Rachio sprinkler controller

Rachio Gen2 Earlier this month while visiting my in-laws I helped my father-in-law connect his Rainbird ESP-Me sprinkler controller to his wireless network and then showed him how to use the mobile app on his Android phone.

After doing this I realized: I’m the techie/networking/home automation/IoT guy in the family … why haven’t I installed an internet-enabled sprinkler controller yet? After doing the requisite internet research and checking compatibility, I decided to try the Rachio Smart Sprinkler Controller Generation 2.

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2018 NHL All-Star Weekend

2018 NHL All-Star logoThe NHL 2018 All-Star game was here in Tampa this weekend (the last time was back in 1999, before I lived in Florida) so I had to take this opportunity to experience All-Star weekend first-hand! I got tickets to both days: the Skills Competition on Saturday, and the All-Star Game on Sunday. This weekend was also the Gasparilla pirate festival so the Bay area was quite the happening place. If you also count that the NFL Pro Bowl was over in Orlando, Florida was quite the epicenter of professional sports on Sunday.

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Happy New Year! (from Busch Gardens)

We rang in 2018 at Busch Gardens this year … watching the fireworks display through the skeleton of Gwazi

2018 fireworks through Gwazi

The park was crowded, but nothing like we’ve seen when we’ve gone to the Disney parks for NYE. There were a lot of ride closures, but with Quick Queue we were able to ride all of the coasters.

Earlier in the day, my Cleveland Browns completed their perfect season, going 0-16 for the first time in franchise history (and marking the 2nd time in NFL history a team has gone 0-16, the 2008 Detroit Lions doing it before … and my Tampa Bay Buccaneers went 0-14 back in 1976 (before they were “my” Bucs). Let’s hope 2018 can’t get any worse for football in Cleveland.

Hydra: TiVo’s next-generation user interface

Last weekend, TiVo officially released their next-generation user interface, code-named Hydra so I used the Early Access Request link posted by TiVo_Ted on the TiVo Community Forums to upgrade my Roamio Pro so I could check it out:

Hydra early access page

Hydra early access DVR selection

A few hours later, my box had upgraded to 21.7.2.RC7 and the next-generation UI:

Hydra UI

The new navigation structure and screen layouts are going to take some time to get used to. I have a lot of TiVo-related muscle memory that no longer works (like using Left to go back a screen, or pressing “1” on TiVo Central to jump to OnePasses, etc.). Think carefully before upgrading your own box(es) to Hydra … if you want to go back to the “classic” UI it will involve a complete reset of your box, which means you’ll lose all recordings, settings, etc. Ouch.

Mainly the reason I upgraded one of my boxes was so that I could start updating my Alexa skill for the new UI navigation. I’ll post more opinions once I have more time to play around with Hydra.

Advancing to the Artful Aardvark

The Indians were knocked out of the ALDS by the Yankees. The Bucs are 2-4 and the Browns are 0-7. The Cavaliers are 2-1. The Lightning are 7-1. It’s October, which means a confluence of the major league sports, and a new Ubuntu release!

17.10 wraps back around to the beginning of the alphabet with Artful Aardvark (release notes).

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Indians lose Game 5 of the ALDS


After Brett Gardner’s line single to right field scored two runs to put away Game 5 of the American League Division Series for the New York Yankees, hundreds of crestfallen realists in the Progressive Field stands succumbed to the inevitable. They lugged their disappointment and dashed dreams up the stairs into the night, fully cognizant that the Cleveland Indians’ streak of world championship-free seasons will turn 70 in 2018.

I guess they peaked a little too early with that record-setting win streak in September … or they choked. This about sums it up:

Indians elimination game woes


Retro gaming + Raspberry Pi = RetroPie

There’s no shortage of retro dedicated gaming consoles in today’s marketplace: the Atari Flashback has been out for years (in several iterations) and more recently the NES Classic and SNES Classic have made headlines as they fly off the store shelves. I’ve owned two Flashbacks (both gifts), bought a few Virtual Console games when I was still playing my Wii regularly, and recently resurrected my old Atari 800XL for classic gaming, but then I found RetroPie.

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Hurricane Irma recap

animated Irma NHC forecast cone

We had plenty of warning that Hurricane Irma was coming, but the uncertainty of when, where, and how bad continued to be the wildcard right up until the last minute. Whereas at the beginning of the week it looked like Irma was going to skirt up the east coast of Florida now it seemed that it was going to come up through the Keys on the west (Gulf) side of the state, aimed directly at the Tampa Bay area.

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