Yes, how you name your Philips Hue lights is highly important when you are connecting them to a Smart Assistant (with voice commands). Get things wrong and you end up with your Amazon Echo constantly spouting off “I’m sorry the Master Bedroom doesn’t support that.” You could also get plagued with your devices randomly becoming unresponsive with Alexa. Oh fun. Nothing to piss you off more than your lights just not working. I know first world problems right?
If you are just using the Hue app with no voice assistant you can get away with naming them whatever you want because it doesn’t really matter. When the voice commands are added the names of the rooms or groups you have them in as well as the names of the individual lights matter greatly. Not only will your smart assistant constantly just not fucking work with your lights, you may also get tired saying a particular phrase for a light or it may turn out you never actually called that light that name to begin with. Spend some time thinking about light names, seriously.
In my previous home I had a shit ton of Hue lights. When you have that many lights they end up becoming numbered. “Master Bedroom One,” “Living Room 3,” etc. Then when you have the rooms/groups of “Master Bedroom” or “Office” the lights with numbers in their names wont ever conflict with each other and their groups/rooms. Now that I am solo and in an apartment I only have a small handful of lights so I don’t need to number them anymore. Now I was getting conflicts with my names.
With my most recent struggles I have noticed, and eventually found the cure with the problem and the names I had chosen. I thought I picked them simply and perfectly because I honestly do not have that many lights in my apartment. As is turns out the biggest thing that was causing constant strife with my Echos and lights was the names I had chosen for the Echos themselves, along with the same conflicting name for the rooms they are in. For example, I have an Echo Dot in my master bedroom which I had named simply “Master Bedroom” because I was only thinking of my Echos at the time and not in conjunction with the light names; “Master Bedroom,” “Office,” and “Kitchen.” Well I had also made some rooms with the Hue app with the same names of “Master Bedroom,” “Office” and “Kitchen.” Same names as the Echo names, damn it. The lights worked initially when I set them up but after a few houros or day or so they all stopped and my Alexa started rebelling.
The Simple Fix
So there is a simple fix, which took me hours to figure out in the middle of the night I hate to admit. I ended up renaming the Echos first. “Master Bedroom Echo,” “Office Echo,” and “Kitchen Echo” to separate them from the name of the groups/rooms for the lights. I also figured out that I was getting multiple devices with the same names in my Alexa app because of the scheme I had originally chosen. So I removed all groups and rooms from the Hue app. I don’t use the Hue app much as it is, primarily just the Echos with the lights or Apple Homekit. So my Hue app has just one group now called “All Hue Lights” so they are easy to get to in the Hue app if I ever need to use it. Then in the Amazon Alexa app I did a device discovery and it pulled the one group and all the lights and Echos. Then in the Echo app I created the groups of “Master Bedroom,” “Office” and “Kitchen.” No more conflicts now, the lights all work and no more unresponsive remarks from Alexa or the apps.
Finally the shit works.
All of this began after a recent update about a a month ago (around June 3-5th?), I think it was update 7.4.156 according to a post I read. I found change log entries of Ubiquiti fiddling with ports and port profiles. Then all of a sudden all of the UDM Pro’s that I manage starting sending me “Transmission and Reception” error notices. At first I freaked out, but then I found it very odd that multiple UDMs were having the same issues. Then a week later my personal UDM started sending me the same notices. Well as soon as I received them of course it was off to Google/Reddit to figure out what the fuck was happening. A lot of people were (still are) having this issue. In short it seems that Ubiquiti made some changes and now the UDMs are reporting Transmission and Reception errors on ports. I have also noticed that this seems to happen when large chunks of bandwidth are used. Whenever my server downloads a huge amount of shit or when I am really getting busy with my Xbox I notice I get these messages. The UDMs I manage have a lot of CCTV bandwidth going on. The notices matche up when the end users are remotely streaming large amounts of CCTV footage.
Home – UDM Pro #6 is experiencing transmission and reception errors. This may indicate a problem with a port or cabling.
The people on Reddit that have been getting these notices have tested their UDMs for packet loss. They found no such thing to be true. I myself have also noticed zero issues when these messages are sent. I think Ubiquitis new port monitoring code needs some tweaks. Next time they do something like this it would be kind of nice of them to actually fucking say something! Almost every owner of a UDM seems to be experiencing this. Fuckin asshats.
I have these two products, a Stream Deck (it’s only a mini, but hey it still counts!) and the OpenRGB software, for the One App to Rule All LEDs! IF you are at least a little bit savvy in the computer streaming and gaming world then you know what a Stream Deck is (not to be confused with a Valve Steam Deck gaming console). I am going to assume that you know what one is but for those that don’t you can check them out here. In short they are a small macro pad with a grid of buttons, the buttons are little LCD screens that are programmable to do and look damn near whatever you want. It is an absolutely beautiful piece of hardware. It was designed for streamers to help act as a digital switchboard for their apps and scenes but anyone can use it for anything. I’ve seen it used for a Smart Home Hub for Home Assistant and that was an awesome idea I never thought of.
I have a page with buttons mapped with icons for use when I play Diablo 4; shortcuts to Skills, Class, Character, Abilities. I use a Mad Noodle macro pad to game with on D4 instead of the main keyboard and the Stream Deck is right next to it. So I get the macro pad action and the Stream Decks sweet sweet LCD icons to play the game with. The other buttons I use are for things like taking screenshots or moving active windows between multiple monitors. One of my favorite buttons is for my Pi-hole. One press and it disables the Pi-hole, another press and it is enabled again, I don’t have to open the webpage and login anymore to do a quick bypass. It also shows the current traffic blocked percentage (or whatever else you want to display). One of my most useful ones is two buttons for switching the PC audio between the speakers and my headset without having to unplug cables constantly! Welcome to the future!
OpenRGB is a useful piece of software as well. If you are like everyone else these days and are into computers you have a plethora of LEDs at your disposal for your illuminated delight. The PC case and motherboard is loaded with em, the RAM these days are poppin’, all the fans are usually full RGB, headsets are RGB, the keyboards are loaded with RGB for the keys and the case, and lets not forget the mouse, and even your mouse/desk pad! All of these LED’ed products usually have their own proprietary software that you need to use. Unless you happen to have everything within the same brand you need more than one app to use and configure them. Fuck that. I can’t stand that, that is a major flaw these days. This is not the way. All of these products use the same LED protocols to illuminate the actual LED component but their apps/software is locked down to only their products forcing you to have to use and install a few of practically the same thing and they’re usually loaded with bloatware or ads or are heavier than they need to be. Corsair iCue I am looking at you!
Enter OpenRGB. Open source software to control (almost) anything with an LED in it connected to your computer. Doesn’t matter the manufacturer or if it is a mouse a keyboard or fan. This app will most likely be able to tap into it and control it. You can now ditch all that bloatware running all those icons in your system tray. I use OpenRGB on my Windows 11 PC. It controls the LED lighting for my ASUS motherboard, the Corsair RAM, the ASUS RTX video card, and every light bar and colored fan in my off-brand case. Don’t forget it also controls my Razer headset, my Logitech mouse and my custom keyboard (keyboard control requires new firmware, not easy). I have been using OpenRGB for a little over a year now and while it is not perfect the developer is active and my issues have always had a work around or an official fix.
This is where it gets good and why you are here. The other day I was configuring my Stream Deck for Diablo 4 use and I came across a post asking about the Stream Deck and OpenRGB. Wait, what?! Why have I never thought of that before? Or using an Amazon Alexa to change the colors (which I can now do also, see some of my other posts). After that I went off and watched a few YouTube videos on alternate uses for the Stream Deck. I also set out to figure out how to use the Stream Deck with OpenRGB to use the buttons to change the active LED lighting profile (change the colors and/or patterns) of everything. Yes, I got it working. I did have to download a current (specific?) WebHooks plugin though.
We have Comcast Xfinity cable internet. It is the only internet provider I can get. Because it is cable internet I am served my internet over a coaxial cable to an Arris modem, currently an under performing SBG7400AC2. This was a standard WiFi combo modem/router unit a long while ago. While it still functions it does not currently support the internet speeds we pay for. Nor the amount of wireless devices they have set upon it. The powers that be where I live refuse to upgrade, so they pay for speeds I cannot attain.
Well the router sucks as you would imagine, there is not much control over anything, and the wireless was severely lacking in performance. I have noticed that most household routers can only handle about 20 active clients before you start to really see an issue with speed and packet loss, pages timing out on you.
At work I occasionally deal with networking. I was able to get my hands on and install and play with some Ubiquiti gear in the past few months. I ended up getting a Ubiquiti Universal Dream Machine Pro and a pair of UniFi Flex 5 port switches for myself to tinker with at my house. The special edition was a tad too expensive but I should have gotten that one in hind sight. The SE version adds all PoE ports (but only two PoE+ ports) and a 2.5GB port WAN1 instead of a 1GB port WAN1. Both have two 10GB SFP+ ports. AND, it seems the SE gets all the damn software updates first! What the fuck Ubiquiti?? I was able to talk the “management” into letting me use my UDM-Pro vs their current crappy Arris stuff and they agreed. So I installed a UDM-Pro and an U6-Lite access point. It was fantastic, the wireless coverage was now covering the entire house and the basement as well as it being capable of handling up to 300 devices. Fanfuckingtastic! The UDM-Pro also was achieving higher speeds (by about 200MB) with the modem in bridge mode rather than it handling the overhead of router as well. This worked great for a while, until I started to notice lots of high latency periods and moments of lack of connection.
It all started when my Plex Media Server/Playground box (a little NUC8i3BEK) started having some not so good fan noises emanating from it. I ordered a new fan on Amazon to replace it and go fucking figure the fan noises stop when the new replacement fan arrived. So I shelved the new part, I still have it because I am sure I will need it eventually but for now the original is working fine but I don’t trust it and this leads me finally to my point. I needed a way to monitor my CPU temperatures AND send me a notification. There are a ton of ways to see your CPU temperature but not a whole lot of ways to be notified when they hit certain thresholds. Hello Zabbix!
This took me my entire night to get done, so it shouldn’t for you. You’re welcome.
After Googling for a bit I came across an AskUbuntu Question that sent me in the direction of Zabbix. I’ll drop the link to the question so you can see the other options available similar to Zabbix. I went through the list and settled on Zabbix it seemed to fit the bill for what I wanted.
If you go to their downloads page there is a handy chart with step-by-step directions on how to install Zabbix on your system. I went with v6.4 – Ubuntu – 22.04 – Server, frontend, Agent – MySQL – Nginx. I will list those steps here for Zabbix on Ubuntu with Nginx, if you have a different system OS or Apache you should check out the download page for install directions.