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Your Smart TV is probably ignoring your PiHole

If you’re using PiHole on your network to block ads and prevent your various smart devices from sending tracking information to their manufacturers, you might be surprised to find out that some of these devices are using a sneaky tactic to bypass your PiHole entirely. Smart devices manufacturers often “hard-code” in a public DNS server, like Go...

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Secure Home Assistant Remote Access

Is your Home Assistant installation properly configured for secure remote access? Are you sure? I ran a quick search on Shodan and found over 36,000 publically accessible Home Assistant installations with no SSL certificate installed. Every time one of these unlucky users logs in to Home Assistant remotely, their credentials are being transmit...

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Home Assistant Door Chime via Sonos

Home Assistant is an incredible piece of software. Through it’s powerful automation functionality, you can interface with devices from multiple manufacturers using completely different standards, and create extremely specific triggers, conditions, and subsequent actions. I have a back door in my (one hundred year old) apartment that doesn’t alw...

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2019 16" MacBook Pro External Monitor Issues

This post is to document a handful of issues I’ve experienced with my 2019 MacBook Pro when connecting to external monitors. GPU: AMD Radeon Pro 5500M Monitors: Dell U2718Q 27” 4K (x2) Dock: CalDigit TS3 Plus GPU Issue Dell U2718Q I had this issue happen several times with my previous 2015 15” MBP; keeping this post For some reason,...

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Synology NAS with Cloudflare DDNS

If you have a residential Internet connection through Comcast Xfinity, Spectrum, or most other major Internet service providers, you likely have a dynamic IP address that is subject to change at your ISP’s whim. Dynamic DNS (DDNS) tools are designed to automatically update your domain’s DNS records in case your external IP address changes. Syno...

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Wildcard SSL Certificates with Certbot + Cloudflare

If you use Cloudflare for your DNS, Certbot makes it easy to get a wildcard SSL certificate with automatic DNS verification. A wildcard certificate allows you to use one certificate that is valid for all subdomains on your domain (i.e., example.com, wiki.example.com, files.example.com). Using the Cloudflare DNS plugin, Certbot will create, vali...

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Configuring a Cisco 8841-3PCC for FreePBX, 3CX, etc

Cisco makes two different groups of IP phone - one using Enterprise Firmware and the other using Multi-Platform Firmware (sometimes referenced as 3PCC - third party call control). Phones using MPP/3PCC firmware are relatively easy to get working with alternative PBX systems like FreePBX or 3CX. I have several of the Cisco 8841-3PCC phones conne...

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