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Friday, 27 October 2017

Sugar on Pi - headless Raspberry Pi 3 B

SoaS or Sugar on a Stick was a popular interface to boot a Windows or any non-XO machine into the Sugar GUI.

With Raspbian (Stretch), there are different variants that range from Pidora to Fedora but this approach using a Sugar based Linux image created by Sugar labs, thankfully worked although with a few glitches when working with the Journal. Not sure if it is less memory or connecting through XMing.

I guess it is early days to make any confident observation on the maturity of using Sugar Activities on the RasPi3 but I am thrilled with the prospect of offering a less than $100 educational laptop based on the Raspberry Pi 3 B or Raspberry Pi Zero W hardware.

The reason for the thrill is the My Neighborhood interface that works with the WiFi connectivity.


The interface I used to connect graphically with the Pi is the ssh+x11 using Xming as the display output. 



Extensively testing the Sugar interface on a 512 M or 1 G motherboard would be the first task that I must accomplish to enable the bundling of the fabulous Sugar activities on the Pi.

A video of the Sugar interface on the Raspberry Pi and the Sugar activities on Sugarizer server.

Friday, 13 October 2017

Headless boot of RasPi 3 B

First things first, the micro sd card can be removed/inserted without having to disassemble the Raspberry Pi official enclosure box unlike what is maintained in many online posts!


It is so important that I thought it best to mention it ahead of any technical steps because so winding are the many forum documentation on how to start up your Raspberry Pi, without a monitor/screen/keyboard via wifi/lan.

I used Windows 7 laptop so all instructions are based on Windows.

Other Assumptions - DHCP client service running, ethernet enabled.

Early footnote - There is a 'w' version (wireless and bluetooth) of Raspberry Pi Zero that is lesser to the Pi 3 B in RAM, some processing power and about Rs. 2k less in cost.

To get on with the Pi 3 B, first,

the Dont's

1. Don't use Noobs!

2. Don't buy the pre-installed SD Card from CrazyPI (Not being mean here (anyway, CrazyPI is getting free reach here!) but the sheer waste of a day because of the SD card is simply a no-no) that says you would get a Pidora, too. It does not even boot!

3. I bought the one, a 16 GB card, and after a day of tussle with online forums and the SD card, I finally went and bought a Micro SD Card adapter, deleted all the files (made a copy of the files, of course, just for good measure!), downloaded/installed Etcher, ran it and selected the Rasbian Stretch image that I had downloaded from the official RasPi website and flashed it onto the SD Card. 

4. It took 4 hours to burn the image (and an additional hour or so to validate the burned image)! Probably, a 8 GB micro SD card (Class 10) should burn faster. Size matters, in this context!

the Do's

1. Open Notepad and simply save the open (empty) file as is, naming the file as "ssh" to the root of the sd card that you just created. This is to enable ssh in the RasPi.

2. Safely remove the SD card and insert the SD Card into the RasPi slot, power it on and plug in the LAN cable.

3. Open your Wireless connection from the Network and sharing center 


4. Click Properties and switch to the Sharing tab. Check the two values as in the below screenshot:


5. A prompt to associate a private connection to share will appear. Select "Local area connection" from the Select Private connection drop-down menu. Click Ok.

6. Open the LAN connection properties. It should show something like this:



7. Download Putty and RealVNC and install them.

8. Open Putty and type "raspberrypi.mshome.net" in the hostname field under the Session menu item to the left pane in Putty. Note: Once you change the name, however, use the ip address of the pi to connect (applicable only with DHCP usage because upon reboot, the IP, to which the name points, may not remain the same).


Click Open.

9. Enter login as "pi" and password as "raspberry"

10. Type "sudo raspi-config". The below screen will help in starting the VNC server. Scroll to the "Interfacing options" with the help of the down arrow key as below:

 Press Enter.

11. Scroll down to "VNC" as below, press Enter and select Enable in the subsequent dialog box. Navigate to finish using the arrow keys and press Enter to return to the shell.



12. Start RealVNC from your Windows laptop and enter the hostname as before and you will have the VNC viewer displaying your RasPi desktop.

13. Most likely, a warning to change password will appear and the text may overflow beyond the screen.

14. You can set the Raspi configuration now using the GUI, as below!


15. Select Raspberry configuration and modify the screen resolution. A prompt to reboot the Pi may appear. Click Ok. The VNC server would shut down so close the VNC viewer in your Windows laptop and reopen it.

16. The new resolution may enable you to view the wifi information




17. Start the "node-red" server from the programs. Note the IP address with the port number. Type the address with the port number from your Windows browser and the speed with which node-red connects will surely make you straight away buy a led and fiddle with the GPIOs to set up your first IoT thing!


Happy IoT-ing!

Monday, 19 June 2017

Docker EE for AWS

Somehow, I struggled through Docker. I will outline my steps so that you don't have to follow the tedious path.

First I tried to install Docker on Windows.

Pitfalls: OS version. If you don't have the Windows 10 Pro edition, you can use the Docker toolbox only.

So, okay. Download the Docker toolbox.

And I checked the VirtualBox option for good measure and it did stand me in good stead because - believe this - the Windows Server image on the EC2 instance cannot have its Hyper-V/AMD something started because you can set the setting only in BIOS and on the EC2 instance, running on Remote Desktop (RDP), there is no way of accessing the BIOS, even if it made sense!

Below is the roadmap of the 1st attempt





Initially, I thought like this:                                                          Then, I thought like this:






                                          






2nd attempt

I went into the VM using the RDP and started the VirtualBox and gave Ubuntu as the image. Great! It started the VirtualBox but the EC2 instance had only 1 GB RAM and the VirtualBox script wanted 2 GB, by default!

Okay! Let me check if an EC2 instance with a Linux Ubuntu image (AMI) was available. It was but I did not want to get into the Linux OS shell.

So, what is the alternative?


Docker EE for AWS



A native AWS stack that could host a Docker container on a kernel all its own, with a set of Docker engines. No underlying OS but on top of the AWS IaaS services!




Sounds great but you really cannot see it working because when you try to access the public DNS via a browser, an Apache server message will greet you that the url you are looking for cannot be reached although the server is okay!


Docker EE for AWS is a one click template to quickly deploy Docker on Amazon EC2, says the Docker EE Store. And it is, if only the template stayed put in its AWS region. It seems that the tricky part has not been documented.
The KeyPair that the template requires must be an EC2 generated Keypair from the same region in which your EC2 instance is!


Finally, the aws CloudFormation Stack gets created.












You can use this in your Docker EE deployment to AWS

Friday, 16 June 2017

Bitnami, WordPress and the AWS - a good rack

I just had to blog this - it is about my new blog on WordPress.



I had moved to Azure from AWS in 2013-14 not because I had anything against AWS or for Azure but simply because clients who wanted to use Microsoft ASP.Net and SQL Server made Azure the natural choice.

But it seems that the instances of Windows Server on AWS are more than that in Azure. The AWS has expanded like the Elastic Beanstalk with DevOps and Big Data capabilities and IoT.

At an estimated monthly cost of $5-6, AWS does offer some cool stuf.

One thing though. Why are the regions active in this menu



when an instance created in a specific region cannot be moved by the selection of a different region from the drop-down menu?

Bitnami on the Cloud with a Launchpad for WordPress is a revelation. Cool integration with aws and it even offers WAMP and other xamp stacks.

And yes, my WordPress blog on the cloud, not yet there, content-wise but it is seo enabled etc!