Intro Tired of plugging in USB HDDs for backup and data storage and looking for improving quality of life, I thought about getting a network attached storage (NAS). It became clear very quickly that I wanted NAS from one of the few big manufacturers like Synology or Qnap because I wanted this to work well and get it up and running fast without issues. Basically I wanted to pay a bit more for a solution that… Continue reading

Why we need USB charging on everything

Intro USB Power Delivery charging is coming to more and more devices, after is has been added to the USB standard along with the introduction of USB-C connectors. The standard allows devices and chargers to talk to each other and negotiate what sort of power devices need, while also talking to cables to see how much current they can carry. It’s been adopted as a universal way to charge many kinds of devices by the… Continue reading

Wet sensors (or humidity sensor troubles)

Intro Well there is no surprise: i went through a lot of temperature and humidity sensors. Some I already reported on, and some more i tried afterwards. And none seem to survive the exterior readout very well. The defects are mostly related to humidity, but not temperature. What happens when they fail: mostly the humidity saturates to 100%. Here is my most recently replaced one from outside, a BME280: After a while, the sensor reads… Continue reading

Why internet is fast and cheap in Romania and some other countries (but expensive and slow in others)

TL;DR Back when dialup, ADSL and cable TV connections were contemporary, people discovered you can get better internet by running a simple network cable from the local internet cafe to your home. Neighbourhood suppliers sprouted like mushrooms, offering internet connections with the bonus of a much higher speeds between the subscribers. And people wanted games and access to shared content on the network. Big operators could only offer a competitive product by building a fiber… Continue reading

Notes on Nikon USB-PD charging

Intro I currently use aNikon Z5 camera. The Z5 is interesting in one aspect, it finally has USB charging using USB-PD. In my opinion, USB charging should have been present in all cameras since they started having a USB port, even if charging with the limited 2.5W will take a long time. But, nowhere in the manual or the specifications does Nikon say what parameters the USB PD charger is working at, so I decided… Continue reading

Why camera WiFi sucks

TL;DR – WiFi on cameras is crap because cameras have low performance processors and low performance WiFi modules and the interface between the two is slow. On top of that software is very lacking. No, it does not look like it will change in the near future. Intro The WiFi connection on most dedicated cameras sucks big time. It is slow, terribly slow. And it seldom lacks automation: I have not found any DSLR/MILC camera… Continue reading

Asus G14 – super short review

I finally got one! I wanted a new laptop around the end of 2019, but decided to wait till CES announcements to see if something nice was coming out. And I did really like the Asus G14. But the pandemic came, the G14 was nowhere available so I tried my luck with an MSI GS66 which I did not like and returned. Finally, in 2021 I managed to get a G14 2021 model and have… Continue reading

Step up from 1 AA cell – again

Intro A while ago I have evaluated the powering options for my smart home sensor nodes. One thing was really clear: I would try to avoid small batteries and using anything else besides the common AA(A) sizes. This makes nodes last a long time on a battery that is easy and cheap to find. And I was right about this – the plethora of commercial remotes and sensors that I also used (like the ikea ones)… Continue reading

10002 The hidden database

A long due update A while back I setup influx DB to store the sensor and activity data on my smart home system. And i thought the raspberry pi 3 was not enough to run the server anymore. And moved to a NUC and all was fine. But recently I wanted to upgrade from Ubuntu 18 to 20 and thought about making an image of the SSD first, as a quick and easy way to… Continue reading


Intro The wireless sensor modules I built for my smart home are doing fine in terms of battery life without much effort. Typical life is 1-1.5 years for AAA powered and more than double that for AA powered nodes. So I thought I would have a better look at ESP-NOW. That’s because an ideea popped up during discussion with a friend: can he build a simple sensor network, quick and easy, with off the shelf… Continue reading