March 16th 2014

OpenVPN on the Raspberry Pi

I’ve been looking for an easy guide on setting up OpenVPN on the Raspberry Pi. I stumbled across this video on YouTube which was useful- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O7D7UkA3IKQ

I did have to make a few changes though e.g. replacing the local Raspberry Pi address with the address of my dynamic DNS provider. I also had an issue with the default port and protocol (UDP 1194) and had to replace it with TCP 443.

March 12th 2014

Priscilla Queen of the Desert, Edinburgh Playhouse, 8th March 2014

Priscilla stage

The third time seeing Priscilla for me (and my sis), and the last time this tour. I really enjoyed the show when I saw it up in Aberdeen (amazing songs, colourful costumes, great performers), and thought a similar day out in Edinburgh would be fun! Quick recap for those that don’t know the story: two drag-queens (Tick/Mitzi and Adam/Felicia) and a transsexual (Bernadette), travel across Australia to perform at a resort in Alice Springs. The trip also serves another purpose: to allow Tick to meet and bond with his young son (Tick’s estranged wife runs the resort).

This time around, Tick was played by Jason Donovan, who I thought was a little tired or possibly ill during this performance. There seemed to be a lack of energy in comparison to the other leads, which was disappointing. Still, the audience loved him, cheering him throughout. Felicia was played by Liam Marcellino, an understudy and you would never have known- he was fantastic- strong voice.

Once again, the real standout performer was Richard Grieve as Bernadette. He was completely convincing as a woman on stage, striking a balance between Bernadette’s witty one-liners (most of which are too rude to repeat here) and her more emotionally charged moments. In the three times I’ve seen this show, he’s consistently been the best performer. Give Richard some awards for this role!

I’m a bit sad that Edinburgh was the final time I’ll see the show on this tour. It’s an extremely fun show with a serious heart. Where else will you find a priest singing “Don’t Leave Me This Way…” at a funeral whilst a couple of drag queens fight over the coffin? Oh yeah, and Elvis is also there. Love it.

March 12th 2014

RENT in Concert, His Majesty’s Theatre, Aberdeen, 15th February 2014

HMT Aberdeen

RENT is one of these shows that I’ve wanted to see for years. When it was announced that RENT in concert was coming to Aberdeen, I was a little apprehensive. What did the “in concert” tag mean? Would it just be the songs? How would the show work? I needn’t have worried- it turns out that RENT in concert is pretty much the full show. There were minor changes here and there but then perhaps I’ve watched the Broadway DVD too much.

The show itself was absolutely amazing and was well worth the wait. The storyline revolves around a group of bohemians living in New York’s Alphabet City in the 90′s, struggling to survive, with several members of the group living with HIV/AIDS. It sounds depressing and whilst the show is filled with sad moments, it has some uplifting messages: “forget regret, or life is yours to miss. No other road, no other way, no day but today”.

The entire cast were phenomenal, each and every one of them had a strong voice (but a special mention has to go to Tim Prottey-Jones with his solo during “Seasons of Love”). My favourite character was probably Angel Dumott Schunard, played by Ian Stroughair- great voice and perfect comic timing. My only criticism of the show: occasionally the band was a little too loud and drowned out the actors singing.

The Aberdeen date was the final show of the tour and by the end of night, the cast were in tears, the band were in tears and the audience were in tears (even me, the woman who can’t cry in public was teary-eyed). It’s a pity the show only did one night per theatre- if it tours again, I’m there.  Brilliant.

January 4th 2014

Edimax EW-7811Un USB adapter blue light

Lego Light Shield

Recently, I purchased a couple of Edimax EW-7811Un USB adapters for both of my Raspberry Pis, making them wireless.  The Pi I use for the print server is sometimes left on overnight.  “No problem there”, you say.  Well, there is if you’re trying to sleep.  The light from the wi-fi adapter constantly blinks, indicating it’s connected.  At night, this blinking light reflects off the whiteboard in the corner of my room, and it’s rather irritating when you’re dozing off.

Now, there are multiple solutions to the problem.  1) I could turn the Pi off at night.  2) I could modify the driver and turn the light off.  3)  Lego.  Yes, Lego.

If you want to hide the blue blinking light at night, then this Lego build is for you!  Problem solved.

December 17th 2013

Wireless Raspberry Pi- Edimax EW-7811Un Guide

I recently received a second Raspberry Pi as a gift, and decided to connect it to the internet via wi-fi. Initially, I was unsure as to which wi-fi adapters were compatible with the Pi however, the community suggested the Edimax EW-7811Un USB adapter. The adapter itself is tiny, and can be purchased for less than £10.

Whilst I was trying to set it up, I came across multiple guides offering various conflicting pieces of information, so I thought I’d share what worked for me. Before I go any further, I should state I’m running the Raspbian 2013-09-25-wheezy-raspbian.zip image.

First, update the repo

$ sudo apt-get update

Then, upgrade the system

$ sudo apt-get upgrade

Next, you need to generate a wpa passphrase based upon the name of your wi-fi network and the password you use to connect to it. Note the use of quotes around the name and password- I had spaces and certain awkward characters in both the name and the password- without the quotes, incorrect values were generated. The wpa_passphrase function will return a string- take a copy of this, you’ll need it later.

$ wpa_passphrase "name of your network" 'password for your network'

The interfaces file on the Pi now needs to be edited

sudo nano /etc/network/interfaces

The following code shows the contents of my interfaces file. There were many conversations online about what this file should contain In the end, this is what worked for me.

auto lo
 
iface lo inet loopback
iface eth0 inet dhcp
allow-hotplug wlan0
iface wlan0 inet dhcp
wpa-ssid "network name"
wpa-psk the_string_wpa_passphrase_generated

Save the file and reboot the machine. Now the Pi should connect to your wireless home network.