Monthly Archives: January 2015

The best Raspberry Pi 3 starter kits compared and reviewed

Update Mar-2016: Most of the kits in the review now contain Raspberry Pi 3 models. The kits themselves haven’t changed significantly (minor SD card and power supply swaps), but the RPi2 has been swapped out for RPi 3. 🙂

Update 20-Feb-2015: All kits have been updated to include Raspberry Pi 2 models! (except for the Make kit.)

The Raspberry Pi is an amazing low-cost computer. Unlike the ever-popular Arduino microcontroller, the Raspberry Pi was designed to be a full-blown computer from the start. It can run various flavors of Linux/Unix, act as a Media Center, and even moonlight as a Microcontroller.

raspberry-pi-b+-boardAnd what better way to get started with a Raspberry Pi than with a starter kit? The question is: which one to get?

Continue reading The best Raspberry Pi 3 starter kits compared and reviewed

Adding a 1TB Seagate Backup Plus Slim HDD to my Wii U (or: How I hacked a USB 2.0 cable.)

The last article I wrote about was a review of 1TB portable USB 3.0 hard drives. During this review, I tested each drive with a variety of computers and other devices that had USB ports, including my Nintendo Wii and Wii U consoles. Part of this review was trying to answer the question of “Which is the best hard drive for the Nintendo Wii U?” — which I couldn’t definitively answer. I found that all of these slim 1TB drives worked just fine with the old Nintendo Wii (the previous generation console), but only 1 of them worked with the Wii U (the most current Nintendo console.)

wii-u+some-hard-driveWell, I should say that only 1 of the drives almost worked with the Wii U. That is, until I figured out a clever hack to get it to work reliably.

Continue reading Adding a 1TB Seagate Backup Plus Slim HDD to my Wii U (or: How I hacked a USB 2.0 cable.)

1TB Portable USB 3.0 HDD review: WD My Passport Ultra -vs- Seagate Backup Plus Slim -vs- Toshiba -vs- HGST -vs- Samsung

It is this author’s opinion that 2015 should be the ‘Year of the Backup’. It is 2015 and almost no one takes backups. And even those of us who do take backups, well, we don’t do it often enough.

Originally the problem of backing up was not having a reliable, yet automated program. (Much less an easy way to restore a backup, if needed.) But Windows 7 has a good backup system now and Windows 8 has an even better one. And Mac OS X has had its excellent TimeMachine feature for quite a while now. So these are now non-issues. This leaves only one question: Where to back up to?

Tape drives were never a good choice for consumers, CD-Rs and DVD+Rs were too small and too slow. And until recently, most external hard drives were big, bulky, and required a power brick to be plugged in just to run them. Oh, and they were somewhat slow running over the USB 2.0 port.

all-five-1tb-drivesFortunately, technology has reached a point where portable, self-powered USB 3.0 hard drives the size of a deck of cards can hold a full 1 to 2 TB! And they’re fast, too!

Update 15-Feb-2015! Two new drives have been added to the review: The HGST Touro Mobile vs the Samsung P3 Portable.

For this review, we picked out a portable USB 3.0 hard drive from 5 major manufacturers, WD, Seagate, Toshiba, HGST, and Samsung and put each drive through its paces.

Continue reading 1TB Portable USB 3.0 HDD review: WD My Passport Ultra -vs- Seagate Backup Plus Slim -vs- Toshiba -vs- HGST -vs- Samsung