Raspberry Pi as syslog server

I’ve been meaning for some time to add a Raspberry Pi to my lab environment as a syslog server and finally got around to it today.

I have a couple of Pis but when I went looking this morning I realized that I had a problem with the SD card on one which led to a small voyage of discovery.

To re-flash the SD card I chose the Raspbian Stretch Lite download, here.

And then re-flashed the card using balenaEtcher per instructions, here.

I operate the Pis in headless mode on a wired network and in order to get them to come up with SSH enabled I had to add an empty file ssh.txt to the boot partition on the SD card.

Once online I used a network scanner to find the dhcp served addressed and then set a static address by editing the configuration file.

sudo nano /etc/dhcpcd.conf

interface eth0

static ip_address=
static routers=
static domain_name_servers=

More on the details of the syslog server itself in a future post.

Amazon Alexa

I’ve been a dedicated Google Home user for some period of time but I wanted to see the other side so when Echo Dot went on sale a few weeks ago I picked one up.

As with Google Home one of the first things I wanted to find, and enable, was an audible acknowledgment. The trigger word (phrase) doesn’t always get a response, depending on local conditions, and I’d rather know that I’ve been heard before talking into the ether.

Instructions for doing so, can be found here:

How to Make Your Amazon Echo Play a Sound When You Say “Alexa”

As regards Alexa, the jury is still out, but on balance Google Home seems to be a much more capable agent in terms of recognizing the intent of my queries and directions.

For the most part, however, I use both platforms for music selection. Google Play Music seems to be a more extensive music library although I don’t know that for a fact. I was disappointed to find that Alexa couldn’t query my local music library, indexed via Sonos, but since Google Home support has yet to be ported to Sonos so I’m no further behind. I use an audio chromecast in my Play:5 audio port to drive my Sonos enviroment with Google Home.

I also, recently, installed 3 Google Home Minis and an Onkyo amplifier, with embedded audio chromecast for a client. I’m impressed with the latest revisions to the Google Home app and how it manages multi-user, multi-home environments. More on that later.

Update: The missing piece of the puzzle. On Amazon Music, as a Prime member, I get access to “two million songs ad-free and on-demand, while Amazon Music Unlimited ($7.99/month) expands the library to tens of millions of songs and lets you download them for offline listening on any device.”