Exploring the depths of my laziness, through Home Automation

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I’m starting a blog series here, about my Home Automation journey.

I want to talk about some of the developments I’ve had, things I’ve learned, and share the fruits of my efforts (large and small) with anybody who might care to peruse them.

So this is a part summary, part rambling about my home automation journey (so far), with links to my actual GitHub code and how I set this thing up. Questions are welcome.

So… where do I begin..?

Read the rest of this entry »

2014 System Upgrades begin!

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CPUQX6850CaptureIts 2014, and that means I’ve begun the long overdue process of upgrading my gaming PC.

First I’ll review the current setup, before looking at recent developments and future purchases. Things have been quite busy in the last few weeks. Read the rest of this entry »

Building a Media Center – Rebuilt using Windows 8

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Its been a while since I wrote an article about Media Centers, and in truth, its kind of overdue.
My current ‘primary’ Media Center at home is showing its age, as is my server and workstation. Recently I find myself thinking more and more about successors to these venerable systems that have served me so well over the years…

My server and workstation will have to wait for another day as they have always been more closely related so the focus today is on my primary Media Center which lives in the living room attached to the TV. So with that in mind, I rebuilt it last weekend. I thought I’d document some of my experiences.

At the most basic level, and as far as I can see, my choice was either to 1) Continue and see if I can further its life a little more by (Within reason) upgrading or reinstalling the hardware/software or 2) Cut my losses and shed out to build a new and better system. I chose the former as I think the old dog still has a bit of fight in it yet.

So here is what I did. Read the rest of this entry »

Purchased an Airbrush – Happy times ahead

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As the title suggests, I have purchased an airbrush and compressor set.

I’ll go through what I’ve purchased, but first I want to go through my reasons for purchasing this.

My Reasons

There are a couple of reasons why I wanted an airbrush for miniature painting, and it is my belief that this is a great investment.

Firstly, I absolutely despise basecoating models using cans outside.
Where I live I dont have a whole lot of outside room and it gets quite windy regularly and unexpectedly, so its a test of my patience to shield from the wing and spray when I think its safe. It also feels like a chore to get a cardboard box ready and prepare it outside, and takes a while to dry and is quite bad smelling.

Next, I’ve tried to make the experience of spraying better by using different brands of spray paint, from GW’s benchmark spray to Army Painter which is very unpredictable and a few others. I feel that I’ve wasted a lot of money doing this as some of the models and finishes have left me very dissapointed in how heavy they go on, messing up all the detail on the models. I’ve spent hours upon hors looking at forums and guides on how to spray correctly and avoid the issues encountered, but I see that so many others have had similar experiences that its disheartened me.

Lastly, I want to achieve a better finish and do it quickly. This is the main reason that I went with sprays to begin with, and why I eventually went to using sprays of varying color. I’d like to establish good even and thin coats quickly and in comfort. Sprays did not deliver this, and cost a lot as a result.

So in conclusion, I’m happy that I purchased this, and feel that I’ll be learning a cool new skill by using an airbrush also.

What I bought
I did lots of research and decided to purchase from this seller:

It was a bit more expensive than other sellers but I discovered its from a real proper Airbrush specialist with a website store called Airbrush Supply Online, so I also ordered a bunch of other things from the same seller which reduced my postage (Shipping to Netherlands). I had a good think and when reading advice from professionals, it was advised that if you’re seriously considering getting into airbrushing, even on a budget, consider seriously that you may need to buy more than just the compressor and airbrush, such as cleaner and thinner (If you don’t want to use water). I purchased these things at once too.

I also emailed them for more details about the Amazon link above, because it was vague as to what was being supplied, and these are the models of compressor and airbrushes that come in the link above. They also responded promptly and with accurate information.

Compressor: AS-186

Airbrush 1: HS-35 (Gravity feed)

Airbrush 2: HS-28 (Bottom feed)

Lastly, I decided I wanted something extra fine as an airbrush once my skills develop a little.
From the same seller I purchased the HS-80 airbrush, which is apparently a straight clone of a £300+ Iwata:

So all in, this kit will set me back ~£120 not including extras I ordered.

Lastly, look what arrived today:


Now if I can actually get some time to get home and try this I’ll be happy.

Hopefully, more to come.

Finally built my display cabinet

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I’ve been working on this for a while, but I finally finished it over the weekend.

Back in late 2011, I saw this forum thread on DakkaDakka called ‘AesSedai’s guide to building a custom glass display case for your figures’ (Which became an article) which detailed his efforts to use a generic Ikea ‘DETOLF’ glass cabinet as a display case for his models.

To say the least, I was smitten immediately and have always gone back every once in a while to see if any updated or others have posted pictures of their own cases. THere have not been that many responses, but I always wanted to do this myself.

So, onto this year, with the extra space I now have since moving, an Ikea nearby and a girlfriend who is always willing to go to Ikea, I decided that now was the time to begin this project.

As it is, it turned out to be simpler than I initially intended it to be.

I purchased the first DETOLF unit and set it up a few weeks ago, but wanted to add more shelves like to article, so following his instructions, purchased some rope clips from Ebay and installed them in the unit, using the existing shelves to measure fit.

Originally, I also intended to purchase only the unit itself and then buy extra glass like the article writer. This proved to be ridiculously expensive, in the region of 70+ euros for 4 pieces of cut safety glass.
When considering that a complete DETOLF unit with 3 glass shelves included is 50 euros (Not including delivery), I decided to simply buy another DETOLF, and carry the thing home rather than pay a further 40 euros to deliver a 50 euro product.

Beware, if you want to do this, this thing is heavy.

I only really needed it for the shelves, and I got 3 rather than 4, but I may see if I can sell off the rest of the unit as I don’t have much use for it now without the shelves.