Category: Home Automation

Cleaning Up Old OpenHAB Persistence Tables

So my husband asked for a program that would go out to the OpenHAB persistence database and identify all of the item tables that are no longer associated with active items. If you rename or delete an item from OpenHAB, the associated data is retained in the persistence database. Might be a good thing – maybe you wanted that data. But if it’s useless fluff … well, no need to keep the state changes from a door sensor that’s no longer around.

Wrote the code, and asked him how many days old he wanted the last update to be before the item table got dropped … and he told me this was a useless way to do it and maybe something really hadn’t updated in six months or three years and age of last update is no way to be identifying tables to be removed. Which, yeah, then why ask for it!? Then I needed to write something that takes a list of items from OpenHAB and identifies everything in the items table that does not appear in the OpenHAB list so those tables can be deleted. But I figured I’d post the original code too in case anyone else could use it. Both in perl, and neither in particularly well written perl. I trust the data and don’t want to protect against insertion attacks.

Drop tables for items that no longer appear in OpenHAB:

use strict;
use DBI;

my %strItemsFromOpenHAB = ();
        my $strCurrentItem = $_;
close INPUT;

my $dbh = DBI->connect('DBI:mysql:openhabdb;host=DBHOST', 'DBUID', 'DBPassword', { RaiseError => 1 } );

my $sth = $dbh->prepare("SELECT * FROM items");
while (my @row = $sth->fetchrow_array) {
        my $strItemID = $row[0];
        my $strItemName = $row[1];
        if(! $strItemsFromOpenHAB{$strItemName} ){              # If the current item name is not in the list of items from OpenHAB
#               print "DELETE FROM items where ItemID = $strItemID\n";
                print "DROP TABLE Item$strItemID;  # $strItemName \n";

close OUTPUT;


Identify tables that have not been updated in iTooOldInDays days:

use strict;
use DBI;
use Date::Parse;
use Time::Local;

my $iTooOldInDays = 365;

my $iCurrentEpochTime = time();

my @strItems = ();
my $iItems = 0;

my $dbh = DBI->connect('DBI:mysql:openhabdb;host=DBHOST', 'DBUID', 'DBPassword', { RaiseError => 1 } );

my $sth = $dbh->prepare("SELECT * FROM Items");
while (my @row = $sth->fetchrow_array) {
        $strItems[$iItems++] = $row[0];

for(my $i = 0; $i < $iItems; $i++){ my $strTableName = 'Item' . $strItems[$i]; my $sth = $dbh->prepare("SELECT * FROM $strTableName ORDER BY Time DESC LIMIT 1");
        while (my @row = $sth->fetchrow_array) {
                my $strUpdateTime = $row[0];
                my @strDateTimeBreakout = split(/ /,$strUpdateTime);
                my $strDate = $strDateTimeBreakout[0];
                my $strTime = $strDateTimeBreakout[1];

                my @strDateBreakout = split(/-/,$strDate);
                my @strTimeBreakout = split(/:/,$strTime);

                my $iUpdateEpochTime = timelocal($strTimeBreakout[2],$strTimeBreakout[1],$strTimeBreakout[0], $strDateBreakout[2],$strDateBreakout[1]-1,$strDateBreakout[0]);
                my $iTableAge = $iCurrentEpochTime - $iUpdateEpochTime;

                if($iTableAge > ($iTooOldInDays * 86400) ){
                        print "$strTableName last updated $strUpdateTime - $iUpdateEpochTime\n";

close OUTPUT;

Compiling Open ZWave On Fedora 25

Mostly writing this down for me, next time we need to run Open ZWave and try to build the latest version:

Download libmicrohttpd
Gunzip & untar it
cd libmicrohttpd
make install

Download and build the open-zwave library

mkdir /opt/ozw
cd /opt/ozw
git clone
cd open-zwave-master

Find error in build that says you don’t have libudev.h, install systemd-devel (dnf install systemd-devel) & try that make again.

Download open-zwave-control-panel
cd /opt/ozw
git clone
cd open-zwave-control-panel-master

Open the Makefile and find the following line:

Change it to:
OPENZWAVE := ../open-zwave-master

Then find the section that says:
# for Linux uncomment out next three lines
LIBZWAVE := $(wildcard $(OPENZWAVE)/*.a)
#LIBUSB := -ludev
#LIBS := $(LIBZWAVE) $(GNUTLS) $(LIBMICROHTTPD) -pthread $(LIBUSB) -lresolv

# for Mac OS X comment out above 2 lines and uncomment next 5 lines
#ARCH := -arch i386 -arch x86_64
#LIBZWAVE := $(wildcard $(OPENZWAVE)/cpp/lib/mac/*.a)
LIBUSB := -framework IOKit -framework CoreFoundation
LIBS := $(LIBZWAVE) $(GNUTLS) $(LIBMICROHTTPD) -pthread $(LIBUSB) $(ARCH) -lresolv

And switch it around to be Linux … the Makefile becomes:
# for Linux uncomment out next three lines
LIBZWAVE := $(wildcard $(OPENZWAVE)/*.a)
LIBUSB := -ludev
LIBS := $(LIBZWAVE) $(GNUTLS) $(LIBMICROHTTPD) -pthread $(LIBUSB) -lresolv

# for Mac OS X comment out above 2 lines and uncomment next 5 lines
#ARCH := -arch i386 -arch x86_64
#LIBZWAVE := $(wildcard $(OPENZWAVE)/cpp/lib/mac/*.a)
#LIBUSB := -framework IOKit -framework CoreFoundation
#LIBS := $(LIBZWAVE) $(GNUTLS) $(LIBMICROHTTPD) -pthread $(LIBUSB) $(ARCH) -lresolv

ln -sd ../open-zwave/config

Then you can run it:
./ozwcp -p 8889

./ozwcp: error while loading shared libraries: cannot open shared object file: No such file or directory

strace it (strace ./ozwcp -p 8889)

open(“/lib64/tls/x86_64/”, O_RDONLY|O_CLOEXEC) = -1 ENOENT (No such file or directory)
stat(“/lib64/tls/x86_64”, 0x7ffefb50d660) = -1 ENOENT (No such file or directory)
open(“/lib64/tls/”, O_RDONLY|O_CLOEXEC) = -1 ENOENT (No such file or directory)
stat(“/lib64/tls”, {st_mode=S_IFDIR|0555, st_size=4096, …}) = 0
open(“/lib64/x86_64/”, O_RDONLY|O_CLOEXEC) = -1 ENOENT (No such file or directory)
stat(“/lib64/x86_64”, 0x7ffefb50d660) = -1 ENOENT (No such file or directory)
open(“/lib64/”, O_RDONLY|O_CLOEXEC) = -1 ENOENT (No such file or directory)
stat(“/lib64”, {st_mode=S_IFDIR|0555, st_size=122880, …}) = 0
open(“/usr/lib64/tls/x86_64/”, O_RDONLY|O_CLOEXEC) = -1 ENOENT (No such file or directory)
stat(“/usr/lib64/tls/x86_64”, 0x7ffefb50d660) = -1 ENOENT (No such file or directory)
open(“/usr/lib64/tls/”, O_RDONLY|O_CLOEXEC) = -1 ENOENT (No such file or directory)
stat(“/usr/lib64/tls”, {st_mode=S_IFDIR|0555, st_size=4096, …}) = 0
open(“/usr/lib64/x86_64/”, O_RDONLY|O_CLOEXEC) = -1 ENOENT (No such file or directory)
stat(“/usr/lib64/x86_64”, 0x7ffefb50d660) = -1 ENOENT (No such file or directory)
open(“/usr/lib64/”, O_RDONLY|O_CLOEXEC) = -1 ENOENT (No such file or directory)
stat(“/usr/lib64”, {st_mode=S_IFDIR|0555, st_size=122880, …}) = 0

Huh … not looking in the right place. I’m sure there’s a right way to sort this, but we’re using Open ZWave for a couple of minutes to test some ZWave security stuff. Not worth the time:

ln -s /usr/local/lib/ /usr/lib64/

Try again (./ozwcp -p 8889). Voila, “2017-04-17 20:35:05.223 Always, OpenZwave Version 1.4.0 Starting Up”. Use your browser to hit http://<ipaddress>:8888 to access the Open ZWave Control Panel.

Smart Home (In)Security

I’ve seen a lot of articles recently about hacked IoT devices (and now one about a malicious company disrupting the customer’s service in retaliation for poor reviews (and possibly abusive calls to technical support). I certainly don’t think *everything* needs to be connected to the Internet. If you want to write messages on toast remotely, whatever … but beyond gimmicks, there are certainly products where the Internet offers no real advantage. But a lot of articles disparage the idea of a smart home based on goofy products.

There are devices that are more convenient than their ‘dumb’ counterparts. Locks that unlock when you are nearby. Garage lights that come on when the door is unlocked or opened. And if that was the extent of home automation, I guess you could still call it a silly fad.

But there are a LOT of connected devices that save resources: Exterior lighting that illuminates as you near your house. With motion detectors controlling light switches and bulbs, you (or the kids) cannot forget to turn out the lights. An outlet that turn OFF to eliminate draw when appliances are in ‘standby’ mode saved us about 50$/year just on the television/receiver. Use moisture sensors to control a sprinkler system so the grass is only watered when there is actual need. Water flow sensors that can alert you to unusual usage (e.g. when the water filter system gasket goes and it starts dumping water through the thing 24×7).

And some that prevent real damages to your home or person. If your house uses combustion for heat, configure the carbon monoxide sensor to shut off the HVAC system when CO levels are too high. Leak sensors shut off the water mains when a leak is detected (and turn off appliances in the wet area if there’s potential for shorting).

The major security problem with any IoT device, smart home systems included, is that you’ve connect private resources to the Internet. With all the hackers, punks, and downright malicious people out there. And from a privacy standpoint, you are providing information that can be mined to enhance marketing profiles — very carefully read the privacy policies of any company whose platform you will be using. Maybe a ‘smart’ coffee machine sounds good to you — but are they collecting (and potentially selling to third parties) information about how many cups of coffee you brew and the times of day you brew them? If you care is a personal decision, but it’s something that should be considered just the same.

When each individual device has its own platform, the privacy and security risks grow. A great number of these devices don’t need to be connected to the INTERNET directly but rather a relay point (hub). From a business perspective, this is a boon … since you have a Trane furnace (big money, not apt to be replaced yearly), you should also buy these other products that we sell and pay the monthly recurring to use our Nexia platform for all of your other smart devices. Or since you have a Samsung TV with a built-in hub … you should not only buy these other Samsung products, but hook all of your other smart ‘things’ up to SmartThings. And in a year or two when you’re shopping for a new TV … wait, you need one with a SmartThings hub or you’re going to have to port your existing configuration to a new vendor. Instant customer loyalty.

For an individual, the single relay point reduce risk (it’s not one of a dozen companies that need to be compromised to affect me, just this one) and confusion (I only have to keep track of one company’s privacy policy). *But* it also gives one company a lot more information. The device type is often indicative, but most people name the devices according to location (i.e. bedroom light, garage light, front door). Using SmartThings, Samsung knew when we went to bed and woke up, that we ate breakfast before brushing teeth (motion in hallway, motion in kitchen, water usage, power draw on appliances, motion in hallway, motion in bathroom, water usage) or showering (power draw on hot water tank, increased water usage). Which rooms we frequented (motion), when we watched TV (not what we watched, but when), when we left the house (no motion, presence change). How often we wash laundry (power draw on washer, water usage) and dishes (power draw in dishwasher, water usage). Temperature in the house (as reported from multi-sensor devices or from a smart thermostat), if we change settings for day/night. How often we drive a car (garage door open/closed with presence change, or speed of location change on presence), how much time we spend away from home. How often we have overnight guests (motion in guest bedroom at night).

And, yeah, the profile they glean is a guess. I might open the garage door when mowing grass. Or I might have rooms with no motion sensors for which they cannot account. But they have a LOT of data on which to base their guesses and no one selling targeted advertising profiles claims to be 100% accurate. Facebook’s algorithm, for quite some time, had me listed as a right-leaning Trump supporter. I finally tired of seeing campaign ads on their site and manually updated my advertising profile. Point is, one company has a lot of data from which they build fairly good targeted profiles. How much of our house is actually used (a lot of bedrooms that rarely get motion, get a ‘downsizing specialist’ real estate flyer. All rooms constantly with motion, get a flyer specific to finding a larger home to give you all some space). If the HVAC system is connected, they could create a target group “people who could use additional insulation or sealing in their house” (outdoor temp for location v/s indoor temp for location v/s energy draw).

In some ways, it’s cool that a company might be able to look at my life and determine a need of which I am not even aware. Didn’t realize how much of our energy bill was HVAC – wow, tightening the house and insulation will save how much?! But it’s also potentially offensive: yeah, we could use a bigger house for all of these people. We could also use a bigger pay cheque, what of it? Yeah, the kids moved out … but this is our house and why would you tell me I should be leaving? And generally invasive — information that doesn’t really cause harm but they’ve got no reason to know either.

What articles highlighting the insecurity of IoT devices seem to miss is that the relay point can reside on your local network with no Internet access. We personally use OpenHAB – which enables our home automation to function completely inside our local network. You trust the developers (or don’t, ours is open source … you can read the whole thing if you don’t want to trust developers), but you own the data and what is done with it.

You don’t need an expensive dedicated server to host your own home automation controller – a Raspberry PI will do. What you do need is technical knowledge and a good bit of time (or hire someone to do it for you, in which case you need money and someone else’s time). But the end result is the same — physical presence is required to compromise the system. Since physical presence will also let you bump locks, smash windows, cut power, flick light switches, open doors … you’re not worse off than before.

Serial Port Sniffer

We use a Wink hub to communicate with our ZigBee devices – scripts on the OpenHAB server make web calls over to the Wink hub to set bulb levels. Works great on outbound communication to the bulbs, but it is not real-time bi-directional (i.e. if a bulb level is changed elsewhere, OpenHAB would need to poll and get the new value). Doesn’t matter for the GE Link bulbs because there isn’t another way they get set beyond dropping and returning power (which turns the bulb on at 100%), but we cannot use the Wink hub to communicate with interactive devices — unlock the door manually and OpenHAB has no idea the light should be turned on until the next polling cycle. And polling is a lot of extra overhead – check every device every minute 24×7. And it’s slow – hit the polling cycle wrong and it takes a minute from unlocking the garage door before the light turns on.

Had the idea of monitoring data that moves across the serial interfaces and use a script to communicate real-time inbound changes over to OpenHAB. Watching the serial interface, we get lots of cryptic traffic from socat:

socat -x /dev/SerialPort,raw,echo=0,crnl PTY,link=/dev/ttyV1,raw,echo=0,crnl

Amazon Prime Household and Security (or lack thereof)

There are a lot of odd security lapses in Amazon’s implementation of Prime Household. Anything that uses Alexa creates shared cards that are visible in the Alexa app. There’s some implicit trust between family members, but even married people may not want to share EVERYTHING. “Echo, add this present for my wife to the list” shows up as a card in your wife’s Alexa app.

We share an Amazon Prime Household with Scott’s dad. We both have Alexa-enabled devices (FireTVs and Dots). Our Dots interact with our home automation system through a Phillips bridge emulator. Scott’s dad has some smart devices, but his FireTV could not find any smart devices when it would search. It would, however, turn the ‘outside lights’ on and off. Except the lights didn’t turn on or off in his house.

Our outside lights started turning on and off one night. We have a lot of home automation, but nothing in the logs indicated why this was occurring. I’m not sure if Scott called him or he called Scott, but we were lucky not to spend a day trying to track down some crazy issue. Evidently your Alexa can switch between profiles on the Amazon Prime Household just by saying “switch accounts”. You can ask it “which account is this?”.

The thing I find odd — our HA Bridge is not publicly addressable. Evidently any device on your account can have another device on your account initiate communication. Otherwise there’s no way a device that is connected to our profile but NOT on our network would be able to communicate with the HA Bridge.

Web-Accessible History From OpenHAB MySQL Persistence Database

My husband has wanted a quick/easy way to see the data stored in OpenHAB’s MySQL persistence database. He didn’t care for the mysql command line client. He didn’t care for PHPMyAdmin either. I’ve suggested the MyODBC client — which allows you to use MySQL databases as an ODBC data source so you can view the data in MS Access, Excel, etc. Nope – he wanted a web site.

So I put together a very quick (and ugly) PHP page that provides a list of all Items. If you click on an item, you can page through the item’s records. The index.php from the page is available here. You need a web server (I am using Apache on Fedora), PHP (I am using 5.6) and MySQLi (php-mysqlnd package).

This is a bit of paranoia on my part, but even on a page that is ONLY available internally … I don’t like to use an account with read/write access to display data. I create a new user and assign read access:

CREATE USER 'YourUserName'@'localhost' IDENTIFIED BY 'P#ssw0rdH3r3';
GRANT SELECT ON openhabdb.* to 'YourUserName'@'localhost';

Then use *that* user in the php code. This example has a web server running on the database server – and you connect to the MySQL server via localhost. If your web server is located on a different host, you’ll need to create and grant ‘YourUserName’@ the web server hostname.

Zoneminder Setup

I just installed ZoneMinder tonight. I don’t know if I missed a section in the documentation or something’s just missing — there’s doc for getting the build onto your box (or building your own from source). I didn’t want to install the package and all of its dependencies from their repo, so I manually installed the prereqs from the standard Fedora repositories. Installed the zoneminder rpm and switched from the ‘installation guide’ to the ‘user guide’. Which starts out on a web site. Umm … what web site? There’s definitely something missing here. Their package drops a config file in /etc/httpd/conf.d … *but* it presupposes that it is a dedicated server (which, in fairness, is the recommended configuration).

I edited the zoneminder.conf file and threw the whole thing in a VirtualHost tag, added an SSL cert for the hostname I’m using, and restarted Apache. OK, that’s better … I get *something*. Unfortunately ‘something’ is a massive MySQL error.

Some searching (rpm -ql zoneminder, then search through the files the package installed for something that looks good) yielded a config file at /etc/zm/zm.conf. Went in there, defined a database, user, and password. Created said database & user in mysql & assigned rights. Umm, stranger database error that leads me to believe the database hasn’t been initialized. Oops. LMGTFY. Found a SQL file at /usr/share/zoneminder/db/zm_create.sql and imported *that* … wasn’t sure if it was as simple as changing the zm database name in the SQL file to what I wanted or not, so I just used their default database name. Went back into MySQL and assigned the user I’d created earlier rights to the zm database and dropped *my* database. (Note, if you don’t use PHP date ‘stuff’, you may need to define the time zone in your php.ini file … I’d already set a default for other purposes).

Refresh and voila, I’ve got a system. You’ve got to click ‘start’ at the top for it to, well, start pulling in video feeds. I set up a VERY basic link to our WansView camera — ffmpg type, source is the full videostream.cgi URL, and remote method is “RTP/Unicast”. I can now see the video from our camera via the web site. WooHoo!

Now we need to get the motion detection set up & play with all of the options 🙂