Awasu, of course, uses an embedded Internet Explorer browser to show web content, but it’s always bugged me that rendering never seemed to be quite the same as a standalone browser.
I’ve finally figured out what was going on Although to be honest, it should’ve twigged a long time ago. I guess sometimes I’m just a bit slow… – while all the documentation says that installed version of IE will be used, what they invariably forget to tell you is that it’s in IE7 compatibility mode
My usual emoticon is clearly totally inadequate at this point, I need a little yellow man blowing his brains out with a shotgun, or something like that 👿
I’ll include a fix for this in the next release, but fortunately, the temporary fix for this is straight-forward: just download and run this fileIt adds an entry to the Registry saying that awasu.exe should run IE11 for embedded browsers.. If you want test it, open the forums (from within Awasu) and check that the navbar across the top is displayed correctly. Sites using HTML5 and all that other new-fangled frippery should also work a bit better now. Sigh…
/taka toddles off to find a new smilies pack to install…
I’ve been a big fan of NAS‘s for many years, that is, a small file server that sits on my network and serves up music, movies, provides space for backups, etc. In the past, I’ve had Synology and QNAP units, and while they were both nice, they were both were relatively expensive, loaded with features I never used. They also both only lasted a few years, and rebuilding a NAS with 5-6 TB of data is a painfully long process
So for the next one, the plan was to grab an old laptop, load it up with FreeNAS, and then just hang a few disks off it. If and when the laptop dies, I can just set up a new one and the external disks, with all the data on them, should just plug straight in.
However, this is a bit of clunky solution, so when the Raspberry Pi came out, I got very interested in the idea of using that. Unfortunately, the rPi has one big drawback that makes it unsuitable for use as a file server: it only has 10/100 Mbps ethernet. All the computers on my network have gigabit ethernet, and since I’m moving 100’s of GB’s of data every night for backups, my file server also needs to have gigabit ethernet.
Enter the Banana Pi. Released in late 2014 by LeMaker in China, it’s slightly more expensive but significantly more powerful, notably with gigabit ethernet and a SATA port. Add in a case, and I’ll be able to build my own future-proof NAS for well under a hundred bucks, plus the cost of the disks.
There are quite a few tutorials floating around that explain how to set up a Banana Pi as a NAS, but they invariably only talk about how to set up the factory image of Open Media VaultThis is the successor to FreeNAS, written by one of the FreeNAS guys, that runs on Linux instead of FreeBSD. (which is relatively easy to do), but this series of tutorials will also talk about the many things you need to do after that to get a usable system.
It’s been an arduous slog to get this release finished, but Awasu 3.0.3.alpha1 is finally done, and it has probably one of the shortest change lists you’re ever likely to see:
Made Awasu run faster
Core components of Awasu’s underlying feed engine are running a whopping 3-5 times faster, so you should see Awasu running noticeably quicker. I’ve also done a lot of work making sure that things work in non-English environments.
These changes affected nearly every file in Awasu’s source code, and I was trawling through some code that hadn’t been touched in literally 20 years There was some seriously freaky stuff in there – they don’t call it code spelunking for nothing One consequence of this is that some things may have been broken, so please keep an eye out for any weirdness.
A while back, I posted a tutorial that showed how easy it is to extend Awasu through the use of plugins and channel hooks, and continuing on from that, here’s another series that shows how you can control your Awasu via its API.
Whether you just want to find out what state your channels or reports are in, or if you want to programmatically create, update and delete them, the Python and PHP libraries available make it a breeze.
Have a play with them, hope you find them useful and, as always, feel free to ask questions in the forums.
Work on the next release of Awasu has been well underway for a while now, as the optimizing juggernaut plows onwards and upwards Part of doing this kind of work is to do before-and-after performance tests, to see how much better the new version is running, and I figured that since I was doing it already, I might as well do some tests on Awasu Server as well.
I’ve always known that Awasu Server runs much faster and more smoothly than the desktop version, but this is the first time I’ve collected hard data on how it performs, and the results are, well, impressive
You can check out the full report here, but to the right is the money shot: Awasu Server updates around 67% more channels per hour than Awasu Pro.
If that’s not insanely awesome, I don’t know what is
Awasu Server is in private beta, but if you have lots of channels For example, some of our clients are running tens of thousands of channels., if you want to monitor huge amounts of information, then this is definitely the way to go.
As promised, the tutorial on writing Awasu plugin channels and channel hooks is now up here.
Part 1 talks about how to get set up with the new awasu_tools library, and how to generate a basic feed, then Part 2 shows how to convert a basic script into something that can be called by Awasu.
Part 3 explores some more of the features offered by the awasu_tools library, while Part 4 rounds things off by explaining how to compile your extension, ready for distribution.
Writing Awasu extensions has always been relatively easy, but there was a bit of a learning curve, mostly spent looking at the samples supplied with Awasu. Hopefully, this tutorial will make things a bit easier, and the new awasu_tools library really makes things a breeze
As an aside, I’ve been programming computers for around 30 years (professionally for 25), yet publishing my first bit of code on PyPI and GitHub somehow makes me suddenly feel like a Real Programmer
Now that you’ve all had a bit of time to have a play with the 3.0.2 release, it’s time to explain in a bit more detail about one of its new cool features.
One of Awasu’s strongest features has always been its extensibility If you’re not sick of me droning on about this by now, you will be soon , and the 3.0.2 release builds on this by adding support for a bunch of new plugin channels, that can retrieve content from a variety of sources:
These are all currently still in private beta, but if you’d like to take them for a spin, drop me a line and let me know:
What version of Awasu you’re running.
Which extensions you’re interested in.
and I’ll let you know when they’re ready.
You should be running Awasu Professional Edition v3.0.2, although support for them will be back-ported to v3.0 shortly.
Part of the work in building these was putting together a framework This will be released soon, to make it easier for you to write your own extensions. that will let me easily churn them out, so you can expect a slew of new ones in the coming year Currently on my to-do list: LinkedIn, YouTube, Vimeo, SoundCloud, GitHub, CrunchBase, Vine, Instagram, Spotify , Flickr, Picasa, Dropbox, Instapaper, FourSquare, Yelp. Sigh… . Let me know if there’s anything you’d like support for… And yes, I know everyone will want one for Facebook, and I actually had one working, but Facebook changed their API and broke things , so I’m going to have to revisit this one. Double-sigh…
It’s been a bit longer between releases than I normally like, but there’s been a lot of work done on this 3.0.2 releaseI’ve also been remarkably busy building systems built around Awasu. As examples, one client is using a battery of web scraping and custom-built plugins to monitor web sites they’re interested in, while another is using their system to monitor many thousands of sites, downloading the content to an external database, with a custom search engine and alert system built on top. Drop us a line if you’re interested in having something built for yourself. , so I hope it’ll have been worth the wait
This release builds on the work done in 3.0.1, making Awasu run better, faster and more efficiently. I’ve been adding these optimizations incrementally, so the effects were less noticeable, but running this new version side-by-side the old one, the difference is very apparent This will be an on-going process throughout the current release cycle, but of course, there will be a whole bunch of new features as well.
In this release, on top of the many, many optimizations, we also have:
Numerous UI improvements.
A new email engine, that lets you use third-party services like Gmail and Hotmail.
Improvements in the search engine, to give better results.
User tools now have access to all of a feed’s metadata, making it easier to export content out, or integrate Awasu into another service.
Support for a new range of plugin channels and hooks.
This last one is a biggie, and I’ll be making an announcement about this shortly, but in the meantime, get yourself set up with Awasu 3.0.2 and see what you think.
I’ve also been remarkably busy building systems built around Awasu. As examples, one client is using a battery of web scraping and custom-built plugins to monitor web sites they’re interested in, while another is using their system to monitor many thousands of sites, downloading the content to an external database, with a custom search engine and alert system built on top. Drop us a line if you’re interested in having something built for yourself.
So, one of our long-time users has been asking about how RSS tracks authors, which reminded me that I’ve been meaning to talk about this insanely cool feature of Awasu that I’m sure not many people know about.
RSS feed items typically come with metadata associated with them, like who the author was, what time they were published, etc. There are also non-standard things like licensing details, geocodes, information about who’s commented or linked to the blog post. Not only is Awasu able to slurp up all this yummy data, it doesn’t even have to be a standard type of metadata. You can even embed your own custom metadata in a feed and Awasu will be able to extract it – awesome if you’re working in an enterprise environment.
One of the things you can do with this metadata is include it in the item pane, the list of feed items that appears in the top (by default) of a channel’s window. Here’s a screenshot of a channel I have using the <foreshadowing> new and improved plugin that monitors email accounts </foreshadowing>, with the email’s sender and timestamp in the item pane.
Setting this up is pretty easy:
Open the channel’s Properties dialog and on the first tab (Channel), click on the Item pane button.
Click on the green plus icon, to add a new column.
Enter the metadata value you want to show in the column. The most commonly-used ones are provided in the droplist, but you can enter anything you want.
Then enter the name of the column.
And ta da! Awasu will now show the relevant metadata in the item pane.
This is a pretty nice feature, and Awasu is not limited to just showing these values in the item pane, they can be included in the browser pane as well, which means they will show up in reports, or emails. Post in the forums if you need a hand sending any of this stuff up.
Those of you who know me know that I’m a big fan of Python. It’s a really powerful and flexible scripting language that sits nicely in that space between shell scripts that have gotten too big (i.e. more than 10 lines 😐 ), and large-scale applications written in C++ or Java. I remember trying to print out the manual for 1.5.2IIRC, this was the iconic version of Python, much like 3.1 was for Windows for a long time. way back in the late-90’sYes kids, we often used printed manuals, back in the day :-O, and I’d already been using it for a few years then, so I guess that means I’ve been using it for nearly 20 years now 😯
Awasu has had an embedded Python interpreter for some time, and one of the things that has been lurking in the murky depths of my to-do list for many years now is a write-up on how to actually do this, since the documentation is not particularly great. Inexplicably, I found myself with a bit of time recently and have finally managed to cross this one off my list
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