10/04/2016

Use iPhone or iPad as a Laptop Remote Control

As I am going to be giving a few Powerpoint presentation in the near future. I thought I would explore the possibility of using my iPhone and or iPad as a Bluetooth remote control for my Windows 10 Laptop. Following the usual Google browse I eventually decided on  Unified Remote.

As is often the case with app's there is a FREE  and a paid for version. I tried the FREE version first and after adding the Slide Show Remote option  to the selection of Remotes, I found it worked extremely well.  There are a set of default Remote options and a selection of additional FREE ones to add and of course a range of PAID for Remotes as well.



You need to install the App on both Laptop or PC and your iPhone or iPad, which was painless in both cases. It will work with both WiFi and Bluetooth but I have only tested it with Bluetooth.

The most irritating bit was getting my iPad and my Laptop to talk to each other, but turned out I was not following the correct procedure!

Checkout the website here

16/03/2016

Misquoting a Quote

Reposted from DILBERT by Scott Adams - The Famous Quote I Never Said

The strap line on the header for this blog uses the quotation:

“Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes. Art is knowing which ones to keep.” 

it is attributed it to Scott Adams and is one of his Dilbert Principles.

I recently came across a blog post by Scott Adams in which he reports how his quote has been appropriated and misquoted, being corrupted to read:

“Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes. Design is knowing which ones to keep.”

The blog article reads - You’ll see lots of versions of that quote floating around the Internet too (see a few in the image above), but many of the newer ones have been altered from “art” to “design.”

My problem with the altered quote (aside from creating a misleading history) is that design is largely rules-based. Art is not, or at least not so much. When I hire a designer, I want someone who has the training and experience to know what will work for a particular commercial purpose. They should be thinking about how the message is delivered, how the human brain processes ideas, what part of the design has the button you want users to press, and so on.

That is pretty much the direct opposite of art. So putting design in that quote is an attempt to (elevate?) design to art, as if art is somehow more important.

Personally, I think good design that affects millions of people is more important than art than hangs in one room. But I’m not trying to pick a winner. All I’m saying is that the famous quote about design, mistakenly attributed to me, doesn’t make sense.

He suggests:

"Just remember that 98% of everything you read on the Internet is bullshit. The other 2% is accurate by accident."

You can misquote me on that - Scott Adam

I am pleased to note that I managed to use the quotation correctly...

I chose the quote because it encapsulates my ethos about art precisely and I agree with Scott the misquote means something quite different...

WARNING when I last tried to access Scot Adams website I received a Malware alert

01/03/2016

What is a Blog For - Remembering?

What do you do when you have an over active, creative mind? I have always been a very practical sort of a person and an autodidact to boot. Despite my advancing years, my mind is constantly churning over ideas about anything and everything. I have been into taking things apart from a very early age, it took a bit longer to start putting them back together again and making new stuff from scratch or junk or even new stuff. I am stimulated by all sorts of triggers, newspaper articles, stuff in my inbox, Pinterest, Instructables, pod-casts of all kinds. These sources are a cornucopia of ideas and a springboard for my rather over-fertile mind. No, that does not mean it is a compost heap or has dirty thoughts, well only occasionally. Although, mentioning compost heaps, does remind me of a great paper about the neuroscience of memory, where the compost heap is used as a metaphor for how memory works. See what I mean about one thing leading to another. Anyway, what is all this babble leading to?

Digi-Blog was started so that I had somewhere to park useful information, and some of the mad ideas I come across or think up. The Blog has proved to be a great way of keeping track of all this sort of stuff, so I can find it again. See we are back to memory, its a bit of a preoccupation with me. If you have a brows through the other posts you will find stuff about fixing, doing ,making and vaguely interesting, maybe sometime in the future. Get to the point - I have decided to start posting a lot more stuff about the the things that I find interesting, en passant but, which immediately disappear from my memory (sorry, I mentioned it again).

Current areas of interest are ceramics, particularly Raku. This morning my attention has been grabbed by casting clay in plaster moulds, slip moulding. I have looked up lots of info, I just need to store it somewhere until I need it. What better place than Digi-Blog. Of course In the process of browsing stuff about ceramics, other stuff attracts ones attention. I spotted an interesting piece about repairing ceramics. Rather than try for an invisible repair this technique emphasises the repair, a very Wabi Sabi thing to do. I have a quite valuable piece of ceramic that I treated myself to after I sold some artwork, unfortunately the window blind caught it on a windy day and it ended up in pieces. I have been going to repair it, and haven't, maybe this is the way to go.

So you can see my mind flips from one thing to another, very difficult to keep track of the interesting stuff. The Blog is one way to keep track of my volatile mind.

23/02/2016

Samsung Smart TV does not play USB Video - Fix

I have a Samsung Smart TV Model UE22D5003 which I discovered to my disappointment would not play video from a USB Flash drive, only music and photos.

I am most grateful to a thread on AVForums for the fix:-
There is an easy solution to fix this problem: 
-With the TV in STAND-BY Mode press the following keys in sequence in the remote: Info, Menu, Mute and Power on the TV. 
- The TV shows the service menu, find the menu OPTION, press Enter> Factory Reset, scroll down to MODEL press Enter then Right or Left buttons to see the various model numbers until you get to UD5800. Press POWER button. See images below
And voilĂ ! Yo can play videos
Turn TV on, change Source to USB and you should now have a Video option

I am delighted to say it worked for me at the second try. I think you need to press the buttons fairly quickly for it to work.

Here are some shots of the set-up screen that opens when you follow the above instructions.



This is the first screen to appear
PRESS OK for Option


Scroll down till you get to Model 


Use L and R buttons to search for UD5800
Press POWER button


01/11/2015

How to find Windows Product Key using Command Prompt

My Problem

Minor problem with upgrading to Windows 10 from Windows 8.1 on a new laptop. For reasons which I shall not bore you with the Microsoft account login details were thrown away. So at the moment the laptop is an expensive brick. As there is no data on the machine the plan is to reinstall Windows 10. The problem is; what is the product key for the Windows 8.1 OS, so that a free install can be made? I have successfully used the following Comand Prompt string to recover the key. Will a reinstall of Windows 10 solve the access problem?

The following article is courtesy of  The Windows Club.

How to find Windows Product Key using Command Prompt 

When you enter, register and activate your copy of Windows, using a Retail key, the information is stored in the Windows Registry. Users of OEM computers may have noticed that, since a couple of years, the manufacturers have stopped pasting their COA or Certificate of Authenticity sticker, which displayed the Windows product key to the machine anymore. Now this key is embedded in the BIOS/UEFI.

Find Windows Product Key

It is to be noted that a Retail product license is tied to the person whereas the OEM product key is tied to the machine, as per Microsoft Windows Desktop licensing terms. In this post, we will see how to find Windows Product Key using Command Prompt or PowerShell, from BIOS or Registry. It works for Retail & OEM licenses too.

Recover Windows product key using Command Prompt

oem-key-windows

From the WinX Menu in Windows 10 / 8.1, open an elevated command prompt window, type the following command and hit Enter*:

wmic path softwarelicensingservice get OA3xOriginalProductKey

Your Windows product key will be displayed.

*NOTE: the "O" in OA3 is capital letter O and not a zero 0

Source link

24/10/2015

Microsoft Word Problem with Unexpected Page Breaks

I have been having an irritating formatting problem in Microsoft Word 365, but I think you can get the same problem in all versions of Word. The problem was after a sub-heading the following text would start on a new page. After much fiddling with Style settings and trying various fixes unsuccessfully, I eventually came across the fix that I have reproduced in full below on the Microsoft support website. 

It is counter intuitive, typical Microsoft, as you will see it involves removing the "Keep with next" option from the Normal Style, Paragraph format Menu.

Source: https://support.microsoft.com/en-gb/kb/233493

Check for unexpected page breaks following "Normal" style text

If a series of Heading styles is used in a document (an outline, for example) followed by text that is formatted with the Normal style, an unexpected page break may occur following the Normal text. This problem occurs only in normal view and does not occur in outline view. Use one of the following methods to remove individual occurrences of an unwanted page break.

Method 1: Apply the "Keep with Next" option to Normal text

Word 2000, Word 2002, and Word 2003

  1. Select the Normal text.
  2. On the Format menu, click Paragraph.
  3. Click the Line and Page Breaks tab, and then click to select Keep with next.
  4. Click OK.

Word 2007, Word 2010, and Word 2013

  1. Select the Normal text.
  2. On the Page Layout tab, click the Paragraph dialog box launcher in the Paragraph group.
  3. Click the Line and Page Breaks tab, and then click to select Keep with next.
  4. Click OK.

Method 2: Clear the "Keep with next" option from the heading

Word 2000, Word 2002, and Word 2003

  1. Select the Heading text that precedes the Normal text.
  2. On the Format menu, click Paragraph.
  3. Click the Line and Page Breaks tab, and then click to clear the Keep with next check box.
  4. Click OK.

Word 2007, Word 2010, and Word 2013

  1. Select the Heading text that precedes the Normal text.
  2. On the Page Layout tab, click the Paragraph dialog box launcher in the Paragraph group.
  3. Click the Line and Page Breaks tab, and then click to clear the Keep with next check box.
  4. Click OK.

Method 3: Permanently change the occurrence of unwanted page breaks

Word 2000, Word 2002, and Word 2003

  1. On the Format menu, click Style.
  2. In the List list box, click All styles.
  3. In the Styles list, click Heading 1.
  4. Click Modify.
  5. Click Format, and then click Paragraph.
  6. Click the Line and Page Breaks tab.
  7. Click to clear the Keep with next check box, and then click OK.
  8. To make the change permanent for the current document and all new documents based on the active template, click to select Add to template. Otherwise, the changes that you make will only affect the current document.
  9. Click OK, and then click Close.

Word 2007, Word 2010, and Word 2013

  1. On the Home tab, go to the Styles group, and then click the Styles dialog box launcher to open the list of styles.
  2. In the Styles list, click Heading 1.
  3. Click Modify.
  4. Click Format, and then click Paragraph.
  5. Click the Line and Page Breaks tab.
  6. Click to clear the Keep with next check box, and then click OK.
  7. To make the change permanent for the current document and all new documents based on the active template, click to select New document based on this template. Otherwise, the changes that you make will only affect the current document.
  8. Click OK, and then click Close.

12/10/2015

Use Microsoft Word as a Barcode Generator

Re-posted from Online Tech Tips

A very comprehensive article about how to generate barcodes in Microsoft Word. The article also contains a considerable amount of info about barcodes in general and a free barcode generator.  

Link: http://www.online-tech-tips.com/computer-tips/free-barcode-generator/

Did you know that you can use Microsoft Word to create your own barcodes? Creating your own barcodes is actually kind of cool and pretty easy to do. Once you have a barcode, you can stick it onto anything you want and then scan them using a physical barcode scanner or with your smartphone by downloading an app.
There are several different types of barcodes and I’ll try to show you how to create as many of them as possible for free. In order to create certain types of barcodes, you need specialized commercial software, so I won’t mention those. The most common 1D barcodes are Code 39, Code 128, UPC-A, UPC-E, EAN-8, EAN-13, etc. 2D barcodes include DataMatrix, PDF 417 and QR codes.

More...

04/09/2015

Dual Monitors in Windows 7 - Quick Fix

I disconnected one of my monitors, don't ask why, when I reconnected it the display was not active. Could I remember how to get both monitors working? Anyway a quick google reminded me that all you have to do is press the Win and P keys to show the appropriate dialogue box. Select the "Extended" option and Bingo, two monitors working again.

For more information follow the link to the Microsoft Support page.




11/08/2015

Remove White Text Background in a Blogger Post

Re-blogged from Tech News

I have had the problem of text on a white background with a number of my blog posts particularly when cutting an pasting text from Word or other locations, which is a pain, as my background is black. Here is a solution...
Remove White text Background in Blogger Post

Sometimes when you compose a post and copy some material from other web sites or even from Office Word the white background is copied along with the text as background. Due to this the background of post appears white. So how to get rid of this annoying white background in blogger posts. But before i tell you the solution  to avoid such problems in future you can compose your text in Notebook and then copy it rather than using Office.Ok now to remove white background of already posted text follow these steps.

1.Go to edit your post
2.There you will find two options on upper left corner Compose and HTML
3.Click HTML
4. Now press control F and search for <span style="background-color: white;">
5.Delete style="background-color: white;"
6. So it turns to be <span>only and save

7. Also find style="background-color: white;
8. Delete the yellow highlighted portion that is background-color: white;
9. Now Save
10. Although it is a little bit time consuming as you will find a number of above mentioned two statements depending upon the length of your POST. However it is effective
Important
what if you have a lot of background-color: white;  statements in HTML
What you can do as a shortcut is to cut all the HTML code paste it in the word e.g MS word 2007.Now click the replace button on the right hand corner



A find and replace window will pop out
In Find what copy and paste background-color: white; 
and leave the Replace with blank and click replace all.This action will remove all the background-color: white;  statements from your HTML code.Now copy all the HTML code from MS word and paste it back in your blogger post in HTML.Now check your post in compose. Click update check your post now.all the white background must have disappeared.

09/08/2015

Windows 7 Fails to Start - Error Code: 0xc000000e

Screen Clip

I came home from a weekend away to discover that my PC had rebooted and the screen showed the above message, presumably after a Windows Update.  The options were to Escape or Continue.

I tried to Escape and ended back here. I inserted my Rescue Disc, which had worked on a similar occasion. The boot screen appeared but when I hit return I ended up back here. I tried the Windows 7 Disc with the same results.  I Googled the problem, most of the advice led me down the same road, with no resolution of the problem. I tried turning off and back on using the button of the front panel, sill no luck.

In desperation I turned off the computer using the On/Off switch on the power supply unit on the back of the computer. I left it for a bout 3 minutes and then turned it back on. Magic it Re-Booted and started normally.

Now't so weird as computers...

01/08/2015

Rapid Resizer Useful On-line Tools for Creating Stencils and Resizing Drawings

Learn How to Print Patterns Exactly to Any Size
http://online.rapidresizer.com/

Make printable alphabet, letter, and number stencils. Great for painting, quilting, wood working, stained glass patterns, and other arts & crafts. Or make a stencil from a picture.

Automatically trace photos and pictures into a stencil, pattern, line drawing, or sketch. Great for painting, wood working, stained glass, or other craft designs.

http://online.rapidresizer.com/make-name-patterns.php

http://online.rapidresizer.com/photograph-to-pattern.php



13/06/2015

How to Rotate a Video using VLC Media Player

This is a short tutorial on how to rotate and save a video using VLC Media Player Ver 2.1.2).
Check out this YouTube link

The full instructions can be found here: http://www.wintips.org/rotate-video-using-vlc-media-player-version-2-1-2/

VLC Version 2.1.2 official download links:


Source: http://www.wintips.org/

07/06/2015

Make a Lo-Cost Ozone Generator - UPDATED

I was looking for simple instructions for building an Ozone Generator for use as s de-odorizer and came across this Instructable from Big Clive. Check out the site there are loads of other interesting things to make.

Re-bloged with thanks from  http://www.bigclive.com/oz.htm

MAKE A $20 OZONE GENERATOR.

Need some cheap ozone? Here's an experimental ozone generator based on readily available parts that you can build cheaply to clean up the air in your surroundings or get rid of strong odours. I think the latter will appeal to the people who grow exotic herbs in their homes, or live in damp climates where mould is a problem.
This project generally works well, but it's output depends on the components used. It's also very much a bare-bones experimental device so you build it entirely at your own risk.



This project generates ozone using corona discharge. This involves generating a high voltage electrical discharge and then blowing air past it. As the air passes through the corona the oxygen molecules are temporarily separated into individual oxygen atoms and when clear of the corona they start to recombine back into oxygen (O2) and ozone (O3). Since ozone is unstable it will readily donate the extra atom of oxygen to anything that will take it, and this results in a strong oxidising effect which can destroy odours and kill airborne viruses and mould.
Ozone has a very short lifetime, typically reverting back to oxygen again within an hour.


The most efficient way of creating ozone is with corona discharge. To create a controlled corona discharge you place an insulator between two high voltage electrodes. Without the insulator the current will arc between the electrodes and generate some ozone but also produce a lot of heat. With the insulator in place the current can't arc directly across and instead a charge is transferred back and forth in the style of a capacitor with the charge manifesting itself as a purple corona discharge. This requires the use of AC and you can get more corona in a smaller area using high frequency AC


A very common method of producing corona in a very compact form is the use of a corona plate. This is a piece of thin ceramic or glass with an electrode on each side that mirrors the other side without any significant overlap. When a high voltage is applied across the electrodes a corona line forms at the points where the top and bottom electrodes would touch if the insulator was not in the way. This arrangement is extremely efficient since the insulator can be very thin and this allows use of a much lower voltage, typically one to two kilovolts per millimetre.
The insulating material must be able to stand up to the high voltage, corona discharge and ozone, so it is generally glass or ceramic with ceramic the most common choice. The electrodes must also be able to withstand the arduous corona and ozone environment and would ideally be stainless steel with aluminium also being fairly suitable.


This is an example of a typical manufactured corona plate. The bottom electrode is mirrored on the back so that there is minimal overlap, and the high voltage is connected to the plate by the same spring clips that hold it in place.


As you can see, the ceramic is very thin at less than a millimetre. One of the main benefits of ceramic plates is that they have a very high dielectric strength, which basically means they can handle a much higher voltage without arcing through.


This was the result of an experiment I did with a bit of very thin PCB laminate with copper electrodes etched on either side. It worked for several hours with the corona visibly destroying the resin that bonds the glass fibre together, until it suddenly arced through. When a plate fails the current will all tend to arc through in one small point and cause a lot of heat in that area.


In my search for suitably thin insulating material to make cheap corona plates from I completely failed to find thin ceramic sheet at anything near an affordable price. Instead I found that glass microscope slides are pretty good with a thickness of about 1mm. I also tried large slide covers that were a very fragile .2mm thick, but they were very hard to apply the electrodes to without breaking them, and also failed electrically at about 2kV.


There are a few electrode arrangements you can make that determine the number of corona lines and thus the corona output, although that will also be determined by the output current capability of your high voltage supply.
I've shown two electrode arrangements, with yellow tape representing the bottom electrode and blue representing the top one. I'll mention again that there should not be excessive overlap, since any overlap will just pass AC current like a capacitor without producing any corona.
In the above designs the two part version produces two lines of corona (one top and one bottom) while the three part electrode arrangement produces four lines of corona. Try the simple two electrode version first though, since it's much easier to make.


I used self adhesive aluminium foil for my prototype. I started by applying a piece over half the glass plate as shown above.


I then used a sharp knife to cut and peel the ends away from either side so that there was no risk of arcing around the side of the glass if the electrodes were too close to the edge.


Then I used the knife to trim away the excess foil by slicing it against the glass. (Quite a satisfying slicing action I should add.)




Then I put an identical electrode on the other side making sure to align the edges on either side accurately without too much overlap.


Aluminium is extremely hard to bond wires to, so I simply stripped some thin stranded wires and formed loops.


Then stuck them onto the electrodes with more aluminium tape. this should be fairly reliable, since the current is very low.


The easiest source of a modestly high voltage supply was from a cold cathode kit as sold for modding PC cases. I got mine from an online site called ebuyer in the UK, and it came with two rather neat 12" (300mm) blue cold cathode tubes.


Most of these 12V cold cathode supplies are very similar inside. They have a simple push-pull transformer driver with feedback windings, and a high voltage output that is usually divided into two outputs using high voltage series capacitors which also serve to limit the current through each tube.


I cut the two output capacitors off since they interfered with the operation.


And connected my home built corona plate directly across the output of the high voltage transformer.


When powered up, a thin line of purple corona should appear on both sides where the electrodes meet. If it's just a few patches of corona then you could try boosting the supply voltage up from 12V to 14V, although going higher may risk causing the high voltage transformer to fail internally. These little power supplies are not designed for open circuit operation like this, so don't push them too hard.
At this point you should be smelling ozone as a fresh smell a bit like chlorine bleach (also a strong oxidiser).


And here's the finished unit. It uses a standard 12V case fan to push air across the corona and mix the resulting ozone into the rooms air. The corona plate is attached to the fan with two bits of binding strip normally used to hold documents together. I put a blank glass plate in it to align the two bits, then glued them to the fan with resin. (Cheers to Adam Aglionby for the mounting suggestion.) A proper mounting clip would have been nice, particularly one that also made the connections onto the plate.
I powered the whole assembly from an ordinary linear plug-in power supply which was rated at 12V 500mA. I deliberately used an unregulated supply running at less than full load to try and nudge the output voltage up a bit for a better corona.
It works well and soon makes a strong smell of ozone permeate my large flat which means there's actually too much ozone being generated for an occupied area. The output can be tamed down if you reduce the voltage a bit. You should be able to guage ozone output by looking at the corona in a dark room. For low levels it may even just be a few small patches here and there on the plate.
Alternatively you can run the unit on a time switch to cycle it on and off at various points throughout the day.


I added a 100 ohm 1W resistor in series with the fan I used to make it run quieter at the expense of airflow. This is only needed if you want to use the assembly in a quiet area where the whoosh of the fan could cause annoyance.
Although this unit uses high voltage it is at low current and high frequency, so if you should make contact with the high voltage side it is not really dangerous. Do keep in mind that if anything goes wrong then the high voltage could arc and cause sustained smouldering of whatever failed. As such, make sure that the unit is not used near anything flammable.



WARNING: Ozone is toxic and some people are allergic to it. If you can smell Ozone the concentration is potentially toxic. Only use in a well ventilated area and only run for a short time. For permanent use consider using a timer. Do your research. Further info.

UPDATE
Provisionally I have purchase 2 Hug Flight Air Purifiers from Amazon - link





18/05/2015

Run Out of Space on your SSD - How to Up-size a Solid State Hard Drive

For months I have been receiving a warning of low disc space on my C Drive. The 120GB OCZ SSD (Solid State Drive) I installed a couple of years ago certainly improved the performance of my Desktop PC, but 120GB is not much space even when you only use it for the main OS and the other stuff that is best run from the Root.

The plan was to replace the existing OCZ Vertex 3 120GB SSD with an OCZ Vector 180GB SSD. I had tried cloning the disc while installed in the PC but I could not get the Free Acronis software supplied with the replacement SSD to install so I decided to use a Freecom Hard Drive Dock Duplicator...

The beauty of this piece of kit is, it does not have to be connected to a computer and you do not need any software to clone a disc. WARNING always backup your data before paying around with a HDD. See my comment at the end of this post.

Instructions


Carefully remove the drive you want to clone from your computer, beware of static, ground yourself before starting. Make sure the Duplicator is switched off.  Place your old SSD in the Duplicator slot marked Source and the New SSD in to the slot marked Target. Press the On/Off switch to turn the Duplicator On, then hold down the Dup/PC switch for 4 seconds, this should now be Red, press the Start button. The  tiny LED's along side each drive will flash and then turn Blue. The Progress Bar on the right below the Freecom badge will be Blue, these count down the progress of the data transfer, when the bar reaches 100% the transfer is complete. I waited for the Dup button to turn Blue as the Freecom imply that it will, but it doesn't. It took me a couple of hours to transfer 140GB. Turn the Duplicator Off and use the eject button to remove your New SSD.

Reinstall the New SSD in your computer, again beware of static. All being well your computer should reboot as normal only FASTER. Go into Start and type Partition in the search box.  One of the options to appear will be "Create and Format Hard Disc Partitions" Click this and the Disc Management Window will open. If the your original SSD was smaller than the New SSD  you will notice that only part of the new SSD is active. The disc has effectively been partitioned. Unbelievably the Windows Disc Manager will not allow you to enlarge the active partition to utilise all the disc space. The simple solution is to use a piece of Free software called AOMEI Partition Assistant Standard Edition. Follow the instructions on on how to resize a partition at SSDHDD.org. The general opinion is that this piece of software works without any risk of damaging the disc. Read the reviews here. I have to say it worked a treat.

Warning

My PC thinks it has had a heart transplant, the increase in performance is most welcome. Now for the heart stopper. For some strange reason I decided to put the OLD SSD back in the PC for starters. To my horror the PC would not Boot, there was an MBR problem, can't remember the exact error message. After fiddling around for a few moments I gave up and decided to put the NEW SSD in. Bingo, it booted up first go, and fast. Job done with only minimum heart failure. Still not sure what happened to the original HDD in the cloning process, but will try to find out and report back. Oh yes, shop around for your replacement SSD the prices seem to vary enormously even for the same item. The price of the OCZ Vector 180GB SSD varied from £52, what I paid for it, to £133!

16/03/2015

Nest Smart Thermostat Can Be Hacked to Spy on Owners

Credit: Paul Wagenseil/Tom's Guide

In view of my previous post this may be of interest. A report on the Toms Guide Blog reveals that Google's Nest "smart" thermostats may not be the most secure devices in the "Internet of Things," it can be hacked into, three researchers showed today (Aug. 7) at the BlackHat security conference in Las Vegas.

Read more...

15/03/2015

Nest v Hive v Tado: tech firms tussle over UK energy market

Nest v Hive v Tado: tech firms tussle over UK energy market

Original post see The Telegraph

 Young Britons can't bleed a radiator

Re-blogged from: The Telegraph

Heating has always been regarded as a dumb utility. Some people may have a thermostat in their home, but after programming the thermostat when they first move into their house, most people promptly forget about it and never touch it again.

Over the past few years, however, the price of electricity and gas in the UK has skyrocketed, rising by more than a third since October 2010. Many consumers are now taking a fresh look at their energy consumption, exploring new ways to save money.

Around 60 per cent of the energy consumed in the home is for central heating, which has traditionally been controlled by unintelligent technology. However, a new wave of smart energy management systems is starting to transform the market.

more...

British Gas' HiveGoogle's Nest LabsPassivSystemstado°Honeywell Evohome

18/02/2015

Operate the Raspberry Pi B+ or 2 using Remote Desktop

This article is for those interested in using the Pi for .NET development but there is useful information about how to use tour Pi remotely using Remote Desktop or via alternative options. I reblog the article here with due respect for the authors, Jen Teilans, copyright....

Getting started with the Raspberry Pi 2, for .NET developers

So you got your shiny new Raspberry Pi 2 (or the slightly older, original Raspberry Pi), and you want to do something with it as a .NET developer. Of course you’ve read the news yesterday that Windows 10 will run on the Raspberry Pi 2, but today it’s not yet available. However, even today it is possible to leverage your .NET super powers and write some code that runs on the Pi. In this short walkthrough I’ll show you how to get started.
Things you will need:
  • 1 Raspberry Pi or a Raspberry Pi 2 (obviously)
  • 1 4GB or bigger SD card (for the Pi) or MicroSD card (for the Pi 2), this will be the Pi’s “hard disk drive”
  • 1 UTP cable to connect the Pi to your router/hub/switch (so it can connect to the internet)
  • 1 Windows laptop/desktop/hybrid/tablet (of course not necessary to use the Pi, but I’ll use the Windows machine in my guide to write the SD card)
  • Optionally: USB mouse and keyboard, HDMI screen. As mentioned, this is optional since you can also run your Pi headless (without monitor attached). In that you’ll connect to it via remote prompt (SSH) and/or remote desktop (RDP, VNC …). In this guide I’ll show you both options.

Step 1: download and write the Raspbian Linux image

Since Windows 10 is not yet available for the Pi, we’ll use the typical Raspbian Linux operating system, which is based on the Debian Wheezy distro. Go to http://www.raspberrypi.org/downloads/ and download the latest zipped Raspbian image. When done, extract the ZIP file, which should contain 1 .IMG file.
Now we need to write the .IMG file to the SD card. The easiest way to do this on a Windows machine is by downloading and installing the free Win32 Disk Imager tool. When you run it, select the extracted .IMG file, select the drive which corresponds with your SD card reader and click Write. The writing of the image file will take a couple of minutes, so it’s a great time to get a coffee.
step1_win32diskimager

Step 2: Boot the Pi for the first time

When the image is written, insert it to your Raspberry Pi and plug in the UTP cable. If you’ll be using a mouse, keyboard and HDMI screen (instead of the headless setup): plug in those things as well.  Check the Raspberry Pi site to see where can find all the connections on your board. Finally give the Pi some power via the Micro USB cable. After a minute or 2 the Pi will be booted. If you have connected a screen, you’ll be able to see the progress. When you are running it headless, the waiting is less exciting and always feels a lot longer. :-)

Step 3: (optional) Connect to your Pi remotely

If you have connected a mouse, keyboard and screen you can skip this step. To be able to connect to your Pi remotely, first we’ll need to figure if it’s successfully booted and connected to your network. By default your Pi will have the hostname raspberrypi, so on your Windows machine open a command prompt and type ping raspberrypi. If everything is ok, you should see the Pi replying (and you’ll know its IP address). If the hostname doesn’t work, you can also check your router’s Local Network client list to find the IP address.
step2_ping
On your Windows machine, well need to install an SSH client. I’m a big fan of the free Bitvise SSH Client, but there are other clients as well, like Putty for example. Once your SSH client of choice is installed, make it connect toraspberrypi (or the IP address) on port 22 with username pi and default password raspberry.
step3_sshclient
When successfully connected, automatically an SSH remote command prompt will open and you can move to the next step.

Step 4: Configure & update your Raspberry Pi

The first command we’ll execute, either using the attached keyboard/screen or the remote SSH prompt) is sudo raspi-config which will configure Pi. (FYI: sudo is the command to run an application with elevated privileges.)
step3_config
When the config tool has started, select 1 Expand Filesystem and hit enter. This will make sure the entire size of your SD card will be used. It’s not necessary to reboot when prompted. Secondly it’s probably wise to change the pi user’s password using option 2 in the config menu. Next, move to the fourth config optionInternationalization Options, to change your locale, timezone and keyboard layout (unless you are ok with the defaults). Finally you can choose Finish to close the config tool (you can always run it again). When prompted choose Yes to reboot the Pi.
Once the Pi is rebooted, connect to the command line again (either via SSH or locally). We need to make sure our Pi is running the latest and greatest packages, so execute the following commands:
  • sudo apt-get update (to make sure your source list is up-to-date)
  • sudo apt-get upgrade (to upgrades all installed packages)
This is quite important since if you source list of packages is not up to date, the apt-get install command could fetch older versions of the packages you going to install in the next steps!

Step 5: (optional) Enable Remote Desktop connections and/or VNC

When you are running headless, it’s very interesting to be able to connect to the GUI via the Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP). When you are using a connected screen, you’ll be able to see the GUI on the screen of course, but you can still enable RDP. So in the remote SSH command prompt, or in the local prompt via the keyboard/screen, type sudo apt-get install xrdp. When prompted hit enter or Y to confirm the installation of the XRDP package.
Additionally we need to do the same for the XTERM package, so type sudo apt-get install xterm and confirm again. Now we are ready to connect to the Pi using RDP: on your Windows machine you can open the Remote Desktop Connection application and tell it to connect to raspberrypi (or its IP address). When prompted enter the pi username and your chosen password. If everything goes ok, you should be able to see the Raspbian desktop.
step5_client
Instead of RDP, it’s also possible to use VNC to connect to the GUI remotely (and in some scenarios I actually prefer this since VNC leaves your session open when you disconnect the client, so you can easily connect to it again). To install a VNC server (optional for this guide) type sudo apt-get install tightvncserver. When this is done, you need to start the VNC server by typing vncserver (the first time you run it, it’s going to ask you to choose a password). On your Windows machine you can download the VNC Viewer (or another VNC client) to connect. By default, the tightvncserver will be running desktop 1 on port 5901, so from the VNC client connect toraspberrypi:5901.

Step 6: Install Mono and MonoDevelop

If you want to run .NET code on the Linux OS, we need to install the excellent open source Mono .NET Framework. To make sure you will get the latest version of Mono, we need to add additional package repositories. First add the Mono Project GPG signing key by typing in the (remote or local) command prompt  sudo apt-key adv –keyserver keyserver.ubuntu.com –recv-keys 3FA7E0328081BFF6A14DA29AA6A19B38D3D831EF. Then typeecho “deb http://download.mono-project.com/repo/debian wheezy main” | sudo tee /etc/apt/sources.list.d/mono-xamarin.list for the first repository. Now enter echo “deb http://download.mono-project.com/repo/debian wheezy-apache24-compat main” | sudo tee -a /etc/apt/sources.list.d/mono-xamarin.list for the second repository.
Cool, now we are finally ready to install Mono: enter sudo apt-get install mono-complete. When prompted hitenter or Y to confirm the installation of the complete Mono framework. Give it some time to complete, it takes like 5 minutes.
Of course you can use your trusted Visual Studio to write .NET code for the Pi, but there is also an open source IDE from the Mono project: MonoDevelop. Let’s install this one as well, just because it’s fun. :-) In the prompt typesudo apt-get install monodevelop. Again when prompted hit enter or Y and wait for the install to complete.

Step 7: Use MonoDevelop to write some C#

Now let’s use the MonoDevelop IDE to write the traditional Hello World console application. If you’ve done step 5, you can connect via RDP to the Raspbian GUI. If you are using a connected screen, type startx in the command prompt to start the GUI. In the Start menu, you can find the MonoDevelop IDE in the Programming category.
step7_start
Once started, you can choose FileNewSolution to create a new Console Project (don’t forget to give it a name). The template already gives us the Console.WriteLine, so you can just hit F5 to start a debug session and see the output. Pretty cool isn’t it?
step7_hello

Step 8: (optional) Use Visual Studio to write code

If you want to write a bit more code, you probably want to use the goodness of Visual Studio, instead of the limited (but nice!) MonoDevelop IDE. It’s actually very easy: on your Windows machine fire up Visual Studio! Remember Microsoft recently made Visual Studio Community edition available for free, individual developers, small organisations, students … so there is no reason to not use it!
Create a new Console Application (targeting .NET 4.5.1), write the code and build the project. Now we just need to copy the compiled .EXE of the Console Application to the Raspberry Pi. Using the Bitvise SSH Client, this is pretty easy since it contains an SFTP client as well. From the Bitvise SSH Client main window, click on the New SFTP window button which will then show you at the left side your local Windows file system and on the right side the Raspbian file system. Copy the .EXE file for example to the Raspbian Desktop folder.
step8_sftp
Once copied, go back to the GUI session (either locally or via RDP) and double click on the copied .EXE, which should show your code in action.
step8_hello
If you prefer to run the Console Application in the command prompt, navigate to the location of the .EXE file and type mono NameOfYour.exe.

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