TDA7297: Audio Amplifier Board For Your Old Speakers

The TDA7297 is a 2.0 Audio Amplifier Board, that can drive your old 4-8 ohm 10-50 watt speakers. I had a couple of old Bose cubes, and Cambridge Soundworks speakers lying around so this was a cheap way to give them a second wind.

They can be bought from eBay, Aliexpress or Taobao. Taobao’s the cheapest, but you would need to factor in shipping costs and it’s probably only worth it if you are getting other parts as well at the same time (which you should).
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Panasonic DY-WL5 Alternative WLAN Adapter

The Panasonic DY-WL5 is a Wireless LAN Adapter to add wireless network functions to your Panasonic Home Theater sets, Blu-Ray Players, Viera TVs etc. If you are looking for the Panasonic DY-WL5 alternative or equivalent, you would be pleased to know that I managed to use a cheap 3rd party WLAN adapter instead.
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Myo Gesture Control Armband will be on Amazon (Mar'15)

Flip between slides with a flick of your wrist, or clench your fist to close a window, all’s that possible with the Myo Armband. It senses your forearm muscle movements to provide computer input. Thalmic Labs, the company behind the gesture control armband, has come a long way in the development and the Myo will soon be available for order via Amazon.

Myo is a gesture controller designed to track hand motion, among other things, that supports a wide range of applications from gaming and typical UI navigation, to remote control of devices like the Ollie and flying drones. Or just use it as a mouse to control your computer.

Myo

  • Eight proprietary EMG muscle activity sensors
  • Nine-axis IMU containing three-axis gyroscope, three-axis accelerometer, and three-axis magnetometer
  • ARM Cortex M4 processor
  • Micro-USB charging
  • Built-in rechargeable lithium ion battery
  • Haptic feedback

final_myo_black_front (Large)

It reminds me of the Leap Motion – which tracks hand gestures and motion via imaging sensors.

While checking out some of the capabilities of the Myo (there are many), the following demo was impressive – using the Myo for robotics control, in this case, the Ollie. I was impressed by the sensitivity of the controller, and how it translates to minor changes in motion for the Ollie (3:45 mark).

Another impressive demo was the combination of the Myo with a Parrot drone.

Furthermore, the Myo communicates via Bluetooth, so no tangled wires to deal with. It does look rather bulky on the wrist though, and apparently it comes in one size, so Asians with small forearms might have to use the provided extra clips.

It is priced at $199, which is on the expensive end, especially for a gadget that’s really more gimmicks than function for now. It is positive to note that there are already many setups for popular apps like Powerpoint, Netflix, so you can live out your geeky dreams of controlling your apps with gestures. I think it is still too early before the technology becomes more common. This is a definite conversation starter, and will be bound to impress, but novelty may run out after 15 minutes and there’s not much left to do. There’s also a strong push for VR in 2015 and that could work to Thalmic’s advantage. Perhaps, if Myo could tie up with a cool VR game and integrate the use of it as an immersive gadget, that could really help generate adoption.

Interested folks can pre-order the Myo with Amazon. It does not have international shipping though, so you would need to use a forwarder like Borderlinx or VPost.

Setup Plex on Cloud for Channel Streaming

I was looking at setting up a Plex Media Server on the cloud for a couple of reasons. It allows me to have my Plex server permanently on, and not having to leave my computer on all the time at home. The other reason was to access US-based content as Plex would be running on a foreign IP, and could access to Plex channels. I was looking at a few of the more common cloud options, AWS, Azure, DigitalOcean and a few others came to mind but I settled for DigitalOcean thanks to the free $100 credit for education-linked sign up through Github. The below steps would largely apply to other VPS / cloud providers but I decided to go with DigitalOcean because of the free credit. At $5 a month, I could operate the server for close to two years! I initially thought I could configure the on/off time for the server to reduce my monthly bill even further. Powering off the server will see you still consume computer resources and be charged accordingly. I guess you could create a snapshot and destroy the server when not needed.

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FOBO Tire Review: A Tire Pressure Monitoring Kit

FOBO Tire is an advanced Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS) using the latest Bluetooth 4.0 that works directly with your Android and iOS device. It also comes with an intelligent In-Car monitoring unit that works on its own or simultaneously with your smart phone. They have recently completed a successful round of funding via Indiegogo, raising 190k out of a target of 25k. The product is now on sale on their website for 175 USD.

I received my FOBO Tire promptly as promised, as one of the Indiegogo funders, and promptly put the device through its paces.
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Eubiq Review: The Power Socket Revisited

As home gadgets go, the power socket might be the least exciting thing, but with an increasingly connected world, they can be quite a precious commodity in your home or room.Eubiq is a local Singapore company that is trying to revolutionise the power outlet concept. Eubiq offers a series of modern-looking modular power strips or systems that looks to change the way we think about power strips.

Each of us today now own so many more personal devices. You got your mobile phone charger, tablet, smartwatch, laptop, computer, TV, router, Cable TV Box, gaming console, etc etc etc. All these devices use electricity and we don’t have the luxury of keeping pace by redesigning the electrical supply for your place, be it office or home. It gets worse when you factor in your family members too. That limitation holds us back from having electrical appliances / gadgets where we want them. You can use an extension cord, which many of us do, but that just doesn’t look very good, and really leave behind one web of tangled cable mess.

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Holeeday: Holiday Countdown Timer

Counting down to the next holiday? Curious to know how long is it exactly?

Not satisfied with just a countdown timer till Christmas, I wrote a simple webapp called Holeeday to tell me exactly when the next holiday will be. Public Holidays are just awesome, and it’s extra special if it falls on a Friday or Monday for the super long weekend. Perfect for planning a quick getaway. Hint: Just take the Friday off this Boxing Day for a well-deserved break. It can also serve as a scary reminder of the remaining days left for you to complete your christmas presents shopping. Tick tock, tick tock. A wise man does not wait till the last day and fight with the crowds for last minute Christmas shopping.

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