Headless Spotify Debian linux server fine tunes

Fine tunes and extras for Vivek Panyam’s guide “How to build a headless Spotify Streaming box”

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Self-hosted home SMS gateway

How to set up Gammu on an old ThinkPad with a 3G modem and listen for MQTT messages to send them as text messages in case your internet is down but you still need to alert.

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Environmental sensor logging with Rasbperry Pi, Adafruit BME280 and SI1145, collectd, and mosquitto

How to collect, monitor, read, and store pressure, temperature, humidity, visible, IR, and UV light data with a Raspberry Pi, an Adafruit BME280, Adafruit SI1145, collectd stats collector, and mosquitto MQTT.

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La Palma - stones on the shore

Camera
PENTAX K-5 II s
Aperture
f/25.0
Shutter speed
6 sec
Focal length (as set)
35.0 mm
Sensitivity
ISO 200
Lens
HD PENTAX-DA 16-85mm F3.5-5.6 ED DC WR

On the first day we arrived to La Palma we only started to look around and arrived into one of the larger towns rather late. This, however, is never a problem for photographers: we walked down to the part of the shore where only one people was fishing - after trying to take cheesy sunset pictures - and started to experiment with long exposure on the volcanic rocks.

La Palma - Tazacorte

Camera
GT-I9505
Aperture
f/
Shutter speed
sec
Focal length (as set)
Sensitivity
ISO
Lens

Tazacorte is not a particularly interesting city - although the various, colourful houses are nice -, but the view is exceptional. All those green trees are banana trees; the air is crisp and the sea is magnificent.

La Palma - panorama

Camera
PENTAX K-5 II s
Aperture
f/
Shutter speed
sec
Focal length (as set)
Sensitivity
ISO
Lens

I barely ever had any GPS reception on La Palma so it’s a little hard to tell where exactly the pictures were taken - pictures indeed, because this is a panorama stitched together from 3 handheld images from a DSLR by Hugin1. I’m extremely impressed by that software: the 3 source photos were with different exposure, even their white balance differed a little yet Hugin put them together without a glitch.


  1. http://hugin.sourceforge.net/

La Palma - Teneguía

Camera
PENTAX K-5 II s
Aperture
f/9.0
Shutter speed
1/60 sec
Focal length (as set)
39.0 mm
Sensitivity
ISO 200
Lens
HD PENTAX-DA 16-85mm F3.5-5.6 ED DC WR

The South-West area of La Palma is the youngest in terms of volcanic activity; there was a huge erosion in the ’70s, which formed the land the way it is today.

Originally we didn’t plan to visit this area for too long, thinking it’s not as interesting as the rest of the island - we were wrong. Not only there is a traditional salt factory here, there are lots of small beaches where nobody goes, and the view is magnificent as well.

La Palma - Teneguía sky

Camera
PENTAX K-5 II s
Aperture
f/11.0
Shutter speed
1/100 sec
Focal length (as set)
16.0 mm
Sensitivity
ISO 200
Lens
HD PENTAX-DA 16-85mm F3.5-5.6 ED DC WR

I’ve seen magnificent skies, but the non-earthy, black volcanic ground, combined with deep blue sky and beautiful clouds is certainly on the list of the outerworld-ish experiences.

I did use a polarizer, but I was only trying to capture what my eyes saw.

La Palma - volcano route next to Enríque

Camera
PENTAX K-5 II s
Aperture
f/16.0
Shutter speed
1/125 sec
Focal length (as set)
16.0 mm
Sensitivity
ISO 200
Lens
HD PENTAX-DA 16-85mm F3.5-5.6 ED DC WR

Note: always stay 2 additional days at a location than you were originally planning and don’t plan anything for that 2 days. So whatever you were unaware of, but about learn during your stay, you can check out on that 2 days.

Unfortunately we didn’t do this with our Canary Islands visit, but even though we were running a little tight on time, the volcano route is not something you leave out. We drove along on the road that runs more or less parallel with the route and stopped at a few locations to take a better look; this is one of them.

La Palma - view on the volcano route

Camera
PENTAX K-5 II s
Aperture
f/16.0
Shutter speed
1/125 sec
Focal length (as set)
60.0 mm
Sensitivity
ISO 200
Lens
HD PENTAX-DA 16-85mm F3.5-5.6 ED DC WR

There is a footpath on La Palma which takes you through the moon-like landscape of volcanos - the only problem with it is that with all the black rocks, it can get very hot there. This is a view from the South towards North.

The dock of La Palma

Camera
PENTAX K-5 II s
Aperture
f/8.0
Shutter speed
1/250 sec
Focal length (as set)
60.0 mm
Sensitivity
ISO 200
Lens
HD PENTAX-DA 16-85mm F3.5-5.6 ED DC WR

The best excursions and holidays are the ones where apart from the planned, you allocate time for the unplanned, our you’re willing to adapt.

We were certainly not planning to go out for whale and dolphin watching, but when we stopped at a restaurant on top of the cliffs we spotted a leaflet about Fancy21 and decided to get on it next day.

On our way towards the open sea we passed the surprisingly brutalist dock; this is what you see on the picture.


  1. http://fancy2.com/fancy-2/

Cambridge night lamps

Camera
PENTAX K-5 II s
Aperture
f/
Shutter speed
1/30 sec
Focal length (as set)
50.0 mm
Sensitivity
ISO 1600
Lens
K or M Lens

Sometimes, when you live in a beautiful city, you take it for granted, and overlook all the marvels around you. Unfortunately I barely ever wonder in the center of Cambridge during night, but at one day it all felt so perfect, still, quiet, and lightly foggy that despite the weekday, we took a stroll in the town. It was worth it; we even spotted an otter in the Cam.

Bookmarks, favs, likes - backfilling years of gaps

What do you do when you have years of hoarded internet on your computer and you want to put them into one place, to make it searchable? You put them on your website, while retroactively like, favorite, and bookmark them at their source.

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A dirty fix for non-stop drifting Trackpoint

How to stop Trackpoint from constantly, slowly moving on it’s own under linux

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Logging Android sensor data with Automate

I’ve been searching for a long while for a sensor data logger app; it turns out Automate can do this just fine with a lot of extra, so here’s my solution for a Galaxy S4.

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ZFS NFS shares with avahi zeroconf

How to announce ZFS NFS shares on your home network for clients to automatically discover them.

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Fix the hard drive killer APM

How to spin down hard drive and get rid of the clicking noise in Debian 9 (Strecth) and Ubuntu 16.04 on a Thinkpad X250

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Save files from Samsung Galaxy S4 with a dead screen with Debian or Ubuntu

How to download your files and safely destroy personal data from a Samsung android phone with a dead screen using heimdall, TWRP, and adb.

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Changing laptops: ThinkPad X200 vs X250, a story of a long postponed upgrade

Even though I only owned an X200 for 3 years, the laptop from 2009 was becoming aged, no matter how many things I replaced on it, so sadly, it was time to look for an alternative.

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Replacing Baïkal with Radicale

I was becoming unhappy with Baïkal, my contact and calendar sync server: a growing number of clients was unable to use it, so I started to look for alternatives. This time I wanted something plain text based.

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Beddgelert

Camera
PENTAX K-5 II s
Aperture
f/8.0
Shutter speed
1/320 sec
Focal length (as set)
48.0 mm
Sensitivity
ISO 160
Lens
HD PENTAX-DA 16-85mm F3.5-5.6 ED DC WR

Our third visit to Wales was in autumn, and though I’ve not yet been there during winter, I can safely state it’s always beautiful. Beddgelert is a small community; the name of the place originates from a sad story of a heroic dog. It can offer you magnificent views of the local mountains and hills so don’t miss it if you’re close.

Fairy Glen

Camera
PENTAX K-5 II s
Aperture
f/32.0
Shutter speed
6 sec
Focal length (as set)
85.0 mm
Sensitivity
ISO 160
Lens
HD PENTAX-DA 16-85mm F3.5-5.6 ED DC WR

The surroundings of Betws-y-Coed can offer numerous attractions, from peaks to abandoned mines, but there is a certain little creek which looks like a place out of myths and fairytales: the Fairy Glen. The whole area is a light trip, but it makes a beautiful view. Unfortunately it looks like the only way to get to the really nice areas are through the water, which I would love to do once. It will certainly has to be during summer though, and I’ll need proper waterproof casing for my gear, so it may be challenging.

How to get rid of 'FastCGI sent in stderr: Primary script unknown' in nginx logs

Add try_files $uri $script_name =404; to your PHP handling block. Click more for details

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Tihany

Camera
PENTAX K-5 II s
Aperture
f/8.0
Shutter speed
1/640 sec
Focal length (as set)
300.0 mm
Sensitivity
ISO 200
Lens
HD PENTAX-DA 55-300mm F4-5.8 ED WR

It is always hard to take pictures of places you know well: when you’ve seen places countless times none of the scenery look extraordinary enough to fossilise it for eternity.

Thankfully, there are exceptions. This was taken in Tihany, at a beautiful, sunny day, when thankfully enough sailing ships were out on the water. All the colours were in place and I loved the reflections - you definitely need to wait much, much longer at places you know for a good moment, but it worth it.

Going static

The “why”s for writing one’s own static generator, which I want to replace my WordPress with.

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Hacking tint2 panel: weather, CPU temperature and volume executors

Adding weather, volume and CPU status a hacker friendly panel: tint2.

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How to export Flickr to a GPX file to Geotag photos

Using Flickr to add GPS metadata to my photos.

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How to send simple UTF-8 email in Python 3.x

Apparently, sending email in Python is painful. This is what I did to ease it.

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Delete stolen contacts in social networks

How to delete stolen contact lists - address books - from LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter.

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Stream at Llyn Idwal 2

Camera
PENTAX K-5 II s
Aperture
f/16.0
Shutter speed
1/200 sec
Focal length (as set)
16.0 mm
Sensitivity
ISO 200
Lens
HD PENTAX-DA 16-85mm F3.5-5.6 ED DC WR

Afternoon sun, snow on the top of the mountains, streams wherever you look - Snowdonia is magnificent during spring.

Stream at Llyn Idwal

Camera
PENTAX K-5 II s
Aperture
f/22.0
Shutter speed
1/15 sec
Focal length (as set)
43.0 mm
Sensitivity
ISO 160
Lens
HD PENTAX-DA 16-85mm F3.5-5.6 ED DC WR

This was our very first visit to Snowdonia, and I’m glad we went at the beginning of May: only a month later, these little streams dry up for the summer, and while the view is still magnificent, I liked it better with the numerous waterfalls and streams around.

Llyn Idwal 1

Camera
PENTAX K-5 II s
Aperture
f/11.0
Shutter speed
1/200 sec
Focal length (as set)
16.0 mm
Sensitivity
ISO 200
Lens
HD PENTAX-DA 16-85mm F3.5-5.6 ED DC WR

The perfect weather is never only bright sunshine. For us, here, it was some remnants of snow on the top, occasional clouds with the mix of sunshine and a reasonable temperature to walk around. That is the perfect weather.

Llyn Idwal

Camera
PENTAX K-5 II s
Aperture
f/11.0
Shutter speed
1/320 sec
Focal length (as set)
18.0 mm
Sensitivity
ISO 160
Lens
HD PENTAX-DA 16-85mm F3.5-5.6 ED DC WR

One can always wish for the perfect weather, yet most of the times, it remains a wish. Not this time.

There is a National Trust recommendation to visit Llyn Idwal, which Nora1 spotted, and they were right about the place: it’s magnificent. We really weren’t expecting snow on the mountains in May, but that, combined with the clouds and the late afternoon sunshine was just perfect.

I cropped the image, but apart from that, it really looked like this. No edits, no nothing.


  1. https://norahamucska.eu

Snowdonia

Camera
PENTAX K-5 II s
Aperture
f/16.0
Shutter speed
1/250 sec
Focal length (as set)
43.0 mm
Sensitivity
ISO 200
Lens
HD PENTAX-DA 16-85mm F3.5-5.6 ED DC WR

When you realise there is a bank holiday coming soon, and you have no plans yet even though weather looks promising, you start looking for options. In our case the usual destination is the Peak District, but it was sold out, so we had to look elsewhere.

Since we wanted to visit Snowdonia for a long while now, it seemed like a good choice - although the weather forecast for Sunday was rough. And my, I wasn’t expecting what we got.

This place has mountains, real mountains; some peaks still had snow when we got there on Saturday, and we had magnificent lights.

Apart from a minor rotate, no edit, filter - neither software, nor physical - was used here; this did actually look like this.

If you decide to visit, climbing Snowdon shouldn’t be your priority. We even didn’t bother to go this time: the other locations surrounding it might even be more unique - since if you’re on the highest mountain, you can’t take breathtaking pictures of the other mountains, can you?

Winter meets Spring

Camera
PENTAX K-5 II s
Aperture
f/11.0
Shutter speed
1/250 sec
Focal length (as set)
85.0 mm
Sensitivity
ISO 200
Lens
HD PENTAX-DA 16-85mm F3.5-5.6 ED DC WR

Sometimes winter is long; sometimes there is snow in May in Wales. Sometimes one mountain is still covered in snow, when the other reached spring already.

No edit, just crop.

Another 2 weeks in Sichuan: Mount Emei

This is my third and last entry about our trip to Sichuan for the second time, about the main purpose for going back there: Mount Emei.

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Monkeys of nothingness 2

Camera
PENTAX K-5 II s
Aperture
f/5.6
Shutter speed
1/250 sec
Focal length (as set)
85.0 mm
Sensitivity
ISO 400
Lens
HD PENTAX-DA 16-85mm F3.5-5.6 ED DC WR

I love prime lens. They are small, sharp, and by removing a step to think about - no zoom - they let you think more of that actually is going to be in the picture. ( Although this may not be true in general, only in my case. )

But primes can become serious restraints when you encounter the unexpected. In this case, a monastery, sitting within the clouds, with families of monkeys admiring the astonishing nothingness.

It takes too long to switch to the zoom lens, or to switch to another prime, which will eventually lead to missed moments. In my case, a perfect image of a monkey drinking from a bottle, with a reflection of it in a pool of water. By the time I switched to a longer lens, that moment was gone.

I still had the chance to create this one, which I’m quite glad for; but the lesson is learnt: when you don’t know what to expect, keep the zoom lens on.

Monkeys of nothingness

Camera
PENTAX K-5 II s
Aperture
f/4.5
Shutter speed
1/1000 sec
Focal length (as set)
35.0 mm
Sensitivity
ISO 400
Lens
HD PENTAX-DA 16-85mm F3.5-5.6 ED DC WR

There are moments in your life which you never expect, never anticipate to see. Even if you’ve seen countless brilliant photographs or numerous magnificent movies of nature, you don’t expect to see a Buddhist temple, with a monkey family, buried in the clouds, where the monkey sit on the railing so watch the nothingness of the passing fog.

Elephant Bathing Pool - Xixiangchi Monastery

Camera
PENTAX K-5 II s
Aperture
f/5.6
Shutter speed
1/60 sec
Focal length (as set)
85.0 mm
Sensitivity
ISO 200
Lens
HD PENTAX-DA 16-85mm F3.5-5.6 ED DC WR

According to the legend, this was the spot where Samantabhadra stopped his elephant to have a rest in a pool on his way to the mountain top - thus the name.

Imagine an ancient monastery, with only a handful a people, up in the clouds, with red walls and forgotten silence. Imagine monkeys slowly taking over it, sitting all around on the irregular walls, next to slant walls, playing, and waiting for people to come.

I never really thought places like this exist, but they do.

Waterfall at Emei Mountain

Camera
PENTAX K-5 II s
Aperture
f/5.6
Shutter speed
1/100 sec
Focal length (as set)
16.0 mm
Sensitivity
ISO 800
Lens
HD PENTAX-DA 16-85mm F3.5-5.6 ED DC WR

Imagine 20km stairs ahead of you and it’s already dusk - that is the point you realise you will spend your night at a monastery, but you still need to hurry to get there before everything turns pitch black and you’re left with the monkeys.

So when one of the most magnificent views you’ve ever experienced pops up at this time, it’s a little tragic you can’t spend a few hours just there; not only to make the best photo possible but to breathe in the crisp air, the distant, unknown noises, and the roar of the waterfall.

The waterfall, by the way, started somewhere on the left, on the very top of the mountain, sometimes peaking out of the mist. The formations in the background are not just clouds; most of them are mountains and cliffs themselves.

A waterfall near Qingyin Pavilion

Camera
PENTAX K-5 II s
Aperture
f/11.0
Shutter speed
1/6 sec
Focal length (as set)
53.0 mm
Sensitivity
ISO 200
Lens
HD PENTAX-DA 16-85mm F3.5-5.6 ED DC WR

Qingyin Pavilion it a fairly central point at Emei Mountain: 4 main routes merge here, and it’s also the closest place to go and see monkeys from.

It also hosts numerous small/medium waterfalls, such as this one.

Emei flowers

Camera
PENTAX K-5 II s
Aperture
f/8.0
Shutter speed
1/250 sec
Focal length (as set)
53.0 mm
Sensitivity
ISO 200
Lens
HD PENTAX-DA 16-85mm F3.5-5.6 ED DC WR

Arriving at the top of Emei, at 3099m wasn’t as elevating as we expected - mostly due to the thick fog. Given you’re sitting inside a cloud, it is reasonable, but takes away one of the most magnificent scenery you could experience.

However, it certainly results in a mystical, film-like atmosphere, where colours are unexpected and surprising.