Home Assistant & Node-Red Flows

Diving into home automation can be daunting, especially with so many different hubs and protocols out there. WIFI devices are becoming increasingly popular, due to the simplicity of it, but they often rely on manufacturer servers, or the cloud to integrate. I wanted something setup that runs 100% internally within my own network – Home Assistant is an open source project that does just that.




Uploading VEEAM Backups to Google Drive

We always copied our weekly full VEEAM backups to tape, then drove them across town to another building, so that in the event of a geographic emergency (tornado), we could recover. Tapes kept piling up, so I wanted to find a new way to store this data. We’re a Google Drive shop, which comes with unlimited storage – so I figured why not use that?



Kitchen Dashboard

My wife has always used a paper calendar, but once we had our baby, I told her that we needed to share a digital calendar so we could coordinate daycare, activities, etc. She wanted something mounted on the wall in the kitchen, so I originally mounted a 10″ Android tablet – which worked fine, other than it being too small to read anything unless you were right on top of it.


Palo Alto Firewalls – Automate Offsite Log Backup

Our organization has over 15,000 users, so our Palo Alto Firewall logs add up fast. On an average day, we may have about 8GB worth of traffic & URL logs. Therefore, the firewall doesn’t keep them for very long, and I wanted to come up with a simple solution to archive logs in the event that we need to lookup something.




Windows ELK Stack & Palo Alto Firewall

I’ve seen a few tutorials around the web showing how to setup an ELK stack setup for Palo Alto Firewalls. I’m not a Linux guru, and our whole environment at work is primary Windows servers, so I wanted to stick with what I know – but haven’t found any tutorials on how to setup an ELK stack on a Windows box. I’ll post a brief setup of how I accomplished this below.



Using Rainmeter to show travel times via Google Maps DistanceMatrix API

I’m going to eventually make a ‘smart mirror’, but in the mean time have been thinking of useful information I could display on it. I was trying to figure out how to have it display transit times to both my work and my wife’s work via Google Maps API, and figure traffic into the calculations. I wanted to use RainMeter to show this data, as it’s better looking than some RPi solutions that others have come up with.



4 Player Pedestal DIY Arcade

I’ve owned a few bartop arcades, but they were all CNC kits and I wanted to build a 4 player arcade myself. I liked the idea of a pedestal arcade, so I could mount a big TV on the wall in front of it, and adjust the distance, size of the TV, etc. I think a nice 50″ would look great in front of the pedestal – especially on new games such as MK:X and some modern games available through Steam. I’m not great with wood working, but I’m learning – so I’m going to document my progress through the whole thing (sorry for the poor lighting – I did this in January in the Chicago area, so it was too cold outside, and didn’t want to tie up my garage for a couple weeks). I’m following some pictures and directions another person posted in this thread:,134038.0.html




Summer Deployment

It’s that time again! Getting ready to deploy about 1,500 desktops and 1,000 laptops out to the schools for our Summer refresh. I’ve created a custom scripted image via KACE, so it the most tedious part should be the physical setup of every machine.