Home automation with Apple Homekit, awesome or just another platform ?

Hello everyone, it’s been a while (understatement of the century), and this time I’m back with a post about home automation and Homekit. Ever since the launch of homekit I have been curious about this and when I bought my home I decided to go down this path. And of course being a techie this is all of great interest to me, so I hope it interests you too. This is just a post about what I got to implement and how my experience was, more detailed posts about the products will come soon I promise

What I ended up implementing

These are all great products and they would all deserve a post each but for now I am just going to talk about my overall experience with homekit and these devices.

Homekit hubs

Since we have several Apple devices at my place we are using a different number of hubs, Apple TV 4K, Homepod (1st gen) and Homepod Mini. They all take turns as active/standby devices and so far they have worked quite well, at the moment and since iOS 16.3 the Homepod mini even works as a temperature/humidity sensor which is great. My advice to anyone out there would be try to buy smart devices that don’t lock you down to a single ecosystems (be it Apple, Google or Amazon) , and with the introduction of protocols like Matter this shouldn’t be a problem anymore, or actually it shouldn’t matter which ecosystem you use, (pun intended) .

Ikea Dirigera hub

This is not really 100% required to use Ikea smart home products, however it becomes a necessity once you want to do anything beyond the very basic stuff. The integration with homekit is very good in terms of functionality and the process of pairing the different devices has come a long way since the early days of Ikea smart home, and now works flawlessly. Automations are easy to set up and seem to be very stable.

Ikea Fyrtur smart blinds

This product has really impressed me, and I have to say that Ikea’s idea here has been quite good, they produced a inexpensive product, that works consistently and does what’s intended to do. The battery life on these things has been impressive, at the time of writing this post, they have been working for almost 3 months and most of them are still at around 80% battery. This is really good in my opinion, and the fact that Ikea also sells replacement batteries also makes me think these were a good investment. One small criticism of this product is that, they are a bit noisy … it won’t wake up your neighbours but I feel they could be a bit quieter.

Airversa smart air purifier

This is one of my favourite products, quiet and easy to use, the Airversa smart air purifier has been a workhorse around our house. With a silent but efficient fan it has made our home a better place to live and breathe. The filters are quite cheap and they last a long time, this helpful friend will only make you aware of it’s presence when it has hard work to do, but even when that happens it quickly goes back to being as silent as usual. And with a cat around the house this really is a must for us.

Tado wired smart thermostat

This is one of the toys I am most enthusiastic about at the moment. Having just installed it yesterday, the Tado thermostat is already working hard saving me money on my heating bills (and we all know how much that is needed right now) and with time, the other products from Tado which I plan on acquiring will become some of the most useful pieces of home tech I think I will ever own. Geofencing is amazing (detects when nobody is home and shuts down your boiler) and the simple and intuitive user interface works like a charm. I think even my 6yo son could operate this. Installing was as easy as connecting two wires, and I plan on writing another post soon about the other products on the Tado catalog I plan on acquiring. One thing I really like is that you don’t really need to have an account with them, and you can run your smart heating from your home app in case you are an Apple user, and I’m sure it works in a similar way with other smart home platforms.


So far my adventures with Homekit, have been quite positive. The workflow for adding new devices has been easy with not much faffing around to get things to work. Automations seem to be good too, even if they are a bit simple. I for one would like to see “conditionals” implemented, for example it would be good to be able to write an automation like “At this time of day, if temperature outside is lower than X, then do Y” but I guess the current form also works I just wish we could have more control.

Anyway I hope you enjoyed this post, and please come back soon for more posts about this Smart Home stuff, I promise I won’t be gone for long.

Ouya … the little console that was

According to popular website phoronix Ouya Software has been acquired by Razer, news that is actually confirmed on their website http://www.razerzone.com/press/detail/press-releases/razer-acquires-ouya-software-assets . This is good news for the people working for Ouya  their game developers , and Ouya as a company , if this is good news for the users I am still to find out as a proud Ouya owner.

To quote Razer’s website

“In the near future, Razer will be providing existing OUYA users with a clear path of migration to the more advanced Forge TV micro-console and Serval controller bundle. Razer’s intention is to allow OUYA users to bring their games, controllers, and accounts to the Cortex TV platform on the Forge micro-console, advancing the experience of Android gaming on TV that they have previously enjoyed. Additionally, Razer is planning deep product discounts for incoming OUYA users to purchase Razer hardware, and a spate of freebies, giveaways, and promotions to enjoy on their new Forge consoles.  – See more at: http://www.razerzone.com/press/detail/press-releases/razer-acquires-ouya-software-assets#sthash.BQND5Iwu.dpuf”

I am not sure at this point what this means and I anxiously wait to hear from them 🙂


Ouya – Geek gaming for the masses

For a while now I wanted to blog about Ouya , the android based games console that is in my opinion one of the best Android related projects on the internet .

So first of all I would like to clarify that this console is in no position to compete with the traditional names (X-box,wii,Playstation, etc )  as the target audience is difference and so far the number of Famous Titles is very small (if there are any even) this is more aimed at “Retro” players or people that play android games.

One of the best apps available  is actually XBMC , so it can be used as a low power , high value Media Center. The reason why I say “high value” is that for the price this little baby goes a long way … it costs 99$ (or euros or pounds or whatever) .

To be honest I would be willing to pay that just for the Media Center features, not even mentioning the gaming part .

The hardware itself is very nice, the small box is actually very powerful and quiet , it has a fan but you almost never hear it.

The control is quite ergonomic and responsive and the batteries last quite some time, one of the features I would like to see included in the future is a cradle that you can put your remote in to charge the batteries . As for the software itself , ouya features a customized version of Android, and it looks amazing


One of the best things about this little console is that all games must have a “Free to play” version, of course you can unlock the full game but if you just want to try it there is no reason why you shouldn’t be able to download the game and play it.

The ecosystem still has a long way to go , and for example at this moment I would like to buy an extra controller for my Ouya and in the online store the only option there is , is to buy a refurbished controller, which is … not ideal.

As for the tech specs go the SOC inside is quite good but it could use an update to a more beefy platform.  I think that as long as they can grow their ecosystem people will gladly pay for this sort of thing but we need to have the games to go with it. I wish there would be more “Famous” names available for this console so it could actually grow and gain market .

So I would say it’s an awesome buy but at this point it only applies if you are a casual gamer and/or need a Media Center.

At the time I am writing this article there are around 1112 games available in  https://www.ouya.tv/games/ .

This one is my favorite so far


Happy Gaming yall !!!!!

Dell Latitude E7440 Review

So , the company I work for has assigned me a laptop. The Dell Latitude E7440 which I am reviewing now. One of the requisites for me is that the device is fully compatible with any Linux OS , and this one is. I have loaded it with Fedora 21 and so far it has served me well . Although there are a few issues that have more to do with the laptop itself then the linux distro of choice.

One of the things that sort of disappointed me initially was the keyboard , it bends down when you press the keys in the middle (near the g and h keys) and the whole feel to it is not very nice overall . However the whole laptop is nice, the cpu is more than capable (I7 vpro) capable of good performance even when running a few vms  (which I do ) the model I got has 8GB of ram and a 128G Samsung PM851 SSD , fast and energy efficient as expected.

The camera is very good and the laptop is a very good buy apart from the keyboard issue I have already mentioned.

The Intel® Integrated HD Graphics 4400 works perfectly with Linux and the current version of Gnome (3.14.4) runs very well indeed.

I am still benchmarking the battery life , as I tend to use the device more attached to the docking station (did I mention it has a docking station)  .

More on this matter soon.

To wrap up , the device is a good buy if you are looking for a good Linux laptop, however the keyboard is not very good and Dell should improve this design failure.

You can check the full specs at Dell’s website here



The small server that could

Hello again Internet

While searching for a small format server for my lab at home , I found the following device from SuperMicro that has just blown my mind. This little server sports a Intel® Xeon® processor D-1540 , can take up to Up to 128GB ECC RDIMM DDR4 2133MHz or 64GB ECC/non-ECC   UDIMM in 4 sockets , the feature list is very nice for a low budget server and has even ipmi as an extra.

One of my favourite features is the fact that it contains 2x 2.5″ fixed drive bays and 4x 3.5″ Hot-swap drive bays, this allow me to have the OS on the internal drive bays and data in the hot swap drives , which is exactly what I wanted 😀 .

This got my interest as a home server and despite the fact that supermicro has not yet launched the device I am anxiously waiting for it to be available .

The complete feature set is available here .

For now all I can do is to talk about it, as soon as I get my hands on this bad boy I will be posting a full review .


Until then