DIY, Electronics, Review
Not long ago I wrote an article about Digitspace
which is a new DIY hobby web shop for the budget aware hobbyists
. At the time of writing that article I've received a couple of items from the shop, including these super cheap ($1.15USD) side cutters
and a wireless doorbell kit
($4.55USD). This article will focus on the assembly and review of that doorbell kit.
I was actually quite looking forward to putting this kit together because so far in this house we don't have a doorbell installed. Unfortunately it will remain so because the wireless range of this kit is really not suitable for every day use, more on this later.
Overall the kit is a decent started kit, especially if you are learning how to solder and want to experiment with soldering all range of components from resistors to ICs to custom "black blob" breakout boards. There are a total of 3 PCBs included, one for the remote button, and two for the bell itself - this includes the main bell PCB and an additional breakout board that houses a custom IC.
So let's see what was included. The plastic housing for the remote button and bell were part of the kit. All the components required to put both PCBs were there, the only part that was missing was one small screw to keep the button PCB in place inside its housing - which wasn't a big deal. There was a single sheet of A4 paper with "instructions" in Chinese (Mandarin?) and the PCB layout and circuit diagram. The parts list was also included but was of little use. The button PCB had all of the component values printed on it, but the bell PCB didn't, so I had to rely on the circuit diagram to work out values of some of the components. This was fairly trivial.
No batteries were included in the kit. The bell required 2x AA batteries and the button required a single 12V A27 battery
Apple, iOS, Internet
I've been noticing a fair number of errors looking for apple-touch-icon-precomposed.png
in my Atari Gamer
website's server logs. At first I thought that these errors were due to Safari or Mobile Safari looking for icons for my website and mostly ignored them, but then I decided to dig a little deeper and found that there's much more to the story.
What I ended up finding out is that it's possible to turn a website into something that feels more like a native web application - at least it gets its own launch icon in iOS. In reality this is just a web view with a basic application launcher, but it's still a neat thing to have and is next to no effort to implement.
This relies on the Web App Manifest W3C Specification
which both iOS and Android appear to support by the way. There's also a handy Web App Manifest Generator
available to make things easier for you and Apple has documentation
on additional customisations that are possible.
So here's how it's done, first your website (in its <head>
section) must contain a reference to the web manifest file, something like this...
The manifest file is a JSON file which can either be hand crafted or created via a generator such as Web App Manifest Generator
. In my case this is what I ended up using...
The scope member is defined to address an issue with iOS Safari opening links in a new window
when it shouldn't. The rest of the members should be fairly self explanatory.
Google, Internet, Email
I've been using Google's GSuite set of products for quite a time now, primarily for the custom domain Gmail. Usually the updates that Google brings out are nice and straight forward but this one stumped me a little. The Gmail interface seems to have lost its "Manage this domain"
link for GSuite administrators.
Of course you can always go to admin.google.com
, but I always liked the option of having a menu item take me to the admin interface. Well, turns out this feature is still there, but under a different name.
To access the admin interface, start by clicking the quick settings gear icon at the top of the GMail screen...
The quick settings side bar will show.
Click on the "Manage this organisation"
The admin interface will open in a new window.
Note: you have to have popup blockers disabled in your browser for this to work, otherwise you will get an error message. I've disabled popup blockers just for the mail.google.com
domain and that seemed to do the trick.
Telstra, Internet, Howto
A while back I wrote about Telstra's Smart Modem 2
and how to change its DNS settings to bypass the annoying website filtering that the Australian Government has mandated (which are 100% ineffective). I thought that I'd take a step back and write about what Telstra does when they first connect a house to their ADSL network. I'm writing about this because I tried to find this out when I was getting connected and couldn't, so here it is.
ADSL yes, that's because the NBN network was not available on our stretch of street. If we were living 3 houses up, we would get connected the the ageing HCF NBN network, but since we were on a new subdivision in a new-built house, NBNco didn't even know that our address existed when we moved in. ADSL seemed like the best option at the time (spoiler alert - it wasn't and we are now using 4G instead), but I digress, so read on...
The actual booking process with Telstra was smooth, they had a scheduled date for their contractor to come out and get everything connected. They sent their modem within days, which had temporary 4G connectivity at the fast speed of around 5Mbit (lol). However, it wasn't made clear to me whether I'd have to dig a trench from the house to the communications pit. This is the owner's responsibility and the only comms pit I could see was across the street from me. Telstra support could not giving me a definite answer and said that the contractor will assess the situation when they arrive.
Turned out our house developer buried the comms pit in our front yard under a strip of lawn! The Telstra guy said this is something that happens more often than not and he had a spade specifically for digging the grass out around the pit!
Inside the pit was nothing special, our neighbour's cable and our's both terminated here as our house is the last on our street. Our side had a bit of rope in the conduit, which led under ground to the side of the house. Looks like I didn't have to dig a trench after all! So if you're wondering if you have to do the same, just look for these conduits.