Improving your Nextcloud upgrade experience

Nextcloud, a truly wonderful open source project, allows you to create your own co-lab hub. You can choose to host it yourself, or get a Nextcloud instance at one of the many service providers, such as WebbPlatsen i Sverige AB. Nextcloud can replace many not-so-GDPR-safe alternatives and other costly solutions. If you, by some small miracly, still do not know what Nextcloud is, go check it out at nextcloud.com.

For the past few years, Nextcloud has kept an almost alarmingly fast pace when it comes to updates. Quite often, a major version is followed by a few minor updates, and then another major version is released. Typically, a lot of new functionality has been thrown in for the major updates. Naturally, we want more functionality and toys 🙂

Updating Nextcloud is usually not a big issue, unless the Nextcloud downloads are slow. And they are, quite frequently, very slow. So slow in fact that the Nextcloud updater exits with an error when it comes to the step where it downloads the new files, even if you increase your PHP maximum execution time to 10 minutes (!)

There are ways to improve your Nextcloud upgrade experience, some of them are mentioned here. The remainder of this post assumes you have some sort of file access to your Nextcloud server.

Nextcloud updater times out when downloading

If you go to the data directory for Nextcloud during an update, there’s typically a directory called updater-nnn, where nnn is an arbitrary string. This is where Nextcloud keeps its files for the upgrader, including progression counters and downloads.

From the Nextcloud web interface, under Administration.Overview, there’s a Download now button that is actually just a link. You can copy the link and download the file manually. Once the download has completed, you can place it in the downloads sub-directory of the updater-nnn directory. Once done, re-start the upgrade process.

Nextcloud updater gets stuck during the update process

In the same updater-nnn directory, there is a “step counter” so that Nextcloud can keep track of where in the update process it is currently positioned. If Nextcloud keeps getting stuck at the download step, or you are presented with “Step 4 is currently in process. Please reload this page later.”, you may try to remove the file .step and re-start the upgrade process.

Manually upgrading Nextcloud from CLI

If you have shell access to your Nextcloud instance, you may also attempt a manual upgrade, which may have different timeout settings (or no timeout settings). The short version is listed below, the long version can be found in the official Nextcloud documentation, please make sure you read it before attempting a manual upgrade!

sudo -u www-data php /var/www/nextcloud/occ upgrade
sudo -u www-data php /var/www/nextcloud/occ maintenance:mode --off

Replace www-data for the user PHP and/or your web server is running as and correct paths as needed.

 

Cloudbridge Mattermost 2.0.0 with OAuth2 for WordPress

Cloudbridge Mattermost is a WordPress plugin that provides integration between WordPress and Mattermost. It has now been updated with OAuth2 authentication for WordPress via Mattermost.

It has been tested with Mattermost 5.30+ and WordPress 5.5.3 and WordPress 5.6.

Features at a glance:

  • OAuth2 authentication, login to WordPress via Mattermost
  • Notifications for successful login
  • Notifications for failed login
  • Notifications for unknown user login attempt
  • Notifications for password reset
  • Notifications for plugin activation
  • Notifications for plugin deactivation
  • Notifications for plugin uninstallation
  • Notifications for new/edited user
  • Notifications for deleted user
  • The plugin can also make use of additional functionality such as posting to a specific channel/user, overriding bot names, and additionally mention specific users.

You can download it from the official WordPress repository:
wordpress.org/plugins/cloudbridge-mattermost

You can also get it from GitHub, should you prefer that source:
github.com/joho1968/cloudbridge-mattermost

WebbPlatsen’s official website for their Open Source projects:
code.webbplatsen.net/wordpress/cloudbridge-mattermost/

 

The Lenovo ThinkPad X1 ANC headphones are a pleasant surprise

The Lenovo ThinkPad X1 ANC headphones are possibly the best on-ear active noise cancellation headphones you’ve never heard of.

 

 

They went completely under my radar while looking for wireless headphones. Some years ago, it wasn’t that hard to find decent on-ear headphones. This, however, seems to have changed recently. So when my AKG N60 NC gave up on me (due to poor construction of the ear cup hinges), it seemed like an impossible task to replace them with something similar and on-ear.

I want on-ear headphones for general music listening and audio interactions with my smartphone. I know most high-end over-ear headphones outperform on-ear equipment, but I like the on-ear experience. Unfortunately for me, in-ear seems to be out of the question as most of the ones I’ve tried simply fall out of my ears.

I ran across the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 ANC headphones by accident and dismissed them at first, mainly based on brand reputation. Don’t get me wrong, I love the high-end Lenovo laptops, and the X and T series truly bring joy to my everyday work, but just because someone knows how to make a great laptop doesn’t automatically mean they do audio well.

To make a long story short: The Lenovo ThinkPad X1 ANC headphones are really worth looking into if you are looking for a pair of on-ear, wireless, active noise cancellation headphones.

They don’t stand out very much physically. There’s a small “Lenovo” text on the side of the headband, and there’s a subtle “X1” on the actual cup. Looking at the box, and the included carrying case, there’s no doubt it’s a “ThinkPad” device, if you know your Lenovo laptops.

This is not a What Hi*Fi review, so I’ll spare you some of the details, but here’s my “short” list:

  • Great sound, listening to these songs didn’t disappoint me:
    • Fortunate Son (Clutch)
    • Welcome to the jungle (Guns ‘n’ Roses)
    • Comfortably Numb (Pink Floyd)
    • The 1968 Comeback Special (Elvis Presley)
    • What’s up (Four none blondes)
    • Hello (both Adele and Martin Almgren versions)
    • No sleep till Brooklyn (Beastie Boys)
  • Good physical controls and buttons that do what you expect them to do
  • Comfortable fit on head and ears
  • Nice and quiet design
  • Foldable (90 degree collapsible)
  • Supports USB-C quick charging and wired USB-C connection
  • Bluetooth 5.0
  • Appearance of great build quality
  • 40mm neodymium drivers
  • 8-12 hours playback on battery with ANC off
  • aptX support
  • Boomless microphone
  • On-ear 🙂
  • Active, hybrid, and no noise cancellation modes

You can read more about them here: Lenovo ThinkPad X1 ANC Headphones

The headphones also exist as “Yoga ANC Headphones” with identical specs as far as I can tell, but with some different color options.

(I am not affiliated with Lenovo in any way, other than being a long time user of their premium laptop segment.)

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 ANC Headphones

var_dump() for Javascript

PHP, for example, has var_dump() and print_r() to facilitate quick variable dumps to log files, etc.

For Javascript, one can use console.log() in combination with JSON.stringify() to achieve something similar.

  console.log( JSON.stringify(object) );

It’s also possible to “pretty-print” the output like so:

  console.log( JSON.stringify(object, null, 2) );

For more information about JSON.stringify(), check out this page

Ubuntu 20.04, Nginx, Redmine, Ruby, and Passenger-Phusion confusion

Redmine, Ruby, Passenger-Phusion, and Nginx makes for an extremely confusing situation with dependencies, installation “instructions”, and “mismatching” package versions.

Redmine wants Ruby x, your Linux distribution has Ruby y, Passenger-Phusion only works with Ruby z, and you quite often end up in a loop somewhere. This article will not do anything to help that confusion I’m afraid.

On Passenger-Phusion’s website, there’s an interesting explanation as to why you need to let Passenger-Phusion build Nginx for you, unless you can actually use everything pre-packaged, which you cannot if you want to use Ubuntu 20.04.LTS and Redmine 4.1.

Before you begin, you should know that installing Passenger in its Nginx integration mode involves extending Nginx with code from Passenger. However, Nginx does not support loadable modules. This means that in order to install Passenger’s Nginx integration mode, it is necessary to recompile Nginx from source. And that is exactly what we will do in this installation guide.

Now, if you head on over to the Nginx blog, you can read:

NGINX Open Source 1.11.5 and NGINX Plus Release R11 introduced binary compatibility for dynamic modules. This article explains how to compile third‑party modules for use with NGINX Open Source and NGINX Plus in a development environment.

That statement was made for Nginx 1.11. They are, at the time of this writing, at 1.19.

So basically, if you want to run Redmine 4.1 on Ubuntu 20.04.LTS, which ships with Ruby 2.7, and a Passenger-Phusion module that requires Ruby 2.7, you’re on your own since Redmine 4.1 does not support Ruby 2.7. If you use RVM to installed Ruby 2.6.x, you need to manually handle Passenger-Phusion, which eventually requires re-compiling Nginx, regardless of it supporting “dynamic modules”.

There is one small glimmer of hope:
Installing Passenger as a normal or dynamic Nginx module

Using Ubuntu 18.04.LTS, the included Passenger, Nginx, and Ruby all work with Redmine 4.1.x, so that may be a smoother path to take before this is all “fixed”, if it gets fixed.

Checking LSI RAID storage status in Linux

Flying blind is no fun and many hardware manufacturers are notoriously bad at providing info tools form their hardware for Linux. If you have an LSI-chipped RAID controller, this may come in handy. The `storcli`utility replaces the MegaCLI utility and is provided by Broadcom.

You can get `storcli`here:
docs.broadcom.com/docs/007.1506.0000.0000_Unified_StorCLI-PUL.zip

(For Debian/Ubuntu distributions, you may need to install `alien` to convert the .rpm to .deb.)

The following script is what I use and it works for me:

#!/bin/bash
#
# Check LSI RAID storage status
#
# This will trigger on the output NOT being "Optl" (Optimal). This works for me,
# your mileage may vary. One problem in using more "verbose output" from the
# storcli64 binary is that it always (?) outputs some sort of legend with all
# the various status types explained, so it always contains the text "Degraded"
# for example. This minor script will simply search for what we want, which is
# a RAID in optimal state, and if NOT found, perform a full status scan and send
# it as an e-mail message to wherever it needs to be sent.
#
# Joaquim Homrighausen <[email protected]>
# 2020-12-15
#

STATUS=`/usr/local/bin/storcli64 /c0 /v0 show nolog |egrep "RAID6 Optl"`;
EGREP=$?

if [ "$EGREP" -ne 0 ]
then
    [email protected]
    STATUS=`/usr/local/bin/storcli64 /c0 show`;
    /usr/sbin/sendmail -i $TO <<MAIL_END
From: [email protected]
To: $TO
Subject: RAID WARNING @ `hostname`

$STATUS
MAIL_END
fi

Cloudbridge Mattermost

Cloudbridge Mattermost is a WordPress plugin that provides integration between WordPress and Mattermost. In the initial release, we focus on login notifications (successful, failed, unknown) from the various WordPress user roles.

We will, of course, be adding more functionality in the future.

You can download it from the official WordPress repository:
wordpress.org/plugins/cloudbridge-mattermost

You can also get it from GitHub, should you prefer that source:
github.com/joho1968/cloudbridge-mattermost

This is the initial release of this plugin.

NCweb 0.0.5, your Nextcloud Web Server

NCweb 0.0.5 has been released, yay 🙂

You can grab a copy here if you’re curious about the changes, if not, carry on.

If you want to read more about NCweb, check out the GitHub repository

The initial announcement can be found here

Spoiler alert: This is possibly a completely useless application if you do not run Nextcloud, don’t have PHP or don’t know what PHP is, or don’t run Nginx or Apache. And even if you do meet the criteria, it may still disappoint you as well as being useless to you.