Foscam FI8910W

At $56 this is an amazing deal on this camera (Foscam FI8910W).  I use several of them and they work perfectly.

7 Gallon Nano Tank

I recently setup a new fish tank.  This one is an all glass 7 gallon nano tank.  I’ll post more details about it later.

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Sunsets

The sunset was amazing yesterday evening.  I was able to catch these few images on my way home from work.

The sky started off in beautiful shades of orange.

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. . . and about 20 minutes later the most beautiful pinks, purples, red, oranges, and blue.  It was stunning.

 

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Aquarium Lighting

I’ve had a 30 gallon fresh water aquarium for a long time now.  It’s a beautiful community tank with a handful of plants thrown in.  At this point, upkeep is almost effortless.  Two years ago I decided to try LED lights when my old fluorescent hood died.  I went with the Marineland LED Hood.  Horrible mistake.  This hood was flimsy plastic, the LED was bright, but didn’t reach in to the corners.  Not surprisingly, the LED module of the hood died almost two years to the date I had purchased it.

After some research I went back to T5 lighting.  I decided on the Aqueon T5 Dual Strip Lighting Hood and a Aqueon Glass Versa Top.  The glass top was a perfect fit and sits level with the top of the tank.  The Aqueon light is slim, with two T5 bulbs, the tank is lit very well.

There are pros and cons for LED and T5 bulbs for a tank.  LEDs run cooler and I am sure a better brand would last longer.  Also with LED you don’t have replacement bulb costs.  LEDs run a lot cooler and don’t use as much electricity.  This lighting system uses T5NO bulbs and they seem to be plenty bright.  One bulb is white and the other is a light pink color.

Autumn

Walking down my driveway after work – I could not resist taking a picture of these amazing fall colors.

FitPort

In the last four years I have owned an iPhone, Android phone, and a Windows phone.  I recently traded in my Nokia 1020 for an iPhone 6.  The new Health focus at Apple is very interesting to me and I wanted to give it a go.  While the M8 motion chip in the iPhone 6 does a fantastic job – the built in health dashboard (Health app) is lacking.  After reading a few reviews I kept seeing the name FitPort come up.

I have been using FitPort for about a week now, and it has completely replaced the Apple provided Health app.

From the iTunes store:

FEATURES:

- Shows your fitness data from Health app
– Simple dashboard for your daily fitness stats
– Easily compares your daily/weekly stats to the previous day/week to see how active you are
– Sets goals and monitor your progress
– Change units

HEALTH APP INTEGRATION:

FitPort shows you the following data from Health app.
This app is used as a dashboard to check your stats, but you can also input your data manually, and the data is stored securely in Health app.

- Steps (iPhone 5s/6/6 Plus)
– Walking + Running Distance (mi, km) (iPhone 5s/6/6 Plus)
– Flights Climbed (floors) (iPhone 6/6 plus)
– Cycling Distance (mi, km)
– Active Calories (kcal, kj)
– Dietary Calories (kcal, kj)
– Weight (lb, kg, stone)
– Body Fat Percentage (%)

FitPort is well worth the $1.99 price tag.  The presentation of the data was just what I was looking for.

Fall Morning

The weather has taken a turn towards the cooler side over the last few days.  Captured this beautiful sunrise this morning on my way in to work using my Nokia 1020 phone.

Tooth Fairy Ideas

My son lost his second tooth – for the first one the tooth fairy left a note congratulating him along with $2.00, and some sugar free gum.  He recently lost his second tooth – I wanted to do something different this time.  A few Google searches later and I turned up an envelope from the Hallmark site and an official looking tooth fairy receipt.

The Hallmark tooth fairy envelope is perfect, they leave space for you to fill out a few things.  All that is left for you to do is to cut and glue.

I wrapped the dollar around this tooth fairy receipt.  Once you download the PDF file, open it in Adobe Reader and you will be able to type in the fields.

RTL-SDR

What is RTL-SDR?

The RTL part refers to products that use the Realtek RTL2832U chip on DVB-T receivers.  SDR stands for Software Defined Receivers.  By using free PC software and a DVB-T dongle with the Realtek RTL2832U chip set you can listen to (receive) a wide amount of radio signals.

Software Defined Receivers in the past have been VERY expensive (way over $1,000).  In comparison you can pick up a DVB-T dongle for under $20. With this SDR combination you can enter the hobby of scanning at a very low cost.

What do I need?

To start you are going to need one of the DVB-T receivers.  I went with one on Amazon – didn’t feel like waiting for international shipping or dealing with online auctions.  After a fair amount of research I went with:  NooElec Brand RTL-SDR, FM+DAB, DVB-T USB Stick Set with RTL2832U & R820T.

For software I decided to give SDR Sharp a try on an older Windows 7 PC I had laying around.  What you will need to do is install the SDR Sharp software, then install and run an utility called Zadig.  I came across this great tutorial on installing all the software components for SDR.

After all of that – I was able to plug in the dongle (with antenna attached) and start playing around.  The antenna really sucks, so you’re going to need a new one to do anything decent.

That’s it for now.  I am working on learning how to pump the data over TCP to a laptop to make viewing and playing easier.

Amazon Fire TV

Oldest Roku box in the world?

A few weeks back an older Roku box finally bit the dust.  I believe it was the first Roku I purchased, it had quite a few years on it.

Amazon Fire TV

I decided to give the Amazon Fire TV a shot.  At $99 it’s about the same price as the Roku (it varies but is currently $94.00 for the higher end model).

There were a few things that attracted me to the Amazon TV.  I am an Amazon Prime subscriber and use Prime Video quite a bit. The specs on the box were outstanding and I was anxious to try the voice search.

Amazon Product Development?

There were also a few things that concerned me.  Amazon seems bent on becoming a product development company.  But so far (other than the Kindle), I have not been happy with their electronic devices.  The Fire tablet is not for me – and the Fire phone just doesn’t look all that great.  The reviews for the Fire TV had been great though, and I was willing to take a gamble.

Amazon really did great with this device.  The box is small and sleek, the remote is perfect, and the menus are intuitive and very snappy.  Hulu, Netflix, and Amazon Prime videos all work great – and the picture quality is amazing on my plasma TV.

I have tried a few of the free games using an older Ouya controller.  The gaming is lacking, but I didn’t buy this for gaming.

In the future – I believe I will be replacing Roku boxes with Amazon Fire TV boxes as they die.

 A few other great reviews of the device:

Tech Review: Amazon Fire TV streaming box packs unique features

Amazon Fire TV Review, A Competent Media Streamer

Amazon Fire TV Preview

 

 

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