Ubuntu Linux on a Tablet

Asus T102HA running full Ubuntu 18.10

Ubuntu on Asus tabletMy Asus T102HA Transformer Pad came with Windows 8 and the free upgrade to Windows 10 Home. As a small pad with 4Gb ram, it did just about everything I needed as a secondary computer...but the Windows updades were less than satisfactory ... not updating successfully ... and costing far too much in data where I live. In the end, it became unusable.

Ubuntu was a free option option to try ... and its working well

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Raspberry Pi'es

The new raspberrypi computer

raspberrypi computer board

The new Raspberrypi Model 3B+ with the Raspbian OS on the micro SDcard ready to plug in and go...

This gives a fully functional computer with a linux based operating system, straight out of the box. The board, case, power adaptor, microSd, keyboard, mouse, hdmi cable... all for under A$100 - just plug into a screen.

Designed and intended for learning programming and how to use a computer as a microcontroller for many things ... its actually a usable computer for general use - just plug in a keyboard/mouse and HDMI to your TV to browse the internet, check email, watch youtube videos, play movies and music from a USB input...and write your new book.

Its a quality product, made in the UK. Just 1Gb of RAM, built-in wifi and bluetooth, and a powerful graphics chip... all powered by a 5V phone charger.

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DIY Solar Water Heater

a DIY system for the lowland tropics...and places a bit cooler

solar hot water systemThe "re-done" solar hot water system. The original system was put together many years ago using some broken panels and an old tank from a different supplier. It all worked well, better and longer than expected, but the tank finally gave way. Preferring a DIY solution, we looked around for possible alternative tanks. Surplus 200L plastic and steel drums from local food processors seemed the best solution.

This meant a change from the commercial static "sealed/pressurised" tank to an open tank supply. ( A sealed tank requires a pressure release valve) The most efficient approach was to use the tank as a water bath for a copper coil heat exchanger. These tanks are not lined to be suitable for human consumption, so the heat exchanger approach ensured no contamination from the tank, or microbial growth in an inadequately heated static tank.

We had tested the approach with an old 200L fuel drum - it worked well, but the old drum rusted quickly. So...the next question was whether the 200L plastic drums would survive as a hot water bath. We expected them to be OK due to the high temperatures used in their manufacture, but tested anyway by boiling a piece of the drum. Reassured, we went ahead.

We also acquired a 200L steel drum from the same food processor. The steel drum was slightly taller than a standard 200L fuel drum and worked perfectly as an external skin to protect the plastic drum and insulation... just needs a nice looking lid!

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Power Editing For Text Files

Using the External Tools Plugin for Gedit

external tools pluginMost text editors fall short on being able to run batch commands with the search and replace features. Gedit overcomes this with the External Tools Plugin which allows us to create scripts and apply these as needed to documents being edited. I'm very happy with it - its powerful and flexible - and does all that it claims.

I didn't realise this was the tool I needed at first as I was sidetracked, thinking the "Python console" plugin would do the job  - once I realised the error of my ways, it was easy... but I still had to do some 'digging' through the internet to work out how to use it for what I wanted... a clear "how to" was not easy to find.

Looking back...it was not difficult ... and well worth the effort.


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