Articles on the software industry, offshore outsourcing, open source, ...etc.

Visualizing Rainfall Amounts From Acurite 5n1 Sensor To InfluxDB and Grafana



Many weather sensors just report a cumulative rainfall amount to their display unit. That is, when installed the sensor will start with 0 millimeters, and then as rain falls, it will just keep adding to that number, until the sensor loses power, or is reset.

Since it took me a long time to reach a working solution, I am posting this information to save people looking for the same hours and hours of fruitless searching, and frustrating experimentation.

ETL-Astro: An Extract/Transform/Load Framework for Astronomical Catalogs



Yesterday, I released ETL-Astro, a set of Python programs that generate astronomical catalogs in a variety of formats from license friendly data source, allowing for incorporation in GPL-licensed products.

The programs can do the following:

Fixing a few bugs in Python pywapi related to Canadian cities



While experimenting with the pywapi I found a few problems that require an article, in case someone is facing the same issues.

First, for Canadian cities, you need a more current version of pywapi. On Ubuntu 12.04, the python-pywapi is 0.2.2-1 and does not have the API for The version on 14.04 is 0.3.6, and does have that API.

Second, you need to find the code for your city. Here is a list of codes.

Another reason why Free/Open Source software is better ...


The web comic XKCD often has good insight into technology in a humorous and fun way. It often predicts what is going to happen too in the technology, the web, social media and other fields, sometimes unintentionally.

This time, in issue 644 it provides an argument for why open source is better: other people learn from and build upon what is already out there.

Closed source software is not conducive to this by its very nature ...

OLPC project executive change, gets cozy with Windows and the "Egypt excuse"


There are lots of changes at the OLPC project lately. A top executive shakeup has happened, and it seems to coincide with a ship in direction from being Open Source to allowing Windows as an alternative.

Walter Bender, President of Software and Content for the OLPC was first sidelined then resigned from the project.

Converting Munin's RRD Tool files from AMD64 to Intel machiens


A client who over grew the capacity of their Dual Opteron server planned on moving their site to a 2X Quad Xeon machine.

One of the things we use on the server is Munin for resource utilization and statistics. It is a server side tool that can monitor CPU, Memory, network, Apache, MySQL and much more. It has a web based interface that generates graphs from RRD Tool files.

Is choice always good in open source software?


In open source software communities, choice is often touted as a good thing.

While I agree with this in principle, I do not think that it
is always the case.

When choice is bad: Expense, confusion, low adoption

If choice results in confusing the adopters, increasing the
cost for developers, and fragmenting the market, resulting in less adoption, then it is not a good


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