Steam Link: First impressions

Steam had a sale on their Steam Link device over Christmas and the following week. I picked one up for dirt cheap and figured even if it wasn’t that great, it wouldn’t be more than a few bucks lost.

I got the unit in the mail last night and was impressed immediately with the packaging: It all looks like a nice retail box and set up, not just some brown box that’s bland.

The install/set up is incredibly simple. I plugged into the unit into power and into another HDMI on my TV. Plugged in a mouse into one of the 3 USB ports on the Steam Link, and went through a simple set up which prompted for an update and restart. All total, this might have taken 20 minutes.

Once this is done, you go through some prompts on your computer used for streaming to this which involved confirming a PIN code quick and setting up a new Audio driver (Steam Link can play audio over the TV from the computer!) for streaming to itself. I will say, getting the full sound bar usage off my desktop PC system has been wonderful.

Now, I ran into a couple snags with some games but this was a a mod issue with Fallout 4: Fallout 4 Script Extender (F4SE) uses a custom launcher which isn’t supported properly by Steam. To fix this, you go into Steam and “Add a non steam game”. Browse and find the F4SE launcher/binary, add it to your library and you can now launch it from the Steam Link properly!

Overall, I love it and how simple it is. I’m using a wired Xbox 360 controller and it works great, even over WiFi (AC, 5GHz) and there’s very little lag or latency. Definitely recommend checking it out!

Crockpot Mac and Cheese recipe

This is amazing and comes out wonderfully for any parties/events I go to and the mac and cheese comes out amazing. Everyone asks for the recipe after!

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups (1 lb) uncooked elbow macaroni
  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) butter, cut into pieces
  • 3 cups grated sharp Cheddar cheese
  • 2 cups grated Pepper Jack
  • 6 eggs, beaten
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • (2) 10 3/4-ounce cans condensed Cheddar cheese soup
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper

Boil macaroni until al dente (will fully cook in crockpot). Drain.

In sauce pan, mix shredded cheese and cut up butter stick and cook on low heat until melted and creamy.

In the crockpot, mix everything together then put macaroni and cheese sauce in. Stir.

Set cooker on lowest setting for 3 hours, stirring occasionally.

Email servers? Let’s do it.

Background: Anyone who gets anywhere near INFOSEC information tends to get a little paranoid….or a lot of paranoid. This is just a side effect of knowing what you can do to own people’s information and learn about them. Email can be a weakness in this.

I encourage everyone to think about worst case scenarios related to this. What happens if your primary email account is compromised? What happens if you use it for everything? Well, then someone now can reset any account you have without Two-Factor authentication and even some with it.

Fast forward, and now we have an issue: Do you set up a throw away email for every account you have? Do you use something like ProtonMail that boasts double encryption? What if you set up your own system? Hm…..

In walks iRedMail. Opensource, beautifully simple and it just works. I don’t send many emails (maybe a couple a month at tops) and mostly use it for either news/updates, or for account information. This is good, because setting up your own email solution can get blacklisted quickly and not be able to send emails out. This is fine for me, so using a new set up works like a charm and runs off an encrypted system internally. Add to this that the website isn’t accessible via web, and we have a more solid and secure system. It’s nice getting my feet wet in these projects should other opportunities arise for freelance work as well.

Sometimes peace of mind is worth the extra effort.

Streaming, streaming

Due to a late birthday gift, I ended up with an updated graphics card in my main desktop gaming rig; I can finally stream while playing games without massive FPS loss. Check me out!

Specs on current setup:

  • Stealth Mid size tower
  • 500W Corsair Modular PSU
  • AMD 8 core bulldozer (3.8GHz, stock)
  • Hyper 212+ Cooler
  • 16GB Corsair RAM
  • 240GB Kingston SSD
  • Corsair K70 Red with Blue switches
  • R.A.T. TE Mouse
  • EVGA 1050 ti 4GB

Hope to see you guys in when live!

Migrations, migrations…and SSL

I’ve wanted to use SSL for a while now on my sites to better encrypt traffic and logins on the site. Unfortunately doing this nuked my previous server and had to be restored from backups. As such…

Welcome to a new webserver!

I went through and migrated all hosts from this system to utilize SSL as default using a permanent redirect. The whole process was a bit intense at first but was extremely rewarding. Thankfully, Let’s Encrypt makes this a very simple process:

https://letsencrypt.org/

Add to this a WordPress plugin to allow everything to migrate from host to host, and some fancy internal DNS resolving and everything is now moved over and encrypted. It’s a good feeling seeing the “Secure” posted next to the URL now. Cheers!

Overly complicated ideas: IRC command of servers!

A little background: I get these ideas once in a while that eventually come to fruition after a couple months of brainstorming and tinkering. I’ve had the idea for a while of having a central way to maintain my fleet of Linux servers I host along with Windows if possible. In the past, I used ssh keys to login and run updates. It worked pretty well but I’d like a way to remotely run and/or monitor these. Enter IRC…

Continue reading Overly complicated ideas: IRC command of servers!

Most complicated home network ever…ever.

A little background:

I’ve been building and tinkering with computers since I was about 12, when I got my own laptop and desktop both from garage sales and began swapping parts, doing OS upgrades from floppy disks and doing whatever I could to tinker with them. Fast forward almost two decades, and I’m still at but on a much larger scale.

Continue reading Most complicated home network ever…ever.