G7CJFS1180WT7M2GHQRWVFKA\",\"gs:conn:01G7A3RFY7CT62SGBH2BGJ7T31\",\"gs:up:host:01G7A3RG2EWWCHEW9HVBQ6KA5A\",\"gs:uplink:01G7CJFRTGY0NV6R4Y8AV9XKGG\",\"ns:uplink:01G7CJFRTHSDCK3DVR7EDGJY5V\",\"rpc:/ttn.lorawan.v3.GsNs/HandleUplink:01G7CJFRTHP5JMRVSNP8ZZR1X1\",\"rpc:/ttn.lorawan.v3.NsAs/HandleUplink:01G7CJFS10A5RAD5SE864Q99R8\"],\"received_at\":\"2022-07-07T14:54:39.137181192Z\",\"uplink_message\":{\"session_key_id\":\"AYGu5fFGW+vxth9cFIw2+g==\",\"f_port\":2,\"f_cnt\":601,\"frm_payload\":\"y/kH5QIoAX//f/8=\",\"decoded_payload\":{\"BatV\":3.065,\"Bat_status\":3,\"Ext_sensor\":\"Temperature Sensor\",\"Hum_SHT\":55.2,\"TempC_DS\":327.67,\"TempC_SHT\":20.21},\"rx_metadata\":[{\"gateway_ids\":{\"gateway_id\":\"gateway7\",\"eui\":\"58A0CBFFFE803D17\"},\"time\":\"2022-07-07T14:54:38.903268098Z\",\"timestamp\":945990219,\"rssi\":-61,\"channel_rssi\":-61,\"snr\":7.5,\"uplink_token\":\"ChYKFAoIZ2F0ZXdheTcSCFigy//+gD0XEMvUisMDGgwIrueblgYQ/fHaugMg+Omki8TiEioMCK7nm5YGEIKO264D\"}],\"settings\":{\"data_rate\":{\"lora\":{\"bandwidth\":125000,\"spreading_factor\":7}},\"coding_rate\":\"4/5\",\"frequency\":\"868500000\",\"timestamp\":945990219,\"time\":\"2022-07-07T14:54:38.903268098Z\"},\"received_at\":\"2022-07-07T14:54:38.929160377Z\",\"consumed_airtime\":\"0.061696s\",\"version_ids\":{\"brand_id\":\"dragino\",\"model_id\":\"lht65\",\"hardware_version\":\"_unknown_hw_version_\",\"firmware_version\":\"1.8\",\"band_id\":\"EU_863_870\"},\"network_ids\":{\"net_id\":\"000013\",\"tenant_id\":\"ttn\",\"cluster_id\":\"eu1\",\"cluster_address\":\"eu1.cloud.thethings.network\"}}}"}

Zabbix LLD with Dependent items

Now, after seeing all the data you want to be able to read it normally. Well, for that we will use Low-Level Discovery. It will also help add the thermometer to Zabbix.

To achieve our goal we will start by navigating to the Configuration – Hosts page. Select the host that you created earlier. Once there, select Discovery rules at the top. Now we are going to create a new Low-level discovery rule. It will be a dependent item. The master item is the item we made in the previous step. Once you have done that, it should look like so:

But we have not finished yet. We will also need to add a pre-processing step. For the pre-processing step, we need to provide a javascript script. The data that has been sent is not ‘native’ Zabbix LLD data, so we need to make it suitable for Zabbix.

We will use a script like this to format our data:

var lld = [];
var regexp = /@ttn\/devices\/([\w-]+)/g;
var lines = value.split("\n");
var lines_num = lines.length;
for (i = 0; i < lines_num; i++)
var match = regexp.exec(lines);
var row = {};
row["{#SENSOR}"] = match[1];
return JSON.stringify(lld);

In the script above we are transforming the data into a format that Zabbix can use it. Let’s drill it down line by line:
Line 1: Declare a new array with name lld
Line 2: Declare a regex with a specific value
Line 3: Let’s split the received value into an array of substrings. Splitting happens on the value “\n” which represents a newline
Line 4: Count the number of lines
Line 5: A For loop to populate the array that is declared in line 1.
Line 7: Match the regex in the lines.
Line 8: Declare an object with the name ‘row’
Line 9: Add the text {#SENSOR} with the 1st value of the variable ‘match’
Line 10: Push the row object into the lld array
Line 12: Convert the lld array into a JSON string

After Line 12, you will get something like this returned:


Now the data is formatted into the Zabbix LLD format, ready to be parsed.

Once the preprocessing step is added, the rule should be complete. This means that Zabbix will start discovering the thermometers, but no items are created by just adding the LLD rule like we have done so far. We also need to add the item prototypes.

I will use temperature for the internal sensor as an example here. So, let’s start at the beginning and go to Item prototypes. We will add a new item prototype. In the name and key fields, we will use the Low-level discovery macro: {#SENSOR}. The key is arbitrary – we ill put our LLD macro as a parameter, to make each item created from the prototypes unique. For units, we will use C because it stands for temperature in Celsius. When finished, it should look like this:

Now, if you look closely at the screenshot I also have a tag and preprocessing step. You can see the tag configuration in the image below. The tag will be used for filtering and providing additional information – the  sensor ID.

As for the item prototype preprocessing step –  it is a little bit harder. Do you remember the data that you got from the first item we made? Well, if you take that and throw in a regex, you can make the preprocessing step. What I did was go to https://regex101.com and paste the complete string we received from the master item and start matching the temperatures.

Once the regex is done, go to the Preprocessing tab in Zabbix. Add one step, and choose Regular Expression as the Name. Now the parameters will be (in case of this thermometer):


and in the output field we will use the first capture group – \1. It should look like this:

If we take a careful look at the data provided by the Master item, there is a “decoded payload”:

decoded_payload\":{\"BatV\":3.056,\"Bat_status\":3,\"Ext_sensor\":\"Temperature Sensor\",\"Hum_SHT\":50.8,\"TempC_DS\":21.75,\"TempC_SHT\":21.95}

From that payload, we are cherry-picking the TempC_SHT value. There are more values to collect here, like battery status, voltage, humidity, etc. This highly depends on the sensors used, of course.
In the Low-Level Discovery rule, we can keep on adding more item prototypes to parse all of these metrics and let the LLD automatically create the items from the prototypes.

After adding the low-level discovery rule and the preprocessing step you will see something like this:

Now, as you can see, Multiple items have been created from our prototypes. If you look closely, you will also notice that I get two of everything. This is because the Low-Level Discovery discovered two thermometers.


Now that everything has been configured, we can finally track the temperature of our IoT thermometers. The next time somebody leaves your fridge open, you can find out in time. Cool, right? Well, that’s just one of many IoT examples that we can start to monitor –  the potential for discovering and monitoring IoT devices is unlimited. If you wish to check out the template used for this example, feel free to visit our github page.

The post Keep Things Cool with Zabbix appeared first on Zabbix Blog.

What’s Up, Home? – Remotely Useful

Post Syndicated from Janne Pikkarainen original https://blog.zabbix.com/whats-up-home-remotely-useful/21719/

Can you integrate Zabbix with a remote control? Of course, you can! Does that make any sense? Maybe. Welcome to my weekly blog about how I monitor my home with Zabbix & Grafana and how I do weird experiments with my setup.

By day, I do monitoring for living in a global cyber security company. By night, I monitor my home. This week I have been mostly doing remote work… gaining physical remote access… okay, my puns are not even remotely funny, but please keep reading to find out how I integrated my Zabbix with remote control.

Adding a new remote to Cozify

First things first! I found a spare smart remote control. These devices are handy — not based on infrared but operate on 433 MHz range, so there is no need to point exactly towards some device, instead, the device works everywhere in the Cozify hub range, which spans even to our backyard. In Cozify, I can create the actions that happen whenever I push a button: turn on/off one or multiple lights, change the active scene to something else, pretty much everything I can do in Cozify.

For a normal person, the functionality provided by Cozify would be more than sufficient. Me? I only use Cozify as a bridge between the remote control and Zabbix to do something Completely Else.
So, let’s fire up my iPhone Cozify app and add the remote first.

Connecting to Zabbix

Now that I have my remote added to Cozify, the next thing is to add it to Zabbix. The way I have implemented this is that a set of Python scripts is polling Cozify, and one of the scripts is polling for devices that have REMOTE_CONTROL capability. Of course, my newly added Zabbix remote has that capability, and sure enough, here it is:

In other words, I pressed button number two when the Unix time was 1652242931624. That’s nice to know, but what to do with this info?

Going Freestyler

20+ years ago… wait, what, 20+ years ago really… yes, over twenty years ago Bomfunk MC’s released their Freestyler song and its music video where a guy controls his surroundings with remote control. Well, he uses an MP3 player for control, but still, that’s a remote control for sure.

Take a nostalgia trip down the lane and marvel at the beauty that is some Finnish subway stations and then get back to our scheduled program.


My newfangled Zabbix remote is now just a dummy device for Cozify and for Zabbix it does not carry the Freestyler powers yet, but let’s see what happens when we apply some additional love.

Adding additional value

Thanks to the power of Zabbix value mapping I can transform the button numbers into something more meaningful. Let’s first add some values on the Value mapping tab:

See? That’s totally useful. Imagine I would be cooking dinner and my wife would be walking the dog / doing some gardening and I would like to let her know the dinner is ready: sending her a message over Signal or walking to our backyard would be soooooo much work if I can just press #1 on my remote instead. How lazy can you go? Very, although I suspect I am not going to use this in real life. But you never know!
To use these value mappings, I next applied the new value mapping to Zabbix remote item:

Suddenly, the latest data makes much more sense:

It deserves its own dashboard

So, at this point, we have the data collected and transformed into a human-readable form. Great! To make this all more consumable, there’s still some more work to do.

First, I created a simple Grafana dashboard with only a single panel in it:

Ain’t that beautiful?

It also deserves its own alerting

It would not be perfect without alerting, so let’s create a trigger!

… and an action…

… and behold, Zabbix can inform about the button presses to any configured media, in this case, e-mail. Of course, instead/in addition to messaging, a trigger could as well run any script, which means endless possibilities.

Cozify devs, yo!

Currently, there’s an ugly delay before Zabbix reacts due to the fact that my scripts are polling Cozify. It would be fantastic if Cozify could nudge my Zabbix via SNMP traps, or if I even could configure a central log server in Cozify’s setting to make it send its logs to my Zabbix server in real-time; that would turn my home monitoring into a real-time thing instead of polling happening every five minutes, as Zabbix could just follow the log and react to events accordingly.

Would you like fries with that?

Sure, this is just dumb play. But let’s stop for a minute and think about actual real-world usage scenarios where it might actually be useful to combine physical buttons with Zabbix, albeit I admit even these use cases might be weird:

  • The Refill button in a pub table would alert the waiter that table X needs more beer
  • In a factory/warehouse, physical buttons could be used to mark problematic areas during a physical inspection. Is any engine not running? A gauge showing funny values? Press a button near it, Zabbix gets an alert, and an engineer can visit the site
  • Use it as a stopwatch to measure how long you have been working; one button would mean “Start working”, another “Stop working”

Cozify supports more than just remote controls: battery-powered smart wall switches you can install without being an electrician, smart keyfobs, and smart dimmers, so there would be definitely more areas to explore in this physical interaction space. And, I talk about Cozify all the time as that’s what I have, but I’m sure your similar smart hub could do the same as well.

Anyway, I’ve just demonstrated to you how Zabbix could be used for limited instant messaging or customer service. That’s some serious flexibility.

I have been working at Forcepoint since 2014 and never get tired of inventing new ways to communicate with Zabbix. — Janne Pikkarainen

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

What’s Up, Home? – Razor-sharp Thinking

Post Syndicated from Janne Pikkarainen original https://blog.zabbix.com/whats-up-home-razor-sharp-thinking/21507/

Can you monitor a Philips OneBlade shaver with Zabbix? Of course, you can! But why do that and how to monitor a dumb device with zero IoT capabilities?

Welcome to my weekly blog: I get my bread and butter by being a monitoring tech lead in a global cyber security company, but I monitor my home for fun with Zabbix & Grafana and do some weird experiments.

Staying Alive

We all know how the battery-operated shavers, toothbrushes and similar devices sound very energetic and trustworthy immediately after you have charged their battery to full. Over time (over not so long time) they start to sound tired, but technically you can still use them. Or, you think you can still use them, but instead, they will betray you and die in the middle of the operation. Zabbix to the rescue!

Sing to me, bad boy

To get an idea about the battery runtime left, I needed to somehow capture the sound frequency and analyze it. The recording part was easy — after I had charged my razor to full level, I did leave it running and recorded the sound with my iPhone Voice Memos.

But how to get the sound frequency? This is the part where the audio engineers of the world can laugh at me in unison.

At first, I tried with Audacity as traditionally it has done all the tricks I possibly need to do with audio. Unfortunately, I could not find a way to accomplish my dream with it, and even if I would have, I fear I would have to manually do something with it, instead of the automated fashion I’m wishing for.

I could see all kinds of frequencies with Audacity, but was not able to isolate the humming sound of Philips OneBlade, at least not to a format I could use with Zabbix. Yes, Audacity has macros and some functionality remotely from the command line, but I interrupted my attempts with it. If you can do stuff like this with Audacity, drop me a note, I’m definitely interested!

Here come the numbers

Then, after a bit of searching, I found out aubiopitch. It analyzes the sample and returns a proper heckton of numbers back to you.

Those are not GPS coordinates or lottery numbers. That’s a timestamp in seconds and the sound frequency in Hz. And, just by peeking at the file manually, I found out that the values around 100, plus-minus something, were constantly present in the file. Yes, my brains have developed a very good pattern matching algorithm when it comes to log files, as that’s what I have been staring at for the last 20+ years.

As my 30+ minutes sample contained over 300,000 lines of these numbers, I did not want to bother my poor little home Zabbix with this kind of data volume for my initial analysis. I hate spreadsheet programs, especially with data that spans to hundreds of thousands of rows or more, so how to analyze my data? I possibly could have utilized Grafana’s CSV plugin, but to make things more interesting (for me, anyway), I called to my old friend gnuplot instead. Well, a friend in a sense that I know that it exists and that I occasionally used it two decades ago for simple plotting.

There it is, my big long needle in a haystack! Among some other environmental sounds, aubiopitch did recognize the Philips soundtrack as well! What if I filter out those higher frequencies? Or at least attempt to, my gnuplot-fu is not strong.

Yes, there it is, the upper line steadily coming down. After my first recording, it looks like that with a full battery the captured frequency starts from about 115 Hz, and everything goes well until about 93 Hz, but if I would start to shave around that time, I would better be quick, as I would only have two to three minutes left before the frequency quickly spirals down.

Production show-stoppers

This thing is not in “production” yet, because

  • I need to do more recordings to see if I get similar frequencies each time
  • I need to fiddle with iPhone Shortcuts to make this as automated as possible.

Anyway, I did start building a preliminary Zabbix template with some macros already filled in…

… and I have a connection established between my dear Siri and Zabbix, too; this will be a topic for another blog entry in the future.

I am hoping that I could get Siri to upload the Voice Memo automatically to my Zabbix Raspberry Pi, which then would immediately analyze the data with aubiopitch maybe with a simple incron hook, and Zabbix would parse the values. That part is yet to be implemented, but I am getting there. It’s just numbers, and in the end, I will just point Zabbix to a simple text file to gather its numbers or make zabbix_sender to send in the values. Been there, done that.

I have been working at Forcepoint since 2014 and for this post to happen I needed to use some razor-sharp thinking. — Janne Pikkarainen

The post What’s Up, Home? – Razor-sharp Thinking appeared first on Zabbix Blog.

Celebrating the community: Sophie

Post Syndicated from Katie Gouskos original https://www.raspberrypi.org/blog/celebrating-the-community-sophie/

It’s wonderful hearing from people in the community about what learning and teaching digital making means to them and how it impacts their lives. So far, our community stories series has involved young creators, teachers, and mentors from the UK and US, India, Romania, and Ireland, who are all dedicated to making positive change in their corner of the world through getting creative with technology.

For our next story, we travel to a tiny school in North Yorkshire in the UK to meet teacher Sophie Hudson, who’s been running a Code Club since February 2021.

Introducing Sophie and Linton-on-Ouse Primary School

A teacher for 10 years, Sophie is always looking for new opportunities and ideas to inspire and encourage her learners. The school where she teaches, Linton-on-Ouse Primary School & Nursery in rural Yorkshire, is very small. With only five teachers supporting the children, any new activity has to be meticulously planned and scheduled. Sophie was also slightly nervous about setting up a Code Club because she doesn’t have a computer science background, sharing that “there’s always one subject that you feel less confident in.”

A teacher and her learners at a Code Club session.

Sophie started the Code Club off small, with only a few learners. But then she grew it quickly, and now half of the learners in Key Stage 2 attend, and the club sessions have become a regular fixture in the school week.

“Once I did have a look at it [Code Club], it really wasn’t as scary as I thought. […] It has had a really positive influence on our school.”

Sophie Hudson, primary school teacher 

Thanks to our free Code Club project guides and coding challenges like Astro Pi Mission Zero, Sophie’s Code Club has plenty of activities and resources for the children to learn to code with confidence — while having fun too. Sophie says: “I like the idea that the children can be imaginative: it’s play, but it’s learning at the same time. They might not even realise it.”

A teacher and four learners at a Code Club session.
Sophie and some of her learners at Code Club.

Visiting the Code Club at Linton-on-Ouse Primary School was a joyful experience. The children listened intently as Sophie kicked off the lunchtime club session. As they started to code, there were giggles and gasps throughout, and the classroom filled with sounds and intermittent squeaks from the ‘Stress ball’ project. It was clear how much enjoyment the learners felt, and how engaged everyone was with their coding projects. Learner Erin told us she likes Code Club because she can “have a little fun with it”. Learners Maise and Millie enjoy it because “it makes you worry less about getting stuff wrong, because you always know there’s a back-up plan.”

“It’s amazing. Anything is possible.” 

Millie (10), learner at Sophie’s Code Club

Three learners at a Code Club session.
Millie, Maisie and Fern from Sophie’s Code Club.

Attending Code Club had a profound impact on a 9-year-old learner called Archie, who shares that his confidence has improved since taking part in the sessions: “I would never, ever think of doing things that I do now in Code Club,” he says. His mum Jenni has also seen a difference in Archie since he joined Code Club, with his confidence improving generally at school.

Two learners at a Code Club session.
Archie and a friend code together at Sophie’s Code Club.

The positive impact that Sophie has on Linton-on-Ouse Primary School & Nursery is undeniable, not only by running Code Club as an extracurricular activity but also by joint-leading science and leading PE, computing, and metacognition. Head teacher Davinia Pearson says, “How could you not be influenced by someone who’s just out there looking for the best for their class and children, and making a difference?”

Help us celebrate Sophie and her Code Club at Linton-on-Ouse Primary School & Nursery by sharing their story on Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook.

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What’s Up, Home? Welcome to my Zabbixverse

Post Syndicated from Janne Pikkarainen original https://blog.zabbix.com/whats-up-home-welcome-to-my-zabbixverse/21353/

By day, I am a monitoring technical lead in a global cyber security company. By night, I monitor my home with Zabbix and Grafana in very creative ways. But what has Zabbix to do with Blender 3D software or virtual reality? Read on.

Full-stack monitoring is an old concept — in the IT world, it means your service is monitored all the way from physical level (data center environmental status like temperature or smoke detection, power, network connectivity, hardware status…) to operating system status, to your application status, enriched with all kinds of data such as application logs or end-to-end testing performance. Zabbix has very mature support for that, but how about… full house monitoring in 3D and, possibly, in virtual reality?

Slow down, what are you talking about?

The catacombs of my heart do have a place for 3D modeling. I am not a talented 3D artist, not by a long shot, but I have flirted with 3D apps since Amiga 500 and it’s Real 3D 1.4, then later with Amiga 1200 a legally purchased Tornado 3D, and not so legally downloaded Lightwave. With Linux, so after 1999 for me, I have used POV-Ray about 20 years ago, and as Blender went open source a long time ago, I have tried it out every now and then.

So, in theory, I can do 3D. In practice, it’s the “Hmm, I wonder what happens if I press this button” approach I use.

Not so slow, get to the point, please

Okay. There are several reasons why I am doing this whole home monitoring thing.

  1. I have been doing IT monitoring for 20+ years, so really, there is not much new for me. Don’t get that wrong — boring is GOOD when it comes to business monitoring. Your business does count on it, and it’s perfect that whatever you need to monitor, you can do it reliably and easily. But for me, it does not challenge my brain or get my creative juices flowing. Monitoring the 3D world sure does.
  2. With my home Zabbix & Grafana, I can get as wild and childish as I ever want. Of course, not so much at work. (Though I admit that at work I did set up an easter egg Grafana dashboard called OnlyFans — it is literally showing how the cooling fans of our servers and other devices are doing).
  3. I want to give y’all new ideas and motivation to take your monitoring to the next level.
  4. I want to help raise Zabbix as a product to a whole new level from traditional IT monitoring to monitoring the environment we all live in — anyway, the future of monitoring will more and more be in the real world, too
2D or not 2D, that is the question

For traditional IT monitoring, 2D interface and 2D alerts are OK, maybe apart from physical rack location visualization, where it definitely helps if a sysadmin can locate a malfunctioning server easily from a picture.

For the Real World monitoring, it is a different story. I’m sure an electrician would appreciate if the alert would contain pictures or animations visualizing the exact location of whatever was broken. The same for plumbers, guards, whoever needs to get to fix something in huge buildings, fast.

Let’s get to it

Now that you know my motivation, let’s finally get started!

In my case, leaping Zabbix from 2D to 3D meant just a bunch of easy steps:

  1. Model my home in Sweet Home 3D; it’s very easy to use and definitely easier for my back than my wife requesting “could we try out how the sofa would look like over there…?”
  2. Import the Sweet Home 3D object to Blender
  3. In Blender, relabel the interesting objects to match with the names in Zabbix
  4. Hook Zabbix and Blender together with Python and Blender Python API, so Zabbix can change the alerting object somehow for its properties — change material, change color, add a glow effect, make it fire/smoke/explode, whatever
  5. Ask Blender Python API to export the rendered results as PNG images and as X3D files
Home sweet home

Sweet Home 3D is a relatively easy-to-use home modeling application. It’s free, and already contains a generous bunch of furniture, and with a small sum, you’ll get access to many, many more items.

After a few moments, I had my home modeled in Sweet Home 3D.


Next, I exported the file to .obj format, recognized by Blender.

Will it blend?

In Blender, I created a new scene, removed the meme-worthy default cube, and imported the Sweet Home 3D model to Blender.

Oh wow, it worked! Next, I needed to label the interesting items, such as our living room TV to match the names in Zabbix.

You modeled your home. Great! But does this Zabbix —> Blender integration work?

Yes, it does. Here is my first “let’s throw in some random objects into a Blender scene and try to manipulate it from Zabbix” attempt before any Sweet Home 3D business.

Fancy? No. Meaningful? Yes. There’s a lot going on in here.

  1. Through Python, Zabbix was able to modify a Blender scene and change some colors to red.
  2. Blender rendered the scene in its headless server mode (without GUI), and saved the resulting PNG still frame.
  3. The script ran by Zabbix did copy the image to be available for Zabbix UI (in my case, I created /assets/3d/ directory which contains everything relevant to this experiment).
  4. Zabbix URL widget is showing the image.

My Zabbix is now consulting Blender for every severity >=Average trigger, and I can also run the rendering manually any time I want.

First, here’s the manual refresh.


Next, here is the trigger:


Static image result

Here is a static PNG image rendering result by Blender Eevee rendering engine. Like gaming engines, Eevee cuts some corners when it comes to accuracy, but with a powerful GPU it can do wonders in real-time or at least in near-real-time.

The “I am not a 3D artist” part will hit you now hard. Cover your eyes, this will hurt. Here’s the Eevee rendering result.

 That green color? No, our home is not like that. I just tried to make this thing look more futuristic, perhaps Matrix-like… but now it looks like… well… like I would have used a 3D program. The red Rudolph the Rednose Reindeer nose-like thing? I imagined it would be a neatly glowing red sphere along with the TV glowing, indicating an alert with our TV. Fail for the visual part, but at least the alert logic works! And don’t ask why the TV looks so strange.

But you get the point. Imagine if a warehouse/factory/whatever monitoring center would see something like this in their alerts. No more cryptic “Power socket S1F1A255DU not working” alerts, instead, the alert would pinpoint the alert in a visual way.

There was supposed to be an earth-shattering VR! Where’s the VR?

Mark Zuckerberg, be very afraid with your Metaverse, as Zabbixverse will rule the world. Among many other formats, Blender can export its scenes to X3D format. It’s one of the virtual world formats our web browsers do support, and dead simple to embed inside Zabbix/Grafana. Blender would support WebGL, too, but getting X3D to run only needed the use of <x3d> tag, so for my experiment, it was super easy.

The video looks crappy because I have not done any texture/light work yet, but the concept works! In the video, it is me controlling the movement.

In my understanding, X3D/WebGL supports VR headsets, too, so in theory you could be observing the status of whatever physical facility you monitor through your VR headset.

Of course, this works in Grafana, too.

How much does this cost to implement?

It’s free! I mean, Zabbix is free, Python is free and Blender is free, and open source. If you have some 3D blueprints of your facility in a format Blender can support — it supports plenty — you’re all set! Have an engineer or two or ten for doing the 3D scene labeling work, and pretty soon you will see you are doing your monitoring in 3D world.

What are the limitations?

The new/resolved alerts are not updated to the scene in real-time. For PNG files that does not matter much, as those are static and Zabbix can update those as often as needed, but for the interactive X3D files it’s a shame that for now the scene will only be updated whenever you refresh the page, or Zabbix does it for you. I need to learn if I can update X3D properties in real-time instead of a forced page load.

Coming up next week: monitoring Philips OneBlade

Next week I will show you how I monitor a Philips OneBlade shaver for its estimated runtime left. The device does not have any IoT functionality, so how do I monitor it? Tune in to this blog next week at the same Zabbix time.

I have been working at Forcepoint since 2014 and never get bored of inventing new ways to visualize data.

The post What’s Up, Home? Welcome to my Zabbixverse appeared first on Zabbix Blog.

What’s Up, Home? – Observe!

Post Syndicated from Janne Pikkarainen original https://blog.zabbix.com/whats-up-home-observe/21201/

By day, I monitor a global cyber security company for a living. By night, I monitor my home with Zabbix and Grafana. In this weekly blog series, I’m sharing my weird experiments and new ideas on how to utilize monitoring.

On Easter, we were not at home but doing Easter stuff, that week I did not implement any major functionality to my home monitoring environment. But while I’m brewing new weird features, here are some bits and pieces of what I have learned about my home, and not shown here earlier.

I’m watching you, TV

We have one of those ‘smart’ TVs, just like about every recent TV happens to be. The one we have is a Samsung 2021 model. And, of course, I monitor it.

On the last two-day graph above, value 1.0 means that our TV is awake and responding to ICMP ping. During the annotated short spikes the TV does not have its screen on, but it is just silently awake and doing something with the network — may be checking for firmware updates or sending telemetry?

Anyway, it is definitely doing that many times per day. I will need to snoop more closely on what the heck it is doing.

A longer period of responding to ping indicates that we are actually watching the TV (or me playing PS5).

Garage, or not to garage?

That time, when I was writing this blog post, the spring has finally come, so we were doing some spring cleaning at home; no need for heavy winter jackets to be in our hallway closet anymore and so forth. For some items, my wife wondered what would be the humidity percentage in our garage.

Zabbix & Grafana to the rescue! The graph below shows the humidity levels of our living room and garage.

So, our garage definitely is a more humid place, and for now, some humidity-sensitive items were left inside our house instead of the garage.

Don’t get lost, get a map

This part is very much of a work in progress and is lacking the majority of the IoT devices we have, but I am also building a visual network map of my home environment. The map below uses the traditional Zabbix network map, but if I manage to pull a rabbit or two out of my hat, during the upcoming weeks you will see something Completely Else. Stay tuned!

Next week I will show you a definitely very weird target to monitor if I just manage to figure out how to do it.

There’s an app for that

But what if I am not at home? Sure, for any serious situations like a freezer temperature rapidly rising my Zabbix will e-mail me, but what if I just want to browse around? Using the web interface via iPhone could be done but is definitely not very convenient, so I am using ZBX Viewer app for iPhone instead. It’s handy, it’s free and it works.

I have been working at Forcepoint since 2014 and never get bored of staying up to date about the status of my house. — Janne Pikkarainen

* Please note that this blog post was originally written in April and some events mentioned do not correspond to the actual date at the time of publication.

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

Coolest Projects Global 2022: Celebrating young tech creators & creative ideas

Post Syndicated from Matt Richardson original https://www.raspberrypi.org/blog/coolest-projects-2022-celebration-favourites/

Congratulations to the thousands of creators from 46 countries who participated in Coolest Projects Global 2022. Their projects awed and inspired us. Yesterday STEM advocate and television host Fig O’Reilly helped us celebrate each and every one of these creators in our online event. Check out the gallery to see all the amazing projects.

During the celebration, Fig also revealed which projects were picked by the special judges as their favourites from among the 2092 projects in this year’s showcase gallery. Let’s meet the special judges and check out their picks!

Ruth Amos’s favourites

Ruth Amos is an inventor, entrepreneur, and EduTuber. She co-founded the #GirlsWithDrills movement and ‘Kids Invent Stuff’, a YouTube channel where 5- to 11-year-olds see their invention ideas become reality with the help of engineers.

Here are Ruth’s favourites:

  • The Hardware project Oura, made by Angelina and Catherine in the United States. Oura is an indoor air quality monitoring device that is tailorable, portable, and inexpensive. Ruth especially liked this project because she saw “[s]ome great prototyping and use of data.”
  • The Games project Egg Dog, made by Oakley and Alex from a Code Club in Australia. In the game, players explore for collectibles and fight off enemies as they try to find the exit for the next level. Ruth said that Egg Dog was a “[r]eally fun game, they obviously learnt a lot in the process of making the game.”
  • The Web project AllerG, made by Noah from a CoderDojo in the United States. AllerG is an accessible and crowdsourced database of menu allergens for people with food allergies. Ruth said, “The whole project was very well thought out”.
  • The Mobile Apps project EcoSnap, made by Uma and Bella in the United States. EcoSnap serves as an all-in-one toolkit for anyone hoping to help the environment. Ruth said, “You really thought about the user and changing perceptions.”
  • The Scratch project Trash-Collector, made by Rajan in the United Kingdom. In Rajan’s game, players take on the role of a scuba diver who needs to collect trash in the ocean. Ruth said, “I can’t wait to see more levels; it’s quite addictive!”
  • The Advanced Programming project Climate Change Detector, made by Arnav from a CoderDojo in India. The project is a data dashboard and platform to track pollution. Ruth said, “I love that you can change parameters and see the effect that would have.”

Shawn Brown’s favourites

Shawn Brown is an award-winning engineer, designer, and YouTuber. He’s also a practical pioneer for neurodiversity and innovation — raising awareness of learning differences and promoting science, engineering, and invention to young people. Together with Ruth, Shawn co-runs the YouTube channel ‘Kids Invent Stuff.’

Here are Shawn’s favourites:

  • The Hardware project Flow On the Go, made by Donal from a Code Club in the United Kingdom. Flow On the Go is a COVID-19 lateral flow test holder with a built-in camera that takes a picture of the test results after 15 minutes and sends a photo of the results via email. Shawn said, “I’ve absolutely been late for things before because I forgot to leave time to do a lateral flow test and your invention totally solves that problem in a really clever and effective way.”
  • The Games project Iron Defence, made by James in the United Kingdom. Iron Defence is a tower defence game where players defend against waves of enemies in a steampunk-themed assault. Shawn said, “Amazing work on seizing the opportunity to learn a new coding language”.
  • The Web project School Management System, made by Nebyu Daniel in Ethiopia. The project is a system used to store centralised data for a school. Shawn said, “The level of detail and the amount of different areas you’ve considered is really impressive!”
  • The Mobile Apps project RecyBuddy, made by Ryan in the United States. RecyBuddy is designed to assist and teach recycling to all ages. Shawn said, “I love how you’ve considered and implemented three distinct input options, giving the application a really high level of accessibility for users of a wide range of abilities and ages.”
  • The Scratch project Learning Is Fun, made by Mihir Ram in India. Mihir’s project is about making learning about science and the environment more enjoyable. Shawn said, “I got pretty addicted to playing Garbage Mania, and the timing was perfect to make it just stressful enough to have to think and grab the item in the right bin in time before you miss it!”
  • The Advanced Programming project Dog Smell Training Device, made by Roland in the United Kingdom. Roland’s project is designed to train dogs to identify different smells. Shawn said, “Well done on starting with achievable bitesize parts and then building it up from there”.

Richa Shrivastava’s favourites

Richa Shrivastava is the Director of Maker’s Asylum. It is India’s first community makerspace that fosters innovation through purpose-based learning, based on the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

Here are Richa’s favourites:

  • The Hardware project EleVoc, made by Chinmayi in India. Chinmayi’s device determines the proximity and behaviour of elephants by classifying their vocalisations. Richa said, “I personally loved the project because it addressed a problem statement that you do not see in cities but is common in villages and forest areas where humans and animals inhabit together.”
  • The Games project Runaway Nose, made by Harshit from a CoderDojo in Ireland. Harshit’s game uses facial recognition and players have to think (and act!) fast to score points. Richa said, “I have never played anything like this before and I can see that it can be really addictive.”
  • The Web project Our Planet, Our Impact, made by Amaury from a CoderDojo in Belgium. This multilingual website calculates the user’s environmental footprint. Richa chose this project because “the calculators were a really cool way to really bring out the impact of plastic waste that we create!”
  • The Mobile Apps project Watey, made by Yuuka, Akari, Otowa, and Lila from a CoderDojo in Japan. Watey helps families to save water easily and enjoyably. Richa said, “I loved the element of family bonding and competition that could motivate people to use water with scarcity.”
  • The Scratch project Nature’s Savior Bilgin, made by Çağatay and Mert from a Code Club in Turkey. It’s a game to teach players about the environment. Richa said, “I personally really loved the fact that the project was focussed on the environment and also problems that we see in real life almost every other day.”
  • The Advanced Programming project Jarvis, made by Siddhant in India. Jarvis is a personal assistant. Richa said, “I always wanted a personal Jarvis and this was so cool to see!” 

Elaine Atherton’s favourites

Elaine Atherton is Director of Scratch Education Collaborative. Elaine was first introduced to Scratch as an instructional coach while working with teachers in North Carolina. “It was amazing to see the kids so excited about what they were creating. I wanted to help them transfer that same energy to designing, making, and sharing other things, too — I wanted them to stretch their creativity.”

Here are Elaine’s favourites:

  • The Hardware project CubeSpeedee Timer, made by Tom from a CoderDojo in the United Kingdom. Tom’s project is a DIY timing device for solving puzzle cubes. Elaine said the project was “fun, playful, creative, and challenging!”
  • The Games project Ninjas, made by Jaiden and Eli from a Code Club in Australia. Ninjas is an open-world action-adventure game. Elaine said, “The transitions between the different worlds are really cool”.
  • The Web project Ubex Site Creator, made by Menagi from a Code Club in Romania. Ubex makes it easy for anyone to create their own website. Elaine said, “It is clear to see how you thought about how to use your passion for coding to create something for your peers.”
  • The Mobile Apps project Green Nature For You, made by Iana and Cristina in Moldova. The app lets users report when trash cans are full. Elaine said, “[Y]ou thoughtfully consider accessibility and access needs of those who may use it”.
  • The Scratch project Fun Relaxing Project, made by Konstantin from a CoderDojo in Bulgaria. Konstantin’s game is to help players relax while watching beautiful geometric shapes and colours. Elaine said, “The colors and patterns are truly relaxing”. 
  • The Advanced Programming project DeepFusion, made by Justin in the United States. DeepFusion is a web app that provides a graphical method for creating, training, and testing neural networks. Elaine said, “Your presentation is funny, thoughtful, and clever.”

Broadcom Coding with Commitment recognition

Broadcom Foundation has partnered with us for Coolest Projects Global to encourage young people who are solving problems that impact their communities. Their projects could relate to health, sanitation, energy, climate change, or other challenges set out in the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. Broadcom Coding with Commitment illuminates how coding is a language, skill set, and invaluable tool for college and careers.

The Broadcom Coding with Commitment recognition goes to A Guide to Climate Change, a website created by Sabrina in the United Kingdom. Sabrina’s site not only provides vital information about the effects of climate change, but also gives users a visual to show how important it is to lower our carbon footprint. Congratulations to Sabrina for using her coding skills to give people a guide to understanding climate change in an easily digestible and stylish project webpage.

Sabrina’s project, A Guide to Climate Change

And there’s so much more to celebrate!

You can explore all the young tech creators’ projects — games, hardware builds, Scratch projects, mobile apps, websites, and more — in our showcase gallery now.

All creators who are taking part this year can now log into their Coolest Projects accounts to:

  1. Find personalised feedback on their project
  2. Request their limited-edition Coolest Projects swag

The support of our Coolest Projects Global sponsors has enabled us to make this year’s online showcase the inspiring experience it is for the young people taking part. We want to say a big thank you to all of them!

The post Coolest Projects Global 2022: Celebrating young tech creators & creative ideas appeared first on Raspberry Pi.

We’ll see you at CSTA 2022 Annual Conference

Post Syndicated from James Robinson original https://www.raspberrypi.org/blog/csta-2022/

Connecting face to face with educators around the world is a key part of our mission at the Raspberry Pi Foundation, and it’s something that we’ve sorely missed doing over the last two years. We’re therefore thrilled to be joining over 1000 computing educators in the USA at the Computer Science Teachers Association (CSTA) Annual Conference in Chicago in July.

You will find us at booth 521 in the expo hall throughout the conference, as well as running four sessions. Gemma, Kevin, James, Sue, and Jane are team members representing Hello World magazine, the Raspberry Pi Computing Education Research Centre, and our other free programmes and education initiatives. We thank the team at CSTA for involving us in what we know will be an amazing conference.

Talk to us about computer science pedagogy

Developing and sharing effective computing pedagogy is our theme for CSTA 2022. We’ll be talking to you about our 12 pedagogy principles, laid out in The Big Book of Computing Pedagogy, available to download for free.

Cover of The Big Book of Computing Pedagogy.

An exciting piece of news is that everyone attending CSTA 2022 will find a free print copy of the Big Book in their conference goodie bag!

We’re really looking forward to sharing and discussing the book and all our work with US educators, and to seeing some familiar faces. We’re also hoping to interview lots of old and new friends about your approaches to teaching computing and computer science for future Hello World podcast episodes.

Your sessions with us

Our team will also be running a number of sessions where you can join us to learn, discuss, and prepare lesson plans.

Semantic Waves and Wavy Lessons: Connecting Theory to Practical Activities and Back Again

Thursday 14 July, 9am–12pm: Pre-conference workshop (booking required) with James Robinson and Jane Waite

If you enjoy explaining concepts using unplugged activities, analogy, or storytelling, then this practical pre-conference session is for you. In the session, we’ll introduce the idea of semantic waves, a learning theory that supports learners in building knowledge of new concepts through careful consideration of vocabulary and contexts. Across the world, this approach has been successfully used to teach topics ranging from ballet to chemistry — and now computing.

Three computer science educators discuss something at a screen.

You’ll learn how this theory can be applied to deliver powerful explanations that connect abstract ideas and concrete experiences. By taking part in the session, you’ll gain a solid understanding of semantic wave theory, see it in practice in some freely available lesson plans, and apply it to your own planning.

Write for a Global Computing Community with Hello World Magazine

Friday 15 July, 1–2pm: Workshop with Gemma Coleman

Do you enjoy sharing your teaching ideas, successes, and challenges with others? Do you want to connect with a global community of over 30,000 computing educators? Have you always wanted to be a published author? Then come along to this workshop session.

Issues of Hello World magazine arranged to form a number five.
Hello World has been going strong for five years — find out how you can become one of its authors.

Every single computing or CS teacher out there has at least one lesson to share, idea to voice, or story to tell. In the session, you’ll discuss what makes a good article with Gemma Coleman, Hello World’s Editor, and you’ll learn top tips for how to communicate your ideas in writing. Gemma will also guide you through writing a plan for your very own article. Even if you’re not sure whether you want to write an article, doing this is a powerful way to reflect on your teaching practice.

Developing a Toolkit for Teaching Computer Science in School

Saturday 16 July, 4–5pm: Keynote talk by Sue Sentance

To teach any subject requires good teaching skills, knowledge about the subject being taught, and specific knowledge that a teacher gains about how to teach a particular topic, to their particular students, in a particular context. Teaching computer science is no different, and it’s a challenge for teachers to develop a go-to set of pedagogical strategies for such a new subject, especially for elements of the subject matter that they are just getting to grips with themselves.

12 principles of computing pedagogy: lead with concepts; structure lessons; make concrete; unplug, unpack, repack; work together; read and explore code first; foster program comprehension; model everything; challenge misconceptions; create projects; get hands-on; add variety.

In this keynote talk, our Chief Learning Officer Sue Sentance will focus on some of the 12 pedagogy principles that we developed to support the teaching of computer science. We created this set of principles together with other teachers and researchers to help us and everyone in computing and computer science education reflect on how we teach our learners. Sue will share how we arrived at the principles, and she’ll use classroom examples to illustrate how you can apply them in practice.

Exploring the Hello World Big Book of Computing Pedagogy

Sunday 17 July, 9–10am: Workshop with Sue Sentance

The set of 12 pedagogy principles we’ve developed for teaching computing are presented in our Hello World Big Book of Computing Pedagogy. The book includes summaries, teachers’ perspectives, and lesson plans for each of the 12 principles.

A tweet praising The Big Book of Computing Pedagogy.

All CSTA attendees will get their own print copy of the Big Book, and in this practical session, we will use the book to explore together how you can use the 12 principles in the planning and delivery of your lessons. The session will be very hands-on, so bring along something you know you want or need to teach.

See you at CSTA in July

CSTA is now just a month away, and we can’t wait to meet old friends, make new connections, and learn from each other! Come find us at booth 521 or at our sessions to meet the team, discover Hello World magazine and the Hello World podcast, and find out more about our educational work. We hope to see you soon.

The post We’ll see you at CSTA 2022 Annual Conference appeared first on Raspberry Pi.

JSON is your friend – Certificate monitoring on Microsoft CA server

Post Syndicated from Tibor Volanszki original https://blog.zabbix.com/json-is-your-friend-certificate-monitoring-on-microsoft-ca-server/20697/


By transforming our data into JSON we can achieve great results with Zabbix without the need to have a complex external script logic. The article will provide an example of obtaining a set of master data with a single PowerShell script and then using the Zabbix native functionality to configure low-level discovery and collect the required metrics from the master JSON data set.

In this example, we will implement certificate monitoring by using a Microsoft Windows Certificate Authority server. The goal is to see how many days we have before our internally signed certificates will expire. As an extra, we will be able to filter the monitored items by requestors and template names.

  • Target system version: MS Windows Server 2019 (also tested on 2012)
  • Zabbix server & agent version: 6.0.3 (Other Zabbix versions should be supported too with no or minimal changes)

Core logic

The below diagram shows the concept itself and you will find a detailed guide to implement this step by step in the next sections.

Core workflow


Sample output of Latest Data:


To start, you will need to deploy Zabbix agent 2 on your target system – confirm that the Zabbix agent can communicate with your Zabbix server.  For the calculated item, we will require local time monitoring. The easiest way is to use the key “system.localtime”, which is already provided by the default Windows OS monitoring template. This item is intentionally not included within the certificate monitoring template to avoid key conflicts.

Below you can find the Powershell script which you have to implement: (name: “certmon_get_certs.ps1″) :

To import module PSPKI you may have to install the module first: https://pkisolutions.com/tools/pspki/

Import-Module PSPKI
$start = (Get-Date).AddDays(-7)
Get-IssuedRequest -CertificationAuthority $ca_hostname -Filter "NotAfter -ge $start" | Select-Object -Property RequestID,Request.RequesterName,CommonName,NotAfter,CertificateTemplateOid | ConvertTo-Json -Compress

*for Windows 2012 systems use CertificateTemplate instead of CertificateTemplateOid within this script.

This script expects one parameter, which is your CA server’s FQDN. That name will be loaded into variable “$ca_hostname”, so for testing purposes, you can just replace it with a static entry. Based on your needs you can adjust the “AddDays” parameter. Essentially this means to track back certificates, which are already expired for up to 7 days. Consider a situation, when you miss one just before a long weekend.

Script output

Let’s check the first part of the main command without further piping:

Simple script output without additional properties

As you can see, we are getting some basic information about the certificate. We do not need all the returned lines for the next steps, so it is better to filter the output down. Before we do that, we will use the option called “-Property”, and if you use it with a wildcard character, then it will list all the available parameters for a certificate. If you need more than the basic output, then you can list the extra parameters by using this option. Please be aware, that this will add extra lines compared to the basic output, but it will not do any filtering (the common lines will always remain visible).

Output with “-Property *”

Compare this with the output after using “Select-Object -Property RequestID,Request.RequesterName,CommonName,NotAfter,CertificateTemplateOid”

Output after using property filters

This looks good for us, but it is still not machine-readable. Let’s add the JSON output conversion, but without the “-Compress” option first:

JSON converted compressed output

What is especially great in this conversion, is that the “CertificateTemplateOid” part got 2 child entries, so later we can target the “FriendlyName” entry for discovery. Lastly, adding the “-Compress” option will help us to use less space by removing the white spaces and newlines from the output.

Depending on the amount of issued and valid certificates the output can be huge, especially without any filtering and compression (even megabytes in size). The current Zabbix server version (6.0.3) supports only 512KB as item output, this is why the output reduction is crucial. In my example the text data of one certificate takes approx 300 bytes, so 512KB will result in a limit of 1747 certificates. In case you are expecting more than this amount of ACTIVE certs within your CA, then I recommend cloning the PS script and adding some extra filtering to each variant (filter for template name / requestor / OU) and adjusting the template accordingly. Another approach would be to monitor the certificates, which will expire in the coming N days in case you have too many entries.

Agent configuration

To run the defined script, you have to allow it within the Zabbix Agent configuration file. You can either modify the main config or just define the extra lines within an additional file under zabbix_agent2.d folder. Below you can find the additional Zabbix agent configuration lines:

AllowKey=system.run[powershell -NoProfile -ExecutionPolicy bypass -File "C:\Program Files\Zabbix Agent 2\scripts\certmon_get_certs.ps1" *]

The wildcard character at the end is needed to specify any hostname, which is expected by the script. The default timeout is 3 seconds, which is unfortunately insufficient. Importing Module PSPKI alone takes a few seconds, so the overall execution time is somewhere between 5 and 10 seconds. My assumption is that more certificates will not increase this significantly, but some extra seconds can be expected. 20 seconds sounds like a safe bet.

We are done with the pre-requisites, now we can start the real work!


Let’s create our template from scratch.

  • Name: “Microsoft Certificate Authority – Certificate monitoring”
  • Host group: any group will do
Master item

We need only the following item:

  • Name: “Get certificate data”
  • Type: “Zabbix agent / Zabbix agent (active)” – for testing I recommend the passive mode
  • Key: system.run[powershell -NoProfile -ExecutionPolicy bypass -File “C:\Program Files\Zabbix Agent 2\scripts\certmon_get_certs.ps1″ {HOST.DNS}]”
  • Type of information: Text”
  • Update interval: 6h”
  • History: 1d”
Item configuration example

Assign the template to a CA server and you can test the item already. The result should be a big block of data in JSON format. To review the output I recommend the following external websites:

The latter one is especially helpful to find the correct JSON path, which we will require in the upcoming steps.

Item output sample
Measuring the script execution time

To measure the execution time, you can test it by using Zabbix get, which can connect to your Zabbix agent and request the item value over a CLI:

time zabbix_get -s [CA_SERVER_FQDN] --tls-connect psk --tls-psk-identity [PSK_IDEN] --tls-psk-file [PSK_FILE] -k 'system.run[powershell -NoProfile -ExecutionPolicy bypass -File "C:\Program Files\Zabbix Agent 2\scripts\certmon_get_certs.ps1" [CA_SERVER_FQDN]]'

This will give you the normal output and the execution time info:

real   0m5.771s
user   0m0.003s
sys    0m0.005s

To test the size of the output, redirect your command output to any file and measure it by “du -sk” to get it in kilobytes.

zabbix_get -s [CA_SERVER_FQDN] --tls-connect psk --tls-psk-identity [PSK_IDEN] --tls-psk-file [PSK_FILE] -k 'system.run[powershell -NoProfile -ExecutionPolicy bypass -File "C:\Program Files\Zabbix Agent 2\scripts\certmon_get_certs.ps1" [CA_SERVER_FQDN]]' > output.test
du -sk output.test
Low-level discovery rule definition

If the above part works just fine, then proceed with defining the low-level discovery rule as per the below example:

  • Name: Certificate discovery”
  • Type: Dependent item”
  • Key: certificate.discovery”
  • Master item: select our previously created item
  • Keep lost resources period: “6h”
Discovery rule configuration example

Then switch to LLD macros and define the below lines:

  • “{#COMMON_NAME}”: $.CommonName”
  • “{#REQUESTOR_NAME}”: $.[“Request.RequesterName”]”
  • “{#REQUEST_ID}”: $.RequestID”
  • “{#TEMPLATE_NAME1}”: “$.CertificateTemplate”
  • “{#TEMPLATE_NAME2}”: $.CertificateTemplateOid.FriendlyName”
Discovery rule LLD macro definitions

Some explanation:
The first LLD macro is self-explanatory – it obtains the certificate’s common name. The second one is also trivial, except the special marking, which is required due to the dot character in the middle. The third one is also simple, but the last 2 lines are somewhat special. If you have a fresh OS version, then most probably you will need only the 5th line without the 4th. In case you have a Windows server 2012 system, then you will need only the 4th line without the 5th. Why? Because of Windows 🙂 For testing you can keep both and then later remove the unnecessary one as well as the number suffix.

Now you are ready to create your item prototypes and this is where the real magic starts.

Certificate expiration date item prototype – Dependent item

Define the new item prototype as follows:

  • Name: Certificate [ ID #{#REQUEST_ID} ] {#COMMON_NAME} – Expiration date”
  • Type: Dependent item”
  • Key: certificate.expiration_date[{#REQUEST_ID}]”
  • Type of information: “Numeric (unsigned)”
  • Master item: pick the previously created master item
  • Units: unixtime”
  • History: 1d”
Item prototype example


  • cert_requestor“:  “{{#REQUESTOR_NAME}.regsub(“\\(\w+)”, “\1″)}”
  • cert_template1“: {#TEMPLATE_NAME1}”
  • cert_template2“: “{#TEMPLATE_NAME2}”
  • “scope”: certifcate / expiration date”
Item prototype tag definitions

As mentioned previously, it makes sense to keep only one template tag later, but for now, such an approach is fine.

The first line requires some explanation:
The requestor name starts with a domain prefix followed by 2 backslashes. If you are submitting CSRs from different domains to this CA server, then you can remove the extra formatting, but in a simple setup, we do not need the domain prefix, since it will be the same for all requestors.
Example: “DOMAIN\\someuser → someuser”


  • JSONPath: $[?(@.RequestID == {#REQUEST_ID})].NotAfter”
  • Regular expression: (\d+) \1″
  • Custom multiplier: 0.001″
  • Discard unchanged with heartbeat: 1d”
Item prototype preprocessing step definitions

Since this item is a dependent item, it will point back to our master item, which returns a data block in JSON. Due to the nature of the discovery definitions, we are running a while loop, which is already loaded with our variables (the LLD macros). Therefore the “{#REQUEST_ID}” already has a numerical value within each cycle. With this number, we can go back to the original item and target that exact certificate, which has the same ID. Then we are interested in the NotAfter value considering the selected certificate.

You can find many other examples within Zabbix documentation: jsonpath functionality
At this point, we have the extracted value of the expiration date, but it is quite raw at the moment:


In the next step, we are taking the numerical part and then we have to apply a multiplier of 0.001 since by default the time is given in milliseconds. After this, we have an integer, which can be converted to a human-readable form by using the unit unixtime”. The last line is just a standard discard unchanged entry.

Since our discovery object is also a dependent item, you have to execute our master item to run the low-level discovery rule. The first execution will result in the creation of your certificate items and only the second execution of the master item will execute them all at once. After this point, you should have N certificate objects created and each should have a valid expiration date. This is already something, for which you could define a trigger, but personally, I prefer to see the remaining days and not the exact date itself.

Days to expire item prototype – Calculated item

Let’s define yet another item prototype as follows:

  • Name: Certificate [ ID #{#REQUEST_ID} ] {#COMMON_NAME} – Days to expire”
  • Type: Calculated”
  • Key: certificate.remaining_days[{#REQUEST_ID}]”
  • Type of information: Numeric (float)”
  • Formula: (last(//certificate.expiration_date[{#REQUEST_ID}])-last(//system.localtime))/86400″
  • Update interval: 6h”
  • History: 1d”
Remaining days to expiration item prototype example

Please do not forget, that you require an existing local time item, which is not provided by this template (but available within Windows by Zabbix agent*” template).


Copy the same tags from the first prototype and only change the last tag to scope: certificate / remaining days

Remaining days to expiration item prototype tag definitions


  • Regular expression: ^(-?\d+)”: “\1”
  • Discard unchanged with heartbeat: 1d”
Remaining days to expiration item prototype preprocessing steps

As a result, this will give you a simple number with the remaining days to the expiration date. Then you can decide which item to use in the trigger to implement proper alerting based on your needs.

Certificate expiration trigger prototype

In my case I am just using a simple trigger expression for the remaining days:

  • Name:Certificate will expire within 30 days – {#COMMON_NAME}”
  • Operational data:Expires in {ITEM.LASTVALUE1} days”
  • Severity: up to you
  • Expression:last(/Microsoft Certificate Authority – Certificate monitoring/certificate.remaining_days[{#REQUEST_ID}])<=30″
Trigger prototype example


  • cert_cn: “{#COMMON_NAME}”
  • cert_id“:{#REQUEST_ID}”
Trigger prototype tag definitions

When you check the relevant certificates in the Latest data section, then you can do the filtering by the item-based tags. Since we are adding the cert CN and ID only to the trigger, these will appear only in case of alerts. Based on your needs you can implement additional tags, you just have to adjust the PS script to show more properties. When you extend the input data, please always consider the 512KB limit or the configured timeout.

The logic defined in this example can be applied to any JSON formatted data.


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What’s Up, Home? – Don’t Forget the Facial Cream

Post Syndicated from Janne Pikkarainen original https://blog.zabbix.com/whats-up-home-dont-forget-the-facial-cream/21063/

Can you monitor the regular use of facial cream with Zabbix? Of course, you can! Here’s how. This same method could be very useful for monitoring if the elderly remember to take their meds or so.

What the heck?

A little background story. My forehead has a tendency for dry skin, so I should be using facial cream daily. Of course, as a man, I can guarantee you that 100% of the days I remember to use the cream, I apply it, so in practice, this means about 40-50% hit ratio.

As lately I have been adding more monitored targets to my home Zabbix, one night my wife probably thought she was being snarky or funny when she said “One monitor I could happily receive data about would be how often you remember to use your facial cream.

A monitoring nerd does not take such ideas lightly.

Howdy door sensor, would you like to do some work?

I found a spare magnetic door sensor and a handy box where to store the cream.

You can see where this is going. This totally beautiful prototype of my Facial Cream Smart Storage Box is now deployed to test. If I open or close the box, the door sensor status changes, thus the facial cream mercy countdown timer resets.

How does it work? And does it really work?

Cozify smart IoT hub is keeping an eye on the magnetic door sensor’s last status change. And look, that awesome brown tape does not bother the magnets at all, Cozify reported the status as changed.

Now that I got the Cozify part working, my Zabbix can then receive the last change time as in Unix time.

On my Grafana, there’s now this absolutely gorgeous new panel, converting the Unix time to the “How long ago the last event happened?” indicator.

So the dashboard part is now working. But that is not all we need to do.

Alerting and escalation

Dashboards and monitoring are not useful at all if proper alerts are not being sent out. I now have this new alert trigger action rule in place.

In other words, if I forget to apply the facial cream, I have a one-hour time window to apply it, or otherwise, the alert gets escalated to my wife.

Will this method work? Is my prototype box reliable? I will tell you next time.

I have been working at Forcepoint since 2014 and never get tired of finding out new areas to monitor. — Janne Pikkarainen

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What’s Up, Home? – Use the Zabbix, Luke

Post Syndicated from Janne Pikkarainen original https://blog.zabbix.com/whats-up-home-use-the-zabbix-luke/20953/

Welcome to my weekly blog about how I monitor my home with Zabbix. Like Batman, I have a casual day job as a monitoring tech lead, and by night I tinker around with my home Zabbix. (Except that Batman does not do monitoring, or who knows.)

Anyone using Zabbix knows how it can gather data from just about anywhere, and it can send its alerts to just about anything — pager systems like PagerDuty or OpsGenie, ticketing systems like Jira, e-mail, SMS, etc. Integrating with those takes minutes, is officially supported, very well documented, and would not make sense at home. But, what if at home I would like to show any possible alerts in a completely different way?

Zabbix, meet Star Wars

So, if I want to integrate my Zabbix with a screen saver, how would that work? And how long would that take? Is it even possible?

My friend, in the case of the good old xscreensaver you have many, many options. For its text-based screen saver modules, you can feed it a text file, or an URL from where it downloads the text to show on the screen. Making xscreensaver contents dynamic is easy.

For Zabbix, to make it send its alerts as text, you have many options. At least:

  1. Configure an action that runs whatever command to save the alert to a text file; even echo would do
  2. Let your Other System fetch the alerts over Zabbix API
  3. Let your Other System fetch the alerts directly from the Zabbix database
  4. Send out your alerts as e-mails and let your Other System parse those e-mails
  5. Configure a new custom media type to do something
  6. Use Zabbix real-time export functionality
Internals of my xscreensaver showcase

For this exercise, I decided to use the sixth option: Zabbix real-time export functionality.

What’s that, you ask?

It makes Zabbix save history, trends and/or triggers to JSON files, which any 3rd party program can then parse and utilize. Enabling it happens in practice by commenting out three lines in the Zabbix server config file, altering the path where you want the JSON files to be created, deciding the maximum size of the created files, and what kind of events you want to export. Restart the Zabbix server process, done.

My Zabbix is now running on Raspberry Pi 4. Then, I have a FreeBSD laptop for anything nerdy I want to do, and the FreeBSD laptop has xscreensaver for this demonstration.

So, my FreeBSD laptop does rsync the JSON files from Zabbix server every minute, extracts the event host name and trigger name using jq, and saves the output to text file. Surround that with header and footer text files, and you are done.

Now every time I don’t touch my FreeBSD laptop in a while, it turns on its screensaver and shows me the recent Zabbix alerts. Zabbix, meet Star Wars.

For now, the alert format shown on scroller is not perfect, but it works and took three or four lines of bash in total to accomplish. That’s easy, and in total took maybe 15 minutes to implement to its current stage.

Other news about my home monitoring project
  • My facial cream usage monitoring is going great! I have not missed applying my facial cream even once — I mean, I have received alerts from Zabbix, but each and every time I have then proceeded to apply the cream and my wife has received zero alerts so far. Good boy, me! (Read more about this project next week!)
  • As the trains stopping at our station are not always reliable (they can be either very late or canceled), I now have a live map showing the real-time status of the trains we are interested in. This part actually does not have anything to do with Zabbix at the moment, it’s Grafana and its GraphQL plugin querying data from an official train traffic open data system.
  • Zabbix 6.0 gained a new official weather template, so I now have a local weather dashboard as well provided by Zabbix.
  • I made a “home status shown as emojis” dashboard to make monitoring fun(?) and interesting(?) for the whole family — now our home status can be observed from our living room TV easily.

Some screenshots are below:

I have been working at Forcepoint since 2014 and never get bored of showing the alerts in new ways. — Janne Pikkarainen

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

Celebrating the community: Jay

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

We love being able to share how young people across the world are getting creative with technology and solving problems that matter to them. That’s why we put together a series of films that celebrate the personal stories of young tech creators.

Jay at an outside basketball court.

For our next story, we met up with young digital maker Jay in Preston, UK, who wants to share what coding and robotics mean to him.

Watch Jay’s video to see how Jay created a homemade ventilator, Oxy-Pi, and how he’s making sure people in his local community also have the opportunity to create with technology. 

Meet Jay

Help us celebrate Jay by sharing his story on Twitter, LinkedIn, or Facebook!

Jay (11) wants everyone to learn about programming. At a young age, Jay started to experiment with code to make his own games. He attended free coding groups in his area, such as CoderDojo, and was introduced to the block-based programming language Scratch. Soon Jay was combining his interests in programming with robotics to make his own inventions. 

“My mission is to spread the word of computing and programming, because not many people know about these subjects.”


Jay teaches a group of schoolchildren how to use the programming language Scratch on a computer.
“The class teachers learn a lot from him, not just the children.” Mr Aspinall, Head teacher at Queen’s Drive Primary School

When he found out about Coolest Projects, our global tech showcase where young creators share their projects, Jay decided to channel his creativity into making something to exhibit there. He brought along a security alarm he had built, and he left Coolest Projects having made lots of new friends who were young tech creators just like himself.   

“With robotics and coding, what Jay has learned is to think outside of the box and without any limits.”

Biren, Jay’s dad

While Jay has made many different tech projects, all of his ideas involve materials that are easily accessible and low-cost. Lots of his creations start out made with cardboard, and repurposed household items often feature in his final projects. Jay says, “I don’t want to spend much money, because it’s not necessary when you actually have an alternative that works perfectly fine.” 

Jay holds a poster that has a plan of his Oxy-Pi project.
Jay uses his digital making skills to help others.

One of Jay’s recent projects, which he made from repurposed materials, is called Oxy-Pi. It’s a portable ventilator for use at home. Jay was inspired to make Oxy-Pi during the COVID-19 pandemic, and this project is especially important to him as his dad was hospitalised during this time. With his digital making approach, Jay is an example to everyone that you can use anything you have to hand to create something important to you.

Young coder Jay at home with his family.
Jay and his family in Preston, UK.

Digital making has helped Jay express himself creatively, test his skills, and make new friends, which is why he is motivated to help others learn about digital making too. In his local community, Jay has been teaching children, teenagers, and adults about coding and robotics for the last few years. He says that he and the people around him get a lot from the experience.  

“When I go out and teach, I love it so much because it’s really accessible. It helps me build my confidence, it helps them to discover, to learn, to create. And it’s really fun.”


Using tech to create things and solve problems, and helping others to learn to do the same, is incredibly important to Jay, and he wants it to be important to you too!

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

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