Saturday, October 13, 2018

Oxidized Quickstart

Oxidized is a "RANCID replacement" that has taken on a life of it's own.  Designed to automatically store, compare, and log configuration files from network based equipment.

I've never used RANCID, or rConfig, or Sweet, but I wanted to more than a fileshare of all the latest configs of our devices, which is what we were doing.

Oxidized the seemed the easiest to setup.

Here is how I setup one up from scratch.

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Build your own Ski Storage Rack

I started with the plans from this guys website:

However, I decided they didn't fit my needs, and they were honestly a little hard to follow.  So here's my attempt.

Monday, January 23, 2017

Support for Remotec Z-Wave ZXT-120 Controller for Mini-Split A/C on Staples Connect

So I use StaplesConnect for my home automation needs.  Works great, except the company has discontinued it.

I'm copying some of the help articles, since at some point, the help pages are going to disappear.

The GE 45633 Z-Wave Remote allows you to add and configure devices to the Staples Connect.
Link to the GE 54633 Z-Wave Remote

  1. Exclude the ZXT-120 from the Staples Connect hub if you've already added it.
  2. Add the GE 45633 to the Staples Connect. (See Page 25, Copying Information to this Remote). On the Staples Connect hub, you'll search for a generic Z-Wave device, and it will complain, but it will add it.
  3. Use the GE 45633 to add the device to the Staples Connect hub. It will automatically show up on the Staples Connect hub UI without having to interact with it. Page 21 details how to add a thermostat. (Took two tries for me)
  4. Configure param 27 to be the code for your AC unit as specified in the ZXT-120 manual. Press the thermostat button on the GE 45633. Next, you'll press and hold the "Setup" button on the GE 45633 until it goes into a menu. Then select ADV SETUP and use the arrows to navigate to PARAM 27. It'll ask NUM BYTES, use the right arrow to so it says 2 BYTES, then use the left arrow so it says 1 BYTE. Press okay and them use the arrows to change the PARAM VAL to the correct one. It will ask you to press the top button on the ZXT-120 after you press ok. The display should then say SUCCESS.
  5. You need to login to and go to click Device Assistant > List of Devices > Thermostat #. Click the "i" with a circle around it, click the Commands tab and press "Rediscover Node" and then press "Run Wizard".
At this point, if the code you programmed into PARAM 27 is correct, you should be able to control the thermostat with the Staples Connect. If the code you entered is not the correct one, you'll have to repeat this last few steps. This final step is telling the Staples Connect to go grab the config from the ZXT-120.

You can use the GE45633 to turn on/off the thermostat, this confirming if you entered the correct code, before you do the whole sync step on the Staples Connect website.

Side note: the remote that comes with your AC will not show the correct status of your AC when using the Staples Connect to control it, and visa versa. This isn't really too much of an issue though. If your unit is off and the remote says its on, just turn it "off", which it already is, and then "on". Same goes for the Staples Connect.

Side note: I think this same method could be used to configure motion sensors with configurable timeouts and other such items.

Friday, August 7, 2015

Syncing Outlook to Google Calendar

Like a lot of business professionals, I use Outlook powered by Exchange in the office for calendaring / email.  I also use an Android phone, and extensively use Google Calendar to coordinate with my Wife.

In previous jobs, I would totally by into Exchange, and have my work email on my personal phone, and merge everything.

With the start of my new job, I didn't need to be "that" connected.  However, I needed to see my work calendar often to schedule personal items.

I'm using the following software to do this now.

It's configured as a One-way sync, Outlook to Google Calendar.

It works very well, with the obvious caveat that it requires my laptop to be running for items to update on my phone.

It doesn't sync email, but that's ok, because I don't want it.

It has the un-intended side effect of allowing my phone to have access to my work calendar, without running the MDM (Mobile Device Manager) software that the company requires to access email, which also has been bricking coworkers phone's left and right.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Changing IP address via Batch File

I frequently have to change the IP address on my laptop to access various network devices that I'm configuring.

It wasn't so bad in Windows XP, but in Windows 7 it takes far to many clicks for something I'm doing around 10 times a day.

So I decided to make a Script I could just click to allow me to set the IP

Friday, September 19, 2014

Site Update

I changed out the theme I've been using.  Figured it was time for a new coat of paint.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

DIY Christmas Tree Watering System

My family loves having a live Christmas Tree every year.  What does a live tree need to stay alive?  Water!

The Base I have for the Christmas Tree has a pretty good well in it, but with a live tree, it needs to be filled at least twice a day, and four or five times a day the first few days.

For years, I've been using a dipstick / funnel combo to check the water level, and refill it without having to bend over and crawl under the tree. It works really well, especially when I've got presents under the tree.

I've always wanted to purchase one of the external reservoirs, but I've never seen one that I've liked.
This year we're leaving for the weekend a few weeks before Christmas, so I needed one to try to keep the tree alive.

Read on to see how I made one.