What I learned – Week 34

I’m Trying something new…again. I want to log what I’ve learned in a week. This feels like a good week to start this ‘cos I learned a lot! The goal is for these weekly posts to help me write more, help me reflect on things I’ve learned, and encourage me to keep learning to I have more to write about. Let’s kick it off with Open Project

Open Project

I’ve been working on some new projects lately. I’m doing much better at keeping notes and tracking my projects but I want to also be able to plan my projects out in a way that will let me share the progress.

In work we have all the tools we need for that so I assumed there were also loads of tools out there that were free to use. I looked at some sites but quickly found that there weren’t many free project management sites out there that did what I wanted. I went to the next layer down to look at what I could host myself. I looked at bugzilla to be a back end for something I write myself in google sheets. This would work but would be a lot of work. So I looked into other tools out there that could be self hosted.

I found a project called Open Project and decided to give it a whirl. There are other tools out there like Redmine and Leantime that I could try out in the future but I set up a self hosted instance of Open Project and I’ve been enjoying it so far. It is very intuitive, turns out it’s a fork of redmine that has a lot of the better plugins integrated into the software. There is an enterprise version of this and they expose some of those features in the open source project behind a pay wall. Most of the stuff I need (like gantt charts, issue tracking, API etc) are all in the community version so happy days. It has a board view but all the useful features that make a kanban board valuable are kept behind the paywall.

Overall it’s been going well. I’ve got two projects tracked on it so far. If it works for my personal projects I’ll start adding more projects.


Looking into self hosting Open Project lead me down this road. I have a couple of Raspberry Pis in my project box from old ideas that I had so considered plugging one in and setting it up. But I have an old desktop running windows 10 (it was too slow to install windows 11 on it). I used to use it as a minecraft server but moved to Realms a while back so it’s been sitting powered off with a keyboard and monitor attached for the best part of a year. I booted it up and it ran like an absolute dog! Slow, couldn’t get remote desktop working, could barely even open chrome to do anything. I’d put docker desktop on this a while ago to play around and was tempted to try it for Open Project but the computer was just not up to it.

I started to look for linux distros to put on the computer and found some YouTube videos recommending proxmox. Proxmox VE is a free and open-source virtualisation platform based on Debian Linux. It allows you to run multiple operating systems on the same physical server, each in its own virtual machine (VM). It is a popular choice for businesses and individuals who need to run multiple applications or services on a single server. Proxmox VE is a powerful and versatile virtualisation platform that is easy to use and manage.

Once I got it installed I very quickly had a linux container up and running with open project on it. Not long after that I had containers running bugzilla, wordpress and then Home Assistant. It’s opened up a world of self hosting options for me. And from looking at the CPU load of what I’m running I could fit a lot more on to this server. Though RAM will be the limiting factor fairly soon. I need to crack this sucker open and see if I can get some cheap RAM upgrades for it.

Home Assistant

This is the next link in the open project chain. Once I got this set up and watched some YouTube videos on this I got very excited. I’ve looked at this before running on one of the old Raspberry Pi units I have. I even went so far as to buy a zigbee dongle to set up some hardware with it but put it on the back burner. This time I had a virtual machine running Home Assistant (I tried putting docker on the proxmox instance but lost steam thinking about putting a container in a container).

I got it all up and running very quickly and over the course of a day I put all the smart devices in my office onto Home Assistant and took them off their old systems as I went. By the end of the day I had 7 lights, two blinds and fan and a heater all set up and controlled from the web interface, google assistant and some smart switches I had. It was very exciting to see the different automations I can set up based on this so that will be some work that I’ll put in over the course of this week.

Apps Script

Found a couple of useful features of Apps Script. I use Apps Script a lot both in work and for stuff I do at home. Up to recently I’ve not been much of an object orientated programmer. So the first eye opener I had this week was using Classes in Apps Script. I know, hardly earth shattering. But it’s new to me so a world of possibilities are open to me!

The other Apps Script feature I found this week was the Maps service. I was able to make a handy custom formula where you enter the Eircode of your start and destination and it returns the driving distance between them using directions from Google Maps. More possibilities available from this so looking forward to playing with this,

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