Remove the default user Pi from your RasberryPi for a bit of extra security

An easy way of making your Pi that little bit more secure is to remove the default user, Pi.  So when setting up a new Pi installation this is one of the first things I do which is very simple. SSH into your Pi as usual:

Switch to the root user:

Create a new user:

Will result in the below, add a decent password when asked and then repeat it:

Add the new user to the sudo group:

Quit the Pi by typing exit a couple of times, first to log out as root then to leave SSH. Log back into the PI with SSH using your new username/password:

Now to delete the old Pi user:

Will give you an output, add the user Pi’s password when asked:

Finally change the default password of the root account, use a new pass […]

Using PiVPN to turn your RaspberryPi into a VPN. Access your home network securely from anywhere, secure any wifi connection

I wanted a secure way of accessing my home network whilst away.  Not only for my Home Assistant installation but to access files, photos, be able to work on scripts and the like.  I did some research into various ways but kept coming back to a VPN.  I found other reasons for using a VPN too, mainly to secure usage of public wifi, prevent region locking, and to use my PiHole DNS advert blocker. For instance, if I’m using public wifi at a cafe/shopping center I can connect via my VPN to secure any passwords/bank details that I enter.  If you don’t realise anyone sharing the same wifi network can gain access to your passwords or data that you enter, scared?  Have a read how they do it here. This same Pi is running an instance of PiHole for DNS level advert blocking, when I’m connected to my VPN, I’ll […]

AlexaPi, AVS timeout in non Alexa Countries, java.util.concurrent.TimeoutException

With Amazon only supporting a few countries with Alexa, being the UK, Germany and the USA, you may get timeouts on the java app with an error of: java.util.concurrent.TimeoutException It’s a pain when this happens as you have to login with VNC and click the OK button to reset the application. To help prevent it, you can alter the timeout threshold in the java file located at: /home/pi/Desktop/alexa-avs-sample-app/samples/javaclient/src/main/java/com/amazon/alexa/avs/http/AVSClient.java#L69 You can edit this with: sudo nano /home/pi/Desktop/alexa-avs-sample-app/samples/javaclient/src/main/java/com/amazon/alexa/avs/http/AVSClient.java You’re after line 69, it looks like this, alter the timeout as below: Restart your Alexa and job done!

Controlling Infa-Red IR devices with Home-Assistant & AlexaPi on a Raspberry Pi (Non smart, Dumb devices)

In this post I’m continuing my Home Automation and Home-Assistant journey. I already have an Xbox-One with a kinect so routinely say “Xbox on” which turns on the TV, SoundBar and Foxtel (cable) box. This also accepts volume up/down, change of channel, record, Netflix and games. So I’m moving to a completely voice driven household with using Alexa or Siri to operate the lights. But how do I go further? What else is there in the house that I can’t talk to, what remote controls do I still use? There are several things in my apartment that cannot be controlled via wifi, I live in a typical late 90s midcity Australian apartment and have the ubiquitous through house aircon/heating unit with buttons on a wall and a remote control in the living room and vents to each room in the apartment. So since my apartment reaches dizzying temps in the […]

Using IFTTT and Alexa Voice Service AVS on a RaspberryPi to control HomeAssistant

This is the next post in my multipost of using a Raspberry-Pi 3 as the center of my Home Automation world. Firstly I set a Raspberry-Pi 3 up in headless mode, then installed Pi-Hole to block adverts at local DNS level, so saving you much needed bandwidth. Next, I installed Home-Assistant, and then Homebridge, which allowed me to use Siri to access my various bulbs in the house. Lastly I installed Amazon AVS but all it does is tell me the time, weather, flash forcast, todo lists etc. Here’s the previous posts: Part 1, Headless Pi Part 2, Pi-Hole, HomeAssistant, LimitlessLED Part 3, Homebridge, Siri, Apple Home Part 4, Alexa AVS on a Pi Config files Using IFTTT Now due to it’s limitation, I can’t simply say “Alexa, find my devices” to find the lights that I can control in my home. So I need IFTTT. If you’ve never used […]

Setting up a Raspberry-Pi, Home-Assistant, Homebridge, Siri and Alexa. Part 4: Installing Alexa-Pi, Amazon’s Alexa Voice Service

Welcome to Part 4 of my multipart blog of setting up a Raspberry-Pi to be the center of your homeautomation world. To recap what I’ve done so far: Set the Pi in headless mode, ie it’s never going to be connected to a monitor Installed HomeAssistant so I can control lights in my apartment, set automation like lights on at sunset if i’m home. Installed Pi-Hole for network wide advert blocking. Setup Homebridge, to link HomeAssistant to Apple Home on my IOS devices, so Siri can control my lights, show me temperatures in the apartment etc. Here are the previous posts: Setting up a Raspberry-Pi, with Pi-Hole, Home-Assistant, Homebridge, Siri and Alexa. Part 1, Setting up a headless (monitorless) Pi http://www.pukit.com/2017/04/05/setting-up-a-raspberry-pi-with-pi-hole-home-assistant-homebridge-siri-and-alexa-part-2-installing-pi-hole-and-home-assistant-using-limitless-led-lamps/ http://www.pukit.com/2017/04/07/setting-up-a-raspberry-pi-with-pi-hole-home-assistant-homebridge-siri-and-alexa-part-3-installing-homebridge-and-using-siri-and-apple-home/ And now for making my Pi into a cheap Amazon Echo. Now know from the outset, that a RaspberryPi with Alexa cant do all the things an Echo […]

Setting up a Raspberry-Pi, with Pi-Hole, Home-Assistant, Homebridge, Siri and Alexa. Part 3: Installing Homebridge and using Siri and Apple Home

This is part 3 of my multi-post of setting up a Pi with HomeAssistant, Homebridge, Siri and Pi-Hole. If you want the previous parts here they are: Part 1, Setting up a Pi in headless mode Part 2, Installing Pi-Hole, Home-Assistant and setting up Limitless-LED (Milight) bulbs So now onto the fun part, you want to control the lights you’ve setup previously with Siri, either by talking to your IOS device, or using the favourites option on your slide up menu, which you probably didn’t know existed! Installing Homebridge Lets crack on. SSH via terminal into your Pi (Putty if you’re a Windows user) and install homebridge: Install git and make: sudo apt-get install git make Now to install Node, this is on a Pi3, if you’re on a lower pi refer to this site for installing homebridge. curl -sL https://deb.nodesource.com/setup_7.x | sudo -E bash – sudo apt-get install -y […]