Archive for How To

Setup a Raspberry Pi as a Web and Database Server

Late last year (2012) I ordered and received a couple of Raspberry Pi (Model B with 256MB RAM) from Element14.  As part of that order, I also ordered preloaded 4GB SD cards with the linux distro already on them.  When I got them I was really excited to get started with them but for reasons beyond my control, I’ve been too busy to really play around with them much.

Lately however I’ve had more time to pursue some home automation, integration and generally geeky projects that I’ve been wanting to do for a while.  Most of the home automation work I’ve done so far is with Z-Wave based controllers and devices (mostly light switches, but also thermostats and door locks), and while doing research on compatibility and other such things, I saw several mentions of OpenSprinkler for tying sprinkler automation into their systems.  So I decided to check it out and ended up buying one of the OpenSprinkler Pi boards from Ray’s Hobby.

While I was waiting for my board to ship, I thought it might be a good idea to figure out what needed to be done to prep one of my Raspberry Pi boards to build the sprinkler controller.  I found a nice article on wikiHow which details the process of getting the Raspberry Pi updated and getting the system configured for SSH and as a web/database server.  There are several similar articles I found with steps to update the OS.  Borrowing from the wikiHow article, I ran through the following process and made notes along the way.

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Upgrading My MacBook Pro Hard Drive to SSD


I’ve been wanting to upgrade the hard drive in my MacBook Pro for a while now.  I bought it in 2010 (it’s a Mid-2010 year MBP – 15″ with the Core i7 2.66ghz processor in it).  It’s a great machine, and overall, it has been nice to use.  However the one pain point that got to me time and again was how long it took to boot it up and run applications.  I had already upgraded the RAM, seeing as how RAM is so cheap these days (though I was remiss to find out my MBP only supports 8GB) so the next logical upgrade is the drive. With prices on SSDs coming down so drastically over the years, and with speeds of 300MB+ per second read and write (and easily 500MB+ in the latest generation), it’s a chance to drastically improve the performance of any system.


How to replace your Motorola RAZR LCD screen

I recently upgraded from the Motorola RAZR V3 to a SLVR L7. I’ve never been a fan of “flip-phones” but I did enjoy my time with the RAZR. It is a good looking addition to any geek’s gadget collection. When the SLVR came out I just about fell in love. Then of course they came out with Q and I was lusting once again…

Anyway, to make a long story short I “gifted” my RAZR to someone I knew to replace a Samsung E317. This person liked the RAZR and soon after started getting the ringtones they could never download with their old E317. Now after years of excellent service in my hands, soon after, the screen on this thing was toast. Let’s just say you shouldn’t clamshell these babies over your beltloop and expect it to last when it gets booty bumped by a rather hefty ass.

Broken RAZR LCD Screen

I thought it was a goner. I mean look at it – that’s a neat fractal pattern there on the screen but its otherwise fairly useless without the big screen. You could dial if you knew what you were doing (and indeed the phone did otherwise work). I asked a friend if he could find someone to fix or sell it and he confirmed my supposition that it might just be more than it’s worth. Case closed, right?  Nope!

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How to upgrade your laptop hard drive

So there you are with your kick ass laptop and you’ve become totally addicted to it. You and your laptop are inseparable. You’ve used it for everything from browsing the web to downloading and listening to music. But the hard drive is full – what to do now? Don’t delete your favorite Aerosmith tracks, upgrade your hard drive!

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