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]

Closing a Yahoo account

I terminated my Yahoo account on June 24. It was only used for Flickr. Flickr has been in a sad state for years, and is unlikely to improve under Verizon ownership. Yahoo sent the following as a confirmation: It’s strange that the final date is approximate. The 40 days concluded yesterday, August 3. I’ve received several emails recently of spambots liking photos on Flickr, including one this morning (August 4): [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]

Emulating a CD-ROM or DVD-ROM drive

I occasionally encounter situations where a bootable CD or DVD is necessary. Most recently, I had to load an operating system on a server. Before that, I had to burn and boot a CD to update the firmware of a device in my computer. I found out last week that hardware emulators are available that can read .ISO files and pretend to be a CD-ROM or DVD-ROM drive. On the recommendation of a co-worker, I got a Zalman ZM-V350B. [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 theĀ 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]