2018-01-29

My relation to the United Kingdom

Over five years ago, in 2012, i have read about the "Raspberry Pi" by Eben Upton for the first time. Back then, it was barely available, because of its low price for a "real" computer. But it was still quite expensive, if you don’t know what to do with all the potential. Last year, in July 2017, i got my hands on the "Pi Zero W", with built-in Wifi and Bluetooth, made in the UK. I have built a CCTV camera, and it turned out great. I have let it run in my room for three weeks, while i was with my mother in Hong Kong. It captured all movements, saved photos on the microSD card and uploaded them via FTP to my web server as a backup. Thanks to "motionEyeOS" by Calin Crisan, and the "Camera Module" by the Raspberry Pi Foundation: The whole thing was like putting Lego bricks together.
Now, in January 2018, i got my second Pi Zero W, installed Linux in the flavor of "Raspbian Stretch", and built the foundation for a private server, exclusively through a CLI, also known as "command-line interface", without a display and keyboard attached to it, or simply called "in headless mode". Since i like to code in the Perl programming language, i had to do some digging into a couple of Apache server configuration files, to get my scripts working, as i already know it from my dedicated web server on the public internet. I also have set up "Duck DNS" pointing to my dynamic IP, and installed "Let's Encrypt" to get a secure connection via HTTPS for external access.
My parents like listening to "BBC Newsweek" in Cantonese, which is run by the British Broadcasting Corporation in London. But their website is not really reliable: Sometimes a new episode pops up and vanishes for no reason, by not being able to download the audio file, or just not showing up in the BBC podcast feed at all. This is why i wrote a Perl script, scheduled in "crontab", checking every 30 minutes for a new episode, and downloading it automatically from the BBC server, if it becomes available. Now they can take it down later, but we are still having a copy saved on the Pi Zero W. I made a simple "web user interface" for my parents, so they can listen to the episodes on demand, without to depend on the abilities of the BBC.
Back then, in September 2013, i covered the Fashion Week in London as independent photojournalist, and Reno Macri talked to me, after i made photos of him and his team attaching graphics at Somerset House. He offered me to print a photo of my choice on a "Dibond Panel", if i send him the photos. I didn’t know he was the founder of "Enigma Visual Solutions", a Office Design & Exhibition Stand Design firm, based in Marlow, Buckinghamshire. But after some research, i sent him everything, and later, he asked me to send him a photo to be printed on a large piece of "Aluminium Composite Sheet". I never had a photo in "real life" so big before, and i’m happy that i created something from scratch entirely for this purpose: My left hand holding three origami cranes, upcycled from old European maps. Cheers to Reno for being so nice.
FYI, in April 1987, as a British Dependent Territories citizen, born in Germany, i got my first British Passport from the British Consulate General in Düsseldorf. And i’m not sure how i feel about the UK leaving the EU, since i have a German Passport now, just like my parents, who were born in Hong Kong and therefore British Overseas Territories citizens. Whatever happens, the United Kingdom will always have a place in my heart, and not just because of the movie Notting Hill, or the TV show "Doctor Who". I also have relatives in England, who i visited and enjoyed being with: Thank you to Andrew Cheung and Ringo Tsang.
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