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    Ongoing observations by End Point Dev people

    Unix tools & tips

    The view from a mountain ridge. the sky is light blue and partially covered in clouds. Green ridges covered in pine trees lead down to a flat valley populated by a small town.

    The command line interface (CLI) programs/​tools found on UNIX-like (*NIX) systems are among the most useful tools available to system administrators. CLI tools allow a system administrator to handle the *NIX systems either remotely or locally without needing to install Graphical User Interface (GUI) packages.

    Almost twenty years ago, I bought two O’Reilly books: “sed & awk, second edition,” written by Dale Dougherty & Arnold Robbins, and “Mastering Regular Expressions,” written by Jeffrey E.F. Friedl. These two books were printed in the late ’90s, and I bought them in 2004. I remembered them recently when my co-workers and I held a few study sessions to learn regular expressions. When a page and chapter are mentioned in this post, I’m referring to the editions of these books printed in that particular year.

    In this blog post, I’ll detail some common use cases I encounter day to day, as well as some related tools that help me handle them.


    During my regular work as a system administrator, I usually use sed (“stream editor”) to do string replacement across files and awk for log files or file analysis with arbitrary strings …

    linux tools

    Rocky Linux 9 at Hetzner Robot Made Quick and Easy

    Jeffry Johar

    By Jeffry Johar
    July 1, 2023

    Malaysian Mango Pickles
    Image by Jeffry Johar


    In my last blog post, I shared my experience of installing Rocky Linux 8 on my Hetzner robot server and subsequently upgrading it to Rocky Linux 9.

    Rocky Linux project manager Brian Clemens said that method is not recommended and suggested using a boot kickstart for an automated installation. Thanks, Brian!

    Despite my attempts to utilize kickstart, I encountered difficulties in booting my NVMe disk. During this process, I discovered another workaround for installing Rocky 9 using the installimage script. This method is also experimental, just like the previous one.

    The Steps

    1. Access the rescue mode (refer to my previous blog post if you need guidance).

    2. Copy the existing Rocky Linux 9 image to Rocky Linux 8 and place it in the root directory with the following command:

      cp /root/images/Rocky-91-amd64-base.tar.gz /root/Rocky-87-amd64-base.tar.gz

    The filename should adhere to the required naming convention for the installimage script to function correctly.

    1. Launch the installimage and select the Custom Image option.


    2. Configure the disk settings as required, and at the end of the script, select the image accordingly.

      IMAGE …

    cloud hosting linux sysadmin redhat

    Migrating Rails 6 React to Rails 7 React

    Indra Pranesh Palanisamy

    By Indra Pranesh Palanisamy
    June 26, 2023

    A coconut tree stands in the corner of a serene blue sky

    CasePointer’s disease reporting portal is built on React and Rails 6, and it’s time for an upgrade to Rails 7. This blog post will cover the steps, benefits, and challenges of migrating from Rails 6 to Rails 7, and offer valuable insights into the world of Ruby on Rails.

    With the recent release of Rails 7, there are many new features and improvements to explore. One of the biggest changes in Rails 7 is the retirement of Webpacker in favor of using the native webpack for bundling JavaScript.

    For those who are not familiar, Webpacker is a Rails gem which is a wrapper around the webpack build system that provides a standard webpack configuration and reasonable defaults.

    Steps for migrating Rails 6 React to Rails 7 React

    To migrate a Rails 6 React application to Rails 7 React, follow these steps:

    1. Update the Rails Gem in the Gemfile

    In your application’s Gemfile, update the Rails gem version to Rails 7:

    -gem "rails", "~> 6.1.4"
    +gem "rails", "~> 7.0.0"

    2. Upgrade Rails packages

    Upgrade the Rails packages using Yarn:

    yarn upgrade @rails/actioncable --latest
    yarn upgrade @rails/activestorage --latest

    3. Run the Rails update task

    Run …

    rails react migration

    Announcing CasePointer

    Jon Jensen

    By Jon Jensen
    June 20, 2023

    Overhead view of 4 people standing on opposite sides of a table holding huge puzzle pieces
    Photo by Diva Plavalaguna, Pexels license

    End Point is pleased to announce CasePointer, the expanded branding of our line of public health systems and services. Before this we referred to it simply by the name of one of its components, EpiTrax.

    The name CasePointer more appropriately reflects the broad scope of services we provide within the disease reporting and surveillance sector.

    This change coincides with the launching of the dedicated CasePointer website at www.casepointer.com and our participation next week in this year’s conference of CSTE (Council of State and Territorial Epidemiologists) in Salt Lake City, Utah. We will be staffing a booth there on the exhibition floor. Come visit us!

    Starting in 2008, End Point helped develop and maintain the TriSano open source disease surveillance system. In 2019 we migrated our customer, the Kansas Department of Health and Environment, from TriSano to a new disease surveillance system called EpiTrax, which was developed by the state of Utah, and is also open source.

    This timeline shows those and other key points on our journey:

    Due to the need for major additional features and capabilities, especially since the onset of the COVID-19 …

    casepointer epitrax conference

    Using EndeavourOS as a daily driver

    A nearby mountain skyline lies against an overcast sky. The lower hills are obscured on the edges by close green trees in the foreground, which lead toward US freeway signs in storage.

    Choosing a new distro

    I have been using Manjaro Linux (based on Arch Linux) for my work desktop and Pop!_OS (based on Ubuntu) for my laptop for quite some time now, and wanted to find another Arch Linux-based distro for my daily driver. Rather than aimlessly searching through the hundreds of Linux distros out there, I made several requirements the chosen distro should meet:

    • Easy to maintain.
    • Has strong community support and stable development.
    • Has a Linux Unified Key Setup (LUKS) full-disk encryption option in the installation.
    • If possible, the distro of choice should be able to trim down the number of default packages. For example, I am a Gnome desktop user, so I don’t want to install the game packages I won’t use.

    I decided to use EndeavourOS. It supports the features that I need: It has a strong community and most of Arch Linux’s documentation/​references are still applicable to it, like they are to most Arch Linux-based distros using systemd.

    The most notable differences between EndeavourOS and Arch Linux are EndeavourOS’s GUI-based installer—we can select between installing XFCE, Plasma KDE, Gnome, and several others desktop environments—as well as …


    Compressed CZML

    Dmitry Kiselev

    By Dmitry Kiselev
    June 13, 2023

    A crowded city on an overcast day. Tall apartment buildings fill the foreground while skyscrapers form a skyline in the background.

    Let’s talk about CZML, Cesium’s main language for specifying 3D scenes, and how to incorporate external resources such as billboard graphics, material textures, and 3D models into CZML files.

    For example, let’s look at how we can include glTF models.

    glTF models are composed of multiple files: a single JSON index file along with a variable number of binary buffer files and textures. So, in order to package CZML assets that include glTF models for distribution, you have to read the CZML document itself, then read the referenced glTF files. If they are not binary GLB files, you must also read the glTF files and package all of the files referenced by the glTF models. And if you find this paragraph cumbersome, that’s no accident. Indeed, the whole process is quite cumbersome!

    So we are dealing with something like:

    • CZML Document

      • glTF Model

        • buffer1.bin
        • buffer2.bin
        • texture1.png
        • texture2.png

    If you want to keep the glTF model as a single asset, you can convert the glTF files into binary (GLB) files, and then embed them as base64 data links into CZML.

    Another example would be a set of points with billboards, let’s say a couple hundred points with plenty of …

    visionport gis cesium

    VisionPort: The Future of Tourism Marketing

    Jonathan Perlin

    By Jonathan Perlin
    June 13, 2023

    A wide screenshot of a presentation on the VisionPort, titled “Mexico Market Profile”. A 3D view of earth, zoomed so that Mexico takes most of the view, highlighted in orange with its states labeled and separated by border lines. To the left and right of the globe are semi-transparent popups displaying statistics, each with a bar-chart breakdown of data: Visitation and spending forecast with visitation and spending; non-stop seats to California; vacation planning methods; planning to travel; traveler type; barriers to travel.

    In a world of rapidly evolving technology, businesses and organizations in the tourism industry must adapt to stay relevant and competitive. VisionPort offers innovative and powerful technological solutions that can help organizations and destinations in tourism enhance the customer experience and reach a wider audience.

    By showcasing destinations and providing immersive and engaging content, VisionPort can help agencies stay ahead of the competition through the use of geographic information systems and customized presentations.

    Several school kids gather around a VisionPort installation in a space museum, with spacesuits visible in the background. A boy points at an image of a planet displayed on the seven screens arranged in a semicircle.

    Showcase destinations

    VisionPort’s ability to showcase destinations through interactive panoramic views and virtual tours is a game-changer for the tourism industry. By providing immersive and engaging content, potential visitors can get a real sense of what it would be like to experience a particular destination. This can help to spark their interest and inspire them to plan a trip to that location.

    With its support for a variety of media types, including panoramic views, photos, and videos, VisionPort enables businesses to create high-quality content that highlights their unique features and attractions. For instance, a resort or hotel can create …

    visionport marketing

    Rocky Linux 9 via Hetzner Robot for the impatient

    Jeffry Johar

    By Jeffry Johar
    June 12, 2023

    Arrizq Jeffry on a go-kart
    Image: https://www.pexels.com/photo/go-kart-17122631/

    Update: A Better Way to Install Rocky Linux 9 at Hetzner Cloud

    Hey everyone, I wanted to share an update regarding the installation process of Rocky Linux 9 at Hetzner Cloud.

    After input from Brian Clemens of the Rocky Linux project and some further exploration and testing, I have a more efficient and straightforward method to get Rocky Linux up and running on the Hetzner platform. You can check out the new method in my second blog post here.

    About Rocky Linux

    Rocky Linux is a free and open-source community-driven operating system designed to be a drop-in replacement for Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL).

    Rocky fills the gap left by the end of CentOS, which was a popular Linux distribution based on the same source code as RHEL but offered as a free alternative with community support. CentOS Stream is their new offering, but it is just different enough to not be entirely compatible with RHEL.

    Another alternative is AlmaLinux, and everything mentioned here applies to Alma with some adaptation.

    Rocky 9 on Hetzner

    Hetzner is a popular hosting company offering bare metal and virtual servers at very affordable prices. It is based in …

    cloud hosting linux sysadmin redhat
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