Category Archives: Computer

Alles wat mat Hardware ze dinn huet

RasPad Test

So before getting started, i need to clarify something. I’m not getting paid for anything! This is a personal review and was in no way influenced by anybody! This said, here comes my review.

So i fell onto that Kickstarter campaign just before it ended and quickly decided to give it a try. Getting a touchscreen for the raspberry pi platform had always been my wish. I also included a nice screen, casing, and a battery for off grid usage. Honestly the only similar product i know is the pi-top device which comes at another price. Even it’s crowdfunding price was way more expansive… So this was why i decided to give it a try!

Only 4 month later, and this honestly is for Backer’s a really short and fast time, i received my device. Packaging and quality seems to be more than okay! Only a small hunch was the back cover where you place the raspberry. I don’t know if it was meant to be like that but still it closes completely and does what it’s meant to do.

Because i ordered a new Raspbery Pi B+ for my new toy, and because i ordered it to late, i first tried out to connect it to a Windows10 Computer. So as described in some pages on the net, i connected a HDMI from the PC to the Raspad and as well i connected it via Micro-USB to the PC as well, like any regular USB Device. And right out of the box without any more drivers needed Windows accepted the Touchscreen. So very positive for the first impression.

After receiving my Raspi, I continued my tests and out of the box with a new SD-Card with Rasbian on it, it simply worked! No need for touchscreen drivers, no calibration, everything worked fine! You might want to add a keyboard and mouse, because not everything is simply possible without these. But still… You find small and fancy things like that for reasonable prices.

I continued with a few security distributions and I have to say that they all worked fine for the touchscreen! No issues at all. But I realized that you might need to tweak the system for sound reasons. After reading around on the net, I saw a few posts about temperature issues. Some people even modified their houses and added fans to get rid of the heat. For the moment I can not yet confirm that, but I will definitely keep that in mind for the longer tests.

Another thing I will have to test out and keep an eye on, is the battery. I´m not sure yet if it simply is the way the battery indicator works, but I´m pretty sure this is the case. I will use my device for a long term test but here again you can read in some posts that the run time might be shorter than thought. What I can say is that by adding an additional USB WLAN Adapter the indicators dropped immediately to the last indicator, which might confirm my initial idea, that the battery indicator orientates himself on the voltage of the device. Turning of the Raspi immediately brings up one more indicator light of the device.

The only objective critics I have, are those for the internet and social media. The makers did put a web page on the packaging, which is non existing! That´s poor! A very simple page, with the digital descriptions and links to their project pages as well as some technical details or maybe the story of their Kickstarter campaign, some pictures. If you raise over 600k $ from more than 3.000 Backers, you should be able to do this… And to become member of their Facebook page, which is restricted to backers only apparently, you need to enter your details of your order to get accepted. Not very open minded there as well… I know that they might have other priorities but nowadays, this is a few hours of work and for your PR in my opinion a must have.

For the rest I can not complain about the product. Seems to bee good quality, properly worked out with a lot of thoughts for some details and the speed of the campaign was remarkable!

As always I’ve added a few pictures of the device, because they always tell more than a Story.

Virtual Server made easy

I was shown by a colleague of mine a nice tool I wanted to share. Ever wanted to have your own cheap Linux server on the net? So did I and the prices were not so, let’s simply say, attractive! Either you get a real Virtual Server and these come starting for at least 10€ / month, but you can find prices for about 5€ / month where you get a scalable server.

The service I tried out is called DigitalOcean and it appears to be one of the most simple services in this sector. You can, in less than a Minute, create a new server, scale them up and much much more. And the best of it, you pay as you use it. Not using any space or CPU etc, means you’re not paying anything.

It’s easier than running your own Raspberry at home and not having a fix IP etc. For the fix IP you’re already paying much more, and many tools need an own IP so if you’re interested in this, you might have a look at it.

That’s the way the cookie crumbles…

pi-top CEED

After a few month of waiting for my second Crowdfunding Project, i finally recieved my pi-top CEED. I aditionally backed the Speaker so this was an Option in the funding. So wanted to Review a litte bit this Project which i followed from the beginning on.

First i have to say that the Initiators always kept a very good contact to the funders! They posted on a regular Basis News of the Project and so as a backer you were always kept informed. This was especially interesting due to the fact that at some Point they ran into Problems and had difficulties to stay in the schedule. In my opinion very positive and so as a backer i always felt myself very comfortable even with some weeks falling back! I never got the idea that my Money could get lost.

Another nice touch was that they posted on a few occasions Pictures of what we could expect as a result.

As the package arrived at my home i have to admit, that it was very well protected. The packaging itself was as already seen on the Pictures nice and trendy.

Using the device itself… Inserted the SD-Card which was provided and connected the Raspberry-Pi (i did buy it separately) and booted the device up. No Problems with defective Pixels for my device and the Speaker worked after the Installation as it should! Okay… It is not only the physical Installation but you also Need to install the Drivers. Inside the package you could find the How-to or you can read it from the page under this link.

Finally i have to say that the Linux-OS package provided from them is not my favourite… It is quiet Special and has apart from the standard Desktop a Icon based second Desktop. Apparently invented for Kids or Linux-Newbies this should do it work, but for People who are used to Linux not the Thing you want… I will try to get more into that distro and see if it is what i Need. Otherwise i will stick to as usual Distro for the Raspberry.

Anyway… The device itself is of very good Quality in my opinion! I got a green one and the Color is flashy =D I´m lovin it! The idea to hold the Raspi with Magnets is another glorious idea! The only negative aspect is that inserting any USB device may result in misplacing the Raspberry… By being careful it should work.

Roundabout it is a nice Piece which i got for a reasonable price by being a backer.

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LUX-NSA Skandal

Lo ass et dann offiziell! Iergendzwousch huet elo iergend een Reporter an Éisträich eraus fonnt dass Internet Leitungen ungezaapt goufen, respektiv opmannst sollten ungezaapt ginn, déi vun Lëtzebuerg oder op Lëtzebuerg feieren! Krass! No X Méint Gebläers an Gestreids an Däitschland hunn mer et elo Schwaarz op Weis (oder digital) wat vläit schonns sou muncher een sech geduecht huet.

Sinn mir ower keng Insel? Gëtt et ower iergendzwousch op der Welt Leit déi sech fir dat interesséieren wat zu Lëtzebuerg leeft? Kéint dat vläit sinn wëll mir ower an Europa respektiv Weltwäit an Finanz Domänen oder aneren Sparten guer keng esou grouss Nullen sinn? Oder stellt sech herno eraus dass mir ower richteg grouss Nullen sinn? Vläit huet eisen Budget och einfach ze vill Nullen?

Naja ech well mech guer net dozou äusseren well et eng Diskussioun ass ouni Enn! Souwisou sinn ech wahrscheinlech schonns eng “Persona non Grata” well ech anscheinend schonns Termen ewéi “Tor Network” geGoogle’d hunn an een doduerch bei den Kollegen an Amerika um Radar lant. Du bass suspekt wanns de hinnen net alles weis. Ma sou ass dat wann een mat den groussen Jongen pissen geet, dann kucken se der een bemol beim pissen no, op’s du och an déi Richtung piss ewéi si wëllen…

Ubiquiti WiFi Stuff

So what i wanted to talk about is a company called Ubiquiti (UBNT.COM). A few years ago i was playing around with Linksys WRT54GL routers and DDWRT Firmware. That’s when i found a post of a guy saying that he found a company with Linux based stuff, interesting prices and that you even didn’t want to change the firmware because it was so good. So i looked it up and their pages were promising good stuff for prices much cheaper than similar outdoor WiFi equipment. So when i was asked at work at the end of the year if i had some wishes for IT stuff, because there was some money left, I asked if we could try a few of their devices. The Network Division agreed and so we bought some pairs devices. One year later after some projects realized with our devices we took it a step further and bought “airGrid M”, “NanoStation M”, “PicoStation M”, “PowerBeam” and even some “RocketDish” devices. The Network department was so pleased by the quality that they even bought more than twice of the quantity i demanded.

The last quality check which finally convinced me of the products, was when i mounted one of them onto one of the highest buildings in Luxembourg city. And after more than 2 years of hanging around there, it still works as is should! It survived storms, snow and sun! Simply perfect i have to say! For less than 200€ you get a pair of outdoor WiFi devices where similar stuff is at least twice of the price! So definitely a thumbs up!

So if you are looking for outdoor WiFi stuff, Ubiquity is a good choice! But there are some things you should be aware of! Here come some information’s you should consider before buying…

If you would like to create a direct link between 2 Places their airMAX devices are perfect! To have optimal results you should use 2 UBNT devices. They have special features which optimize the links but only with Ubiquity devices. I did not get an opportunity to try out any airFiber devices. Those devices only seem to be for professionals in telecommunications, but i might try those out at work some time…

If you would like to crate a single hotspot again airMAX is a good solution! If you want to take it a step further you could consider UniFi devices. But here you have to know that you need to install some software on a computer / device who will program your device and where you can change the properties of your network.

And if you consider using multiple Hotspots the UniFi devices are definitely a must. Cheap devices can not handle more than about 20 devices. Good ones handle about 50. For private Users more than satisfying but if you really have about 50 to 100 WiFi devices in one location, you need professional stuff. And the UniFi devices cover this. Another plus is their roaming capability. You Computer will only see one WiFi Network but the UBNT devices will handle everything in the background so you do not need to care about. Major plus for a professional working place!

Finally i have to come to talk about the one and only product which really disappointed me! The UniFi Video Camera (2nd Generation) was a huge disappointment! The camera itself is made of good materials, has nice ideas how to fix it on walls etc, but the software is simply disappointing! No real possibility for configuration, but more important no support for any other other software! No RTSP stream, no standard video, simply nothing! Only possibility is to set up an extra machine in your network which will get the stream and re transmit it! How sick is that?

I am and was a huge fan and user of UBNT material! Really! I followed their success story from the beginning. Honestly! But what they did with those UniFi Cam’s is disappointing and i hope that soon there will be an improvement! And i hope that this is not the beginning of their so open minded story as it was in the beginning.