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Upgrading Our Home Assistant Server

Home_Assistant_Logo.300For our first couple of years using Home Assistant the software was hosted on a Raspberry Pi 4B with 4GB of memory and a 32GB High-Endurance micro SD card. To get started, the Pi4 was cheap and readily available. It had enough power to do most things. My initial requirements were very simple, so not a lot of CPU requirement. The RPi4 was an admirable, accessible solution at the time.

However, times change. I get silly new ideas that I’d like to try. For example, it would be interesting to integrate our surveillance cameras with HA. Perhaps with some AI-based object detection.

Also, in post-COVID times, RPi4 have become hard to get, and much more costly. They’re currently running about 3x normal price, if you can get them. Thus, it could be useful to reclaim the RPI4 from HA duty, if another suitable host could be found.

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An Open Letter To Lenovo

In January of 2013 I bought one of your X1 Carbon ultrabooks. It’s a lovely machine. Splendid hardware design. You should be proud. I gather that others have come to share my opinion of your wares.

Lenovo X-1-Carbon

However, given your apparent aim at business class customers, at least with respect to the more costly models, I question your decision to litter up your products with bloatware.

I think that you might consider the example set by Google’s Nexus series of Android devices. The attraction of the Nexus series is the pure-Android experience, without any added bloatware.

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Contemplating Keyboards

X1-Carbon & HP PavilionAfter a few months with the Lenovo X1 Carbon ultrabook I’m still rather impressed with the device. It’s in many ways the nicest laptop style computer that I’ve ever used. Even so, the differing keyboards between it and my desktop keeps presenting an annoyance. It has me considering the purchase of a new desktop keyboard.

My desktop, an HP Pavilion H8-1214, typical of consumer class machines, came with a terrible keyboard. The system was purchased from Woot.com in July 2012. It was nicely specified and very good deal, so I simply replaced the supplied keyboard with something more appropriate.

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Learning About SSDs

HP-Pavilion-HPE-H8-Desktop-PC-300px.pngSolid state disks (SSD) are coming down in price and going up in capacity. The attractions are many; lower power consumption, low heat output, mechanically robust, decent write performance and dramatically faster read performance. There’s plainly a lot to like about SSDs.

Last winter I put a cheap 120 GB San Disk Ultra SSD into my aging netbook and gave it another year’s lease on life. Over the summer I saw a deal on some nicely spec’d HP Pavilion HPE desktops I bought a couple for myself and the Mrs. It seemed a sensible way to move us away from Windows XP.

This is a little story about the solid state disk residing in my desktop PC. The device in question is a 128 GB Crucial M4 model that I added to a new HP desktop purchased from Woot.com last summer. The tale is worth telling because the SSD seemed to fail after just a few months.

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A Road Warrior Plans To Shed Some Weight: Part 1

samsonite-silhouette-11-softside-shoulder-bagLike many people I’m making a New Year’s resolution with respect to losing some weight. However, in my case the sphere of concern to be addressed is my computer bag. It’s simply too heavy and I’m finally planning to do something about that.

In truth I’ve needed a new shoulder bag for some months. I’ve had the same one for about five years. It’s an HP branded ballistic nylon bag that I got two laptops ago. I really like the design of the bag, but recently it’s started to look a bit ragged. One of the zippers is even broken.

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Blogging From The Nexus7

Nexus7Not long ago I read a post by a blogger who had made the effort to give up his laptop for the day. While attending a conference he left his laptop in his hotel room intent upon using only his Nexus 7 tablet throughout that day. I thought it an interesting experiment.

The tale of his day highlighted a few worthy accessories for the Nexus 7 tablet. He pointed to a premium stylus and a Bluetooth wireless keyboard as key to his productivity. I was impressed by his logic and the tale of his experience that day. So much so that I ordered those same items so that I might try them for myself.

At this very moment I’m typing on the Logitech Keyboard for Android , wirelessly connected to my Nexus 7. Just as he described the case for the keyboard doubles as a stand for the tablet. It’s handy. To use it properly really requires a table, but it’s working on my lap at the moment.

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