The "New Toys" Thread

Roku Ultra LT.
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I've been suffering through not only the intentional aspects of a 3rd Gen Amazon Fire TV Stick (released on 2020). Not only is the interface trash, but its performance was even worse. I got it for "free" on FB Marketplace (OK, I had to trade a 6-pack of shitty beer that was hanging out in my fridge we weren't going to drink anyway) so I've been dealing with it because of the great value, and it technically worked.

I picked the Roku up on a sale, but paid more than I should have because I waited an hour to order it, and I didn't realize that it was on just a 1-week sale that ended at 11PM in my time zone. Still on sale, but not as on sale.

But...all of the annoyance at the pricing melted away once I got to experience just how snappy this thing is. Should have replaced that Fire Stock long ago.
 
I don’t sit at the desk at home much these days since I get enough of that at work. I was dumb and brought in my MX Master 3 from home. Turns out it was better than the shitty office mouse I had. Who knew.

So I had to snag a MX Master 3S at about half off the other day. Feels about the same but with quieter clicks.

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Oh, and the mac version comes with a C to C charging cable but lacks the unified receiver. The PC version comes with a SCARTA to C cable but includes the receiver. Pick your poison, the mice are otherwise identical.

I went with the PC version because I have terrible experience with the bluetooth in the 3, which is the Mac edition. Had to buy the dongle separate back in the day to make the damn thing work.

Currently fighting the urge to get the MX Keys keyboard.
 
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Got me a thing for bedside charging. It was cheap, 25€ complete with a 15W power brick, and so far has exceeded expectations for being from a noname Amazon brand ("Innisto"). MagSafe for both the phone and watch works nicely, it's not fast but doesn't need to be - but it doesn't heat the phone up nearly as much as "normal" wireless charging, which is neat. The Airpods Lightning plug is handy, since I still run with 2nd-gen Airpods with the basic case, no wireless charging there - and that's fine imho, they can sit on that plug until needed, and can't get lost. The thing itself is solidly built, has anti-slide feet underneath, and overall does exactly what I wanted.

Only downsides are the somewhat short USB-A-to-C cable included in the bundle, and the bright-ass LED around the leg base. The LED turns off after 15 seconds though, so it's not too bad - but for that time, especially in a dark bedroom, it's hella bright, really unneccesary.
 
Bright lights like that are why I keep a little roll of black masking tape handy.

If you're feeling fancy you could get some LightDims smoked self adhesive plastic. If you're feeling trashy you could colour it in with a Sharpie. :p
 
I've taken my first step onto the potentially slippery slope of buying SmallRig products, with a little swivel adapter thingy that was in the Amazon Black Friday sales.

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This is specifically designed for on-camera monitors, so has a cold shoe but also a 1/4" female thread at the bottom. I have my Atomos Ninja mounted on an arm here and I used to have one of these cheap crappy generic ball mounts.
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Impossible to tighten up so it doesn't move but then really difficult to loosen off when you want to move it.

The SmallRig mount has swivel and tilt, but the movement is smooth and controllable. You can set the tension with the lever shown and the hex screw inside and it just stays at that tension, letting you smoothly adjust the position but not making it so slack that it flops around. It also has the spring-loaded pin to keep the monitor on the top locked in position.

I get the feeling that I might be buying more of their gear if it's this well made...
 
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Got me a thing for bedside charging.

I have a similar cheap one. No issues, works great.

What I do have issues with is the fact that the always-on iPhone 15 screen suddenly isn’t always-on anymore when it’s on the charger and is supposed to be your bedstand clock. The :censored:ing thing turns itself off.

The Standby mode has a bunch of settings that are difficult to access, it needs to be done by making the standby mode come on and then swiping back and forth in the standby GUI itself. There is no way to turn off the stuff I don’t want and just make it be a clock. Oh, and it randomly turns the screen off, too.

I bought a HomePod Mini today. Sounds great considering it’s the size of a tennis ball.

What‘s a bit hilarious and sad is that the HomePod Mini’s power brick is a normal 20W Apple charger, and it comes in the box. The retail price of the charger is about €30 which is about a third of what an entire HomePod Mini costs at €99. A smart device full of speakers, microphones, sensors, wireless stuff and an oled touch screen.

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Since we got a new garage door and the wall switch (which runs off a pair of AAAs) they delivered with it is fuck ugly, I decided to browse around and found that there’s a plug and play homematic module that only costs 50€, lets me control the thing from existing hm switches I have (or from my phone), runs completely locally and integrates well with home assistant (no idea what use that’ll be yet). Win win win. Plugged it into the motor (mini USB lol wtf), power cycled the thing, registered in my homematic hub - done. Completely foolproof and painless. Impressed.*
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* especially since homematic stuff usually tends to be a bit fiddly…
 
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I've been eclusively using Spigen cases since iPhone 4, except for one time when I bought a knock-off for a Note 5 and had to replace it way way sooner.
 
I still simp for the otterbox defender. If mostly because there's a certain freedom in knowing you can be completely absent minded about how you treat your inordinately expensive glass brick. Also using it as a fidget throw toy. The bulk has also been greatly reduced since I switched to a 12 mini.

Which reminds me, I got a 12 mini.
 
Which reminds me, I got a Pixel 8 pro.
 
Ah yes, I got my wife a fancy hairdryer (yes, that one) for her birthday cause she’d never get it for herself and her old pos is honestly probably a solid fire hazard by now 😐
 
Since my homekit-only driveway camera is acting up (constant disconnects, super long loading times for clips and the live view) and since I want a second camera for the front of the house anyway, I've decided to ditch the fucker and ordered a pair of cheap but cheerful reolink PoE dome cams, a fitting PoE switch (I also sort of want to switch to a unifi network once the bloody fibre connection is installed, so that should fit nicely) and a Google Coral accelerator thing so I can have proper detection going on without melting the Rpi4 that's supposed to run the whole thing in the process...
I'll have to look for an alternative light for the driveway, as well, since the camera there doubles as the floodlight. Which also reacts super slowly at times. Ugh. May just put a 5m outdoor light strip underneath the little overhang at the side of the house. Oh yes... I also ordered a bunch of ESP32s with a few temperature and humidity sensors, so I may as well use one of those with WLED, triggered off of the camera, I guess.
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edit: YES GOT THE LED STRIP AS WELL. regular old thing, because I don't want any colors and they're just much cheaper, especially in IPwhatever. I'll just have them run off one of the bazillion zigbee switches I still have somewhere (I'll just have to find them) or just bundle it into the one running our main door stair lights.
 
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I might've accidentally bought a used M1 MacBook Air. Space Grey, CTO, base specs except for the 16GB RAM upgrade. For €550 I couldn't pass the opportunity, it looks brand new except for one minor scratch, and the battery's at 93% health. Okay, the keyboard is English International, too, but I don't mind that, as long as I have an ISO return key. (It's a return key on Macs, not enter key, right?)

MacOS will probably take a bit of getting used to, but as I've used Macs on uni, and have some experience with them, I guess it won't be much of a problem.

The first thing I notice is how well built it is. Going from my old Dell Inspiron craptop to the XPS 13 that I'm planning to sell felt like a huge leap forwards, this feels even more so. I guess the fact it's completely silent will take some getting used to, as well. I am a fan of no fan for sure.
 
That seems like an amazing deal. I’ve only once had a (work issued) MacBook and it was by far the most durable and best laptop I have ever used. Now back to HP sadly, and despite similar prices, the difference in quality is very palpable
 
I'd say it was a pretty good deal, these CTO configurations often go for almost double what I've paid on eBay.

That being said, I now have a MacBook, an iPhone, an iPad, an Apple Watch and AirPods. I basically have the full ecosystem.

Oh, and the work-issued laptop I have is also HP, a bit older model I guess, considering it's running a Core i5-8265U CPU. One of the F-row keys will come off if you press it by the edge, and even though the Elitebook series of HP laptops is supposed to be well-built, it just doesn't feel so compared to the MacBook.
 
I've had the plan to replace the 2-bay Qnap NAS and my HomeAssistant-and-other-stuff-serving Raspberry Pi 4 for a while now, and finally decided to act on it. After some research, here's what I came up with for the new NAS-and-homeserver-build of 2024:

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- Jonsbo N2 ITX case
- Asus Prime N100I-D D4 mainboard with the Intel N100 CPU and passive cooling
- 16GB DDR4 RAM
- M.2 to 6x SATA adapter
- beQuiet! SFX Power 3 300W PSU *
- Noctua NF-A12x25 LS-PWM fan to replace the loud built-in drive bay fan in the case
- 256GB Intenso boot SSD
- 4TB Crucial MX500 SSD for the initial storage, to be expanded later

The case offers 5 bays for 3.5" HDDs, which I will mostly misuse with 2.5" SSDs instead riding on adapters so they properly fit. Found an adapter design that I liked and works perfectly on Printables.

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The whole idea is to make this thing run silently and at very low power, and functionally replace both my old NAS and the Raspberry Pi "server". Software-wise, this will run OpenMediaVault 7 with Docker (via OMV Compose) for the "server" purposes.

Primary storage will be all-SSD. After some discussion in the Random Thoughs (Tech) thread [1, 2], I decided to bin all the plans for RAID and go with good ol' JBOD, and use multi-layer backups for redundancy. Those layers will be:

- Level 1: both 4TB HDDs from the old NAS running as in-system backup, plugged into slots 4/5 in the case, configured to spindown and only ever come online for nightly rsync snapshots of the primary storage.
- Level 2: external 8TB HDD that will stay plugged into the NAS, normally fully powered down via a smart power plug, only turned on and mounted automatically for weekly backups of Level 1 data, and then unmounted and turned back off.

The build went quite well, nothing complex here - everything is nicely plug-and-play, not much to go wrong. Only annoyance is that the mainboard doesn't have a Type-E USB header for the front Type-C port of the case. I left it unplugged for now, might get a PCI-E card with some C ports and an internal Type-E should the need actually arise at some point.

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Some challenges that have come up:

- The built-in 120mm fan is quite loud, so from the start I got a PWM-controllable Noctua 120mm to replace it. Unfortunately, it is a fair bit thicker, and the power and SATA connections on the back of the drive bay board didn't clear:
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Solution was found on Printables again, where someone else already had the same issue and designed an alternative mount for the fan that allows for extra thickness. Works perfectly.
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- The beQuiet! PSU is... not that quiet. After figuring out how to control the Noctua fan in software based on SSD temps, the PSU fan is the only thing making noise at standby in this build - and I want it to be silent. Unfortunately, there is no way to control that fan. Fortunately, Corsair makes a series of SFX PSUs that fully shut down their fans below a certain power output - and they are fully modular on top of that, allowing me to save some unnecessary wiring while I'm at it. They are not easily available for sale, but I found a used SF450 in good nick and ordered it off Kleinanzeigen, should arrive in a couple days and allow to me properly enjoy the silence.
 
Ran one of those for two years. Even with a 5800x3d+3060ti - where most guides would’ve probably expected it to be underpowered.

Only annoyance is that the mainboard doesn't have a Type-E USB header for the front Type-C port of the case.
Ugh. Been there!
Got myself an adapter to turn one of the usb3.0/type A headers into one for the type c. Don’t need the full speed anyway and there were two of those available for some reason.
 
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