Tech Update

The cluster is sitting there doing its thing. I figured out why Cassandra is such a memory hog: It queries the system memory when it starts and allocates 3/4 of it. Oh sure, there is a limit: 18GB. I haven’t done anything about it, but now I know.

The stuff I’m writing that uses the cluster is up and running. I wrote it – and the infrastructure to support it – in Python as a learning exercise. I’m comfortable claiming I know Python, now. I think it’s a dreadful language and nothing the least bit significant should ever be written in it, but I do know it. One must have, literally, 100% test coverage or one’s program is absolute garbage. I had a “log error, but don’t crash” exception handler crash – after the program had been running for days – because of a spelling error (there is an “a” in “message”). This is why we invented compilers. Well, OK, one reason.

The Raspberry Pi showed up for the home automation hub. I’ve been too busy with work to do anything with it. I’ll probably get it running this weekend and re-arrange the network, again. I still haven’t decided if it will be able to access the Internet or not. I loathe the fact that my Roomba will not work without a cloud connection, but openHAB will control it. (I’m also peeved that it sucks, or rather doesn’t; it’s a horrible vacuum cleaner that leaves hairballs all over the place.) If I leave the Internet connection, I can learn to write Android (my phone) and iPhone (The Laird’s phone) apps. I’m starting with lightbulbs, though.

The more I learn about home automation, the less ready for prime-time it seems. I find the lengths one must go to in order to make things work together daunting. I suppose if one just connects everything to the cloud (Alexa, If-This-Then-That, etc…), it’s not so bad because the service provider does most of the heavy lifting, but do you really want your deadbolts, garage door, and lightbulbs controlled remotely? I suppose it might be safe if one names all one’s devices with the 57 varieties of non-binary gender pronouns.

For example, the “easy” way to get Tuya lightbulbs (the cheap ones that come with a phone app that works for nothing else) to play well with others is to overwrite their ePROM, spy on network packets to get their security keys, install a message queuing system, then use openHAB (or whatever) to control them. Seriously? I would throw out my $10 lightbulb before I doing that, but I do find the challenge intriguing – and I have two of the lightbulbs. And I have already learned the steps, just not performed them. I love the sunk-cost fallacy.

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