If you’ve been following my YouTube channel or this blog you’ll know by now about my Workshop Automation project that I have on the go. It will incorporate many elements of the Arduino journey so far, but requires something a bit more sophisticated to tie it all together. Hence the Raspberry Pi 3B+ sitting on my desk. Who would have thought it?
I’ve followed a script or two in Python, my new, interpreted language and it is straightforward to use – except I keep putting semicolons at the end of every statement, and want a “reformat” button. The lack of curly braces, and using indentation to scope the code is also very odd to me (it just feels wrong to a C++ programmer) but despite all this, and proving you can teach an old dog new tricks, I’m finding Python a nice language to use.
However, I’ve discovered whilst reading my new Exploring Raspberry Pi book, by Derek Molloy that you can easily write C++ code that is then compiled into a shared object and can be consumed by the Python. So when the need arises I can go back to a proper programming language (just kidding, don’t flame me).
Many of you have also commented on my latest couple of YouTube videos about what I should be running, both on the Pi and on the Sonoff 4-channel unit. MQTT is a deffo (and I have now up and running) and Node-RED to orchestrate the aforesaid MQTT. Additionally, many of you are advocating replacing the default firmware in the Sonoff and using Tasmota, a version of which has been specially prepared for the Sonoff 4-channel unit. The advantage of doing this, it appears, is that you have better control and options of the Sonoff itself, it still ties into Amazon’s Echo (Alexa) for the four channels and there is no 3rd party cloud connectivity required – it’s all under our own control, huzzah!
The last time I had any dealings with Linux was probably back in the year 2000. “This will be the new desktop,” I said to my work colleagues who looked at me as though I had taken leave of my senses. They were all too busy upgrading from Windows 95 to Windows 2000 to even think about Red Hat. Well, I got my head around the Linux command line, learned to use an editor, modified a distro or two and… nothing. My interest petered out as it became apparent that Windows had won the desktop battle if not the OS war.
Who would have thought that, nearly 20 years later, Linux was the defacto standard for that Raspberry Pi sitting on my desk? I can’t remember much at all about Linux commands, as I didn’t do it long enough for it to go to long-term memory. But now I have another “quick” guide, Linux in Easy Steps, that I’m hoping will make it easier to understand what is going on “under the hood” of my Pi. First glance makes me excited to read on, with full-colour images and screenshots, none of which I can show you due to copyright laws. Perfect for a noob like me. Oh well, we shall see how I progress over the next few weeks.
As if this cornucopia of reading material were not enough, Amazon has asked me to review the latest Raspberry Pi for Dummies, which is about my level currently; funny how Amazon knew that. What have guys been saying about me 🙂
As it happens, I’ve long been a fan of the Dummies series, and the first glance at this one makes me think that we will get along, although the lack of colour pictures and screenshots (all greyscale) makes it less attractive (than the Linux in Easy Steps) to shallow people like me! I mean, where’s the bling?
Needless to say, I was under the misapprehension that I was doing some bleeding edge technical forays into this Home Automation area, only to discover that many have trod this path before me, found all the bugs and selected the best-fit software – all of which allows me to stand on the shoulders of giants and present to the world my findings, projects and experiences. It’s a great way to share knowledge though, and encourage others to follow.
For which I must give a resounding Thank You to all of you who are supporting my YouTube channel and this blog – your presence is highly valued.