Smart(ish)Home Component Reviews

  • Roku as a Home Streaming Device - After using a gaming console as my primary media streaming device for years, I have finally retired the device in favor of a more modern streaming device. While there are several competitors in the streaming device market, these entry-level streaming sticks are probably best identified by three devices: Google's Chromecast, Amazon's Fire Stick, and Roku's Streaming Stick. You can find numerous reviews of the three products, but after some internal debate, I've settled for the Read More
  • Alternatives to the Raspberry Pi for Home Automation - The Raspberry Pi is probably the most well-known platform for home automation projects and other small projects for the DIY person. While the Raspberry Pi has an enormous community that can't be underestimated, it's not always the best option. Port options are limited; there are certain hardware limitations (such as the sound quality); and, of course, software needs to built specifically for the Pi's ARM architecture which can limit your software options in some cases. Read More
  • Smart Home Camera Review - Adding a security camera to your list of smart home devices opens up some interesting possibilities. Users can remotely know what's going on in their home, see if a package has been delivered, and even have some handy video evidence in case that package goes missing. There are, however, a huge number of manufacturers to choose from. If you're interested in adding a security camera to your list of smart home devices, we go through Read More
  • Raspberry Pi DACs: HiFIBerry Review - While we have previously discussed how to get the best sound out of a standard Raspberry Pi, there is only so much that you can do with the device's limited on-board audio. If you want higher-quality sound, you will need to add a separate audio card to your Pi. These cards are generally added as HATs (hardware added on top), and a handful of competitors offer the cards. In addition to audio processing, these cards Read More
  • Steam Link Review: A Great Alternative To Anti-social Desktop Gaming - Shortly after moving into a new home, I ran across a deal on the Steam Link. As noted in an earlier article, it was a perfect fit because in my previous home, I had directly connected a desktop PC to my television but it wasn't possible in the new space. The gaming PC would need to be on the other end of the home. Realistically, that meant that my wife was likely to see a Read More