I wanted to take some time to touch on my every changing collection of Internet of Things style devices. Honestly, it’s kind of iffy what constitutes an “IOT” device, but for the most part I’m sticking with “cheap” and “non traditional computing devices”.
The chief player among these are of course…
The Raspberry Pi
I’m up to 5 Raspberry Pis, a B+, two B2s, one B3, and one Pi Zero. I have already discuss these quite a bit so they don’t need a ton of additional discussion. The B+ still operates my DNS/DHCP server, one B2 still runs my IRC stuff, one B2 still runs a Minecraft server. I actually have not yet come up with a good use for the B3 and Zero yet. I’ve started messing with Windows 10 IOT on the B3 a bit and there is a Retro Gaming GameBoy project using the Pi Zero floating around on Reddit I may have a go at.
If Raspberry Pi is the king of IOT, then Arduino is definitely the Queen. I’ve kind of dropped out of doing Arduino projects a bit and dismantled most of the ones I had built. Other than adding a WiFi enabled board to my set (by mistake, I thought I was ordering a Shield not a board), not much has changed on my Arduino library.
i did try to build a little digital hourglass project I found online but it’s not going super great. Stay Tuned for More
Next Thing’s CHIP
CHIP is still one of the most annoying and impossible to search for terms online. I’m up to three CHIPs now, I’ve received my second Kickstarter CHIP and my VGA DIP. I’ve still been having some bad luck getting my CHIPs to do much of anything. I tried to build an Amazon Alexa with no luck in the end after a ton of troubleshooting. I’ve been trying to get Synergy combined and running on one to let it work with my multi monitor set up.
Now that the Kickstarter campaign is more or less finished and the CHIP is reaching a wider audience I’m hoping it starts to get more support online.
Another kickstarter product, the Remix Mini is a small computer that runs Android as a desktop. It works pretty well, I mostly used it last year while traveling for work in the Hotel Room. I have not touched it since, for one simple, stupid reason. The HDMI output doesn’t support any of my HDMI to DVI cables. I can’t plug it into a regular monitor, so I just have… not used it. I could plug it into a TV but it’s effectively a simple desktop machine and doesn’t work as well for a “lean back” experience. Maybe if I had a wireless KB and Mouse it would work better.
It’s a shame to because I was really looking forward to this one and it runs a lot of my apps surprisingly well.
I picked up a Chromecast last year on Black Friday. I used it a bit but in the end, it’s ended up in a drawer. It’s just too much of a hassle and it caused too many problems. First off, the hassle. My crappy old Nexus 7 is partially to blame here but in general the lack of any built in interface is just a flat out pain. Having to dig out my tablet to use it is a pain.
Worse yet, it was causing problems with the Wireless in the house. I disabled guest mode which eliminated the problem (eliminating the interference) but it’s still kind of lame that it was an issue to start with.
Kindle Fire Stick
A more recent addition to the network, I added a Kindle Fire Stick. This is effectively the same as the Chromecast, without the hassle and bull shit of needing a separate device to use it. It’s not completely without it’s issues but it works pretty well. The main problem I’ve had is that it loses signal, a lot. It doesn’t work as all directly hooked to my HDMI switch and at this point it’s cabled out and laying out on the floor behind everything to get it away from any interference.
It runs Amazon videos, which I don’t really use, it runs Netflix, which is used a lot. It also works well with the fact that I buy my MP3s primarily through Amazon. Another nice bonus, I use Amazon Cloud to backup all of my Photos, so they are all available through the Fire Stick now to view on the TV.
Another newer addition is the SteamBox. Specifically, the cheap streaming box. It works pretty nicely. I haven’t had a chance to really put it through the loops yet but my first tests worked well. I’ll probably do a more in depth write up at some point on it.