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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0Localisation of Amazon Affiliates links

I occa­sion­ally ref­er­ence products on my vari­ous web­sites, and usu­ally link them to Amazon for any­one inter­ested in buy­ing them. A long time ago I used to link with an amazon affil­i­ates link but nev­er earned any­thing from it as my typ­ic­al read­er­ship is well dis­trib­uted around the world. Unfor­tu­nately Amazon don’t provide a way to redir­ect vis­it­ors to their loc­al amazon site whilst retain­ing to affil­i­ates pay­ments. There are vari­ous solu­tions out there but all the ones I found had issues with them, so I developed my own.… Read Full Art­icle

0Tips for new Kodi users

I’ve recently star­ted the migra­tion from 7MC to Kodi now that Media Cen­ter is no longer sup­por­ted, and con­sequently many plu­gins for it are no longer being act­ively developed.

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