In June 2013, we had the unfortunate luck of a basement flood, caused by a tripped electrical breaker connected to our sump pump. There are so many things that can go wrong with a sump pump. You always are on guard for power outages, blown breakers, sump pump failures, clogged pipes and all manner of issues that can arise, which ultimately can end with a flooded basement.

EdgeRouter Lite

In the September 2014 issue, I mentioned my new router, and I got a lot of e-mail messages asking about how well it works. I can say without hesitation it's the nicest router I've ever owned. And, it was less than $100!

Solid-State Drives: Get One Already!

I've been building computers since the 1990s, so I've seen a lot of new technologies work their way into the mainstream. Most were the steady, incremental improvements predicted by Moore's law, but others were game-changers, innovations that really rocketed performance forward in a surprising way.

Switching Monitor Profiles

It's funny, when your home office is your couch, you tend to forget how nice it can be when you dock a laptop and have all the extra screen real estate a monitor brings. For many years, I left my work laptop docked at work, and when I worked from home, I just VPNed in with a personal laptop.

Temper Pi

It was inevitable. Back when the Raspberry Pi was announced, I knew I eventually would use one to power a beer fridge.

Trying to Tame the Tablet

Like many folks, I received a shiny new Nexus 7 tablet for Christmas. This brought me great joy and excitement as I began to plot my future paperless life. For most of the evening and an hour or so the next day, I was sure the new Android tablet would change my life forever. Sadly, it wasn't that easy.

N900 with a Slice of Raspberry Pi

It may not come as a surprise to anyone who regularly reads my column that I tried to be first in line to order the Raspberry Pi. I mean, what's not to like in a $35, 700MHz, 256MB of RAM computer with HDMI out that runs Linux? In the end, I didn't make the first batch of 10,000, but I wasn't too far behind either.

Your First Bite of Raspberry Pi

I have to give Kyle Rankin all the credit for my Raspberry Pi collection. I never really felt geeky enough to do anything with an Arduino, and for some reason I mentally lumped the RPi into the same world. Boy was I short-sighted! Thankfully Kyle showed me the light, and I managed to snag some of the new 512MB model B units.

Getting Started with 3-D Printing: the Hardware

I've been interested in 3-D printers ever since I saw one at a Maker Faire a few years ago, but it was only a year ago when I started seriously thinking about having one of my own. At that point, I started to realize just how many different options existed and ultimately started researching the RepRap family of 3-D printers (more on the different printer families below).

ZaReason's Valta X79

I was recently contacted by Earl Malmrose of ZaReason, who wanted to know if I'd like to review ZaReason's new Linux-based desktop computer, built around the new Intel 6-Core processor and quad channel memory.

Practice Hacking on Your Home Router

Although it's true that I tend to focus mostly on Linux in systems administration (after all, that is my day job), I've always had a secondary interest in security, whether it's hardening systems, performing forensics on a hacked system, getting root on a pico projector or even trying my hand at finding and exploiting vulnerabilities.

Zorin PC

After waiting like Job for the pre-installed Linux machines we deserved, we've arrived at a literal Garden of Eden full of worthy choices. A compelling new offering is the Zorin PC, a new mini-laptop that runs its own Linux distro, Zorin OS.

Raspberry Pi: Tiny Computer That Runs Linux

700MHz processor, 256MB of RAM. It doesn't seem that long ago since I was running a desktop PC like that. However, these are the specs of a new keyring-sized computer to be released by a UK not for profit company. They hope to be able to sell it for $25 dollars a pop, and best of all, it runs Linux.

Get Green, with Brown!

The folks at Recompute have taken the notion of "Going Green" to a whole new level. They've made computer cases out of recyclable cardboard. We had the pleasure of speaking with Recompute's Brenden Macaluso and took one of their computers for a test drive. Here's what we found:

The MosKeyto's Buzz

A review of a USB drive might seem like a silly notion, but when the USB drive is barely bigger than the USB port itself, it seems worth mentioning. I recently was sent a LaCie MosKeyto USB drive, and I must admit, it's even smaller than I expected it would be. In fact, the cover to the Flash drive is actually bigger than the drive itself!

PLUG And The Fender Mustang

Recently I decided I needed a new guitar amplifier for my studio. Its sole employment would be studio work, so I looked for a small lightweight amp with a good sound, high-quality digital effects, and amplifier/cabinet modeling. Of course I'm always on the look-out for hardware that can be edited from a computer running Linux, and did I mention that a low cost would be nice ?

Power Supplies

One hundred forty-seven dollars and thirty-nine cents—that is the cost for replacing a power supply for an old MiniITX computer system I found in my office. Mind you, the entire unit cost about $199, and that was five years ago, but still, the cost for a replacement power supply is absurd.