Home About Meetings FOSS

September 13 2022 Home Assistant, Nextcloud, cross-platform programs, kdialog

Posted on September 15, 2022
( 4 minute read )

Brian said that, though he had used Node_RED to control the automation of thermostats (see November 2021 BradLUG meeting), this had proved unreliable because Node-RED kept rebooting at random times; he had discovered that this was probably linked to unreliable dependencies.

However, there is a thermostat option in Home Assistant and, if Bluetooth is installed, it will pick up Bluetooth outputs from thermostats. If you go to Settings->Devices and services, you are offered Integrations Devices Entities and Helpers. Each Entity can be enabled individually and, if you already have something set up, as Brian has, you can integrate that with Home Assistant and it will use both whatever you have already set up and its own entities. To do this you link the relevant Entity_IDs in a configuration file.

A fifteen line script to configure and entity-id
Entity configuration

Brian has also got the cameras at his house in the UK working again; he demonstrated the one showing the side of the house and the one in the kitchen. He would like to add a motion sensor to the camera on the side of the house.

He connects to Home Assistant in the UK via the tailscale VPN service which can go through carrier grade NAT etc. and so he can examine the local IPs in the UK. tailscale is very easy to set up.

It is also possible to install Home Assistant with a Home Assistant image though David commented the he used a Docker instance.

However, Brian hasn’t succeeded with Nextcloud because different versions use different versions of contacts and, if you put in a version that it doesn’t like, it throws up errors. He had messed about for days; when he tried to sync the contacts, NextCloud duplicated everything. The calendar works fine but the contacts don’t.

So he is looking for a contact program which he can use; however, companies that provide contact software often charge for it.

Darren commented that he had come across a version of Linux configured to look like Windows which led on to a mention of PhotoGIMP which gives GIMP a Photoshop like interface and Brian asked about cross-platform programs. John said that we had covered that many years ago. (A list of the the Top Ten programs on which members voted was published and then After the Top Ten which covered 11–42 in the list, of which 15 were not cross-platform.)

Darren went on to share how he had been using kdialog to provide a graphical user interface for the program he had written to find out if two folders were the same and was able to give a demonstration of using the program and also the script which it was presenting graphically which generated a considerable discussion, mainly between Brian and Darren. The script uses diff to calculate the differences between the files in each folder and thereby determine whether the folders are the same.

He has also created a program to create multiple directories. Meanwhile the OU are trying to teach them how to document programs.

Brian noted that the Gnome equivalent of kdialog is Zenity.

John had prepared a fourteenth birthday presentation but had difficulty sharing it and so it was left until next time.