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Server Technology Telephony

Unofficial Cedar Park help line

I’ve just setup a rudimentary phone system for those in Cedar Park, Texas to dial into as a one-stop-shop during these unprecedented Winter events:

267-I-LV-CPTX
(267-458-2789)


For now, you can connect to:

  • Pedernales Electric to report an outage.
  • Cedar Park public works to report frozen pipes.
  • Williamson County emergency warming center.
  • Cedar Park Police Department’s non-emergency line (which has been having intermittent issues — I’ve setup a phone system for working around these issues, and can fire up if their system goes down again).
  • Williamson County Sheriff’s Office non-emergency line (I’m still working through my system automatically bypassing their prompts and connecting you straight to a dispatcher).
  • Volunteer transportation in 4×4 vehicles.
  • Supplies (e.g. food and water — much of Austin and surrounding parts are still without water).
  • Central Texas Food Bank.
  • Suicide Prevention Lifeline.

Updates

2021-02-17

  • I’m working on a newer, more advanced version, and because residents of Pflugerville, Round Rock, and Austin have asked for a similar option.
  • I’ve reached out to the Austin Firefighters Association to let them know that I’d be happy to setup similar software for their off-duty volunteers to use, and so that they’re not operating off of a single cell. phone number.
  • A Paramedic from ATCEMS reached out to me, and has sent me the contact information to a ATCEMS Captain in hopes that we can work together.
  • Additional software developers have reached out to me, and I’m moving the code base for the newer version to a general repository that we can all work on. The simple version was in PHP and the more advanced version is in Python, both are wrapped in Docker and running behind Nginx, so it’s easy to work with. Once I’m happy with how it’s working, then I’ll move it over to serverless. More on this later, and I’ll probably end up writing an article or making a video about it.

2021-02-18

  • The foundation for the new Python-based version is running in development mode. I’m now working on building out the system, and really excited about this one.
  • I’m now working with Emmanuel Presbyterian Church for further service offerings for Cedar Park residents. As progress is made and more volunteers are onboarded, there’s less workload that’s resting on any single person.

2021-02-20

  • Multiple calls were received from people without water. By end of day, all requests were fulfilled and those people now have water. Some examples:

Meanwhile, I’m in the middle of moving and went to assess the damage at my new place now that the roads are passable. I have lost my entire water supply due to this severe weather, and now need to make repairs:

This is a problem for me to solve with automation. My tech. stack is:

  • Proxmox driving KVM hypervisor and LXC Containers.
  • Z-Wave modem mapped to Linux Virtual Machine under KVM.
  • Docker (it’s unpleasant to work with it at the Proxmox host level, and a lot easier to just go KVM → Linux → Docker)
  • Python

So in this case, my challenge is locating reliable (and ideally, UL or similar certified) Z-Wave devices for interfacing with 240 Volts 30 Amps as well as high torque valves. Then, I’ll create a workflow for draining 1,610 gallons of water (which takes about 4 days to fill if we’re having a good day and pulling 400 gallons/day) manually or automatically when certain thresholds are met. I’ve now started to add in solar and large batteries so that the multi-WAN Internet connection and servers stay running through catastrophic conditions such as what we just experienced, and may add in where my Linux-driven ranch just activates an emergency shutdown when even the batteries are critically low.

I’ve got *MANY* ideas for how I can take this, and am trying to add in live feeds where people can watch (and interact with!) it 24/7.

2021-02-21

My water system is still offline, and there’s a statewide shortage on pumps and equipment. :’-(

Fortunately, one of my old coworkers is mailing me some of his well pumps from Maine so that I can have running water (and toilets and showers!) at my place again. I made a brief video about the problems that I’m trying to solve:

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