7 day water fast

Nothing but water

I recently completed a fast in which I consumed nothing but water for seven days.

The notion of a water-only fast was non existent in my list of priorities until I came across a few episodes on the Smart Drug Smarts podcast. There are several episodes that feature various medical doctors and professors that specialise in the area of fasting and the study of subsequent health effects/benefits on humans. I can be a pretty lazy person in honesty, so I thought.. Not having to worry about any food preparation for seven days? Sure.

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Chrome best browsing practices

Chromium is my browser of choice. I’ve tinkered with settings and obtained the best usability vs privacy trade-off for my liking.

Before I go into detail about specific settings, a couple of pointers..

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Monitor configuration times 6 (Dell U2713HM)

Monitor Configuration

I upgraded my monitor set up a few months ago and forgot to blog about it.

These are all 27″ Dell U2713HM monitors that I acquired over the past two years. I was originally only having three, then I got carried away with discount purchases. The pixel real estate is amazing. It’s also nice having both vertical and horizontal screens for application specific use.

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Building a powerful, low cost NAS

I have been in need of a NAS refresh for some time now. I was using a 4 bay Synology DS411j acquired in 2011. It featured an underpowered CPU and only 128mb RAM. How I used to run the NAS + SickBeard + SABnzbd + Transmission + media streamer on it…. I don’t know.

I decided on a FreeNAS build. I do not regret it. I went with a UFS file system. Although ZFS was preferable, proper operating procedures requires ECC RAM which then requires a server motherboard compatible with all the features that I want, including CPUs. I decided I couldn’t be bothered and I just settled for a desktop based machine utilising UFS, which is also quite a bit cheaper.

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CloudFlare Universal SSL on WordPress

CloudFlare Logo CloudFlare SSL

You may have heard. CloudFlare recently announced free SSL for all websites on its free plan. This is exciting and a fantastic move in the right direction to defend against crazy government mass surveillance and snopping. Basically, anybody using the CloudFlare free plan will automatically have their domain added to an SSL certificate, enabling verified https:// for the website.

It is important to note that this “Flexible SSL” method will only encrypt traffic from the visitor to the CloudFlare CDN. All data transmitted from the web server to CloudFlare (and visa versa) will be insecure. This is okay for personal or websites with no critical information being transmitted, but not for websites wishing to secure personal information (e.g. eCommerce).

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Build an awesome APU based pfSense Router

pfSense logo

I have been running pfSense under VirtualBox for many years now. Whilst I like it, I prefer to run a standalone instance because I have a 100mbit internet connection and this pulls a lot of resources. It’s neater, tidier can perform a touch better and quite frankly I wanted a non-windows dependent firewall router that didn’t have to be rebooted for Windows Updates or VirtualBox instability.

There are many options for pfSense hardware available, two common ones being pfSense store APU and Netgate APU, both which run off the PC Engines designed hardware.

We will be building this unit based off the hardware sold directly from the originating manufacturer, PC Engines. As you can see, it is far cheaper with the exact same end product. The only difference is the 20 minute set up time you will need to self assemble.

The APU is a cheap little fan less (passively cooled) device that incorporates a 1Ghz dual core 64-bit architecture AMD G-T40E, 3 x gigabit LAN ports, 2 x USB 2.0, 2 x miniPCI express inc. SIM slot and mSATA slot. Perfect for a router, PBX or similar.

Things you will need:

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How to stream Netflix to Chromecast using pfSense

In this guide I will teach you how to stream US Netflix using a smart DNS service in pfSense WITHOUT setting your entire network to use the smart DNS servers. There are many ‘security’ implications of sending all your DNS traffic over a rogue/less trusted network, and quite frankly, you don’t know if they’re logging and or selling your lookups or similar.

Chromecast by default uses Google DNS instead of your router for DNS lookups and bypasses your router entirely. This is a problem because we cannot manipulate the DNS lookups without first tricking Chromecast into using our routers DNS.

This guide assumes:

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Cloud comparison – Amazon AWS vs Microsoft Azure vs Vultr

I have been playing around with cloud based virtual server applications for a few months now and I thought I’d share a non-technical summary of each. The ability to spin up virtual servers for deployment within seconds is extremely handy and provides endless possibilities. Web servers, game servers, file servers, VPN servers, VoIP servers, dummy test servers, almost anything really. This is just a very quick recap on what I find most appealing (or not) about each service.

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Dell U2713HM 27″ 2560×1440 AH-IPS Monitors

So, as previously posted, I went online and purchased three new Dell advanced high performance panels for my setup. How do I describe these monitors…? Wow. Just wow. These are by far the best monitors I have ever used. I won’t go into depth about every feature of the monitor, this is just a quick overview of my experience thus far.

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VendorGear headrest for Herman Miller Aeron

I have owned the Aeron for a good few months now. It is a great chair in itself, the only thing that was missing was a nice stylish headrest.

Luckily, VendorGear manufacture a third party headrest that fits perfectly onto the Aeron, you can’t even tell it’s not proprietary.

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Kogan monitors are no longer

I feel I should drop in here. The other week I lodged a Kogan return and decided to give back the two 27″ 2560×1440 monitors. Thankfully, Kogan have a 14-day money back guarantee.

I decided that I am going to purchase the Dell U2713HM when it is on a 30% sale. The extra couple hundred dollars is well worth the factory calibrated panel, premium exchange/support and wide customer base that it serves.

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Samsung 840 EVO 750gb

Samsung 840 EVO SSD

So the other week I placed an order for the brand spanking new SSD from Samsung. The Evolution range is a fresh new line of current generation consumer SSD’s.

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Braun BNC014BK-RC Clock

Braun Clock

I’ve been on a bit of a purchase frenzy as of late. Earlier this year I upgraded my bedroom furniture. I bought a new desk, new chair and new stainless steel drawer. I wanted something nice for the desk to add to the elegant look and feel. I have been using a pedometer for the past two years, and this sits on my desk and tells me the temperature (I love knowing the weather & temperature).

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AlerteGPS 700 by Wikango

AlerteGPS 700 by Wikango

The AlerteGPS 700 unit by Wikango is a GPS based device that reads a database of fixed, red light and point-to-point speed cameras to alert a driver of their presence and location.

The unit is not a radar detector and is completely legal to own and operate in any state or country. It is no different to ordinary nav devices, such as Garmin or Navman. The device will also alert you to known mobile camera hotspots, school zones (with time support, so you will not be notified outside of school-zone hours), and railway crossings/danger spots.

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Kogan Warranty Experience

This is a little post describing the Kogan warranty experience for those thinking about making a purchasing with them. For those that haven’t read my last blog post, I recently ordered two 27″ IPS displays from Kogan.

I mentioned that there was a dead pixel in the bottom right hand corner and that I wasn’t going to bother with a replacement. I changed my mind and decided I will utilise their zero dead pixel replacement program.

I lodged a warranty claim on the 11th August 2013. I received an email within half an hour, which is great for Sunday. I was asked to provide a photo of the dead pixel in question. I was at work by this point, so I emailed a photo that evening. I heard back on the 13th August 2013 with an acknowledgement that there may be a fault with the product.

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Kogan 27″ WQHD 2560×1440 LED IPS monitors

Kogan Monitor Kogan Monitor

I had been looking for a monitor upgrade for a while now. I guess it was just a matter of getting the funds together. I’ve been using a single 22″ LCD and only very recently started using a spare 22″ in dual configuration.I looked at the Kogan 27″ monitor when they first released it. In all honesty, it didn’t appeal to me very much. The first generation monitor had a 12ms response time, and the stand would only tilt.

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New Das Keyboard

Das Keyboard

So yesterday I received my new Das Model S Professional (Cherry MX Red) keyboard.

The Cherry MX Red switch is a newer, more quiet model available by Das. I read great reviews and decided to go ahead and purchase one.

This is my first ever mechanical keyboard and I have to say that I love it.

I have always been a fan of silent/quiet keyboards, however a beautiful mechanical style keyboard actually makes you want to type loud, and it sounds brilliant.

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Its been a while.

I generally suck at blogs because I end up giving them up after a few weeks. I’ll try and keep this one alive though! I don’t expect this to get much (if any) attention, but it’ll be my little place to publish cool bits and bobs that I find around the internet.

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