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.
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
20,000 Days and Counting: The Crash Course for Mastering Your Life Right Now
Robert D. Smith
Can I share something with you? I have a deep fear. A fear that keeps me up at night. This is a new fear. I am scared. I am scared of dying and not living my life out to its fullest. I am scared of dying and not making a difference. I am scared of sleep walking through this life. It is what drives me.
20,000 Days and Counting: The Crash Course for Mastering Your Life Right Now is a kick in the pants.
From the description at Amazon:
The day for change is today and it’s more simple than you realize.
Most people sleepwalk through day-to-day life, passively letting time slip away. Unfortunately, the only thing that can usually wake people up to
the intensity of life is impending death. But what if it didn’t have to be that way? 20,000 Days presents breathtakingly simple
strategies and concepts that, once applied, will enable readers to be 100% present and intentional with every passing minute of every day, for
the rest of their lives.
The book is designed to be read in under an hour and the effect is immediate. Within each segment are tactics for mastering control for your life; principles such as:
- Motivation is a myth
- You only have two choices, yes and no
- How to conquer rejection forever
- How BECOMING the problem will SOLVE all your problems
- Three sentences that will change your life immediately
These timeless principles apply to everyone from the pending graduate to the seasoned business professional; from the time-starved parent to the weary pastor to the restless entrepreneur.
I am really excited how this picture turned out. Taken with a Nokia Lumia 1020 and edited with Nokia Creative Studio.
A few evenings ago, I was able to capture this photo of the sun behind a cloud. The sun was this way just for a few minutes before emerging from behind the cloud.
Took the kids down to the riverfront to let them enjoy a beautiful evening. As they were playing, I snapped a picture of this barge passing by.
A few details about the picture: I shot this using the Nokia Lumia 1020 phone and edited it on the phone using Nokia Creative Studio.
I have been wearing Garmin’s Vivofit for over three months now.
As a recap – I had to return my Fibit Force after a recall was issued. After returning my Fitbit Force, I went back to wearing my older Fitbit Flex. That didn’t last long – after wearing something like the Force, the Flex felt really odd, a Garmin Vivofit was on the way.
After wearing Vivofit for over three months my opinion has not changed. My favorite feature of the device you ask? I never have to take it off. I know it sounds silly, but it is a huge bonus. With the Fitbit products I had to take them off frequently to recharge them. Add to that, the Force was not waterproof. Garmin estimates the Vivofit batteries will last one year. I have had no problems wearing the Vivofit in the shower or while swimming. In my opinion, a device like this is best when you forget you are wearing it. Day by day it is recording my steps and I usually don’t even give the device a thought.
I have been enjoying this summer. The kids are out of school and the weather has been hot.
My evenings are spent in the backyard watching them swim, seeing late night movies, and going on ice cream runs.
I snapped this picture the other evening while they were swimming and thought the clouds were beautiful.
I have been chasing dreams and goals lately, my life needs to change, and only I can change it. Or I could be foolish, I assume, and let people and circumstances shape my destiny.
For as long as I can remember I have set goals. Goals like – “make $1,000 extra a month via freelance work”. Those goals always failed. I would forget about them in a week.
Goals like the above one fail several goal setting criteria, it’s not specific enough, there’s no firm date, and maybe it’s a just a lot of hope. Maybe.
A friend recently recomended the following to me regarding goals: 1. Set your goal 2. Define the work to reach your goal 3. Break down the work to a daily agenda 4. Chase the agenda
The first thing I did was to create a giant mindmap of the areas I want to work on in my life, and set goals for those areas. Now comes the job of breaking the goals down, defining the work, setting the agenda, and doing it.
When I open up my to do list, I see a specific set of things to do that will move me along the path of achieving all of my goals. My goals are no longer a hope and a wish, I am taking action and chasing them. I may miss them, I understand that. But that is where I evaluate, step back, redefine and try again.
How do you chase your goals?
There is something about dusk.
That point in the evening when there is a faint amount of light, but the stars and the moon are visible. Still enough light to make things out, but night is slowly arriving. It is subtle. Like waves lapping at the shore – night slowly invades day.