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  • Home Automation with HomeBridge

    By Derek | March 14, 2016

    I found a cool project called Homebridge; it lets you bridge Apple’s HomeKit (and therefor Siri) to home automation items that aren’t natively HomeKit compatible.

    tl;dr I have my WeMo lights and my Craftsman AssureLink garage door opener added to my HomeKit configuration, along with my HomeKit native Ecobee 3 (which is not actually discussed here).

    Read the rest of this entry »

    Topics: Apple, Home Improvement, Linux, Me, Technology | No Comments »

    YouTube on AppleTV2

    By Derek | March 14, 2016

    tl;dr: To get YouTube working on your AppleTV2, Install Plex Media Server, then PlexConnect (or OpenPlex if you have a Mac), then the updated YouTube channel. Continue reading for more detailed instructions.

    After Google & Apple disabled the YouTube app on my AppleTV2, I’ve just been sending YouTube videos over Airplay to it. My dad, however, was very upset that YouTube — well, a feature that was a major selling point of something he bought, stopped working. I definitely see his point.

    Fortunately, there is a fix.

    Read the rest of this entry »

    Topics: Apple, Me, Movies, Technology | No Comments »

    Comparing Epiphany and Midori on the Raspberry Pi

    By Derek | September 7, 2014

    I wanted to play around with the Raspberry Pi again, and what better opportunity than the release of a new browser choice? Since I’ve used the rPi, there’s really only been one good choice for a browser, and that’s Midori.

    I took the opportunity to run some benchmarks on both browsers, as I hadn’t seen any published elsewhere.

    Read the rest of this entry »

    Topics: Linux, Me, Technology | No Comments »

    Giving up our freedoms since 1776

    By Derek | July 4, 2011

    I wrote this post to say thank you.

    Thank you to the jack-booted federal thugs who trample on Californian’s rights to medicinal substances.

    Thank you to the local police nationwide who participate in “asset forfeiture” — i.e. property seizures of alleged proceeds of crime — even before anyone’s convicted of anything.

    Thank you to the TSA for keeping us safe from 95 year old grannies with loaded diapers, and for inappropriately touching our children.

    Yes, I’m feeling some sarcasm today.

    I weep for our once great nation.

    Happy Independence Day!

    Topics: Politics | No Comments »

    App Updates On A Schedule

    By Derek | July 3, 2011

    This is a Mac-specific tip, if you don’t have a Mac, it might just be an interesting read for you.

    For the software that’s not available yet through the Mac App Store, use AppFresh. I have been using AppFresh for over a year, so I don’t worry that it’s still a Development Preview.

    Continue reading for the exact steps.

    Read the rest of this entry »

    Topics: Apple, Me | No Comments »

    Whew! (WordPress Upgrade)

    By Derek | May 1, 2011

    Well, that was strange. Some of you may have noticed my blahg was down for a day or so.

    I tried to upgrade WordPress (to the latest 3.1.2) using the built-in function that I’ve used many, many times now and it did not work. Everything seemed to go correctly, all the way through, including the DB upgrade, but apparently, it borked at the last second.

    Fortunately, simply downloading, extracting, and the uploading the latest archive from WordPress did the trick. I wasn’t expecting it to work, but it absolutely did, retaining my settings, themes, plugins and everything.

    Wow. I must say, I’d rather not have it fail in the first place, but what a spectacular recovery!

    Topics: Me, Technology | 1 Comment »

    AT&T, Tethering, Data and my other devices

    By Derek | March 9, 2011

    So, today I bit the bullet and gave up my iPhone 5GB “unlimited” data plan with AT&T. Previously, I was grandfathered into the “unlimited” plan, from the early days of the original iPhone. I looked back at my data usage since I upgraded to my iPhone 4, and only once have I gone over 1GB. Most months I’m around 0.3GB (300MB).

    Separately, I had purchased a Clear iSpot to use for my Wifi-only iPad. This was a low-cost way to get my iPad on the internet when I wasn’t at home. $25 per month, and I got access to Clear’s “4G” network, anywhere it was available. Not a bad deal, really. My monthly usage was around 0.3 – 0.4GB (300-400MB) per month. Of course, their network wasn’t available outside of larger cities, and even though I don’t travel much, it wasn’t very useful outside of Loop 1604.

    I added “Personal Hotspot” to my iPhone data plan, which technically changes it to “$45 per month iPhone 4GB DataPro with Tethering” … this allows me to cancel my iSpot, and save a few bucks. So, add $15 to my AT&T plan, subtract $25 from my Clear plan (actually, I will just cancel it).

    In addition to that, while doing research on this, I noticed that I didn’t really use my 900 minutes a month on my voice plan. I mean, really, I had over 6,500 Rollover minutes. Turns out I use around 200 “Anytime” minutes a month. So, I changed my voice plan down to 450 minutes a month, thus saving me another $20 per month.

    So, here’s how it breaks down for me…

    Before:

  • Voice 900 minutes $60 + Data Unlimited $30 + Text Unlimited $20 + Clear iSpot $25 = $135, plus taxes and fees.
  •  

    After:

  • Voice 450 minutes $40 + Data 4GB with Hotspot $45 + Text Unlimited $20 = $105, plus taxes and fees.
  •  

    The benefits I get out of this are the fact that my personal hotspot can now run my computer, not just my iDevices, like the iSpot, my phone gets charged continuously when I drive my car, and I don’t have to carry yet another device (the iSpot). Oh, and all for the low, low price of saving $30 per month!

    Topics: Apple, Me, Technology | No Comments »

    Of 2am Showers

    By Derek | November 28, 2010

    And now I know the truth. I won’t vomit when vomited on.

    My 2yo vomited for the first time today. I don’t mean spit up — all babies do that — I mean blew chunks. We were driving after lunch, and he got sick in the car.

    He’d gone the rest of the day with no further incidents.

    But, just as I went to hug him goodnight, with him sitting in my lap, he vomited again. I could not think of what to do, even though the bathtub is mere feet away in our bathroom.

    Pro tip: Don’t grab a towel, you’ll just have to clean it too.

    Pro tip #2: if your child was sick earlier, and he belches and it smells really bad, run, don’t walk to the toilet or tub.

    Jill’s off to get some Sprite, so we can make sure he’s not dehydrated.

    Fun!

    Topics: Family, Me | No Comments »

    Of speeding fines

    By Derek | October 25, 2010


    So, this morning I had a spirited discussion, that is to say, debate with several of my fellows on the topic of speeding fines.

    One gentleman was adamant that “everyone speeds, so when it’s your turn to pay up, you just do it”… and that by choosing not to pay, I was instead destroying the fabric of civilization.

    First of all, I wasn’t the one who got the ticket, in this case, but that’s irrelevant. I do my level damndest to pay the police state as little as possible when I do get pulled over. In fact, my M.O. is to hire a lawyer, and have him plead my case on my behalf.

    Second, if everyone does it… no, really. Stay with me here. Is breaking the law morally right? You say no? Tell that to Rosa Parks.

    Third, it used to be, in society, that we required there to be a victim in order to prosecute. In the case of speeding, tell me, where is the victim? We’re not talking here of agressive or reckless driving, but of the simple casual speeding “that everyone does”.

    Civil disobediance, then, of a victimless “crime”?

    Guilty as charged.

    Topics: Auto, Law, Me | 1 Comment »

    RHCE, finally.

    By Derek | April 23, 2010

    Finally, after the third time taking the test, I got my RHCE.

    Officially, I got my results / certificate on the 24th of March, but the cool thing is that I passed the test the day before, on the 23rd. The 23rd was my one year anniversary date with Rackspace. Wow.

    I scored well on the test, too, which I was glad of. You know what they say:

    Practice makes perfect.

    Topics: Me | No Comments »

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