02 April 2019 / Last updated: 16 May 2019

balena monthly roundup - April 2019

We’re fully out of Winter hibernation now (for those of the team in the Northern hemisphere, anyway), and have been working tirelessly to deploy new features, and to create new projects and demos for you. We’ve got balenaSense which uses InfluxDB and Grafana to make pretty charts of air quality, some great examples of deploying X11 apps and accessing them via VNC, some new diagnostic tools in the dashboard, and more!
If you’ve got anything you’d like to see featured in future newsletters, get in touch at [email protected], let us know in our forums at https://forums.balena.io, on Twitter @balena_io, on Instagram @balena_io or on Facebook. We always love to see what you’ve been working on!
Just a quick mention for our recently launched Twitch channel too; we’re going to be streaming some project builds and demos, and it would be great to have you join us in chat. Give us a follow to be notified when we next go live! Last month we streamed the full setup of openBalena from start to finish, but don’t worry if you missed it as everything is archived on our YouTube channel.
On to the good stuff!

Air quality monitoring using InfluxDB, Grafana and a Pi Zero

Have you ever been interested in monitoring the air quality in your home or outside where you live and work? This project, which we’ve dubbed balenaSense, will get you up and running with a setup to take readings of temperature, humidity, barometric pressure, and air quality, and provide a dashboard that you can access from anywhere to see the stats at a glance and monitor trends.

Run full desktop/GUI applications on balenaCloud with access via VNC

While building your next Internet-of-things (IoT) project, sometimes you get to a point where you need to run applications that are made to run on a screen, we call them graphical user interface (GUI) applications.
After multiple requests from our users, we decided to write a short tutorial explaining how you can run a desktop manager or a GUI application with balenaCloud or openBalena on any kind of display.

X11 + VNC

As a follow on from the above guide, we published an additional tutorial detailing how you would go about setting up a VNC server to access your newly deployed GUI applications remotely.

Diagnostic tools added for balenaCloud devices

We are happy to announce that we are making our internal diagnostics tooling available to balena users. The tools will be accessible by all application owners as well as developers. These diagnostics tools contain much of the accumulated knowledge of pathologies and issues that often arise on devices deployed in the wild. We are planning to open-source the underlying scripts shortly, but wanted to make these tools available today to provide users with a better understanding of their devices. Additionally, since these tools are the same ones that the balena team uses to diagnose and support user issues across all types of devices, they will continue to evolve as balenaOS does.

Add a display to your Pi-hole project for monitoring and stats

In our last newsletter, we told you about our project to deploy Pi-hole to ad-block your whole network, this time around we’ve got a follow-up post for you detailing how to add and setup a PiTFT for monitoring and statistics.

EtcherPro preorders opening soon

Just a quick reminder that we’re still working hard on EtcherPro and are aiming to open pre-orders soon. We’ll make sure to let you all know when this happens but we do have another mailing list specifically for EtcherPro if you’re interested in more detailed updates.

Projects of the month

Every month we like to feature a few projects built by the community, this month it’s:


Here are some upcoming events you might like to check out, if you see the balena logo next to an event that means we’ll be there - come and say hello!
London IoT MeetupLondon, UKApr 16, 2019
IoT Tech Global ExpoLondon, UKApr 25 - 26, 2019
Maker Faire Bay AreaSan Mateo, CA, USMay 17 - 19, 2019
KubeCon / CloudNativeCon EuropeBarcelona, ESMay 20 - 23, 2019
mDevCampPrague, CZMay 31, 2019
Artificial Intelligence, Robotics & IoT conferenceAmsterdam, NLJul 16 - 17, 2019

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