How to setup a VPN on a DD-WRT router

If you have read my previous article on VPNs you already know the advantages of using a VPN and the risks of not using one and hopefully you are using one now. If you haven’t subscribed to a VPN yet I leave you a link here for a great discount.
Many VPN providers, such as NordVPN, which is the one I’ve been using for years and recommend, provide apps for iPhone, Android and other systems to access their VPN servers. However, there are devices, such as an AppleTV, that do not have an app or other direct way to connect to a VPN server.
For this type of cases, having your home router connected to a VPN is the best solution. Furthermore, it’s much easier to have your home router connected to a VPN than to install a VPN application on each of the devices that connect to the Internet in your household.
Not all routers have the same way of connecting to a VPN or supporting the same protocols. Here’s how to set up a VPN on a DD-WRT router using the OpenVPN protocol. If you want to know more about DD-WRT or how to install it on a Linksys WRT1900ACS I recommend you to read this other post.
Read More

How to install Home Assistant on an Orange Pi Zero

If you’re here, you probably know what Home Assistant is. If not, you can take a look at my previous article about Home Assistant.
Probably the easiest way to start with Home Assistant is with a Raspberry Pi, but instead of using one of these I chose to install it on a different board, an Orange Pi Zero.

Why use an Orange Pi Zero for Home Assistant?

Well, compared to a Raspberry Pi 3, an Orange Pi Zero is a pretty capable board, powerful enough for running Home Assistant in a smaller footprint at a very reasonable price (links below).
The lack of an HDMI port in the Orange Pi Zero is absolutely no problem in this type of application. And the power consumption is slightly lower than on a Raspberry Pi 3.

In this post I will show you how to install Home Assistant in a Python virtual environment on an Orange Pi Zero running Armbian, however, these steps are likely to work on most boards running debian-based systems.
Using a virtual environment will prevent your Python installation and Home Assistant installation from impacting each other.
Read More

How to install Armbian Debian on an Orange Pi Zero

For those who don’t know, Armbian is a Debian or Ubuntu based Operating System for ARM single board computers. It is supported on board such as Orange Pi One, Orange Pi Zero, NanoPi Neo, Rock64, Pine64, Tinker Board, Banana Pi and many others. It is like what Raspbian is to a Raspberry Pi and its installation is not much different. I’ll show you here the steps needed to install Armbian Debian on an Orange Pi Zero but it will be similar for any other board.
Read More

Home Assistant, the missing piece I needed to get into home automation

For a long time I’ve watched the world of home automation with eager interest in the hope that one day I would be able to apply it in my own home.

Over the years I have read about various systems and protocols used in home automation such as the X10, Z-Wave, ZigBee or Insteon. Some of them use cables or the power line for signaling and control, while others communicate wirelessly via radio waves. Some of them proprietary and others open. But usually incompatible with each other.

Unfortunately, due to their high cost, the difficulty of acquiring the components at that time, their technical limitations, their complex installation or their bad UX from inside and/or outside the home made it impossible for me to implement them in my own home. Until now.
Read More

Start using a VPN right now!

Maybe you’re not using a VPN yet. Perhaps you don’t even know what a VPN is. But it’s more likely you use a connected device such as a smartphone, a tablet or a PC everyday. If that is the case, I strongly suggest that you continue reading. It’ll be worth it.
Read More