Skip to main content

New year gadget list

With the chinese new year and all, here are my recent additions to my road warrior gadget list.

O2 Zinc Mobile

Feedback & Review :
This is similar to the Dopod 838 pro. Its got all the base functions and even a more logical and compatible headphone jack. Size and Dimensions are identical on looks. I compared them side by side and the Dopod might actually be a tad heavier.

I actually got this as a Starhub promotion to get a free can of abalone. As its a new phone, most people would base whether to get it on the reviews. So far from what I read about the reviews, most reviewers are only phone users and not PDA/computer users. One such review mentioned that the phone can be only be used with a stylus. "Duh", there is a slide out keyboard and keyboard shortcuts makes this PDA real quick and easy to navigate and use without a stylus unless for web browsing.

The sluggishness of the OS is comparable to most new Nokias and windows smartphones. The price to pay for functionality. I had one person make the file explorer speed comparision and told me it was faster than the Dopod too. I can substantiate that to be true without first hand experience.

Conclusion:
Definately a great purchase and I'm not disappointed at all with the phone or the abalone.


Microsoft Zune (with compliments from Microsoft)

Feedback & Review :
Who can argue with a freebie from Microsoft and yet another surprising one at that. Ok, I haven't really used it other than install the software and watch the bundled video and music.

Its much lighter than my 80GB iPod video and only has 30 GB. However, it does come with radio that only has settings for North America, Japan or some other country and not Singapore or anywhere in Asia for that matter. Still the radio works and even shows the station name on the display after it auto tunes.

I have no idea how the wireless works, but it is meant to stream to an Xbox 360. Hmm, is it a sign to get one of those?

Conclusion:
Its a descent MP3 player no doubt and hasn't crashed yet. If you can live with itunes to sync your iPod and Apple's strange file directory storage, this device shouldn't bother you that much. I might write more once I actually start using it more.


Dell Latitude D620 (Core 2 1.66 ghz, 100 GB 7200 rpm HDD and 2 GB 667 mhz ram, nVidia NVS 110M)

Feedback & Review :
As far as picking a mobile workhorse, you can't really go too far wrong with a Dell latitude, not like I had much of a choice from work distributed machines. A good thing about these latitudes are the catch that holds the screen to the rest of the machine.

I'm sure I'll think of something else eventually. The D620 actually makes more sense than the D820 just based on weight and battery life. the D820 was a pain to carry around especially if you wanted good battery life, the 9 cell battery was a killer.

With all enterprise distributions of windows, they somehow always forget to cater for dual core laptops which made me have to replace the ntoskrnl.exe and hal.dll files with the dual core versions during safe mode. Make sure you reboot twice in safe mode for effect. Also make sure you go to the bios and set your hard disk for performance / "noisy" mode.

Conclusion:
I wouldn't buy it, and I didn't :)

Personally, a laptop of my choice is probably still a mac book pro or an alienware machine. I do realise those are heavy, but if its a personal machine, how often will you honestly need to lug it around?

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Multiple Broadlink RM mini 3 integration using MQTT

Broadlink now has quite a lot of integration options almost out of the box. If you enable Broadlink IHC, you can directly link it to Alexa by giving the device a unique name.

There is a homebridge plug in for homekit integration but I haven't tried or tested this. https://lprhodes.github.io/slate/

I wanted to put the device in domoticz so I can have more control over what can trigger my broadlink. I decided to use broadlink-mqtt for this, which is a fairly easy method to trigger from any source.

Setup Instructions for broadlink-mqtt

1. git clone https://github.com/eschava/broadlink-mqtt

2. vi /home/pi/broadlink-mqtt/mqtt.conf

3. Update the mqtt.conf file with the device type set as multiple_lookup

device_type = 'multiple_lookup'
mqtt_multiple_subprefix_format = '{type}_{mac_nic}/'
4. Start the python script and check that it started and detected all the RM devices.
Check the log file to see what the IP / MAC addresses are. DEBUG Connected to RM2 Broadlink device at …

Fibaro HCL Virtual Device Slider

How to setup Fibaro home center lite (HCL) slider for virtual devices.

As the Fibaro HCL does not support LUA. The question was how to update the number value of the slider to send to the HTTP string. Thanks to this site which is a really good reference https://www.vesternet.com/resources/application-notes/apnt-88/

The 2 use cases here are;

Sonos HTTP API Volume

To allow for volume control for all Sonos devices, add a virtual device with the IP address for SONOS HTTP API and specify the default port to 5005. Create Slider and put the following text into the string.

GET /volume/_sliderValue_ HTTP/1.10x0D0x0A0x0D0x0A


Domotiz Virtual Devices

GET /json.htm?type=command&param=switchlight&idx=XX&switchcmd=Set%20Level&level=_sliderValue_ HTTP/1.10x0D0x0A0x0D0x0A

Replace XX with the device ID.

Restart Fibaro HCL when it stops working automatically

It seems that the Fibaro HCL seems to hang every now and then. Instead of trying to restart it regularly, which doesn't really work, as it's almost impossible to predict when this will happen.

This method checks that the HCL is actually running and in the event it stops working, trigger a script that will restart it.


1. Get a non Fibaro controlled power plug and scripts to control it.

I used a wifi smart plug, TP-link HS100 and downloaded the scripts from

https://blog.georgovassilis.com/2016/05/07/controlling-the-tp-link-hs100-wi-fi-smart-plug/

2. Create a bash script to restart the Fibaro, e.g. restart_fibaro.sh

#!/bin/bash

ip_addr=
scripts=

$scripts/tplink-smartplug.py -t $ip_addr -c off
sleep 10
$scripts/tplink-smartplug.py -t $ip_addr -c on


3. Create a test global variable in the Fibaro HCL

Go to the variables panel and create a test variable, e.g. Test


4. Add a cron entry to test that the Fibaro API is still working and restart if it's not.

The cron script is scheduled ev…