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    Open Source Self-Hosted Home Assistant home automation with a Modbus TCP interface to a Victron Solar System

    GadgeteerZA · / gadgeteerza-tech-blog · Sunday, 21 August - 13:31 · 1 minute

Home Assistant is an open source self-hosted home automation tool that puts local (not external cloud) control and privacy first. My system is running in a Docker container on a machine at home.

Home Assistant is more than just the monitoring and managing of smart home switches and lights. It has powerful automation that can be triggered by all sorts of events or device states to notify you, or manage even solar systems, garage doors, and much more. For example, I have an automation that announces it has started to rain so we can get the washing off the line before it gets too wet.

In this video I show what my HA dashboards look like, and how I managed to read lots of information via the universal Modbus TCP protocol from my Victron solar energy system, and to also write data back to the Victron system to change the battery minimum state of charge values from HA (or other registers).

I have shared my config files on a Github page so that it is easier for others to replicate some of the same functionality (without spending 4+ hours like I did on a single value statement line).


#technology #homeassistant #smarthome #opensource #selfhosting

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    Docker Punching Holes Through Your VPS Firewall? This Is How I Solved It

    GadgeteerZA · / gadgeteerza-tech-blog · Tuesday, 22 March, 2022 - 14:27

Yes, Docker containers automatically reconfigure the IPTable rules, and do not show up under UFW status as opened ports in your VPS firewall. This can leave your management containers wide open. Most docker container tutorials only use examples of how to do basic port mapping, and this is what exposes those ports.

I explain what is happening with this, and which of the three options I found easiest to make sure only the essential ports are open.


#technology #selfhosting #docker #VPS #security

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    How to easily manage Docker Containers using Portainer graphical user interface on Ubuntu

    GadgeteerZA · / gadgeteerza-tech-blog · Tuesday, 15 March, 2022 - 11:45

Portainer is an open-source management UI for Docker, including Docker Swarm environment. Portainer makes it easier for you to manage your Docker containers, it allows you to manage containers, images, networks, and volumes from the web-based Portainer dashboard.

I started out with docker containers using Portainer, and I still use Portainer today. In the beginning, I used the quick-click install of existing App Templates to quickly get many popular types of web service up and running. It was this ease of use that helped me migrate away from cPanel hosting. Today I tend to use App Templates, where I have taken existing scripts and tweaked them for my use to store data on specific external volumes, specify ports to be used, etc.

If you want to get into using Docker Containers to host services, I'd suggest looking at a few videos about using Portainer to get the feel of it. Of course, everything in Portainer can be done from the command line too (and often quicker) but using a graphical interface that basically does everything needed, is a lot more friendly for most average users.


#technology #docker #containers #portainer #selfhosting

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    You can quite easily host a Drupal blog on a Raspberry Pi at home

    GadgeteerZA · / gadgeteerza-tech-blog · Friday, 11 March, 2022 - 11:28

I tested accessing the site as it loads just as any other normal site is expected to load. It makes one realise again that for many hosting projects, you often don't need external paid hosting.

You can use a Pi as long as you also have a domain name you can point to your home, and something to handle the incoming web requests securely (see my YouTube video about how I handle hosting from home at

Hosting with a cloud provider is pretty cheap if you are just doing something small, but once your storage needs really grow (photo or video site for example), or you need to run a bunch of services, it can get quite costly. One, or more, Pi's may well do the trick from home!


#technology #raspberrypi #selfhosting #blog #drupal

  • How I run my blog on a Raspberry Pi

    Like a lot of folks who enjoy tinkering with technology, I now have a small but growing collection of Raspberry Pi boxes around my house. I've used them for various projects: A PiHole network ad blocker, an OctoPi 3D print server, and a Minecraft server, among others. However, the most custom project I've done is setting up a Raspberry Pi to act as a web server to host my own blog site, I got the idea while researching for an interview I did a couple of years ago.

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    DockSTARTer is a way to make it quick and easy to get up and running with Docker

    GadgeteerZA · / gadgeteerza-tech-blog · Saturday, 26 February, 2022 - 18:19

You may choose to rely on DockSTARTer for various changes to your Docker system, or use DockSTARTer as a stepping stone and learn to do more advanced configurations.

It is a bit like having a cPanel script installer for your self-hosting at home to quickly install services to host, but using Docker underneath. I'd suggest though reading through the website a bit first, and I see at least two YouTube videos also on using DockSTARTer.


#technology #containers #docker #dockstarter #selfhosting

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    My video overview of open source self-hosted Matomo Analytics as a GDPR-compliant alternative to Google Analytics

    GadgeteerZA · / gadgeteerza-tech-blog · Thursday, 20 January, 2022 - 20:55

Using a self-hosted alternative like Matomo Analytics will be of especial interest to sites that require GDPR compliance and who want to ensure that data and metadata about their visitors are not leaked to external 3rd parties, over which they have no control. Matomo can help analyse visitor, behaviour, acquisition, and goal/campaign data, it can segment and anonymise that data, and also send reports by e-mail.

My video gives an overview of what you can expect to see, as well as the various admin settings available.


#technology #opensource #selfhosting #GDPR #matomoanalytics

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    PhotoPrism is an AI-powered app for browsing, organizing and sharing your self-hosted photo collection

    GadgeteerZA · / gadgeteerza-tech-blog · Sunday, 9 January, 2022 - 19:55

If the idea of having your photo collection sitting at Google or Apple bothers you, but you still want to auto-upload your mobile photos, and want family and friends to be able to browse using a modern interface, PhotoPrism may be worth looking into.

It installs in Docker and will run on Windows, Linux, macOS, or Raspberry Pi. Since the client user interface is a Progressive Web App, it provides a native app-like experience, and you can conveniently install it on the home screen of all major operating systems and mobile devices. You can use PhotoSync mobile app to securely backup iOS and Android phones in the background to PhotoPrism.

The AI is the wonder part though, as it sorts and searches by recognising faces, locations, automatic classication based on content, colours, chroma, etc.


#technology #photos #alternativeto #opensource #selfhosting

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    LimeSurvey - a free and open source self-hosted alternative to SurveyMonkey

    GadgeteerZA · / gadgeteerza-tech-blog · Friday, 17 December, 2021 - 19:39

LimeSurvey allows users to quickly create intuitive, powerful online forms and surveys that can work for anyone from small business to large business. The survey software is self-guiding for the respondents. They have a cloud hosted option with free and paid tiers, much the same as SurveyMonkey, but there is also the Community Edition which is fully free and open source software which you can self-host. Apart from the freedoms that brings, it also means that any respondent data is also free from tracking and data mining by any 3rd parties.

In this video I tour through a sample survey that I created, where I run through the survey options, I also show how easily a new survey with questions can be started, and I end off with a run through the various general menu configuration options.


#technology #opensource #limesurvey #selfhosting #surveymonkey