LidSpotter – From the ground up

The Lidspotter has now been completely rebuilt from the ground up.
Some issues were noticed where spots got delayed, and reappeared a couple of hours after they should have been posted. This turned out to be a delay in the email part of the chain (Hamalert was doing the spotting, and emailing the spots to the script which formatted and posted out to the social media channels).
After the rebuild (and a bit of debugging), the spotter is now reading a direct feed from the RBN, so our spots now appear almost immediately, rather than the about-a-minute delay as was.
The other improvement is it now reads the Lids_CW member page to directly grab the callsign filter list, so any new members are automatically added to the list when Michael updates the site. Previously I had to notice a tweet, and edit two separate lists on different services; now it’s just a case of sit back and watch!

Oh, and the last bit of good news, Twitter are allowing us to post again!

73 and see you on the air
Chris, G0JPS

LidSpotter’s new lease of life

Twitter hasn’t been very nice lately; apart from the constant spamming of adverts all over the place, they have now also severely restricted the ability of bots and scripts to make automated posts, which broke the lidspotter. The program was still happily running, it just couldn’t post. A temporary fix was made (using a very shoddily coded web page), but the bandwidth of a £1.20 per month virtual server isn’t huge.

Enter Telegram. A free, secure messaging app that’s cross platform. I’ve been using it to communicate within a gaming clan for quite some time, and one of the channels we use is run as a news feed, which seemed ideal. So I got some setup details from the chap that made it, and created a LidSpotter version which runs smoothly and faster than twitter’s ever did (and we’ve discovered the alerts can even be made to appear on smart watches, too!). This feed can be found at t.me/LidSpotters

 

 

And now, Mastodon as well. I’d heard of it, but never really looked until Simon G0FCU mentioned it on twitter; so I had a chat with the admin of the mastodon.radio instance

and got permission to play – and, on the first attempt, it works! Just create a free account, and search for @LidSpotBot then follow it.

I’m sure there will be some snags along the way, Mastodon is a new open-source network and is still evolving, but it looks good.

Hope to see more members on there.

 

LidSpotter Revisited

When the LidSpotter died, I was dismayed to find I had lost access to the web facility which turned the Hamalert emails into tweets!
After some chasing around, and finding out that while other sites existed that performed the same service, they all needed to validate email addresses I had no access to.
In desperation, I asked a friend who's a bit of a linux guru. In true 'mate' tradition, he said he wasn't going to do it for me, then told me where I could get a basic, dirt cheap VPS (Virtual Private Server), and lent me a book - "Programming Perl" - and said I could work it out for myself.
So one cheap server, and a lot of googling later, I had 45 lines of script. The server accepts the incoming email from Hamalert, and sends it to the script which removes all the gibberish headers then tweets the spot that's left. The end result is I learned something,  and the spotter's working again, hooray!
Once again, apologies for the interruption to the service.
Chris G0JPS