MacBook Pro Charger

After years of use, the Magsafe end of the charger for my Early 2013 MacBook Pro became frayed to the point where it would literally spark at times. Not safe. I found this 60W Macbook Pro Charger by Hunda for only $40 and it even has a couple of USB ports. Much cheaper than buying an official Apple replacement charger. I’ve been using it for 2 months and it does what it’s supposed to. You never know what you’re going to get with some of the off-brand Apple accessories, especially after reading some of the reviews. I got lucky this time.

60w-macbook-pro-charger.jpg

My Growing Pi Family

I bought my first Raspberry Pi, when the Zero came out, barely a year ago. Last month I picked up a Pi 3 Model B. Over the last few weeks I’ve added 3 more Pis!

Included the $20 for scale.

With the first three, my host naming lacked imagination. I called them pizero, pi3b, and pizero2. Boring! I decided to start naming them alphabetically, after actual types of pie. As pictured above (left to right) the host names and what I’m doing are:

  • apple: always up on my network, running Pi-hole (awesome!), Homebridge, and Home Assistant (which I still need to configure).
  • boston-cream: runs Pi AD2.
  • cherry: for experimenting and prototyping, but I have a project in the pipeline.
  • derby: the same as cherry.
  • elderberry: not sure what to do with this one yet. Maybe a RetroPie machine.

The name will not be raspberry if I get to the letter R.

If you have any neat uses for a Raspberry Pi, let me know.

Microsoft Windows Media Center Edition and Xbox 360

Over the past few days I installed Windows Media Center Edition on my PC and configured it to connect to my Xbox 360. Let me tell you, this is one slick system for streaming media to your TV. The Xbox 360 works as an extender for the Media Center and can be set to access any of the pictures, music, or videos you have on your computer.

When I started looking into this, I was surprised to find out that Microsoft doesn’t even sell Windows Media Center Edition. The only legal way to get it is by purchasing a new computer which has it installed. I think this is a huge marketing mistake by Microsoft.

I think another mistake is the fact that the Xbox 360 only supports a few video types. Transcode 360 is a free piece of software you can download to get around this limitation though. It allows you to stream a wide range of video formats from MCE to the Xbox 360 by converting a file on-the-fly as you watch it. The speed and quality is excellent.

I did have some trouble installing the Xbox 360 Media Center Extender software on my computer, but that’s probably because of the way I installed MCE in the first place. In order to get the software installed, I had to extract all of the files out of the installation exe, then extract again out of one of the update files. From there I tried to install updates one by one until I found the errors and could download the missing updates. It was a real pain in the ass, but it’s working great now.

Hamachi

I had first ready about Hamachi a few months ago on Bryan’s site and finally got around to trying it out this weekend. It’s one slick piece of software. Much easier than setting up a VPN and all that junk.

With Hamachi you can organize two or more computers with an Internet connection into their own virtual network for direct secure communication.

Hamachi is fast, secure and simple. It is also free.

Think – LAN over the Internet.

Think – Zero-configuration VPN.

Think – Secure peer-to-peer.

Access computers remotely. Use Windows File Sharing. Play LAN games. Run private Web or FTP servers. Communicate directly. Stay connected.