blitzortung.org Daily Position Cron

As you probably know from my blog, I have a number of Arduino’s around the house for monitoring household and weather metrics and I’m always looking for ways to add more devices and data sets.

My dad happened to find a map one summer on blitzortung.org to view live lightning strikes and we decided to sign up for a lightning detector in December 2015 (I think!).  When you register you use your email address and can see where you are in the list of people who want a device by going back to en.blitzortung.org/cover_your_area.php and filling in your email + the other boxes.

After one year on the waiting list, our position in the queue had moved a bit, but it became tedious checking the list once a week, so I wrote a script that I’ve now made generic enough for anyone.  Simply add it to crontab and take the pain out of checking every week 🙂

GitHub gist: https://gist.github.com/vls29/aac9d3efaf265734dfc1b64c46482160#file-blitzortung-position-sh

#!/bin/bash

email=$1

epc=$(date +%s)
echo $epc

# Country does not seem to be important
res=$(curl --data "info_time=$epc&info_email=$email&info_country=United+Kingdom&info_text=TSqrb" http://en.blitzortung.org/cover_your_area.php)
#echo "-----------------------------"
#echo "HTML Response"
#echo $res
#echo "-----------------------------"

html=$(echo "$res" | grep $email)
#echo "-----------------------------"
#echo "Position Text"
#echo $html
#echo "-----------------------------"

textpositionstart=411+${#email}+1
echo "textpositionstart: $textpositionstart"

position=${html:$textpositionstart:6}
position=$(echo $position | sed 's@^[^0-9]*\([0-9]\+\).*@\1@')
echo "position: $position"

lastpositionfilename=blitzortung-last-position.txt
lastposition=$(cat $lastpositionfilename)
catresult=$?
echo "catresult $catresult"
if [ "$catresult" -eq "1" ]; then
    echo "didn't find last position file"
    lastposition=100000
else
    echo "found last position file"
fi
echo "lastposition: $lastposition"

if [ "$position" -lt "$lastposition" ]; then
    echo $position | mail -s "blitzortung.org position" $email
    echo $position > $lastpositionfilename
else
    echo "position not less than $lastposition: $position"
fi

exit

The only input to the script is the email address you’ve used on the waiting list (assuming you haven’t hardcoded it in the script like I have).  You don’t need country as that doesn’t appear to be used by the site to verify the email address.

Monumental App Update Mess Up!

A few weeks back I received a request to add in the ability to select half days in the Retirement Countdown Clock app (http://blog.v-s-f.co.uk/2016/02/retirement-countdown-clock-app/) and I decided that this was a quick change that wouldn’t take too long, so why not 🙂

Well I made a complete mess up of the update… It started off as seeming like a simple update, but I’d just had a rather large problem on my laptop that killed the SSD, so had not much software installed on the new hard drive. After all the necessary apps were installed, I set about updating the app, adding in the ability to select the half days. It only took about 4 hours in total to make the code changes and test (most of which was updating the runtime target version). I packaged it, tested it on my laptop and old phone, both of which said they would install from fresh and then added a new submission to the store.

Job done 🙂 or so I thought…

Two days after the app was published to the store, I logged in and to my horror I’d received over 11,000 crash reports!!! O.M.G!

All the crash reports were for the new version (2.1.0.0) and all were in exactly the same line of code… I wondered well how come it worked on my laptop and phone then? And the key answer was that it installed the app from fresh and didn’t do an update. I dashed around the house to find anoher phone I hadn’t tested on and updated the app from the store. Lo and behold, it crashed as soon as you tried to open the app from the start screen 🙁

I had all the info I needed in the crash reports to find the particular dodgy line of code – wasn’t handling the previously stored int and converting correctly into a decimal. Less than two hours later, a new submission was sent for approval to the store, but it takes a minimum of a day to get a submission approved… In that time the crash reports topped 20,000.

I learnt a very valuable lesson – don’t rush a change through, even if it seems simple and make sure you test it as if you’ve done an upgrade as well as a fresh install!

Sorry to all those people that downloaded the dodgy update, hopefully you’ve updated to 2.1.1.0 and it’s now working again.

Outlook for Android – Can’t use it for Gmail account!

I used to have a Microsoft Lumia 550 phone, which although basic just worked and really well. Unfortunately I’m a little clumsey and managed to drop it around a dozen times when getting out of the car at work (yeah, you’d think I’d learn). It managed to survive those drops, but only just and ended up with a lovely set of cracks across the screen which I superglued to stop them completely distroying the screen and to prevent getting glass shards in my fingers.

Anyway, it’s got to the point where I needed to get a replacement phone and I would have gone for another Windows phone, but there haven’t been any new releases for a while and I refuse to pay £600+ for the HP one. So, I’ve reluctantly bought an Android…

Why reluctantly? Well I believe Google is getting a little scary in it’s acquisitions (Boston Dynamics) and the recent purchases of a couple of certificate authorities concerns me about personal privacy.

Anyway, I’ve set up my phone to remove a lot of the Android pre-installed crap from Google and set my default browser to Firefox. I thought nothing of doing this until just last week when Outlook refused to connect to my Gmail account and prompting to re-authenticate. I’d click ok, re-authenticate and get a 403 error from Google. After a couple of tries, I remove my Gmail account and tried to re-add it.

Much to my suprise, I can’t re-add my account unless I set Chrome as my default browser!!! Talk about anti-competitive behaviour from Google!

I absolutely refuse to use Chrome as my default Android browser just so that I can use my Gmail account from Outlook!