Keeping Heroku From Idling With Pi

I read a great entry today on Daniel Puglisi’s blog about keeping heroku apps from idling, without paying the extra fees to keep your instance running 24/7. It is not particularly practical solution for most people, if you consider the cost of running most computer systems… but it’s definitely an appealing rasperry pi project, given that units $8 annual power consumption.

Unfortunately, configuring etc/crontab to run properly on pi is not trouble-free. There are complaints across many OS distros. However, NOOBs (which I use) seems to be the worst-affected. According to forums, cron works fine with a clean install of the OS, but stops working after you update packages. And, as of now, nobody is quite sure which of the 140 package updates are to be blame.

Not wanting to revert, and manually update only security critical programs… I had to figure it out. I turned on the cron log, which is off for some reason, installed chkconfig, rconf, and ended up solving the issue (for now) by restarting cron, then running sudo update-rc.d cron enable. This apparently just tells cron to keep running after a reboot, which is almost as good as telling it to run at startup, which is for some reason neigh-on-impossible to get working. I have rebooted a bunch of times, now, so I suppose this works. I will just have to check that cron doesn’t stop working for some random reason, occasioanlly.

Setting up email notifications is pretty easy, I guess.

Anyway, in all, not an amazing use of time, considering all the other features I need to build out for my blog/portfolio sites. But there is always something satisfying about figuring things out arcane configurations in linux; with all the libraries and updates to keep up with, it’s nice to acrue some knowledge that doesn’t have a definite shelf life.

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