Home Gadget Geeks

Off Grid Living with Heather Welch from Sunshine & PowerCuts Podcast – HGG341

Heather Welch from / @Hdta_Welch   joins Jim Collison @jcollison for show #341 of Home Gadget Geeks brought to you by the Average Guy Network      Heather Welch from / @Hdta_Welch   joins Jim Collison @jcollison for show #341 of Home Gadget Geeks brought to you by the Average Guy Network WANT TO SUBSCRIBE? Join us for the show live each Thursday at 8pmC/9E/1UTC at Full show notes and video at Tags: Podcast, Home Gadget Geeks, Sunshine and PowerCuts, Off Grid, Solar, Geo Thermal, Wind Energy, Solar Batteries Visit Heather and her podcast at   Heather didn’t choose the Off Grid life style, it chose her!  Hear the story of how she fell into Off Grid living and how they have made it work over the last 7 years.  Parts and assembly required.  Some sections might not be suitable for those who don’t want to hear about hard work.  If you listen to this podcast for more than an hour, you might need to consult a physician. Get the Home Gadget Geeks Mobile Apps at is powered by Maplegrove Partners web hosting. Get secure, reliable, high-speed hosting from people you know and trust.  For more information visit
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Home Tech

How Can Solar Power Improve Our Future

If you listen to Home Gadget Geeks much, you know I am a big fan of solar ; While it is still too expensive and not cost effective here in Nebraska (getting better) it is catching on in places around the world and costs are dropping ; I think someday we will be able to get most if not all of our energy from renewable ; I was contacted by the Solar Action Alliance about partnering with them on a blog ; Below is the ; Would love your feedback on articles like ; Keep doing it?  Different topics?  Send me a note at Enjoy!
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Reviews & How-To

Crowdfunding Spreads the Word About Important Solar Projects

By Maria Ramos – Guest Writer Web-based crowdfunding platforms, like KickStarter or IndieGoGo, are an excellent way to take promising projects with funding needs beyond the originator’s financial resources. They also offer individuals the opportunity to become backers in return for a share of the eventual profits or products. This can be said for virtually any project, no matter how ridiculous it may seem, but one such area in our society that needs more support is renewable energy. With individuals becoming more environmentally-conscious, there is sure to be a consumer market aimed at one of the most viable forms of clean energy: solar power. These crowdfunded projects have already made great strides in progressing the development of alternative resources. Bill Nye’s LightSail is an ongoing project to launch mylar sails aboard a small CubeSat satellite to collect solar radiation from above the Earth. The Kickstarter launched on May 12, 2015 and before the end of June, the LightSail was able to reach a total of $1 million from 19,000 backers. As of today (August 13, 2015), the project has gained 23,331 backers who have pledged $1,241,615. In 2016, the continuation of the LightSail, sponsored by the Planetary Society, will test the possibility of propelling a CubeSat satellite in open space solely from the pressure of sunlight on the sails. An implication for space-based solar power might be solar panel equipped satellites with huge mirrors that collect sunlight and reflect the rays to a solar collector, afterward beaming the solar energy safely down to Earth as microwaves or laser beams. Although incredibly important and groundbreaking, the LightSail seems to be confined to space. However, there are many various projects that have been successful and make a direct impact here on Earth. According to Tech Republic, some successful crowdfunded solar-related projects have been backed by Oakland-based Mosaic. This includes the installation of solar panels on 1,500 military homes in Fort Dix, NJ, as well as the installation of a solar roof on Pinnacle Charter School in Denver, CO which doubled as clean energy education for the students. Kickstarter may be the most well-known crowdfunding platform but there have been others that dedicate themselves solely to various solar projects. CollectiveSun finances solar projects that help nonprofits switch to solar to save on energy expenses while supporting their missions, and has successfully funded solar energy system installations at Oberlin Dance Collective in San Francisco. The government has also recognized the importance of renewable energy in a world where fossil fuels are dwindling. On August 7, 2015, the White House launched a new initiative to increase solar access for all Americans. It focuses on assistance for low- and moderate-income housing and community solar. Although the initiative does not explicitly call out loans and subsidies to big companies like SolarCity and Tesla, it has many benefits for the solar industry. They include a greater penetration of solar power among lower income communities, achieving the greatest level of diversity among the nation’s workforce, and boosting solar as an essential element of our national energy. Direct Energy points out that the United States currently gets about 84 percent of its energy from fossil fuels, so hopefully this initiative will encourage many to decrease their use of this “dirty energy” and recognize solar as a viable resource. Because of the well-defined and limited scope of the initiative there remains much room for crowdfunding solar projects that will have broad appeal in more specialized venues such as the arts, education, places of worship or military housing. Crowdfunded solar projects generate buzz, and having concrete examples of successful solar energy projects in the collective public eye do their part in enhancing the solar industry in general. There are numerous amounts of projects just waiting to make a difference in our homes, communities, and eventually the world. Kickstarter’s solar projects have included Solar Roadways, a modular system of solar panels that can withstand the weight of trucks, SunPort using solar energy without solar panels, and Lowline, a solar-powered underground park in New York City. Some, like Solar Roadways, have generated wide, and continuing interest. As we persist in the coming years to support and spread knowledge about solar energy, perhaps many others, like wind, water, and even algae, will come into the limelight and eventually replace the majority of fossil fuels.
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Home Gadget Geeks

Windows 8, Internet Safety and Security, Raspberry Pi, OpenDNS, Freegate, K9, Solar Power – HT075

Jim and Andrew are joined this week by John Zjadler and Rich O’Neil for Show 75 of The Home Tech Podcast. The guys start off hearing about Rich’s new push bike, a Specialized Secteur Sport Compact, before briefly about some of the new Garmin exercise watches, including exercise watches that also work as a bike computer. MozyPro–secure online backup for businesses Join us for the show live each Thursday at 8pmC/9E/1UTC at Listen Mobile:   John talks about his latest gadget on order, the Raspberry Pi, the ARM-based micro computer the size of a credit card, available from the UK for the bargain price of $35 plus shipping.  The guys talk about the features available on the system, as well as some of the applications that can currently be run on it, such as running the ever-popular XBMC media playback application. The guys move on to the main discussion of the Show, being the Preview Release of Windows 8, with John walking us through his upgrade experience from the Consumer Preview, and shares his initial impressions following the upgrade, and some of the changes seen between the Consumer Preview and the Preview Release. The guys discuss there testing strategies for testing the new version of Windows 8, being dual boot with a Windows 7 installation, or booting from a Virtual Hard Drive image, or a clean installation for checking out the changes. For those of you wanting to test the Preview Release of Windows 8, Virtual Box from Oracle would be a great piece of software to try Windows 8 without any risk damaging your current Operating System installation. Jim talks about Internet Security for The Average Guy, and a talk he gave with a link on the site, which somehow managed to get a link detected by Google Chrome as being malicious, which proves that all of us can get caught out on the Internet. Jim also talks about how he identified the bug, and fixed it! Rich talks about a method he has discovered of bypassing DNS security implemented via OpenDNS, using an application called Freegate, which uses an “anti-censorship network” called DynaWeb, which is a proxy network.  The guys discuss Internet Filtering methods, such as router scheduling, and applications that run on the PC such as K9, and some of the built in protection that is coming in Windows 8. The guys wrap up the show with a 12 month update on Andrews’ solar PV installation, and the power generated, fed back onto the electricity grid, as well as the money it has saved over 12 months, and draw some comparisons between having an alternate energy solution or greener heating solutions in Australia, North America and Canada. Facebook Page:  Facebook Group: If you’d like to subscribe to the show, click on to update your iTunes library, or for other Podcast downloading applications, please click on the RSS Feed and pick your Pod Catcher of choice! Or, you can now stream the show online at at The Show Announcements and Schedule: #!/TheAverageGuyTV Jim’s Twitter: #!/jcollison Andrew’s Twitter: #!/unrealshots Contact Christian: Contact the show at Find us on Facebook: Find this and other great Podcasts from the Average Guy Network at Some links may contain affiliate codes that benefit the Average Guy Podcast Network.
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Home Gadget Geeks

HP MicroServer, WHS 2011, Low Power CPUs, Samsung Galaxy S II, Tom Tom, Issuu.com and Viber – HT054

Jim and Andrew are joined this week by Gary Johnson for this weeks’ installment of the Home Tech Podcast. The guys start off the show with an update on the solar grid feed system Andrew and his wife installed in May this year, followed by some discussions around if the others would “green” their lives. Jim talks about his new HP ProLiant MicroServer N40L, which has arrived, and been set up running Windows Home Server 2011 for some testing with a Drobo S Listen LIVE at 6pP/8C/9E/1aUTC every Thursday night over at Listen Mobile: The guys talk a bit the hardware power required to transcode video, and how some of the hardware we were using in days gone by is reasonably high in power consumption, as well as being somewhat inadequate for the day to day usage we need from a computer these days, not to mention thermal and energy efficiencies. The guys talk about using low powered CPU/GPU combinations such as the Zotac Nano or the fit-PC3 for uses such as an HTPC, or an always-on device with low power draw. Jim tells us he has upgraded his Samsung Galaxy S mobile phone to a Samsung Galaxy SII, and is once again a happy Android user, sporting a ” screen, dual core processor and 8MP camera to name a few features! Andrew talks about his TomTom Sat Nav unit packing it in, and the challenges with trying to find a replacement unit that has comparable features to his 3 year old model.  The guys discuss using Google Navigation, which is built into the Android platform.  Gary tells us about integrating Subsonic for music, Google Navigation, all from his HTC EVO 3D. Whilst Sat Nav shopping, Andrew happened upon the new Ultrabook’s coming from the usual hardware vendors, and is seriously considering a new personal machine.  The appeal with an Ultrabook, such as the ASUS UX31 or Acer Aspire S, is the form factor bought to the computing world by Apple with the MacBook Air, with the beauty of being a native Microsoft Windows PC. For those who may have a requirement to create an online publication, Andrew has stumbled across issuu, a service which allows you to publish, and have your content consumed online.  With both free, and paid versions, if you have a requirement to move a printed publication online, this may be a solution to your needs! If you’re a mobile phone user, and frustrated with the mobile version of Skype, Andrew tells us about Viber which comes in both Android and iPhone versions The guys talk a bit about our dependency on e-mail, as opposed to non-disposable communication like the various social media platforms, such as SharePoint, Wiki’s or other online collaborative solutions like WordPress blogs. Gary gives us an update on their migration away to their new hosting provider, telling us some more about the reasons why they moved the hosting of to the Virtual Private Server provider Christian told us about last week in Show 53. Gary talks about a nice case for a home builder, being the Lian LI PC-Q25B Case, from , which takes a Mini-ITX board and up to 7x ” hard disks. To wrap up the show, Gary shares some of his predictions for the coming year or so, regarding his belief that storage will begin moving away from traditional rotating hard drives to solid state storage units, and the possible start of the demise of Cable TV services as we know them today, with some providers already offering video on demand services, rather than the traditional subscriber model we’ are accustomed to. If you’d like to subscribe to the show, click on to update your iTunes library, or for other Podcast downloading applications, please click on the RSS Feed and pick your Pod Catcher of choice! Facebook Page: Facebook Group: If you’d like to subscribe to the show, click on  to update your iTunes library, or for other Podcast downloading applications, please click on the RSS Feed and pick your Pod Catcher of choice! Or, you can now stream the show online at at The Show Announcements and Schedule: Jim’s Twitter: Andrew’s Twitter: Contact Christian: Contact the show at Find us on Facebook: Find this and other great Podcasts from the Average Guy Network at Some links may contain affiliate codes that benefit the Average Guy Podcast Network.
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Home Gadget Geeks

Solar Grid Feed, Google Street View, Google Wallet, Kill-A-Watt and iPhone Applications for Musicians – HT027

Jim, Andrew and Christian are joined by Rich O’Neil for this weeks installment of the Home Tech Podcast. The guys kick off discussing Christian’s latest project, getting SharePoint 2010 up and running, and the upgrade to TheAverageGuy website, before moving on to another free exercising app for the fitness enthusiasts amongst us, with Nike+ for iPhone becoming free of charge for a limited #160; If you have a pair of Nike shoes, the Nike sensor and an iPhone, but haven’t downloaded the app yet, now is your chance to check it out for free! Listen Mobile: Andrew’s Average Guy Tech for the week is the installation of the new Solar Grid Feed System that is being installed to his house this coming weekend, the design software used to design the system, as well as the monitoring system that will be used to be able to provide a visual output via on the Internet. There will be a new blog post around designing and building this system in the coming few days. The guys discuss the prevalence of solar grid feed systems in the area Andrew lives in, and the government incentives offered by the Australian Government for installing a system such as this, as well as the expected outputs from the system being installed, and the expected payback timeframe for the system. The guys discuss how common solar grid feed systems are within the areas they live in, and how some new housing estates are encouraging solar grid feed systems for new housing projects. For the energy conscious who are interested in where their power actually goes, the guys talk about using a Kill-A-Watt meter, which allows you to to determine where power on your power bill is going.       Jim and Andrew talk about how easy it is to familiarize yourself with an area you have never visited, using sites like Google Street View, Bing Maps, and NearMap (an Australian satellite imagery site).  The guys speculate about using the maps derived from these services to create a virtual treadmill environment to be able to simulate marathons including the visual track, and simulated elevation changes.       Christians’ Deal-of-the-Week is 16GB of Ripjaws X Series DDR3 SDRAM from for $#160; The guys discuss the merits of running reputable brands of memory in your system, the benefits of increasing your system memory, and the features of the various generations of memory, DDR, DDR2, DDR3 and the upcoming DDR4, as well as the performance comparisons between SSD and system memory, as well as the improvement adding an SSD drive to your system can make, as well as extending the usable life of the machine. Christians’ Speed Tip Of the Week is speeding up the performance of Windows Explorer, from Computing Unleashed, via a Registry Patch available at: For those who like to know what they are about apply to their system, the patch includes the following: Hanged programs will be terminated Automatically it will end tasks of programs that are taking longer to respond. Menus will be shown very faster. When you pause on the main menus the sub menus will be shown up very fast than normal. You will get an option ”Take Ownership” when you right click on files or folders. This will become handy when you want to replace system files while doing customization. Make windows not to search for a program that no longer exist when you click on the shortcut there by saving your valuable time. Adds “Copy To” and “Move To” options in the right click context menu of Windows 7. So from now on copying and moving files from one place to another will be more easier than before. Directly opens up the Files list when you choose “Open With” option there by deactivating the ” search on Internet ” option. Speeds up the navigation in Windows Explorer by disabling searching for network printers and scheduled tasks on network. Disables the annoying “low disk space” message notification in your system tray Breaking news during the recording of the show was the Google announcement of Google Wallet, which is the Google phone integrated Pay Pass billing system and will tie in with the Google Offers system to allow you to avail yourself of offers near you.   Rich talks about his recent adoption of the password service from LastPass, and it’s excellent integration with the browser and some of the challenges with the iPhone implementation of the service. Rich brings us a couple of nice iPhone apps for the musicians amongst us, being Amazing Slow Downer, from Roni Music, which allows those who learn by ear to slow down a track to better pick out the #160; The app has a desktop version, that integrates with the iPhone app as well. In a similar vein, Christian tells us about Microsoft Songsmith, which generates musical accompaniment matched to a singers’ voice.                 The final app Rich brings us is Song Exporter Pro, which puts your iDevice on your local network, and allows you to browse and play, stream or copy the file from your device to your PC. Rich reminds us to be vigilant when opening attachments and following links in emails that may be trying to scam #160; Remember, you will never be e-mailed by a vendor such as PayPal, eBay or your bank with links that do not go directly to that #160; These institutions will never ask you to download an application in order to resolve an issue with an account. To close, Rich’s latest Audible book recommendation is In the Plex: How Google Thinks, Works and Shapes our Lives by Steven Levy. Facebook Page: Facebook Group: If you’d like to subscribe to the show, click on  to update your iTunes library, or for other Podcast downloading applications, please click on the RSS Feed and pick your Pod Catcher of choice! Or, you can now stream the show online at at The Show Announcements and Schedule: Jim’s Twitter: Andrew’s Twitter: Contact Christian: Contact the show at Find us on Facebook: Find this and other great Podcasts from the Average Guy Network at Some links may contain affiliate codes that benefit the Average Guy Podcast Network
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