Using PCI pass-through in VMware ESXi 6.7 on a 2012 Mac Mini

I use a 2012 Mac Mini as a home VMware ESXi server. It’s a surprisingly great little machine, with exceptionally low power consumption and good performance. It runs several Linux and Windows VMs. I’ve been gradually migrating applications to it, and the most recent is my home PLEX server. To do that, I needed to move a Thunderbolt disk enclosure (OWC ThunderBay 4) to the Mini and attach it to a Linux VM. [Read More]

TV standards are still a mess

I picked up a Vizio PQ65-F1 4K TV during the holiday sale season, and it’s a tremendous upgrade from our old LCD, an almost 10-year-old Sharp. The color and dynamic range are amazing and I don’t regret skipping OLED at all. I haven’t played with the built-in TV app platform at all, preferring instead to use an Apple TV 4K as the sole source device. Sadly, TV’s continue to be anything but plug-and-play. [Read More]

LEGO Nightstand Light Switch

I’ve been playing a lot with home automation recently, and in particular I’ve been installing a lot of cheap ESP8266-based Wi-Fi relays, such as the Sonoff Basic, Sonoff SV, Sonoff S31, Sonoff iFan02, and Shelly1, which have all been flashed to run the open-source Tasmota firmware. These communicate with Home Assistant through an MQTT message broker over Wi-Fi. Home Assistant, in turn, allows the devices to work with schedules, timers, voice-activated cylinders, and so on. [Read More]

Disabling Wi-Fi on an LG Smart Refrigerator

Our LG LFXS30766S refrigerator is broadcasting an open Wi-Fi access point. I’m sure it’s doing that so LG’s Android app can connect to it and deliver pairing instructions for another AP. Sadly, there doesn’t seem to be any way to disable this feature. LG: If you’re listening, nobody asked for this garbage. Making the door shelves adjustable would be pretty great, though. A $2,300 fridge should have adjustable shelves. I also see LG recently posted a firmware update for this fridge to their website. [Read More]

LED strip light experimentation and impressions (Part 1)

The first custom lighting project in our new home will be under-cabinet lights in the kitchen. After researching various choices for high-CRI LED strips, I decided to purchase a reel from Flexfire LED’s for experimentation. I settled on the¬†Ultrabright High CRI Series Warm White LED Strip Light. Let me start by saying I’ve never purchased or played with LED strips before, but these are the real deal. I’ve played with demo strips at electronics stores, and the Flexfire strip is much brighter and the color is quite natural. [Read More]