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A Walk in the NextCloud – Docker Rescues NextCloud

Pi 3 on a 30 Year old Green Screen

A first look at running NextCloud in a Docker Container on a Raspberry Pi. The short answer is yes, it is simple. The qualified answer is, it is likely only useful for fun, testing, and one user.

Trying to set up a NextCloud server on a spare Raspberry PI in part of my journey away from the public cloud. An older Raspberry Pi I got stuck on the PHP 7.2 requirement. Spent more than an hour trying to upgrade and felt I wasn’t getting anywhere so I decided to turn to Docker. After all, this is what Docker excels at, package up all the dependencies that each piece of software needs.

So I hit up Docker hub to see if an image was available. Sure enough, there is and it has 500M downloads !!!!

One run command later and I am getting the image onto my aging Raspberry Pi 3 ( let’s see how it handles this. ) I had previously test openhab on this machine, which should explain the name. Eventually, I think I need to rename it to randallcloud or something more clever.

After a bit, I list the containers and boom, NextCloud is running.

It seems the Docker instance of Next Cloud took awhile to settle but after a few minutes ( Raspberry PI3 seems too slow for this. ) I can browse to the login page.

Based on the warning I thinking moving off of SQLLite will be one of the next steps.

So now I just need to add a Admin User name and password, and I think that is all.

The user is created and NextCloud moves on to install the default apps.

In a short time I am presented with a Dashboard, time to test it out!

Next I added an account to be used with my phone and I was able to login. This couldn’t have been easier.

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Rasberry Pi – Python Blink

Make a single LED Blink using Raspberry PI GPIO and Python.

Using the RPi.GPIO library we can program the LED to blink on and off. The GPIO library gives us easy access to the Pins of the Raspberry Pi.

Take a moment to print out this guide, with a custom template to make hookup dead simple.


  • A Raspberry Pi 2/3/4
  • A single LED
  • 2 Hookup Wires
  • A 2.2K Ohm Resistor
  • Prototyping Breadboard
  • A Raspberry Pi with Rasbian Installed and Running
  • Access to the Shell on the Raspberry Pi

First Let’s Wire Up the Pi and the LED

Get Ready

It can be extremely useful to get a PIN template and push it onto the Pins of the PI

I got mine from her :

Raspberry Pi GPIO paper-template

It is a actual sized and designed to pushed on the pins. Inlcuded in this article is a template custom labelled for this project.

Hook-Up Wires

It is easiest to use hookup wire that has one female end and one male end. The female end is easily pushed onto the RaspberryPI pins and the male end is easily inserted into the Breadboard.

1.) Connect One hookup wire from Pin 6 GND on the Raspberry Pi to Column 10 on the Breadboard

2.) Connect One hookup wire from Pin 7 GPIO 4 on the Raspberry Pi to Column 5 on the Breadboard

3. )Place the LED with the Short Lead, the Anode, inserted into Column 10 and the Long Lead, the Cathode into Column 9 on the Breadboard.

Identify LED Parts

  • The Anode of the LED can be identified in three ways.
    • It is the Long LEAD/Wire
    • The Lens will be rounded ( flattened side is cathode )
    • Looking into the led, the Anode is the “Post” the smaller metal bit.
  • The Cathode of the LED can also be identified in three ways.
    • It is the Short Lead/Wire
    • The Lens will have ( usually ) a small flat spot.
    • Inside the Lens the wire connects to the “Anvil” or the larger metal piece.
  1. Place the resistor from Column 9 to Column 6 on the Breadboard. The resistor has no polarity, so it can be connected in either direction.

That’s all it takes to hook up the LED.

The resistor is a used to limit the amount of current that goes through the LED, it protects the LED from ever getting to much current and burning out.

To aide with wiring here is a diagram from Fritzing:

Now Let’s Add Code

Log on to your Pi using the Pi Desktop or using SSH to get to a Terminal.

Place the following code into a file named ( or whatever name you like ), you just copy this code into your text editor or open your text editor and type it in.

import RPi.GPIO as GPIO 
from time import sleep
GPIO.setup(7, GPIO.OUT, initial=GPIO.LOW)

while True: 
    GPIO.output(7, GPIO.HIGH)
    GPIO.output(7, GPIO.LOW)

Once you svae the code you can execute the project as follows:


To stop the code from running press


Additional Activities

Blink Faster or Slower

To make the LED blink faster you can experiment with different values within the Sleep( ) command.

Try changing the value in Sleep to .1, it should look like this

while True:
    GPIO.output(7, GPIO.HIGH)
    GPIO.output(7, GPIO.LOW)

Make sure you change it in both locations/

Blink at different rates

To make the LED stay on for a different amount of time than it stays off change the values in sleep to differnent values.

A quick blink, can look like this:

while True:
    GPIO.output(7, GPIO.HIGH)
    GPIO.output(7, GPIO.LOW)

It will blink for one tenth of a second then stay off for a full second.

When working with electronics this approach can be used to signal different states.

Experiment with different values to see what you can come up with.

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RaspberryPi – 16×02 LCD Display in Python

If you want details from the source, the library we are using here is fully documented at

The Fritzing Diagram can be helpful in wiring up the Pi and the LCD, Fristzing contain pin identifications if you hover over the pin.

The Bare Minimum to get a message on Screen

Wire the Components

The Wiring for the Python version of code is the same as the NodeRED version. Follow the wiring section on that post and return here for the code.

Get The Library

$ sudo pip install RPLCD

Coding Python

The beauty of coding for hardware like an LCD on the Raspberry Pi is that the code is already present where it will be executing. There is no need to compile and upload for a Python Script.

If you prefer to code on your desktop it as simple as copying the resulting Python file to your Raspberry Pi.

For this activity we will be coding in the bash shell via an ssh connection.

ssh pi@

Define the pins that will be used

We will use simple variables to define each of the pins connecting the LCD to the Pi. They could be more abbreviated but to help with clarity we will use longer names.

DATA_PIN_D7 = 26
DATA_PIN_D6 = 24
DATA_PIN_D5 = 21
DATA_PIN_D4 = 19

Let’s create any LCD Object using the VAriables we setup above. The RPLCD library does all the hard work all we need to do is import the library and then create an “instance”.

First import the Library

from RPLCD.gpio import CharLCD

Now using the variables we set up earlier we will create the LCD object. The CharLCD class uses keyword args for input. So each argument is a keyword and the value being assigned.

my_lcd = CharLCD(cols=16, rows=2, pin_rs=REGISTER_SELECT, pin_e=ENABLE, pins_data=[DATA_PIN_D7,DATA_PIN_D6,DATA_PIN_D5,DATA_PIN_D4]

That’s all we need, add a line with what text you want to display and you are good to go.

my_lcd.write(u'Message of Hope')

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RaspberryPi – 16×02 LCD Display on NodeRED


  • Raspberry Pi 3
  • 16×2 LCD
  • Breadboard
  • Hookup Wire
  • Trimmer / Potentiometer

Use the Pallete manager to install node-red-contrib-lcd


Add the LCD Node to your flow.

The LCD node requires a string indiacting whcih pins of the LCD are connected to which pins of the pi. The format is shown when you double click the node to configure it.

The “Pins, Type” field will give you the format \: RS, EN, D7, D6, D5, D4, ROW, COL

The pin numbering using Board numbering is 6,5,10,9,8,7,2,16

Add the pin numbering and click done.

Board Numbering: 6,5,10,9,8,7,2,16

GPIO Numbering : 31,29, 26,24,21,19, 2,16

Board numbering is simply sequential with even numbers from 2 on the outer row and odd numbers from 1 on the inner row.

Add an inject node:

Connect the inject node to the LCD node.

Double click the inject node and add a string to,

That’s all there is on the NodeRED end, you can deploy now or wait until after wiring.

If you don’t want to wire up the Flow you can just copy in this:


The Full Fritzing Diagram is on

Let’s wire up our Pi and LCD as follows. Some color coding can help but the colors are not important.

Connect a Wire from “PIN 2” on the RaspberryPI to the Lower rail ( Red ) on your breadboard. This is +5volts and will be used to power the LCD and the LCD Backlight

Connect a second wire from PIN 6 to the Blue Rail on the Breadboard, this will provide the GRound or NEG for the LCD.

Connect the DATA Lines

We can connect the four Data lines from the LCD to any GPIO Pins on the RaspberryPi. In this example, GPIO 7,8,9,10 were selected for visual location and consecutive numbering. As shown we will be using Blue and White wires for the DATA lines but any color can be used.

Connect GPIO10 to the Breadboard directly below the LCD Pin As Shown. It will be the third pin from the left and likely labelled D8, Pin 14 or sometimes DB7.

Connect GPIO 9 to D7 ( DB6 )

Connect GPIO 8 to D6 ( DB5 )

Connect GPIO 7 to D6 ( DB5 )

Connect the Control Lines

There are only two lines that will be used to control the LCD. Enable and Command Mode. The enable line is basically the on/off switch for the LCD connected to the PI and the Command Mode or “Register Select” informs the LCD if it will be receiving a command to act upon or letters to display.

Connect GPIO5 to the Breadboard colum directly beneath the E pin on the LCD.

Connect GPIO6 to the Breadboard colum directly beneath the RS Pin on the LCD

Wire the Contrast Knob

Trimmer/PotentiometerPotentiometer ) to the LCD VO ( Contrast ). Make sure you coonect the “Wiper” the cneter in this case to the column directly beneath the VO

Connect the Dimmer s( Trimmer/Potentiometer ) legs CW and CCW to +5v and Ground, the polarity of these two determine whether the contrast is increased with a Clockwise turn or a Counter-Clockwise turn.

Deploy the Node and Try a Message

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Linux Server System Auditing – Quick Start

I wanted a tool to quickly show me some of the basic things I needed to work on to harden the security on the various servers I am running. A sort of security checklist. The first tool I have been trying out is the community version of Lynis, and I have enjoyed it so far. With a “Hardeining index” from 1-100, it gives me a great indicator of how I am progressing.

Once installed ( and they have detailed install instructions for many systems ) it is as easy as a single command to get you started:

lynis audit system

you will get a giant ( not too giant ) list of the status of your system and actionable items.

For my scan I fixed a few things moving from 66 to 72 in my first hardening session.

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Raspberry Pi – NodeRED Button

This simple experiment will demonstrate using a push button to light a LED.

Adding a Push-Button to an LED in Raspberry Pi doesn’t get much easier than with NodeRED, two nodes, and you are done.

The Fritzing Diagram is availble for download

Wire the LED and Button as shown in the Diagram

  • Pin 1 – Left side of button
  • Pin 11 – Right side of button
  • Pin 6 – Led Cathode ( Short Wire / Flat Side )
  • Pin 7 – Led Anode ( Long Wire )

If you simply want to try this Flow, you can import this:

[{"id":"60410dd4.757164","type":"rpi-gpio out","z":"308cfa1.ad68d06","name":"","pin":"7","set":true,"level":"0","freq":"","out":"out","x":253.4615135192871,"y":348.46156311035156,"wires":[]}]

To run this experiment we will use only two nodes rpi-gpio In and rpi-gpio out. Drag one of each onto the Flow edit pane.

When you drop the Nodes the Labeling is updated to reflect the configuration. The two Nodes before wiring will look like this. There has been nothing done to them other than dropping them onto the flow.

Wire the Nodes together

Configure the Input Node

  1. Double Click the rpi-gio In ( it is marked PIN:tri ).
  2. Set the Pin to 11
  3. set the resistor to pull-down
  4. Click Done

The node Should change to PIN 11

Configure the Output Node

  1. Double Click the rpi-gio out ( it is marked PIN: ).
  2. Set the Pin to 7
  3. Check “Initial pin state?”
  4. Select “initial level of pin -low(0)
  5. Click Done

The Output Node should now be labelled PIN: 7

Deploy the Flow

If you have done everything correctly you should now be able to press the button and the LED will light.

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Raspberry Pi – NodeRed LED Blink

Using NodeRED to program your RaspberryPi for GPIO Control.

The basic installation of Raspian includes NodeRED. However you need to start it to use it.

Connect to your Raspberry Pi using your terminal. Issue the NodeRED startup command:


The first line after the “Start Node-RED” will contain where you need to point your browser. Remember that your Raspberry Pi is a fairly small computer so it might take it a little while to load ( possible minutes ).

The console will update once Node-RED has started, it is ready when you see the final line state “Server s now Running …”

Now we can connect with our browser

Let’s Add Nodes

We will use the Inject Node as the “Button”, Drag one of the Inject nodes to the Flow area:

Double click the node to open the edit panel. From the Payload drop-down select boolean and leave the value as True.

Click Done, and you will see that the Inject node now reads as “true”

To easily find the Raspberry Pi nodes type rpi in the node search tool at the top left. Drag a single rpi gio Output node to the Flow area and drop it near the Inject Node.

Wire the Inject node to the gpio node:

Double click the PIN Node ( rpi gpio ) to enter into edit mode and select Pin 7 and make certain the type is Digital Output.

Add the “Off Switch”

Let’s Drag a Second Inject node onto the Flow area

Double click the Inject to edit

Change it to boolean and set the value to false.

Wire the “false” node to the same pin as the true node.

The final step before you can use either of the buttons is to Deploy the Flow.

Clicking the small blue box next to the “true” inject node will turn the LED on and “false” will turn it off.

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Raspberry Pi – Getting Started with an LED

To get started with controlling and interfacing electronics with the Raspberry Pi, the easiest and safest way is turning a LED On and Off. It is simple but it works.

Interactively, First

If you have installed Raspian on your Raspberry Pi it comes with Python pre-installed. All you need to do is bring up a terminal and type python <enter> to get to the python console. It looks like this:

The python console let’s you execute code as you go, it is a great way to learn and test small pieces of code.

To control the GPIO pins on the Raspberry Pi we need to add a tool that knows how to control them this is the GPIO Library ( there are others as well ). To add the library we will use the import command. Type the command as show and hit the Enter Key. If done correctly the python console will simply accept it and prompt you for the next line.

>>>import RPi.GPIO as GPIO

Know that we have the tool we need to tell the python console specifically how to use it. We will be using BOARD mode. This means we will be referring to the PINS as they are physically numbered and laid out. Again you will get no prompt, simply the next line.

>>>import RPi.GPIO as GPIO

The pins are numbered with Odd Pins in one Row and Even pins in the other. The numbering starts from 1 and 2 next to the Power LED. Pin 1 sits near the inside of the board and Pin 2 near the edge. We will wire Pin 6 and Pin 7 to the LED. Pin 6 is GND ( Ground or Negative ) will be wired to the short leg of the LED or the Cathode. Pin 7 will be wired to the Short leg or the Anode.

Next we need to tell python what to do with pin 7. We use the GPIO.setup() command to indicate that the the Pin will be used for output. The GPIO.OUT is used to indicate output.


To turn the LED on we set the pin to True using GPIO.output()


To turn the LED off we set the pin to False using GPIO.output()


Let’s make a command file.

To complete this on the command line we will use a program called nano. It is a command line based text editor. For more advance python it can be beneficial to use an IDE

Open the editor by executing the nano command and type all the commands from above into the nano windows

When done press CTRL-O, type in the name, press enter the CTRL-X

Test the command, type:


Our Second Command

copy the to, and open the file with nano

Change the True in line 4 to False

Run the command to turn the led off


You will notice there is a warning, let’s take care of that.

Using nano add GPIO.cleanup() to the end of each file

You can now turn the LED On and Off from anywhere you can get a terminal on your Raspberry Pi

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Basic 7805 – KiCAD Beginner – PCB

After we have created a Schematic, Annotated and assigned Footprints we can create a PCB and bring in components from the schematic.

Come Back Soon! This is in progress. Should be done by Friday July 10th. If you just can’t wait you might be able to muddle through with the diagram below. I still need to hookup J1 tho.

Get the Symbols from Schematic

The first thing we will need to do is “import” the components, using the symbols from the schematic. This process will use the Footprints we assigned previously to place the Components base on the Symbols we selected in the Schematic. ( You might want to read that a few times.)

Continue reading Basic 7805 – KiCAD Beginner – PCB