At my work we have a thing about giving tacos (🌮) to people when they help you out, do something great or funny – as a show of support. The tacos can be redeemed for prizes or gift cards – and one of those prizes is a Fitbit. I wanted a model upgrade from the ones our company was offering. In November 2020, Costco had a Fitbit Charge 4 bundle for $90.

I brokered a deal with my wife. I’d redeem a $100 Amazon gift card with my tacos and give it to her, and then buy the model I want from Costco.

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Every year, we put some sort of motorized conveyance under the tree. In the past it’s been an HO scale train or slot cars from my childhood. While I like the nostalgia of them, let’s face it – I’m old which means they’re old. So they’re a little finicky to get working well. Still fun, but this year I wanted to try something new. I’ve always wanted to have an indoor model train layout, but since we don’t have room I turned my thoughts to doing an outdoor layout 🤔 But that always seemed extremely expensive. Then a couple ideas came together for me: 1) my #1 Christmas gift item is a 1/24 scale crawler – Axial’s SCX24 and 2) I found a G-scale train set for less than $50. Continue reading

After setting up my new OpenWrt router, it is time to get my local phone number that I ported from Google Voice to Skyetel working.

Most of the configuration follows this Nerdvittles Skyetel post, but I include some specifics and screenshots for my configuration using OpenWrt, IncrediblePBX on Raspberry Pi, and a Linksys RTP-300 analog telephone adapter.

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I went to resurrect my dynamic DNS configuration on my OpenWrt router. The idea was sparked from a reader comment, so I wanted to follow-up on using nsupdate.info with OpenWrt for a DIY Dynamic DNS setup.

Before I began, I thought I should see if there’s a newer OpenWrt version my router can run. I always start on the Supported Devices page of the wiki, but on this visit I was treated to a warning:

If you read the 4/32 warning, the crux of the matter is that there may not be enough RAM to run OpenWrt without crashing. And the small flash area means possibly not having enough room to install LuCI, the web interface, and the packages to access LuCI via HTTPS. Also, there’s this:

Previous versions of OpenWrt (such as earlier versions of 17.01.x, 15.05.x “Chaos Calmer” and prior) contain now-known security vulnerabilities in the kernel, wireless implementation, and/or application code. […] In many cases, these known vulnerabilities are being actively targeted, potentially including by advanced, likely state-sponsored or state-affiliated actor or actors.

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Once upon a time you could hook your Asterisk-based PBX to your Google Voice account to make and receive calls. How you hooked it up over the years changed (annoyingly). And at the end of 2018, support for accessing Google Voice via XMPP was dropped. Remember when we trusted Google to be the “for the better good” company? Oh, how times have changed.

With the tech giant under increased scrutiny for it’s advertising practices, I’m not at all sad about leaving one of their products behind. The only thing I wanted to keep was my cool Google Voice phone number: 29-FOELL.

I did it with the help of Nerdvittles and included several screenshots here for easy reference. I also used his advice when it came to picking a new VOIP provider. After looking at a few options, I’m going with Skyetel. Not because it’s the cheapest (it’s not), but because it has an important feature for our home phone: E911.

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