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Introducing Llama Cam Powered by Ubiquiti and Azure

TL;DR; I used a couple of Unifi cameras, farm WiFi and the Azure cloud to share the joy of llamas with the world.

An Idea is Forming

“Hmmm, how can I share the fruits of my networking escapades with the world? Or, if not the world, at least a couple of people.”

That was the thought I had one evening while probably building a Lego model πŸ€·β€β™‚οΈ. In the past 4-5 months I have upgraded my farm WiFi to the best I can make it. Why? Read about that here. In any case, I wanted to find a way to share some of the fun and excitement I get from all this equipment and figuring out how it works. Considering at the time of writing that the world is being turned upside down with the COVID-19 pandemic, I wanted to make something that could bring a smile, a bit of warmth, a bit of happiness.

The idea of Llama Cam was born. I have about 25 llamas on my farm (I say “about” as they keep spawning), and I often share them on video calls, web shows, social media and many other ways. People always like llamas, and why wouldn’t you! What if I could use my new Unifi cameras to stream live footage of llamas?

In fact, a single tweet confirmed my brilliant idea.

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Learning How To NAS with the Synology DS920+

Disclaimer: Synology sent me a DS920+ review unit, so I made this review. Kinda.

I decided to install a NAS on my local network, having never done it before. Come along as I fumble my way through the whole thing. I have no idea what I am doing. Once set up, I move my Plex server to the NAS for added pixel pushing to my TV.


Farm WiFi Off The Grid with Ubiquiti and Solar

TL;DR; I made a Unifi camera work at my gate using solar power and long range WiFi. Also read my initial setup, and expansion with UDM-PRO and cameras to get the background.

Okay, I know. This networking exercise of my farm in country Australia has gone a bit further than I had planned, expected and anticipated. However, I am having a ton of fun with it, learning about active and passive PoE, NAS type hard drives, antenna radio patterns and so much more. It kinda blows my mind 🀯 how much there is to it. Soooo, why not add some complexity to the whole thing and add a camera at my gate. Where there is no power. Or network. Continue Reading


Farm WiFi Version 2 – Unifi, Dream Machine, Cameras and Oh So Much Cabling

If you haven’t read about farm WiFi Version 1, do that first.

Here is what happened. I spend some hard earned dollars on getting two Unifi AP-LR units and two Unifi Outdoor Mesh APs, as well as a 24-port switch and a cloud key to upgrade my oh so patchy WiFi on my farm. I had great feedback on that post from all sorts of people. Some were keen to hear more, some questioned some of my setup (I am a total network newbie), and Ubiquiti also noticed.

They messaged me and asked for more details on what I was trying to do and what my plans were. And a couple of weeks later they send a “care package” with more Unifi toys. I am not getting paid to write anything, I am not promoting their products in any way I wouldn’t do anyway when I like something, and they certainly aren’t telling me what to write. It is just what nice companies do. It is a win-win, as I get new bits to play with, set up and evaluate. Ubiquiti get some real world feedback, some public promotion from the community and everyone is happy.

Initially I had planned on getting a Unifi Security Gateway to handle firewall, access rules and DHCP, as well as 2-3 cameras to cover some portion of the property. As it turned out, it became rather more than that.

Unifi sent me 5 cameras, 2 airMax NanoStations, a FlexHD, a Dream Machine Pro and a partridge in a pear tree. Extremely generous. Which meant that now the really hard work could begin.

Toys Continue Reading


Updating Farm Wi-Fi with Ubiquiti Unify

TL;DR: I upgraded part of my Wi-Fi network on my farm with Unify equipment after years of “making do”.

Let me Explain the Setting

Roughly 5 years ago I moved, with my family, to a farm in rural Victoria, a state in the South of Australia.

Farm View

While it is beautiful and we absolutely love living here, there are technical challenges. Australia is not known for amazing internet connections and speeds. In fact, we are number 50 on the list of global internet speeds beaten by Kenya, Luxemburg, Qatar and a lot more (46 others actually). If you then move to the middle of nowhere in Australia, you are asking for a world of Internet pain. And of course I work from home in technology and recording lots of videos. We are too far from the phone exchange to get even an ADSL connection, there is no fiber (that is something you eat in these parts), and there is no mobile connection.Β When we moved in we took over a satellite internet connection which tested as follows. Continue Reading


A Year With My Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Extreme

Disclaimer: The below laptop was provided by the Lenovo INsiders program. No payment nor incentive was received to write this article, nor was is approved nor vetted by Lenovo.

In December 2018 I received a Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Extreme, and since then I have used it as my daily machine both in my office, on the road and for everything else. This post expresses some of my thoughts, good and bad, about the device collected through 12 months.

The Hardware

I’ll start with what comes out of the box. The actual machine and its physical form. If you are familiar with ThinkPad, the X1 Extreme is both an old friend, and a new slightly different cousin. If you want all of the tech spec, which I won’t go through, check them out on the official Lenovo page.

The device is unmistakable ThinkPad with the sturdy and time proven keyboard, the red trackpoint adorning the center of the keyboard and the matte black finish. Personally I have never got used to the trackpoint. I am a touchpad kinda person. But for many many ThinkPad users that trackpoint is the most efficient way to control their pointer.

ThinkPad X1 Extreme Keyboard

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Azure Community Live – A New Online Meetup

From this January 2020 I am part of a small team that will start up a new kind of community meetup. Together with Geert van der Cluijsen and Esteban “Steve” Garcia (more on those lovely people below), Azure Community Live is a way to offer Microsoft Azure knowledge to even more people. Because a few people has asked questions about what it is and why, both on social media and in person, I thought I’d answer them here. But first:

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Tips for Creating Inclusive Community Events

Some thoughts on what the last 10 years of organising DDD Melbourne has taught me, when it comes to inclusion. Enjoy (and learn).

[embedyt] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fxRVbEFhZJM[/embedyt]


Five Reasons to Choose Cloud Computing

I have been working with some form of cloud computing for the better part of 10 years. As a developer I used Azure worker roles and virtual machines many years ago, and now, working for A Cloud Guru, I spend my working week teaching over a million students how to use Azure and get those skills certified.

And while I interact mainly with people who are already in the clouds of computing, I was thinking. What make people choose a cloud computing platform, like Azure, in the first place. I have five main reasons I normally share with people asking why choose cloud computing.

Watch below to get a free virtual kitten.


Creating Content with Impact

It has been over a year since I posted on this site. Wow. Time flies. In that time I have created a ton of video and course content for A Cloud Guru, which has taught me a lot about what works and what doesn’t when it comes to creating content.

At the same time I have set up a new home office, and decided to try out my new lights, magical blue wall and new space in general. Hence the video below on creating content with impact.

I know that the audio is still a bit off, and I need a proper teleprompter. All that is to come over the next little while.


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