Gizmokid2005, Organized Chaos!

Archive for the ‘life’ Category

Raspberry Pi Wall Calendar

Wednesday, March 29th, 2017

I recently decided to take it upon myself to build a wall-mounted simple calendar using a RaspberryPi I had laying around, trying to make it as lightweight as possible and without depending on other services (except for Google Calendar where the calendar actually lives). Here I’m going to put together as much information surrounding this build as I can.

Hardware (including the prices I paid when I ordered):

Product Price Notes
Raspberry Pi B2 $35 (Had this on-hand, bought years ago when it first came out.)
Wifi Adapter $5 I used an adapter I had laying around from an original Pi project I wasn't using anymore, pretty much anything should work.
Acer V226HQL 22" Monitor (Amazon) $89.99
AmazonBasics HDMI-DVI 3' adapter (Amazon) $5.49
AUKEY USB Wall charger (Amazon) $9.99
Anker 1' microUSB Cable (Amazon) $14.99 I only used 1 of the 6 cables included in this set, but the cables have always held up well and work great for other things.
Generic 8' extension cord (Amazon) $7.24
3M Command Strips #17201-ES (Amazon) $2-4 I bought these from the local Home Depot as it was easier to determine what exactly I had for options and what I wanted to use.
3M Command Strips #17206-ES (Amazon) $2-4 I bought these from the local Home Depot as well, and with both sets I was able to get smaller quantities so I didn't have much extra.
Total ~$170

For the software, I simply used the default Raspbian distro. I installed Firefox to use for the browser and installed the mFull extension to allow for full-screen setup and set Firefox to autolaunch.

I wound up using 3M command strips for all of the mounting as I didn’t want to try and drill into the walls in the apartment (and subsequently need to patch them when I moved out). It also worked great to mount the plugs to the open space behind the display panel.

The code that I used for the simple html file I’m using is below, obfuscated for obvious reasons.

        <!-- This is the line that refreshes the calendar every 300 seconds. -->
        <meta http-equiv="refresh" content="300" >
        <title>Home Calendar</title>
    <body style="background-color:#CCCCCC;"> <!-- I didn't want a completely white background, but not very dark either. -->
            <!-- This is a widget from -->
            <iframe src="REDACTED" frameborder="0" width="322" height="74"></iframe>
            <!-- This is one of Weather Underground's free "stickers" that you can get (they're the best I could find but I'm still not completely happy with them): -->
            <span style='display:block !important; width: 488px; text-align: center; font-family: sans-serif; font-size: 12px;'><a href='REDACTED' title='LOCATION Weather Forecast'><img src='REDACTED' alt='Find more about Weather in LOCATION' /></a></span>
            <!-- Here I just used the embed code from Google Calendar, did two separate embeds, one for the month view and one for the agenda view -->
            <iframe src="REDACTED" style="border-width:0" width="900" height="800" frameborder="0" scrolling="no"></iframe>
            <iframe src="REDACTED" style="border-width:0" width="900" height="800" frameborder="0" scrolling="no"></iframe>

I used 2 simple bash scripts in a cron to turn the monitor off at night and on in the morning.

# m h  dom mon dow   command
0 7 * * * /home/pi/
0 23 * * * /home/pi/

/usr/bin/tvservice -p
chvt 1
chvt 7

/usr/bin/tvservice -p
/usr/bin/tvservice -o

The obligatory pictures of the finished product.

Raspberry Pi Wall calendar

So far I’ve had no issues with this setup. I’ve also enabled VNC and SSH on the pi for management without needing to disturb the setup.

Hopefully this information helps someone else!


Cousin Mapping

Tuesday, July 8th, 2014

If you’ve ever tried to figure out what to call one of your cousins or how they’re related to you, you know just how difficult it can be. I came across this handy chart that may lend a hand in figuring that out…

Cousin Chart

T-Mobile Galaxy S4 on AT&T

Friday, October 4th, 2013

I recently purchased a Samsung Galaxy S4 from T-Mobile. I liked the fact that they have an unlocked boot loader and I am trying to cut down on my outrageous phone bill. One thing that was a requirement was that the device had to work with AT&T’s 4G & LTE bands in case T-Mobile didn’t have all of the coverage that AT&T did. So I did a comparison of specs between AT&T and T-Mobile as shown below.

T-Mobile vs AT&T Galaxy S4

Turns out they’re basically the same hardware. Sadly, T-Mobile’s coverage isn’t as good as AT&T’s is so I had to swap back in my AT&T SIM card. I can confirm from actual usage that AT&T’s service works GREAT on the T-Mobile Galaxy S4!

I did have a bit of trouble getting the service to work entirely, AT&T wasn’t the most willing to help, so below are the APN settings you’ll need to get your phone working correctly.

Name: ATT PTA (This can be whatever you want)

APN: pta

Proxy: Not Set

Port: Not Set

User name: Not Set

Password: Not Set

Server: Not Set


MMS Proxy:

MMS Port: 80

MCC: 310

MNC: 410

Authentication Type: Not Set

APN Type: default,mms,supl,hipri

APN Protocol: IPv4

APN Roaming Protocol: IPv4

Bearer: Unspecified


That’s it! Enjoy your T-Mobile Samsung Galaxy S4 on AT&T!


Thank You!

Friday, January 21st, 2011

I’m a bit late, but this post needs to be out there. I just wanted to extend a huge thank you to everyone who helped and passed the word along about my A family in need post. I was able to gather enough to give the family a boost to their Christmas.


A Family in Need

Friday, December 3rd, 2010

Normally I wouldn’t write a post like this, there’s a lot of people out there that need help these days, especially in this economy. This case hits too close to home to not pass the word along. Last year my family was down and out and had a very hard time making ends meet and was on the verge of not having any type of Christmas for my younger siblings. Word got out and many many people came forward to help out my family. My brother came home one night from the farm he worked at with a carload full of gifts, etc for my family and sisters so they could have a Christmas celebration. This year, we are trying to Pay It Forward. Not only did that movie strike home and make a good point, but my family was helped last year, this year it’s time to help another.

My best friend, and best man from my wedding, has fallen on hard times. He has been getting less than 20 hours/week at work to support his family of 4, wife and 2 kids, 13 and 9, but since last week has been taken off the schedule by a boss who is egotistical and backstabbing to say the least. (I never got along with her either, and I get along with most people.) Now it’s the holidays, he has a job, but has no hours; the boss won’t fire him so she doesn’t have to pay unemployment (it’s a known fact as she’s done this with many other people in the past), but he’s still employed so he can’t get the benefits he needs to support his family.

Angela and Jason:

Angela and Jason

Ciera and Collin:

Ciera and Collin

My Mom and I are working gathering anything and everything we can to help this family out. As I said before, he has two kids, Ciera, 13, and Collin, 9, who could really use a Christmas to look forward too. Ciera wears a medium to large shirt and size 11 pants and 11 women’s shoe. Collin wears size large boys shirt (10/12) and size 12 boys pants and size 8 shoes. They have an Xbox 360 and Nintendo Wii that they could use games for as well.

Anything and everything would help. If you can give even a $5 gas card, or $5 cash towards gas, or food, that would mean more than you know to this family. They have hearts made of gold and would do ANYTHING and EVERYTHING they could to help you out, down to giving you the shirt of their back. Even in the situation they are in now, they would do that, if it would help you.

Please help us Pay It Forward to a family who is in desperate need. If you can help in ANY way please let me know. You can contact me at any one of the methods on my contact page.

I have a Paypal address you can use for donations as well:

Thanks to everyone who took the time to read this. Please pass it along, I’d like to help this family as much as I possibly can.


Why work doesn’t happen at work. [VIDEO]

Monday, November 29th, 2010

This is a PERFECT video/talk about why work doesn’t actually happen at work. Everybody, especially management, should watch this and take it to heart.

Why work doesn’t happen at work. [VIDEO].

Why I Don’t Want Kids

Wednesday, November 17th, 2010

With all the people I’ve seen recently having kids or getting pregnant, I’ve decided to make a nice post as to why I have decided to not have kids. This post is not meant to offend, mock, make fun of, laugh at, or degrade anyone, it’s just my opinions and reasoning for not having kids myself. (more…)

Symbian, N8, N900 Thoughts and Questions

Monday, October 11th, 2010

Tonight I was thinking, as I so often do, about mobile phones, how my current usage dictates what I buy and use, and how a different device, in one way or the other, can benefit or change my current experience of a mobile device. (more…)


Thursday, September 23rd, 2010

I didn’t write this, but it was shown to me by a teacher in high school. Figured I’d post it again for everyone. Good lesson here.

The longer I live, the more I realize the impact of attitude on life. Attitude, to me, is more important than facts. It is more important than the past, than education, than money, than circumstances, than failures, than successes, than what other people think or say or do. It is more important than appreance, giftedness or skill. It will make or break a company…a church…a home…a school. The remarkable thing is we have a choice every day regarding the attitude we will embrace for that day. We cannot change our past…we cannot change the fact that people will act in a certain way. We cannot change the inevitable. The only thing we can do is play on the one string we have and that is our attitude…I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% how I react to it. And so it is with you…we are in charge of our Attitudes.



Federal Regulation D on Savings Accounts

Friday, February 12th, 2010

So, I’ve got a savings and checking account with National City, and when I want to put money away, I just transfer it into my savings account. Makes perfect sense no? I thought so too, but I knew there was some type of limit on the transfers, so I figured I’d call up National City and figure it out….so here it is:

Federal Regulation D limits the Withdrawals (or transfer OUT) from the Savings account to another account to 6 not-in-person withdrawals per month. Now, while that’s an arbitrary number, I can understand a limit to make sure you don’t try to use your savings as a checking account. Though, the fee for going over this regulation? $15/each, but there’s a catch, that’s ONLY for the first month. If you go over again in a subsequent month, there will be a $1,000,000.00 hold put on your savings account until you go into a branch and talk with a branch manager and regulation officer.

NOTE TO SELF: It’s ALWAYS good to make sure you know the implications before doing something. It could save you a LOT of headache.

The things you learn these days.