Stuff I'm Up To

Technical Ramblings

What’s in My EDC — January 30, 2019

What’s in My EDC

EDC All Packed

Every Day Carry is an up and coming buzz, but we’ve all probably been doing it for years. I’ve always had a few essentials in the car that includes a multi-tool, torch, a pen and packet of paracetamol.

I just decided to pad it out a bit and include some more useful stuff that could be grabbed from the car and chucked into an away day bag or rucksack. This is just a list of what goes into it.

The pack I chose to bundle this into comes from Amazon for £8. It’s a 1000D nylon pouch with two zip pockets, a buckle pocket and most importantly Molle fastenings. The Molle fastenings mean it’s able to be attached to any other Molle on a rucksack or vest. In this case the Molle has also been thought out to allow it to fit on to a regular belt.

I’m finding this an evolutionary process. Things I hadn’t thought put into my EDC are being added as I discover them and things I have are replaced by better or simpler versions.

What’s inside
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Project scoRPIon – Wake-on-WiFi — July 8, 2018

Project scoRPIon – Wake-on-WiFi

A friend setup his home systems to turn on his PC using Amazon Alexa and tasker to trigger a Raspberry Pi to operate a relay and effectively activate the power button.

What a wonderful idea!

I have a host of Raspberry Pi’s, but instead of Alexa I have chosen the Google Home (Assistant) for my voice control.

My PC is located upstairs from my router and connects using 802.11ac WiFi. Being WiFi that rules out using Wake-on-LAN, which I used to do. So using a RPI to trigger a relay is genius.

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Node.js v8 on Raspberry Pi Zero — June 27, 2018

Node.js v8 on Raspberry Pi Zero

With Raspbian on my Zero I only get Node v4 in the repository. So How do I get a newer version of Node.js?

If I follow the standard Node instruction for installing from a repository I get:

$ curl -sL | sudo -E bash -

## Installing the NodeSource Node.js 8.x LTS Carbon repo...

## You appear to be running on ARMv6 hardware. Unfortunately this is not currently supported by the NodeSource Linux distributions. Please use the 'linux-armv6l' binary tarballs available directly from for Node.js 4 and later.

So it looks like I must download the tar.xz file.

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Raspberry Pi Wifi at boot — June 26, 2018
Lidarr — May 23, 2018


Since trying out Headphones a few years ago I got frustrated with it in the first hour and ditched it and went back to manually downloading music. That was until I got pointed to Lidarr.

Lidarr is either a fork of, or certainly based on the excellent Sonarr project for downloading TV series.  Lidarr applies the same methodology and familiar interface to download music.

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Google Home and Kodi — November 29, 2017

Google Home and Kodi

I thought I’d take the opportunity to add a Google Home to my gadget collection. After all it’s on a £50 off same this week, so comes in at £79 delivered.

What I really want from it above all is to control my Kodi setup. Being able to voice control what movie or TV show to play would make the wife’s life a lot easier – and when she’s happy, I’m happy.

This is where I came across the GoogleHomeKodi project on GitHub and referenced on the Kodi forum here.

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Setting up Baofeng UV-5R for PMR 446 — May 11, 2017

Setting up Baofeng UV-5R for PMR 446

Yes, it is illegal so don’t press the transmit button

1. Reset the radio to factory defaults

Goto Menu 40 (Press Menu followed by 40 or use up down to scroll to RESET ALL)

Press Menu to move the select down to ALL, press Menu. Press Menu to confirm, then Menu again to reply to SOURCE? (Which I’m sure is a bad translation of SURE?)

2. Set the Language.

The Radio will restart and now speak in Chinese. Great if you speak Chinese.

Set it back to English by pressing Menu 14 to get to VOICE, press Menu to move the selector to CHI, press UP or DOWN to get to ENG, press Menu to confirm.

Turn off and on radio it should be in English now.

3. Set the Step to 6.25k

Goto Menu 1, press Menu to move the selector down. Press 2, and when it shows 6.25k press Menu to confirm.

4. Enter in the first PMR 446 frequency

Press VOF/MR to until it says “Frequency Mode”

Type in 446006, it will show 446.006 you’ll see a tiny 25 to the right of it.

5. Save this as channel 1

Goto Menu 27, press Menu to move the selector down, press UP until you reach 001 – this is channel 1. Press Menu to store this current frequency as channel 1.

6. Setup the other 7 channels

This shouldn’t require any more typing of channel numbers.

Press VOF/MR until it says “frequency mode”. You should see your 466.00625 channel

Press UP twice and it should show 446.01875 this is channel 2.

Save it into channel 2 using the same process as step 5.

Exit the menu (Press Exit) and you’re back at your frequency 446.01875

Now it’s just a case of pressing UP twice to raise the frequency to the next channel and save each channel until you reach 8.

The full list of channels should look like:

  1. 446.00825
  2. 446.01875
  3. 446.03125
  4. 446.04375
  5. 446.05625
  6. 446.06875
  7. 446.08125
  8. 446.09375

7 . Deleting Channels

If you want to delete channels 0 and 127 just goto Menu 28, press Menu to drop the selector down, press UP or DOWN to choose the channel to delete and confirm by pressing Menu.

8. Show Channels instead of Frequencies

Just my preference, but in Channel Mode I want it to show the channel number not the 446 frequency.

Goto Menu 21 (MDF-A), press Menu to drop the selector, use UP or DOWN to scroll to CH. Do the same for Menu 22 and now you’ll see CH-001 etc. on the screen when in Channel Mode.

HTTPS on the Synology NAS — April 25, 2017

HTTPS on the Synology NAS

I love this Synology NAS. It’s so versatile and immensely capable. I use it for streaming my TV, movies and music. It also acts as my Couchpotato, Sonarr and NZBGet system. I think I’ll definitely get another when the time comes.

But enough glorification.

Using the free certificate services from Let’s Encrypt you can obtain a FREE TLS/SSL certificate that you can use on any of your encryption services with the one caveat that it will expire every 3 months.

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Raspberry Echo – Alexa — February 21, 2017

Raspberry Echo – Alexa

When the Amazon Echo first came out I was looking at them in earnest, but decided I couldn’t justify the expense for something that I may lose interest in or not really make use of. A friend had an Amazon Echo Dot and combined that with a smart Lightwave RF lighting system in his new apartment I had to admit it was a very nice feature. But still I held back.

Then I discovered that you could install Alexa onto a Raspberry Pi!

As I have more than a few Raspberry Pi’s and a spare, here or there, left over from upgrading others, I thought I’d give it a go.

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Raspbian & Realtek 8192eu WiFi — February 19, 2017

Raspbian & Realtek 8192eu WiFi

Probably the best way to get Raspbian up and running over Wifi is to use an out of the box supported Wifi adapter. But as things move on faster Wifi becomes available and not all of the USB adapters are ready to play.

One that I bought recently was one with a Realtek 8192eu chipset. This is supposed to deliver 300Mbps Wifi, but comes at the price of not being natively supported by Raspbian.

I could go install the build essentials and try to compile the driver myself. But that seems like a lot of work.

So a little digging around and I found it’s pretty straight forward to get going and it’s not a problem unique to me. Someone else has already created the necessary drivers all I need to do is install them.

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Updating Newznab — December 23, 2016

Updating Newznab

Newznab is a Usenet indexing server. It’s a very powerful spider that grabs details of all kinds of Usenet posts in the groups you’re interested in. It then indexes and stores them as NZB files so you can download complete releases.

I’ve found that running it helps me find books as not many out there seem to interested in indexing the book groups. It’s probably not of much interest to you unless you’re also looking to index content that isn’t common place. Most indexers out there cover Music, TV and Movies – so you’ll probably find little use for it.

As I don’t actually run it that often, because it’s not everyday I’m looking for a book. Updating it periodically is something I often forget how to do properly.

$ cd /var/www/newznab
$ svn update .
$ cd misc/update_scripts
$ php ./update_database_version.php
Github — December 12, 2016


I’ve had a few little dealings with Github in the past as a contributor, but thought as I’m working on a project that borrows from a lot of code that is “sociably” hosted on Github by many Open Source developers, I thought I’d take the opportunity to put something back.

So what is Github?

It’s a location for Gits! So more importantly what is Git? Git is a version control mechanism that allows you to manage and maintain a folder structure, recording and monitoring changes as you develop. So Github is an online repository to publish your Gits.

Once published the whole world can see your code and your changes. Not only that they can clone your work, make changes and submit the changes back to you for inclusion in your project.

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