Ben Laurie

Ben does security and crypto by day. By night, he is the underpaid sysadmin for the family network. Twitter. G+. Blog."

HOWTO: Ultra-cheap Sous-vide


I'm a keen cook, and I've wanted to experiment with sous-vide forever. But "proper" sous-vide machines cost a fortune. So I was quite excited when my son pointed me to a Kickstarter for a cheap sous-vide, Codlo. The basic idea here is to use a slow cooker or a rice cooker for the water bath and an external thermostat to switch on/off the mains supply.

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Fixing Network Attached Storage with commodity hardware and BSD

Many years ago, I finally got sick of failing disks and the panic that follows them, so I decided to buy a NAS (Network Attached Storage). A fair amount of research suggested that ReadyNAS devices were cost-effective, flexible and reliable. So, I bought an NV+. Although its a little eccentric to configure (done via a web interface), it was straight-forward enough, and I could even install my own sofware on it, as it runs Linux. This was useful: I run Bacula to do my backups and I could install it directly on the NAS.

Of course, the whole point of using a NAS is that the disks are replicated, so I should never have to deal with a failed disk again - just swap in a new one and the data will be recovered from the other disk(s). What's more, the ReadyNAS will even allow you to expand your storage by adding bigger disks as time goes by. What could possibly go wrong?

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Hubsan X4 quadcopters: tiny cheap, powerful copter


The Hubsan X4 quadcopter is a tiny, cheap copter with enough power to do flips, enough smarts to stay level and pointing right, and enough tough to drop from 50 foot onto grass without damage. It flies for ten minutes or so and recharges from USB. The separately available spares package include copious spare blades, a spare shell and a spare battery.

It's cheap (under £30), includes a remote control and is an absolute blast to fly. It can handle quite a fresh wind and is fast enough that it's best fun outdoors, though it appears that people more skilled than I can also fly it indoors. Without hitting things.

BTW, important hint: connect the power when the copter is on a level surface. If you don't, it's impossible to fly.

Hubsan X4 H107 R/C Micro Quad Copter 2.4GHZ [Amazon UK]

The Hubsan X4 H107 Quadcopter Crash Pack [Amazon UK]

Hubsan X4 H107 R/C Micro Quad Copter 2.4GHZ [Amazon US]

The Hubsan X4 H107 Quadcopter Crash Pack [Amazon US]