0Fixing a slow Amazon Fire HD 8

A couple of xmases ago I bought my bet­ter half an Amazon Fire HD 8 tab­let as she wanted a budget tab­let to read books on at night, and to play free android games like clash of clans. The Fire seemed an ideal option as it would link into her Kindle account without any hassle, and is also android based. It was also pos­sible to get a good sized device with­in the price lim­it we set each oth­er.
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0BT Mesh WiFi

After repla­cing my BT SmartHub with a pfsense router, I’ve been look­ing to upgrade the house WiFi as well. Most devices are wired as most rooms have wired con­nec­tions I fit­ted for my par­ents years ago when wire­less was barely a real­ity. How­ever phones, tab­lets, e-read­ers, and laptops really do work best with wire­less (or only with wire­less in some cases), and to work well need a wire­less sys­tem that enables mobil­ity.
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0Replacing the BT Infinity SmartHub with pfsense

When I moved into a new home a year ago I was finally able to join the 21st cen­tury and ordered BT Infin­ity which is sup­plied with a SmartHub. The SmartHub is actu­ally reas­on­ably decent kit con­sid­er­ing it comes for free, but as with most ISP sup­plied devices it is locked down in some ways, for example you can’t use your own DNS serv­ers which I prefer to do. In the early days of ADSL (circa 2001) I ran a smooth­wall box in place of a router, and for a range of reas­ons (includ­ing inter­net fil­ter­ing con­trolled by me, rather than an ISP) I decided to go back to a linux-based fire­wall router.
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0Kodi keymap for miniguide on arrow keys in livetv

What a hor­rible title that is, but I didn’t know how else to describe this. Since switch­ing from Media Cen­ter to Kodi I’ve mostly been very pleased, but a few small niggles have remained where for some reas­on Kodi just doesn’t default to “nice” beha­viour in the same way that Media Cen­ter did. I long ago man­aged to get the “Live TV” link from the main menu to point to the guide view instead of a chan­nel list, but once a chan­nel is being dis­played I couldn’t find a neat way to describe a mini-guide like Media Cen­ter would do.
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0True home cinema for a grand

I’ve long had a “home cinema” setup with a fairly budget HTPC, a 50″ plasma TV, and a 4.1 sur­round sys­tem, but when I moved house a year ago I found I no longer had a place in the main fam­ily room to fit the 50″ TV, so had to revert back to the old Sam­sung 32″ 720p CRT that I bought in around 2006. The room has a large bay win­dow with a little recess per­fect for fit­ting a screen, so a plan was born for true home cinema
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0WordPress Local Gravatar cache

I like to have avatars shown for people who com­ment on my blog. Word­Press sup­ports the gravatar ser­vice nat­ively so enabling this is very easy. How­ever it comes with a cost — access­ing extern­al files from anoth­er domain adds lots of extra load time in the form of new DNS look­ups, new SSL con­nec­tions to make, etc. Wouldn’t it be nice to have gravatars stored loc­ally and served from your own serv­er. Well that’s what I’ve been doing for some time now, if you’d like to know how, read on…
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0VPS Tweaks to improve web performance

Whilst I haven’t writ­ten many new art­icles recently I have spent con­sid­er­able time updat­ing and revis­ing the behind-the-scenes side of things, namely vari­ous secur­ity (TLS) set­tings on my VPS that hosts sev­er­al sites includ­ing this one.  Anoth­er thing I have also worked to enhance recently is to improve my use of gzip, and a new format called brotli

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0Google Photo Sync limits

Google have released a new tool to replace drive sync and pho­tos backup.  The new app, called Backup and Sync provides the func­tion­al­ity of both in a single app.  It is also claimed that it will sync folders as albums for pho­tos, some­thing the pre­vi­ous backup app did not do.  A couple of lim­its remain how­ever.

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