Saturday, September 16, 2023

Revolutionizing Air Quality Monitoring: How I Upgraded Our System with Mila Integration for Smart Home Automation

In this blog post, I explained how I set up an air quality monitoring system for our neighborhood. With this setup, we can keep an eye on the air quality outside our home. However, this monitoring system is somewhat passive because I need to manually check the air quality and take actions accordingly, such as turning on the HVAC fan to filter and circulate the indoor air.

I considered using the standard Home Assistant integration for Purple Air, but it shares the same drawback as the Magic Mirror integration in terms of API usage limitations. I wanted to avoid an integration that might eventually become unreliable due to API quota limits.

Recently, we purchased Mila connected air filters. These filters not only measure the air quality in the rooms where they're installed but also allow you to select a sensor for neighborhood air quality in the Mila application. Within a month of setting up our Purple Air monitor, I was able to choose it as the neighborhood air quality sensor in the Mila application. This feature enables the Mila filters to determine the relative differences in air quality between the indoors and outdoors.

Friday, September 1, 2023

Silencing the Breeze: Upgrading Legion Network Racks for Whisper-Quiet Performance

In our home, we utilize a couple of Legion 18 network racks. These particular 18U network racks are designed to be compact, making them suitable for placement in closets or offices. Additionally, they come equipped with built-in cooling features, specifically two 120mm fans located at the top of the rack.

However, while the built-in cooling is a valuable feature, I couldn't help but notice that the noise generated by the fans can be quite noticeable, particularly in quieter environments. One of the main reasons for this is that the fan speed is fixed; there's only an on/off switch available. Consequently, you can either turn the fans off entirely or run them at their default, relatively loud speed. This limitation led me to seek out replacement fans for the rack.

Stock fans from the Legion 18 network rack

After conducting some research, I decided to opt for the AC Infinity Rack ROOF Fan Kit. This kit includes two 120mm fans that can be connected to a provided fan controller, which, in turn, connects to a power source. The fan controller offers precise control over the fan speed, allowing for quieter operation.

Saturday, August 26, 2023

Unveiling the Air We Breathe: A Journey through Air Quality Monitoring and Insights

In light of the California wildfires over the past few years and our recent move to the Midwest, I've developed a strong interest in monitoring the air quality at our home. The same curiosity was sparked by the presence of smoke from the Canadian wildfires. To fulfill this interest, I've been utilizing PurpleAir, a platform that provides insight into the current air quality around our residence. One of the notable features of PurpleAir is its ability for community air quality monitors to share their data with a broader audience.

Upon relocating to this new area and wanting to stay informed about the air quality in our neighborhood, I delved into the data offered by PurpleAir. Unfortunately, the nearest sensor is situated more than a mile away and operates within a different micro-climate, which could influence the accuracy of the air quality measurements.

Thursday, August 24, 2023

Unleashing Home Automation Magic: From Zigzagging with SkyConnect to Soaring with Hubitat

In a previous blog entry, I delved into the fascinating realm of leveraging SkyConnect to interconnect my Zigbee devices with my home automation system. While it seemed like a walk in the park to incorporate Zigbee devices into my Home Assistant setup, I'm here to shed light on some rather unfortunate downsides that cropped up during this experiment.

The crux of the issue lay in the somewhat petite antenna housed within the SkyConnect. This pint-sized component led to a rather finicky connection experience with my Zigbee devices. You wouldn't believe the number of times my sensors and switches decided to take an impromptu leave of absence from the Zigbee network. The result? Automation hiccupped, leaving me high and dry without the expected triggers. And on those rare occasions when triggers managed to sneak through, the devices decided to play hard to control.

Now, let's talk about compatibility woes. The SkyConnect supports just Zigbee and Thread protocols. That might not be a deal-breaker, but here's the rub: I've got a fair share of Z-Wave devices I'm not ready to part with. The grand plan was to simplify my smart home's intricate web, and adding yet another system into the mix for handling the Z-Wave network just didn't tickle my fancy. One system to connect the low-powered wireless devices—that was the dream.

But wait, there's more! Compatibility gremlins struck again. A number of devices I attempted to pair with the SkyConnect ended up being flaky, where they periodically dropped off the network. It's like the functionalities were playing a game of hide and seek. Here's the kicker—I yearned for a system where either the company had its act together or a thriving community would come to the rescue, waving magic wands in the form of drivers to unlock those missing functions.

Introducing Hubitat

Now, hold onto your seats, because after some serious deep diving, I stumbled upon a hero in the home automation arena—Hubitat. Picture this: an automation hub that flaunts wireless radios tuned in to not just Zigbee, but also Z-Wave and a bunch of other protocols. Say adios to the single-protocol constraint; Hubitat had my attention.

Wednesday, August 23, 2023

Unveiling the Journey: From Tempest Weather Station to Magic Mirror - A Triumph in Weather Data Integration

Some time back, I shared my experience with the Tempest Weather Station, a fantastic tool that keeps us informed about the weather conditions at our home. This has been remarkably invaluable during the more extreme weather events this summer.

However, it's important to note that having the weather station installed is only half the battle; making the data accessible is what truly enhances its usefulness. A while ago, I implemented a solution in the form of a Magic Mirror – a project I undertook to display various helpful information for our household. The base software for the Magic Mirror incorporates weather data display capabilities, with OpenWeatherMap as the primary weather provider. Nonetheless, we encountered an issue with the data accuracy from this provider, as its temperature readings consistently skewed higher than the actual temperatures at our location.

The built-in weather module does allow for alternative weather providers, leading me on a quest to figure out how to funnel the weather data from our Tempest Weather station to one of these providers for display on the mirror. The Tempest Weather station supports data export to Weather Underground in the stock setup. However, the built-in weather module lacked the capability to interpret data from Weather Underground.

Discovering WeeWX

Since the stock weather module already integrated support for OpenWeatherMap, I decided to send the Tempest's weather data to OpenWeatherMap. However, given that this functionality wasn't native to the Tempest, I stumbled upon WeeWX – a project designed to collect data from various weather stations and present it on a customizable dashboard. Additionally, WeeWx offered the functionality to export data to local and cloud-based weather providers.

Despite WeeWx's broad compatibility with different weather stations, it didn't inherently support the Tempest Weather Station. But, taking advantage of WeeWX's plugin architecture, a solution emerged through the creation of the weatherflow-udp plugin. This clever plugin intercepted the UDP packets transmitted by the Tempest, effectively capturing and recording the data.

Once I successfully integrated the Tempest data into WeeWx, the next challenge was to export this data to OpenWeatherMap. Given that direct support wasn't available, my search led me to the weewx-owm plugin, facilitating weather data export to OpenWeatherMap. After setting up the plugin, I was able to transfer the weather data to OpenWeatherMap.

Monday, May 29, 2023

Mastering the Upgrade: Overcoming Challenges in Replacing Light Switches in Our Century-Old Home

Over the past few days, I've been immersed in the task of replacing the light switches in our century-old house with Lutron light switches and dimmers. As mentioned in a previous post, this endeavor has not been without its hurdles due to the house's age and multiple previous owners. In this article, I will outline the problems I encountered during the installation process and share the solutions I discovered.

Dealing with 3-Way Lights

In certain areas of our home, such as stairways or hallways, we have light switches located at both ends to provide convenience and ensure visibility while moving about. Although Lutron supports 3-way switch setups, there are a few important considerations to keep in mind.

Load-Managing Switch

Lutron's instructions for configuring 3-way switches assume a direct connection between the Lutron switch or dimmer and the load. When working on an installation where the circuit's wiring is uncertain, it becomes crucial to test the wiring during the installation process.

To tackle this, I removed the switches from the wall and used a voltage tester to determine which switch was linked to the power source and which one was directly connected to the load. Armed with this knowledge, I followed Lutron's instructions and replaced the switch that was directly connected to the load, successfully following the provided directions.

Thursday, May 25, 2023

Lighting the Way: Discover the Reliability and Versatility of Lutron Caseta for Your Smart Home Ambiance

Today, we're shining a light on Lutron Caseta, an exceptional lighting control system that combines reliability and versatility to elevate your home's ambiance. In this post, we'll delve into the benefits of using Lutron Caseta, with a particular focus on its rock-solid performance and seamless integration capabilities.

Reliability Redefined

When it comes to lighting control, reliability is non-negotiable. That's where Lutron Caseta takes center stage, wowing users with its unwavering dependability. Lutron achieves this feat through its ingenious use of the Clear Connect RF wireless protocol, operating at a frequency of 434 MHz. This well-thought-out frequency selection ensures a robust connection that remains impervious to interference from pesky Wi-Fi routers or temperamental microwaves, granting you uninterrupted command over your lights.

However, like any superhero, Lutron Caseta does have its limitations. The Clear Connect RF wireless protocol lacks mesh functionality, resulting in a range that extends up to a modest 30 feet. Fear not, though, for Lutron has your back! They offer a handy repeater that works wonders in doubling the range of your wireless protocol. So, should you ever encounter connectivity conundrums, simply deploy this repeater to expand the reach of your Caseta system.

Wednesday, May 24, 2023

SimpliSafe: Revolutionizing Home Security and Automation with Seamless Integration into Home Assistant

In this review, we'll delve into the world of SimpliSafe, a monitored home alarm system that combines reliable wireless technology with seamless integration into popular home automation systems like Home Assistant. Join us as we explore the cutting-edge features of SimpliSafe and discover the exciting possibilities it brings to your smart home.

Below we have included information about getting a discount on a new system, including a free indoor camera.

Cutting-Edge Wireless Technology

SimpliSafe sets itself apart with its innovative use of sub-1GHz radio frequency, enabling seamless communication between sensors and the base station. This wireless technology not only ensures a robust and reliable connection throughout your entire home but also provides an impressive battery life for the sensors. Forget about the hassle of complex wiring—SimpliSafe allows you to place sensors wherever you need them without compromising on performance.

Integration Made Easy

We understand the importance of effortless integration within a home automation ecosystem. SimpliSafe excels in this aspect, seamlessly connecting with Home Assistant—a popular choice among smart home enthusiasts. The setup process, while requiring attention to detail, is straightforward. Just follow the provided instructions, including copying the authentication code from the HTML of a successful authentication attempt, and your SimpliSafe system will become an integral part of your Home Assistant integration.

Thursday, May 4, 2023

Save Water, Save Money, and Protect Your Home with the Flume Smart Water Monitor

Are you worried about the amount of water you and your family are using? Do you want to conserve water and save money on your water bills? If so, then the Flume Smart Water Monitor is the solution you've been looking for.

The Flume Smart Water Monitor is a revolutionary device that tracks your household's water usage in real-time. It connects easily to your water meter and sends data to the Flume app, giving you an accurate picture of how much water your household is consuming. This valuable information allows you to make informed decisions about your water usage, such as taking shorter showers or fixing leaky faucets.

Wednesday, May 3, 2023

Uphold: The Ultimate Digital Asset Platform for Your Financial Needs

Uphold is a digital asset platform that offers a wide range of financial services, including buying, selling, and exchanging digital currencies and other financial assets. The platform was founded in 2014 by Halsey Minor, the co-founder of CNET. It was initially launched as Bitreserve but later rebranded to Uphold.

One of the popular use cases for Uphold is through its integration with Brave, a privacy-focused web browser. With Brave, users can opt-in to view ads and get rewarded with Basic Attention Tokens (BAT). These tokens can be used to tip content creators or traded on Uphold for other cryptocurrencies or fiat currencies. Uphold is just one of the wallets available for Brave users to store and exchange their BAT rewards.

But Uphold is more than just a wallet for Brave rewards. It is a comprehensive platform that offers a plethora of financial services. For starters, Uphold supports over 50 cryptocurrencies, including Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin, and Ripple. Users can easily buy, sell, and exchange these digital assets with just a few clicks. Additionally, the platform supports fiat currencies like the US dollar, the euro, and the British pound.

Tuesday, May 2, 2023

Revolutionizing Visual Content Creation: How Canva's Capabilities Are Changing the Game

Are you tired of shelling out big bucks for image editing, graphic design, and document layout software? Do you want a tool that can do it all without constant updates and installations? Look no further than Canva.

This cloud-based design platform is a game-changer for creators of all levels. Whether you're a social media manager, event planner, or small business owner, Canva has templates and tools to help you create stunning visuals quickly and easily. And the best part? Canva is completely free to use, with premium features available for a small monthly fee.

Friday, April 28, 2023

Rev Up Your Road Trips: Unlocking the Power of North America's CCS Charging Network with Tesla's CCS Adapters

As Tesla's electric vehicle lineup continues to grow, many owners are seeking ways to take advantage of North America's fast-developing CCS charging network. Luckily, Tesla has released a CCS adapter that enables newer Tesla vehicle owners to use CCS charging stations.

In addition to Tesla's adapter, several other companies have also released adapters that have the same capabilities, but with slightly lower prices.  For example, the HANSSHOW CCS Charger Adapter, available on Amazon, has the same capabilities as the Tesla adapter but is available for a lower price.

The CCS adapters are compatible with Tesla cars with CCS enabled, including all Model Y, Model 3, Model S, and Model X cars produced after October 2021. The adapters provide Tesla owners access to a growing network of CCS charging stations, which are increasingly common in North America.

Wednesday, April 26, 2023

1Password Review: The Ultimate Password Manager with Multi-Platform Support, Strong Security Features, and User-Friendly Interface

The recent LastPass data leak has caused a bit of a panic in the online world, with users scrambling to find an alternative that can provide the same level of security and convenience. Password managers have become increasingly popular in recent years, with users embracing them as a way to generate secure passwords and manage them more effectively. After a thorough search, I came across 1Password – a password manager that supports Windows, Chrome, and Android devices and is highly secure and user-friendly. In this post, I’ll be sharing my review of 1Password, and discussing the features that make it stand out from the competition.

Multi-Platform Support

One key feature that sets 1Password apart from other password managers is its multi-platform support. It can be used on Windows, Mac, iOS, and Android devices, making it a great option for both personal and professional use. The app also synchronizes across all devices, so you can access your passwords and secure information from anywhere. This is particularly useful for users who work remotely or travel frequently and need access to their passwords on the go.

Strong Security Features

Security is obviously a top priority when it comes to password managers, and 1Password doesn't disappoint. It offers a variety of security features, including end-to-end encryption, secure storage, and two-factor authentication. The 1Password app also comes with a built-in password generator, which creates complex and unique passwords that are difficult to guess or hack. This feature is especially important given the prevalence of password-cracking tools that cybercriminals use to gain access to personal information.

Tuesday, April 25, 2023

Secure Your Retirement with Acorns: The Easy and Automated Investment App for Novice Investors

Saving and investing for retirement can seem daunting, especially for those who are new to the investing world. However, with Acorns, investing has never been easier. Acorns is an investment app that allows you to invest your spare change, making it a great option for novice investors or those who want to save money effortlessly. With Acorns, you can automate your investing, diversify your portfolio, and ultimately achieve your financial goals. In this post, we will discuss why Acorns is a smart way to save for retirement and how you can get started.

Easy and Automated Investing

Acorns makes investing easy and convenient. You can link your bank account, debit cards, and credit cards to the app, and it will automatically round up your purchases to the nearest dollar and invest the change. This means that you can save money without even thinking about it. Additionally, Acorns offers recurring investments, allowing you to set up automatic investments weekly or monthly. This feature makes it easy to stay on track with your savings goals.


Acorns helps you diversify your portfolio by investing in a variety of asset classes, including stocks and bonds. The app uses modern portfolio theory to allocate investments based on risk tolerance and financial goals. This means that your money is being invested in a diversified portfolio, reducing your risk and increasing your potential returns. Moreover, Acorns offers multiple investment portfolios, including socially responsible or index fund-based ones.

Monday, April 24, 2023

Upgrade Your Tesla Model 3 with Scent Wedge's Walnut Overlay: Elevate Your Car's Interior with a Touch of Luxury

When it comes to electric vehicles, Tesla is a name that dominates the industry. Tesla cars are known for their exceptional performance, sleek design, and innovative features. If you're a Tesla Model 3 or Y user, you're well aware of how impressive this car is, from its ability to drive long distances on a single charge to its high-tech features. 

However, as with any car, there may be some things that you wish were different. One common issue amongst Model 3 users is the overall polish of the car not being the same as that of the Model S. Fortunately, we've discovered a solution that can enhance the look of your Model 3 and give it that extra pop you've been looking for. Enter Scent Wedge's Walnut Overlay.

Scent Wedge's Walnut Overlay is a must-have accessory for any Tesla Model 3 owner who wants to make their car stand out. Made from real American walnut wood, this overlay is laser-cut to fit perfectly onto the Model 3's center console. The installation is quick and easy, so you won't have to spend hours fumbling around trying to get it on your console.

Friday, April 21, 2023

Protect Your Raspberry Pi 4 with Style and Functionality: A Comprehensive Review of Cooler Master's PI CASE 40

I have a project where I need to set up a Raspberry Pi, as an OpenVPN server, to allow remote access.  Since this will be used remotely, I want to minimize the possible points of failure.  I was looking for a case with enough cooling for the Raspberry Pi but minimal moving parts.  The Cooler Master PI CASE 40 looks like the perfect case for this use case.

This case brings a new level of protection and style to your Raspberry Pi 4. Despite its compact size, the PI CASE 40 offers various functions, making it an excellent choice for Raspberry Pi users. In this post, we'll dive into the extensive features and benefits of Cooler Master's PI CASE 40.

Design and Construction

One impressive feature of the PI CASE 40 is its aesthetic appeal. The case boasts a stylish look, thanks to the aluminum frame and sleek black micro-textured surface. The frame houses an acrylic plate that serves as a lid that fits firmly to the chassis. The case guarantees full access to all Raspberry Pi's ports and connections without compromising security. With the cooling vents on top and the sides, the case provides excellent heat dissipation for the Raspberry Pi 4.

Setup and Assembly

The PI CASE 40's assembly process is straightforward, making it an excellent choice for beginners. The case comes with an installation manual containing a detailed guide on how to assemble it. All you need is a screwdriver, and you'll have it assembled in no time.

Thursday, April 20, 2023

Protect Your Windows 11 Computer from Online Threats: Top Antivirus Software Options and Recommendations

As we spend more and more time on our computers, protecting our devices from potential threats has become a necessity. I have been using Windows Defender, the built-in antivirus software provided by Microsoft, for a while, but I was concerned that it may not catch all threats. In this blog post, we'll take a look at some of the options available for Windows antivirus software and make some recommendations.

Bitdefender Antivirus Plus

Bitdefender is a well-known antivirus software that offers comprehensive protection against malware, viruses, and other online threats. It offers real-time protection, an anti-phishing feature, and a VPN to protect your online privacy. Additionally, Bitdefender Antivirus Plus has a low impact on system performance, making it an excellent choice for those who need an antivirus program that doesn't slow down their computer.

Norton 360 Deluxe

Norton is a popular antivirus software that provides protection against malware, viruses, and other online threats. Norton 360 Deluxe offers real-time protection, anti-phishing, anti-spam features, a VPN, and a password manager. Norton also offers parental controls, making it an excellent choice for families. The program greatly impacts system performance, so it may not be suitable for older computers.

Monday, April 3, 2023

Say Goodbye to Lost Coins: How Presend is Revolutionizing Cryptocurrency Transactions

If you're someone who's invested in cryptocurrencies, then you're well aware of the potential pitfalls that come with sending transactions. The fear of losing your coins due to a technical glitch or an incompatibility issue is always lurking in the back of your mind. However, a new player in the game is promising to alleviate those fears and put your mind at ease.

Presend is software that has been designed to detect and prevent the loss of coins during transactions. How does it do this? By analyzing the transaction before it is sent to the recipient's wallet. Presend checks whether the receiving wallet supports the coin or blockchain that you're using to send the coins. If Presend detects that the transaction is not viable, it will alert you, and your coins will not be sent. It's that simple!

Thursday, March 30, 2023

Streamline Your Move: How Magicplan App Helps You Measure and Plan Your New Space

Moving into a new house is an exciting time, but it can also be a bit stressful. One of the biggest challenges is figuring out how to fit all your furniture into your new space. Fortunately, an Android app can help make this process a lot easier: Magicplan.

Magicplan is a user-friendly app that allows you to create floor plans and take measurements of a room using just your smartphone or tablet. With Magic Plan, you don't need any special equipment or a degree in architecture to create a floor plan that accurately represents your space.

Using Magic Plan is simple. All you have to do is point the camera around the room you want to measure. The app uses AR technology to measure the dimensions and create accurate 2D & 3D floor plans of the space. You can then add doors, windows, and other features to the floor plan, as well as add notes and measurements to help you remember important details.

Thursday, March 16, 2023

Secure and Connected On-The-Go: The TP-Link AC750 Wireless Portable Nano Travel Router

Staying connected while traveling can be a hassle, especially when relying on public Wi-Fi networks that are often slow and unreliable. However, the TP-Link AC750 is a game-changer in the world of travel routers. This compact device can fit in your pocket and offers a range of benefits that make it an essential travel companion.

First and foremost, the TP-Link AC750 provides a secure way to connect multiple devices to a public Wi-Fi network. With its encrypted Wi-Fi network, all data transmitted between your devices and the router is protected from potential security threats on public networks. Plus, this travel router can save you money on data usage fees, which can be exorbitant when traveling for an extended period.

But the benefits of the TP-Link AC750 don't stop there. It supports multiple modes, including access point mode, client mode, and repeater mode. This allows you to extend the range of an existing Wi-Fi network or connect it to an Ethernet cable to create a wireless network. Plus, the built-in USB port allows you to connect external hard drives or flash drives to share files between your devices, making it an excellent tool for work-related tasks.

Saturday, March 11, 2023

From Self-Hosted to Community-Driven: Why I Moved My Mastodon Account to

I've made the decision to move my Mastodon account from a self-hosted instance to one hosted on There are several reasons for this move that I will explain in this post.


When you host your own Mastodon instance, it becomes your responsibility to ensure that it is up to date. Recently, a new Mastodon version was released, and I needed to update my instance that was created with the Mastodon droplet from the Digital Ocean store. Although the initial installation was quite easy, upgrading to the latest version was not seamless. I had to log into the shell and manually go through the upgrade steps. Unfortunately, the upgrade did not go smoothly for me, and I needed to reboot the server in the middle of the process. I eventually got the upgrade to finish, but my instance doesn't seem to be working correctly. For example, I don't see as many recent posts as I do on a different account on a separate instance.

In a previous post, I mentioned trying Wildebeest, which is an open-source Mastodon-compatible server. One benefit of Wildebeest is that the project created an upgrade process, where you just synchronize the changes from the GitHub repository. I set up an instance of Wildebeest, but when I tried to migrate my Mastodon account to this new instance, I hit a roadblock. Even though Wildebeest is Mastodon-compatible, it doesn't support migrating accounts between Mastodon and Wildebeest.

Thursday, March 9, 2023

Robinhood: The Game-Changer in Easy and Commission-Free Investing

Robinhood is a platform that has shaken up the world of investing. It has become the go-to app for those looking to start investing in stocks and bonds. And for good reason too - it's commission-free, easy to use, and comes with some great features.

First off, let's talk about the app's interface. It's clean, sleek, and easy to navigate, making it simple for anyone to get started with investing. Even those with no prior experience can quickly get the hang of it. And that's not all - Robinhood offers a range of investment options, including stocks, ETFs, options, and even cryptocurrencies. So whether you're looking to invest in the latest tech companies or diversify your portfolio with a bit of Bitcoin, Robinhood has you covered.

One of the biggest advantages of using Robinhood is the fact that it's commission-free. This means that you can make trades without having to worry about any fees eating into your returns. It's a great option for those who want to make frequent trades or invest in small amounts.

Monday, March 6, 2023

Nifty Showcase: The Ultimate Android App for Managing and Displaying Your NFTs Across Multiple Blockchains

Nifty Showcase is the ultimate Android application for managing and displaying your NFTs, both still and animated. This app supports NFTs across multiple blockchains, including Ethereum, Binance Smart Chain, Polygon, and Avalanche.

With its visually stunning and easy-to-use interface, Nifty Showcase provides a seamless browsing experience for your NFTs. The app also includes a sharing feature that enables users to share their NFT images through various Android applications, such as social media platforms.

Obviously, there are a lot of scam NFTs out there.  Nifty Showcase makes it easy to handle these items.  First of all, Nifty Showcase only reads the public information on the blockchain and doesn't have, or request, any permission to make changes to your wallet.  This gives you the confidence to look at the NFTs without fear that any changes will be made to your account.  In addition, Nifty Showcase lets you hide any collection that you don't want to see.  (Often these spam NFTs come from the same collection.) Once hidden, you won't see any subsequent NFTs that come from these collections.

Sunday, March 5, 2023

Secure Remote Access Made Simple: Explore the Benefits of

I am always interested in trying different services that I can run in our home.  For example, we have a VM running Minecraft server, and one running our Home Assistant instance.  One of the challenges is some of these services require ports to be forwarded in the router for the network.  This can add a maintenance cost, as it is important to remove unused port forwarding.  I looked into some alternative mechanisms for setting this up. is a cloud-based solution that enables secure remote access to your devices, networks, and applications. This platform offers a reliable and secure way to connect to your resources from anywhere, at any time, and on any device. Let's take a closer look at what is, how it works, and some of the key benefits it offers. is a remote access solution that provides secure connections between your device and the remote resources you want to access. The platform uses advanced encryption and authentication technologies to ensure that your data and connections are always protected. This makes it an excellent choice for individuals and businesses that require remote access to their resources for personal or work purposes.

Wednesday, March 1, 2023

Upgrade Your TV Viewing Experience with ATSC 3.0 and HDHomeRun Flex 4K: The Future of Personalized and Immersive Entertainment

Looking for a revolutionary upgrade to your TV viewing experience? Look no further than the ATSC 3.0 standard, which is supported by the HDHomeRun Flex 4K device.

So, what is ATSC 3.0? It's the latest digital TV broadcasting standard in the US, and it offers higher-quality video and audio, including 4K Ultra High Definition video and High Dynamic Range content for a more immersive viewing experience. Additionally, it provides immersive audio for a more realistic sound experience.

But the benefits don't stop there. ATSC 3.0 also allows for personalized and interactive content, which means that broadcasters can deliver targeted advertising, interactive programming, and other personalized content to tailor the viewing experience to your preferences.

Tuesday, February 28, 2023

Stand Out in Style: How MOO's Business Card Services Can Help Boost Your Brand

Having a physical business card is still essential when it comes to making an impact in the business world. It's a classic way to leave a lasting impression on potential clients, and with MOO, a printing company that offers a range of printing services, creating a unique and professional business card has never been easier.

MOO offers a variety of products that can help take your business to the next level. Their most popular service is their business card printing service. You can create a custom business card from scratch or choose from a vast selection of templates. MOO uses high-quality paper stocks, including their Luxe line, which boasts thick and premium-quality paper with a range of finishes.

One of the most significant advantages of using MOO is their online design tool, which is intuitive and user-friendly, allowing anyone to create a professional-looking business card without prior design experience. The tool offers a plethora of customization options, such as uploading your logo and choosing your font and colors. You can also add images or choose from a selection of pre-designed templates.

Sunday, February 26, 2023

Revolutionize Your Remote Work with MobaXterm: The Ultimate SSH Client for Windows Users

If you're a Windows user looking for a robust and easy-to-use SSH client, MobaXterm is a great option. This powerful tool offers a range of features that make it ideal for IT professionals and developers. In this post, we'll explore the benefits of using MobaXterm as your SSH client on Windows.

One of the most appealing aspects of MobaXterm is its user-friendly interface. Unlike other SSH clients, MobaXterm has a clean, intuitive interface that's easy to navigate. You don't need any prior knowledge to use it effectively, and it features a tabbed interface that allows you to switch seamlessly between sessions without opening new windows.

MobaXterm also offers several convenient features to make remote management easier. Its built-in file manager allows you to navigate, copy, and edit files on remote machines with ease. Plus, the built-in text editor lets you edit configuration files and other text-based files directly on the remote machine, which is particularly useful for those working with Linux servers.

Wednesday, February 22, 2023

The Evolution of Car Infotainment: How TeslAA is Changing the Game for Accessing Android Auto on Any Car

The state of car infotainment has changed significantly over the years.  It used to be that you got what was included in the are from the auto manufacturer, and what was included when the car was built.   This usually meant that if you wanted to add capabilities, (e.g. play back 8-track) you needed to want until you purchased a new vehicle.

During the 1980s high quality audio head units became quite common, and it because easy and common for car owners to replace their audio system to add capabilities.  So if you wanted to add audio CD or mp3 file playback or Bluetooth support, this could be be done fairly easy just by replacing the head unit.  This continued into the 2000s, when it was possible to add in-dash navigation by replacing the head unit (often where the screen extended out of the head unit itself when needed.

More recently, the ability to extend the capabilities of the car infotainment system has gotten more complicated.  Auto manufacturers have been deeply integrating functionality that is required for functionality of the car into the screens.  The common case is that control of the HVAC system is done as part of the infotainment screen, which would likely mean that if the system was replaced, this functionality would be disabled.  An extreme case is seen with the latest Tesla Model S & Model X cars, where the driver needs to use the screen to put cars in drive & reverse.

This trend is coming at a time where the types of media and applications are changing rapidly.  With so much streaming, new services are starting up that have new capabilities.  Often these services are accessed with applications on mobile phones.  This is great as it allows users to customize their experience to meet their exact needs, and to enable the services that they use.

As it is unsafe to use a mobile phone, while driving, Android Auto offers a great experience.  It can leverage the fact that users have installed the applications of the services that they actually use on their phone, Android Auto displays a car friendly experience on the head unit touch display. This allows the driver to play the media that they want in a safe manor.  On my last trip, I rented a car that had built-in Android Auto support.  I was able to easily connect my phone to the car, with a USB cable, and access the applications from my phone.

Tuesday, February 21, 2023

Power Up Your Server Game with Intel NUC: The Energy-Efficient and Quiet Solution for Hosting Multiple Virtual Machines

If you're in the market for an energy-efficient and quiet server to host your virtual machines, consider using an Intel NUC. In this blog post, we'll explore the benefits of using an Intel NUC, like the NUC11, as a virtual machine server, and how it can be used to host a variety of different servers.

The Intel NUC is a small form factor computer that packs a punch, despite its size. Its powerful processor, ample RAM, and storage space make it a viable option for hosting multiple virtual machines.

One of the most notable benefits of using an Intel NUC as a virtual machine server is its energy efficiency. Compared to traditional servers, the NUC requires much less power and generates less heat. As a result, it can help keep your energy bills down and create a more comfortable work environment.

Another benefit of using an Intel NUC as a virtual machine server is its quiet operation. The NUC is designed to be as quiet as possible, unlike traditional servers which can be disruptive and noisy. This means that it can be placed in your home office or living room without causing any disturbance.

Monday, February 20, 2023

Say Goodbye to Bathroom Humidity: How to Automate Your Exhaust Fan with Home Assistant and a Humidity Sensor

Bathrooms are one of the most frequently used rooms in any home. But did you know that all that moisture from your shower can wreak havoc on your bathroom and even lead to mold growth? That's why having a good ventilation system is crucial, and a bathroom exhaust fan is a crucial component.

In this post, we're going to show you how to automate your bathroom exhaust fan using a home automation system, like Home Assistant, and a humidity sensor. Not only will this keep your bathroom dry and fresh, but it'll also save you energy and money.

Here's what you'll need:

Step 1: Install the Humidity Sensor

First things first, install the humidity sensor in your bathroom. Put it in a location where it can accurately measure the humidity level in the room. You can mount it on the wall or place it on a shelf. Then, connect the humidity sensor to your home automation system by following the manufacturer's instructions.

Step 2: Install the Smart Switch

Next, install the smart switch that will control your bathroom exhaust fan. You can pick any compatible switch that works with your home automation system. We suggest the Enbrighten Smart Switch because it's simple to set up.

Follow the manufacturer's instructions to install the switch, and make sure to connect it to your home automation system.

Sunday, February 19, 2023

Revolutionizing Mastodon Hosting: Trying Cloudflare's Wildebeest

I've been running my own Mastodon instance for a while now, but I didn't want to host it from our home network, so I decided to use Digital Ocean. Setting it up was fairly easy, using this droplet. The downside is that hosting the service just for myself comes at a cost, since their pricing seems to be geared towards hosting the service for multiple people.

Recently, Cloudflare announced an interesting alternative called Wildebeest, which is a Mastodon-compatible open-source server. What caught my attention is that it seems their $5/month Pages plan is enough to run the server.

One advantage of Mastodon is that it's easy to move your profile from one host to another, so once I set up the new server, moving over should be a breeze.

I'm going to give Wildebeest a try and report back on my experience.

Friday, February 17, 2023

Rain-proof your security cameras: Lessons learned from our Unifi G4 Instant camera malfunction

We installed an Unifi G4 Instant camera to monitor our backyard, but running an ethernet cable was not feasible, so we relied on wifi instead. Since the camera was meant for outdoor use, it was designed to be weatherproofed with an IPX5 rating.

However, due to heavy rainfall over the past few months, two of our cameras stopped working. The first camera stopped working after a major rain, and we got a replacement. But after another round of rainfall, the second camera also stopped working. We discovered that the problem was not with the camera itself, as it worked fine with a different USB adapter and cable. It appears that the USB adapter that came with the camera was not weatherproof like the camera, which caused it to malfunction.

To solve the issue, we plan to use a waterproof box to protect the adapter and cable from water damage. We will look for a weatherproofed adapter and cable that can be used with the camera in the future to ensure it continues to function properly, even during heavy rainfall.

Thursday, February 16, 2023

Building a DIY Cloud Platform with a Raspberry Pi and the Argon EON: How to Use Ubuntu's Logical Volume Management System for Maximum Storage Efficiency

In a previous post, I talked about the Argon EON, which is a device that allows you to connect four hard drives (two 3.5" drives and two 2.5" drives) to a Raspberry Pi. I've been using this device as a network-attached storage (NAS) to back up our main NAS at home, using Open Media Vault (OMV) for management.

OMV is a package that enables you to quickly set up and manage a home server. One of the benefits of OMV is that it offers plugins that allow you to customize the features of the server installation. I found the MergerFS plugin helpful to create a virtual file system that spans the different drives. However, I wasn't able to create a RAID, as the 3.5" drives were significantly larger than the 2.5" drives.

Since I wanted to use the Raspberry Pi in the Argon EON to try out some locally hosted cloud platforms, I wanted to make sure that I could use the collection of drives in the case for this installation. Unfortunately, I didn't find similar plugins to span multiple file systems in Nextcloud or OwnCloud. So I decided to manually create a logical volume with Ubuntu's Logical Volume Management (LVM) system.

Wednesday, February 15, 2023

Uncovering the Exciting New Feature in Plex Media Server: End Credits Marker Detection

As I was working in my office, something caught my attention: the cooling fan of the Intel NUC running our Plex Media Server was spinning rapidly. I wondered what could be causing the machine to work so hard. In the past, I had encountered run-away processes like Ubuntu's keyring, which had caused the same issue. Fortunately, I was able to kill the process and rotate logs to clear up space on the boot partition.

However, this time was different. I logged into the machine and couldn't find any runaway processes that had previously caused the issue. Instead, I noticed that a Plex Media Server process was taking up 100% of the CPU. Curiosity piqued, I launched the Plex web UI and saw that it was doing credit detection.

Tuesday, February 14, 2023

Streamline Your Raspberry Pi Projects with DietPi: A Highly Efficient and Customizable Operating System

I was looking to start a new project for one of our Raspberry Pis.  The setup of these projects often requires installing an OS (for me, usually either Raspian or Ubuntu), and then downloading, installing and setting up the software for the project.  Before going through these steps again, I wanted to see if there was a way to make this setup easier, and I found DietPi.

DietPi is a lean, streamlined operating system that's been optimized specifically for single-board computers such as the Raspberry Pi and Odroid. It's an open-source project, which means it's free to use and modify, and it comes preloaded with a range of software that makes it easy to get started on your projects.

One of the great things about DietPi is how efficient it is. It's designed to work on hardware with limited resources, which makes it perfect for home automation, media centers, and network attached storage. This lean design also means that it requires minimal RAM and disk space to run, giving you more bang for your buck when it comes to using your hardware.

Monday, February 13, 2023

Simplify Your Smart Home: Control Your Devices with Just a Press of a Button with the Flic Hub and Flic Buttons

Are you tired of having to grab your phone every time you want to control a smart device in your home? The Flic Hub and Flic Buttons offer a simple solution that allows you to control your smart home with just the press of a button.

The Flic buttons use Bluetooth to communicate with your smartphone, meaning you can trigger actions such as turning on the lights or adjusting the thermostat with just a press of the button. This is great when you are home and need to control your smart devices. But the real magic of the Flic system enables this functionality when your phone isn't around.

The Flic Hub is a compact wireless hub that acts as a bridge between your Flic buttons and your smart devices. It connects to your home's Wi-Fi or Ethernet network and can support up to 63 Flic buttons, making it possible to control multiple devices with just a few presses. And because the Flic Hub doesn't rely on your phone, you can control your smart home even when your phone isn't there.

The Flic buttons come in a variety of colors and can be customized to perform different functions. You can stick them to a wall, wear them as a wristband, or place them anywhere else for easy access. Using the buttons is simple: press once for one function, press twice for another function, or hold down for a third function.

Friday, February 10, 2023

Effortlessly Simplify Your Crypto Tax Reporting with Koinly: Your One-Stop Solution

It's that time of year again - tax preparation time. As we all know, crypto taxes can be a complicated and confusing matter. But have no fear, because Koinly is here to make the process a whole lot easier.

If you're like most of us, you probably have a love-hate relationship with taxes. On the one hand, they're a necessary evil that helps keep our country running. On the other hand, they can be a real pain in the neck, especially when it comes to crypto taxes. But with Koinly, you'll be able to enjoy the best of both worlds.

Koinly is an innovative platform that makes it easy to collect information and generate reports for cryptocurrency tax reporting. With Koinly, you can seamlessly track all your crypto transactions in one place, eliminating the need for manual record-keeping and reducing the risk of errors. The platform integrates with a variety of exchanges and wallets, allowing you to import your transactions automatically and view them in one central location.

Wednesday, February 8, 2023

DIY Cloud Storage: A Step-by-Step Guide to Setting Up Nextcloud on Your Raspberry Pi

In this post, I'm going to walk you through the process of setting up Nextcloud on a Raspberry Pi using NextcloudPi. If you're looking for a secure and private file hosting platform, then Nextcloud is definitely worth checking out. And the best part is, you can host it on a Raspberry Pi, which is not only cheap but also powerful enough to handle Nextcloud. Let's dive in!

Materials Needed

Step 1: Install NextcloudPi

NextcloudPi is an image that contains everything you need to get started with Nextcloud, including Apache, PHP, and the Nextcloud software itself. Here's how you can install NextcloudPi on your Raspberry Pi:

  1. Download the NextcloudPi image from the official website.
  2. Use a tool like Etcher to flash the image onto an SD card.
  3. Insert the SD card into your Raspberry Pi and boot it up.
  4. Follow the on-screen instructions to complete the installation.

Tuesday, February 7, 2023

Unleash Your Inner App Developer: A Complete Guide to Mobile App Development

Are you ready to dive into the exciting world of mobile app development? I found the book "Mobile App Development 101: A Beginner's Guide to Building Your First App" which looks to be a great way to start.  This book describes everything you need to start mobile app development.

With a fun and approachable tone, the author walks you through every step of the app-creation journey, from coming up with your project idea to coding and monetizing your finished product. You'll learn about working with databases, adding advanced features, customizing user interfaces, and much more.

In short, "Mobile App Development 101: A Beginner's Guide to Building Your First App" is a must-have for anyone interested in mobile app development. Don't miss out on this opportunity to gain the knowledge and skills you need to excel in this exciting field. Get your copy today and start creating amazing mobile apps!

Sunday, February 5, 2023

A Beginner's Guide to Setting up an OpenVPN Server on a Raspberry Pi using PiVPN

If you're looking for a way to secure your internet connection and protect your privacy, setting up an OpenVPN server is an excellent solution. And, if you're looking for a low-cost, low-power platform to host your OpenVPN server, the Raspberry Pi is a fantastic option. In this beginner's guide, I'll show you how to set up an OpenVPN server on a Raspberry Pi using the PiVPN setup script.

What is PiVPN?

PiVPN is a setup script that simplifies the process of installing and setting up an OpenVPN server on a Raspberry Pi. The script automates much of the setup process and makes it possible to have your OpenVPN server up and running in a matter of minutes.


Before you start setting up your OpenVPN server, you'll want to make sure your Raspberry Pi is up-to-date and has the necessary dependencies installed. To update your Raspberry Pi, run the following commands:

sudo apt update
sudo apt upgrade

Installing PiVPN

To install PiVPN, you'll need to download the setup script from the PiVPN website. Run the following command to download and run the script:

curl -L | bash


 The script will guide you through the installation process, asking you to select your preferred OpenVPN version, client options, etc. When the installation process is complete, you will be prompted to reboot the raspberry pi.  Once it boots the OpenVPN server will start automatically.

Unlocking Raspberry Pi Potential: Navigating Network Booting Challenges for Enhanced Performance and Reliability

I've set up several Raspberry Pis around our house for various projects, but one recurring challenge is the potential for SD card failur...