Category Archives: Technology

Adios Ring Door Bell

Ring’s prominence in the news prompted me to look for an alternative to replace the Ring doorbell with its security issues, limited battery life, and less than satisfactory image quality. While I was at it, I also wanted a couple of cameras to look in on the area where the dogs hang out. Because of the added porch roof, it is difficult to run Ethernet cable to this area for wired cameras. Camera things are in flux with many entrants into the market place. After a market search, I settled on an Anker EuFy doorbell and cameras. Find out more after the jump.

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A new iPhone –Things they don’t tell you

The Moocher finally decided to replace his iPhone 6 while keeping its little buddy. That turned out to be a frustrating evolution because Apple does not cue you to look at the checklist for this evolution. The watch has to be unpaired from the old phone before it is retired and paired to the new phone. If you do everything in order, it goes smoothly. If you try to wing it without the check list, you may end up with a useless wrist ornament as I did.

This short note guides you around the common pitfalls for swapping iPhones while retaining a current Watch. Well, it started that way until my USAA 2FA token went crazy.

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Moving to Unifi USG Router

For the longest time, Apple Airport Extreme secured the Dismal Manor networks. This began back in 2002 when, out of curiosity, the Head Moocher bought an Air Port Express to add WiFi in the early days. The Moocher had noticed that firmware updates kept showing up for the Airport products so concluded, rightly, that Apple was making an effort to keep these products up to date and secure. When Apple discontinued the Airport product line, it was time to move on. But to what?

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Music Discovery in the 21st Century

Are streaming services evil? For some. For others, they are the gateway to new artists, concerts, and record purchases. Audiophiles that have made the leap are in this latter camp. There’s more to life than the next Beatles reissue. Read on to learn how Roon, Qobuz, and Tidal combine synergisticly to promote artists and music. Roon 1.6 Radio is the secret.

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UniFi Updates

A new switch, cloud key, and updated network video recorder joined the Dismal Manor UniFi stable this October. The Moocher checked firmware to discover that updating the core POE switch to the latest firmware required updating UniFi Controller. At that time, UniFi controller ran in a FreeNAS jail. So, the cheap intrepid Moocher tried to update UniFi controller in the jail. He quickly discovered he was in dependency hell. Find out how he got out after the jump.

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Furman Power Elite 15i Impressions

Background

Although the house has full-house surge protection in the panel, I elect to use a second line of defense for the computers, network electronics, and audio and video systems. In the past, I had used APC power conditioners for this task but another 5 years had passed and it was time for battery replacement. Being tired of messing with lead acid gel cell batteries, I looked around and settled on Furman Power conditioners. After all, something robust enough to protect a $40,000 church PA should be good enough for home, right? Turns out, it was more than good enough. Product impressions and listening impressions follow plus a bit of EE tech.

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GDS3710 Part 4: Opening the door

This is the 4th post in a series chronicling a small church’s experience with the Grandstream GDS3710 Door System. We like the product but the deployment has been like solving Rubik’s Cube. We found we had to do a lot of tinkering to get things working, something that shouldn’t happen with such a sophisticated product.

This article summarizes some of our lessons learned, particularly with regard to use of the keypad to enter PINS, the interpretation of the virtual number field and the various way the doors can be opened using the GDS3710.

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Further thoughts on the GDS3710

The Grandstream 3710 Door System provides a video intercom, security camera (its recordable using compatible NVRS), RFID reader, and door unlock control relay. The device has a contact input that can be used for an inside exit demand input and a second that can be used as a door status sensor input. And all of this for the price of a door controller from HID or AXIS.

This is a new device so it has a few rough edges. This post talks about the rough edges.

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Small, Simple Access Control

My church is completing the remodel of its new building. Being a retired moocher having nothing better to do, I got sucked into the design sub-committees working on Audio, Lighting, and Networking (including phones). In our current building, we issued keys to trusted congregants that allowed them to open the building to support scheduled activities like choir rehearsal, meetings, and the Sunday program. We kept a key under a rock (well, a figurative rock) having a button lock. Over the years members had come and gone but the key combination remained unchanged. In our new home, we wanted to avoid physical keys and their management so we opted for an access control system. This article describes what we found and did.

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HomePod is a Speaker Phone!

I made an interesting discovery when I called out from home on my mobile. It showed a new Blue Tooth audio device which happened to be my HomePod. On a lark, I moved the HomePod into my study for the quarterly check-in call with my broker. In my study, the phone (iPhone 6+) speaker phone has a pretty bad echo setting my expectations to switch to headphones after the caller reported hideous call quality.

The first go

When the call came in on my iPhone, I switched it to HomePod expecting that I’d have to switch to ear buds to have the echo tolerable. My advisor calls my Google Voice number which rings both my iPhone and my OOMA Telo VoIP land line. I have the choice of which to use and normally take his call on the iPhone using some Sennheiser headphones made for iPhone calling.

Surprisingly, my advisor reported clean audio on his end free of echo. He sounded well also calling from a 212 area code phone, probably VoIP likely on a local PBX but possibly a cloud PBX. At any rate, HomePod works well as an audio endpoint for a 2 way phone call.

Siri can’t dial

“Hey Siri, call aunt nancy at home”

“Sorry, I can’t help you with that here”

HomePod Siri can’t chat with iPhone Siri to make the call for you.