Efergy Ego – The Smart Socket

So, if you’re anything like me you probably have a small transformer farm hiding behind you TV cabinet. Not including my TV I have over ten other devices connected to one double GPO stuck away in the back of my TV. Like most people, once my bum hits the couch it’s not getting off again. So what does this mean about the small transformer farm? It means it buzzs away for 24 hours a day, 7days a week, 52 weeks a year.

Ten or so years ago this wasn’t a big deal. Firstly, you didn’t have that many devices connected to the telly (well at least I didn’t). Secondly, we weren’t all worried about climate change and lastly power cost diddly squat. However, today that’s not the case. The effects of Climate Change are rife and the cost of power is going through the roof. So what do I do about the devices that are multiplying like rabbits around my home theatre? Do I actually get of my behind and turn everything off that I’m not using every night and then remember to turn it on again in the morning? The answer is hell no – you buy a smart socket.

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Lapdock – The Raspberry Pi Laptop

The Problem

I have a problem (well lots of problems really – but I’m just focusing on just one at the moment). I live in a three by one house which I share with my wife and three kids. We already use laptops as our primary computers as we don’t have room for a desktop. My problem is I have just bought a Raspberry Pi (well three actually but that’s another story) and I have no room for an extra monitor or keyboard etc.

Easy you say – there are heaps of options available to use the Pi without a dedicated monitor – just Google it. Well these are the ones I have tried so far and why they don’t work for me:

  • Connect it to your TV and use a wireless keyboard. Yep – tried this and it works fine – but we have only one TV so the wife does not like being relegated to watching shows on her Macbook while I use our 50inch TV to muck around with my Pi’s. So that options out.
  • Setup the Pi on the TV and then use a remote connection to access the Pi (see my article on how to use remote connections here – once I write it of course :-$). So this is the technique that I have used mostly up to now. However, I find I spend most of my time playing with multiple Pi Operating Systems (OS) and variants of these OS’s.  This means setting up remote access every time I compile a new kernel. This just gets tiresome as I need to wait for TV time each time I want to setup a new image on the Pi – so this is not the best solution.
  • Surely you can get a cheap small HDMI screen of Ebay. Actually, this is more difficult than it sounds. It’s easy to find 5”-7” sized screens for the Pi reasonably cheap. Some of them even have a touch screen interface but if you are looking for anything larger than 7″  you are going to be disappointed.  At this size you start entering GPS screen territory and a big jump in price.

The options above seemed to be the only ones I had available to me – unless I start using a dedicated monitor (which, as I said earlier is not an option)……………….that is until recently. I was trawling through some Raspberry Pi forums and came across a post about a Raspberry Pi laptop. Intrigued I had a read and found the answer to my problems – enter the Lapdock! Continue reading…

 

Adventure Time…….Every Second Friday

It has been my MO for a fair while now to listen to podcasts on the way to, from (and sometimes during – shhh don’t tell the boss) work. I’ve been through a few different podcast series now – some good, some bad and some freaking awful.  To stop people subjecting their ears and minds to the same abuse I have – I’m hoping my podcast reviews will steer you towards the better end of the spectrum. Obviously most of the podcasts I listen too have a nerdy bent to them so I’m thinking that most people that visit here will also enjoy them.

My inaugural write up is for a reasonably new podcast that one of my mates at work put me onto.  It’s innocuously named The Adventure Zone.  The premise of the show is pretty straight forward – it involves three brothers (Travis, Justin and Griffin McElroy of My Brother My Brother and Me fame) and their father (Clint) playing through a game of old school dungeons and dragons or D&D as it is typically referred to as. To find it just go here:

http://www.maximumfun.org/shows/adventure-zone

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A Pebble in the Hand

four_half-stars_0

Pros:

  • Battery Life;
  • Easy Setup and Integration with Phone;
  • Phone App is Simple to Use;
  • Notifications are Easy to Read;
  • Can View Screen in Any Light; and
  • Water-resistant.

Cons:

  • Charging Cable and Connection; and
  • Looks Hideous.

Usually when I go about acquiring a new gadget I research it extensively. I look at all similar products available and benchmark them based on features, build quality, price and how best they fit my needs. The one time I didn’t do this was when I purchased my first Pebble………and it was one of the best purchases that I have ever made.

Needless to say I am pretty excited about the announcement of the Pebble Time’s release – particularly the Steel version. So in anticipation of the new Pebble’s release I thought I would outline what I like and don’t like about the current Pebble.

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