Ooohhh! This looks cool: USB Charger with a Built-in Ethernet Adapter!

USB-OTG is very handy. It allows someone to connect a variety of different USB devices to a tablet or mobile phone. Most often I’ve made use of a simple USB OTG cable to connect a flash drive or USB headset to one of my devices.

You can also use a USB hub to connect multiple devices, all while keeping the tablet powered. I have on occasion connected a USB headset or Blue Yeti microphone. These I use in conjunction with Audio Tool.

Today I discovered that Google offers a USB charger that has a built-in Ethernet adapter. Called the Ethernet Adapter for Chromecast, it’s just $15 from the play store!

Ethernet Adapter for Chromecast

This is fantastic since it eliminates reliance upon WiFi as the primary means of connectivity! That could make many things, admittedly obtuse things, that I might wish to try more reliable. As I’ve stated previously, wherever possible I prefer to leverage Ethernet over WiFi.

I simply had to have one of these for use with my new nVidia Shield K1 tablet! There’s an open question as to whether it will work with the K1, It only delivers 850 mA, which may not be enough for some devices. At just $15 it’s a risk I’m willing to take. More news to follow once the goody arrives.

Tidbits: Small things that make SOHO life just a little better

As I’ve been doing a little tidying up hereabouts I’ve stumbled across a few little things that have become part of how I do things. These are little items that make life in a home office just a little better.

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Powerline Ethernet: Boldly Going Where Others Cannot Reach

asus-22.0.0Most people think that Wifi is awesome. It certainly is convenient, but I’ll let you in on a little secret. No matter how freaky your Wifi router looks….

Wifi Is Not Always Your friend!

The very nature of Wifi is in some ways problematic. It’s a lot like a hub in the bad old days. It’s essentially a single connection shared between all of the connected devices. As the number of Wifi devices in our lives continues to multiply, they must compete for access to bandwidth.

This contention for access is not always a problem. It doesn’t really matter if your Nest thermostat is slightly delayed in checking in with our largely benevolent overlords at Google. Nor does it matter if Outlook finds it’s access to the email server to be a bit sluggish. However, for real-time applications like streaming media, continuous, reliable bandwidth is utterly essential!

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Wired vs Wireless For A Home Office

Wired vs Wireless NetworksNot long ago Colin Berkshire made an interesting observation about a trend in new home construction. He noticed that builders are no longer pulling cable for telephone and network connections, which leads to an “RJ-free” home. This makes a lot of sense for most homes, but it’s not what I would want for a home office.

Of course, Wifi is phenomenally convenient. Hereabouts we use a Ubiquiti PowerAP N device configured as a wireless bridge/access point. We’ve used various devices over the years. The Ubiquiti PowerAP has been without a doubt the best of the bunch. Sadly, the product is not available anymore, although they can occasionally be found on E-bay.

With a population of over forty devices, ours is a considerable home network. While many of the devices we use are connected via Wifi, much of the network remains connected by traditional Ethernet cables. Wired networks are more trouble to install, but the effort is rewarded with more consistent performance and reliability.

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Good Advice On Video Conference Etiquette

This short video from Avaya offers some cute and very good advice on participating in video conference calls.

As you may well know, I’ve been thinking a lot about the lighting in my home office. That it should be one of their points seems very appropriate. Also, the importance of  using the mute button simply cannot be overstated.

Power Over Ethernet @ Asterisk Users Mailing List

There was a recent thread over on the very busy Asterisk Users Mailing List where someone asked for recommendations with respect to network switches that provide power-over-ethernet. There were a number of good replies. One especially caught my attention.

Jim from Sigma Networks recommended the Airlink ASW308P 8-Port 10/100 Power over Ethernet Switch which lists for $69 at Fry’ This switch povides power to four of its eight ports which might be just about right for many home or home office installations. Wherever you need POE it’s certainly a better deal than single port POE injectors that usually sell for around $40 each.