My Travel Tips

I’ve been flying several times a year for a decade now. These are some of the things I’ve learned over the years to make travel easier.

If you have time, get in a little exercise in the morning.

Wear comfortable shoes and pants/shorts.

Find a packing routine that works for you. I like to pack in the 30 minutes before I leave the house. I have a friend who keeps a travel checklist. Everyone is different. Find your routine to take the stress out of it and always remember that if you forget something you can always go to the store.

Don’t travel with a large bag. I’ve been using a carry-on and a backpack for years. If your accommodations have laundry available, make use of it so you can pack even less.

Do not check your carry-on. It’s rare, but luggage gets lost or delayed and you don’t want to arrive without your stuff. On the way home I almost always let them check my bag if they offer, because it makes it easier to move though airports and I don’t care if my bag arrives a day late.

If you have an aisle seat, put down the window shade right away. It’ll keep the heat out and save your eyes from the bright light.

Wear sunglasses while moving through airports if it’s sunny out.

Drink water on the flights to fight dehydration.

If you have a long flight, like going to Europe where you arrive the next day, don’t sleep on the plane and don’t nap when your arrive. The best way to fight jet lag is to stay awake until 9-11pm local time on that arrival day.

Eat something during your layovers. Drink more water.

What are your favorite travel tips?

Mac Screenshot Tips

I use the Mac screenshot utility a lot, but have never thought of using it as a ruler. I’ve always used a browser extension to measure pixels on the screen. If you’re not using this utility, you initiate it by pressing command + shift + 4 on your keyboard.

I learned a few other tricks from the thread. Once you start dragging your mouse to create the rectangle:

  • Press shift to lock in an axis as you continue sizing the area.
  • Press space to move the rectangle to a new location.

Do you have any other tips?

Make Stranded Wire Easier to Work With

If you have stranded wires add a bit of solder to the ends and it’ll be much easier to work with. This is a USB cable I cut in half so I can add circuitry in between the connectors, which will control the flow of electricity. By soldering the ends I can easily insert the wires into a breadboard and continue prototyping my project.

Pi Tips

I stuffed myself on Raspberry Pi this weekend, making great progress on my Pi 3 project, getting to a usable basic v1. I’ll share more details on this after Thanksgiving. I also decided to rebuild my Pi Zero Homebridge server by installing Raspbian Jessie Lite (previously installed Raspbian via NOOBS) since it’s a headless system. It’s always fun to mess around with linux, though I couldn’t handle it as a full-time operating system.

While it’s fresh in my mind, here are some things that either tripped me up in the past or I found over the weekend.

  1. If you hide your Wi-Fi network, after you install Raspbian you’ll be scratching your head wondering how to connect. There is no UI for it and you might not even be setting up your Pi to launch into a GUI. Might as well dig into the command line right away by editing a couple of files.
  2. Monitor configurations are a pain in the ass. For the longest time I thought the 7″ display was a piece of shit because it was so blurry. Can’t this stuff be plug-n-play? Then then 3″ display I bought for the Pi 3 seems upside down considering where most of the ports are located. I found a little package of scripts called LCD-show linked off a LCD info page. I’m not even sure if my LCDs are close to the ones sold by this company, but these scripts work great. You can easily reboot in different screen orientations too (the rotation didn’t seem to work properly with the mouse on my 7″, but I didn’t try to troubleshoot at the time).
  3. Use Unclutter to hide your mouse cursor when you don’t need it.
  4. Clone and restore SD cards from the command line, because you’re in the linux spirit already.
  5. Since I only access the Pi Zero via SSH, being welcomed by a bit of color with some info about the machine and reminders helps to increase the sugar content. I made a few modifications (my version is below) to a custom MOTD. The colors are set by $(tput setaf 5) and changing the number (color table). You probably want to add this to .bashrc though and not .bash_profile as instructed.

raspberry-pi-custom-motd

    let upSeconds="$(/usr/bin/cut -d. -f1 /proc/uptime)"
    let secs=$((${upSeconds}%60))
    let mins=$((${upSeconds}/60%60))
    let hours=$((${upSeconds}/3600%24))
    let days=$((${upSeconds}/86400))
    UPTIME=`printf "%d days, %02dh%02dm%02ds" "$days" "$hours" "$mins" "$secs"`

    # get the load averages
    read one five fifteen rest < /proc/loadavg

    echo "$(tput setaf 5)
    --- Raspberry Pi Zero ---
$(tput setaf 2)
       .~~.   .~~.    `date +"%A, %e %B %Y, %r"`
      '. \ ' ' / .'   `uname -srmo`$(tput setaf 1)
       .~ .~~~..~.
      : .~.'~'.~. :   Uptime.............: ${UPTIME}
     ~ (   ) (   ) ~  Memory.............: `cat /proc/meminfo | grep MemFree | awk {'print $2'}`kB (Free) / `cat /proc/meminfo | grep MemTotal | awk {'print $2'}`kB (Total)
    ( : '~'.~.'~' : ) Load Averages......: ${one}, ${five}, ${fifteen} (1, 5, 15 min)
     ~ .~ (   ) ~. ~  Running Processes..: `ps ax | wc -l | tr -d " "`
      (  : '~' :  )   IP Address.........: `/sbin/ifconfig wlan0 | /bin/grep "inet addr" | /usr/bin/cut -d ":" -f 2 | /usr/bin/cut -d " " -f 1`
       '~ .~~~. ~'    Hostname...........: `hostname --long`.local
           '~'
$(tput setaf 6)
Homebridge Commands
  sudo journalctl -u homebridge -n 300
  sudo systemctl status homebridge (also start/stop)
    $(tput sgr0)"

What are your favorite Raspberry Pi tips?