Blog

The thoughts, opinions, happenings, and just plain ramblings of a seemingly boring person.

Logging Solar Inverter Output with a Raspberry Pi

We've had a 3kW solar array on top of our house ever since we built it about 6 years ago.

Solar panels on our roof. Look at that perfectly competent builder person!

It came to our attention recently that one of our 12 solar panels had shattered glass (seemingly for a while), something you can even see from the latest Google Maps satellite imagery.

dodgy solar panel
Detective work; just like on CSI.

Surprisingly, when we had some guys out to replace it, it is pretty much impossible to source another panel with a similar voltage and current that wouldn't drastically affect the … Read more →

MusicBee: Finally Opting Out of iTunes

MusicBee LogoIt feels like I've been complaining for almost a decade about the bloated mess that is iTunes. Despite all those complaints, I've never really been bothered to move on to anything else.

About 5 years ago, I had a brief flirt with other stuff like DoubleTwist, but wasn't that impressed and quickly ended up back on iTunes. This wasn't really because of iTunes being any superior itself, but more-so the ubiquity of support from third-party devices and services in interfacing with an iTunes library.

I hear you ask: "Wait a minute, you still own and manage your own music Read more →

Building Tetrarch

I managed to hold off on building a new computer until now. My now-previous computer, Executor, is at the 3.5 year mark, and I've been wanting something even more quieter than it was. I have named this new one Tetrarch, as being my fourth build it is now the fourth ruler of my computing history :). The only reused part from Executor is the recent graphics card which I brought across.

There are three main features of this build: compactness, silence, and RGB LEDs. Compactness comes from this being my first build without an optical disc drive, and I … Read more →

Graphics Update & Battlefield 1

XFX RX480 GTRI've had a pretty crappy few months with my health. I think it's a safe bet that if I don't blog in over a month, something is probably up.

Anywho, my main gaming desktop, Executor, recently hit its three year-old mark, and despite a few hiccups, it has held up really well up to this 'best before' date of tech reliability. However, one thing that has aged is the graphics card, which was brought over from the previous computer.

So it made sense to look at updating the graphics card; it's been struggling to keep up with recent … Read more →

Monitor Colour Problems Over HDMI

colortestAlthough I've studied and worked in technology for over 15 years, every now and then an issue comes up which totally baffles me. Yesterday was one of those times.

The new monitor that I bought back in January started stuffing up a few weeks ago (weird lines, tint shifts), and I took it in for repair. Since then I've been using a borrowed monitor from work, and yesterday I got the repaired monitor back up and running again.

Ever since I got the new monitor back in January, the colours weren't quite right. They were generally dull, and I had … Read more →

Console Home Streaming is Great Too

PS4 Remote PlayI've blogged a bit on how great Steam Home Streaming is to be able to play PC games remotely in the living room. Today I experienced the reverse, and it's equally as convenient!

Although it's been available on XBox for a while, and for a few months on the PS4, I've previously never had the need to play a console somewhere else other than its usual spot in the living room. That is, until Anastacia needed the TV today and I was in the middle of a level of Lego Star Wars: The Force Awakens.

Setting up and getting … Read more →

Talking at the UQ Engineering + Technology Careers Evening

On Thursday night I had the privilege of speaking at the University of Queensland for an Engineering + Technology Careers Evening. It was aimed at high school students looking at studying engineering and tech at UQ, and I was (surprisingly) selected as a graduate success story to speak for 5 minutes on my academic and career journey. I have uploaded the slides from my presentation. It was the first time since our wedding that I've spoken in front of so many people! :S

I have to admit, it was a little strange talking about myself as a 'success' … Read more →

PC Build History

As the three-year mark is starting to roll around on my current home PC, Executor, I am trying to resist the urge at looking at parts for a new computer. Having another +1 to take care of compared to before definitely helps ;).

To have a look back through history, like the mobile phone history page I put together at the start of this year, I have collated a page detailing the history of all the PC builds that I have done. This includes specs, any upgrades, and links to the relevant build blog post.

Without doubt, Executor has … Read more →

Steam Home Streaming Now Supports 5.1 Audio

I'm not sure when it was enabled in the stable Steam client, but it looks like 5.1 sound is now enabled for Steam Home Streaming on Windows hosts and clients. I said last year that this was a big missing feature for the platform, so I'm glad they actually did it.

It wasn't a smooth process to get it working, though. Although everything looked like it was configured correctly, whenever I tried the streaming there was no sound. I eventually found this forum post which said that the old DirectX9 runtimes ("DirectX End-User Runtimes (June 2010)") are need on the … Read more →

Work T450s and USB Switches

Lenovo T450sFor the past 10 months I have been using a Lenovo i7 T450s as my work laptop, and I have to say how impressed I have been with it. In my opinion, it's a great balance between portability and power. The SSD boots it up in a few seconds, and for the most part, it runs Fedora (with multiple VMs) admirably. The laptop keyboard is fantastic, and the dual batteries (one internal, one removable) last a while.

After my intense illness earlier this year, I have been doing a lot more working from home. As I use the same … Read more →