A DIY $10 battery replacement in a $133 Fitbit Alta HR got it working fine again

Date Published: Fri, 21 May 2021 18:47:06 +0200

As usual a while after the warranty had passed, my wife's Fitbit Alta HR stopped showing the heart rate and the battery life had dropped from 7 days to about one day. Basically it was no longer functional, and considering the cost of a new one being $133, what did I have to lose by trying to fit a replacement battery myself for $10 from AliExpress.

I watched a YouTube video for the same model showing a battery replacement, and it took me only about 30 minutes to do it. For this one the only real tool you need is the tiny Torx screwdriver. I had invested in a iFixit toolkit a while back so I had everything I needed.

The soldering of the battery wires was the most finicky part, and it is worth noting carefully how the wires are threaded down past the board. I had to reposition the wires after soldering the first time as I realised they would short against the two metal lugs under which the board must slot in. There are two tiny grooves cut into the board and the wires can pass down through there. I take photos too as I'm working so that I can reference back on something I may have missed, like this.

And that was it! Charged it for about two hours, and it has powered up fine with all its sensors reading. It should run at least another year to two years I hope.

See photos at My Technology and Gadgets / Repairing Fitbit Alta HR

#technology #fitbit #DIY #fitbitbattery

My Technology and Gadgets / Repairing Fitbit Alta HR

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Google rediscovers RSS (Remember Google Reader?): tests new feature to ‘follow’ sites in Chrome on Android

Date Published: Thu, 20 May 2021 13:29:09 +0200

Google is testing a new feature for its Chrome browser on Android that lets users “follow” sites to create an updating list of new content they publish. The feature is based on RSS, an open web standard that’s been the backbone of many popular web aggregation tools in the past. That includes Google’s own, much beloved (and now defunct) Google Reader.

The test is small-scale: following sites will only be an option for some US users of Chrome Canary (the bleeding-edge version of Chrome that lets enthusiasts access beta features).

There is no way I'd keep up with reading 500+ tech news articles per day if it was not for an RSS reader. It eliminates all the site algorithms and adverts etc whilst I'm scanning for topics of interest. It was a sad day when Google Reader closed down, but it turned out there were many excellent alternatives that have been going strong all this time. I really hope we see baked-in RSS functionality across all browsers. Brave Browser has Brave News and I recall Edge also has something like this where the RSS part is basically transparent to the user. The user must be able to start with a clean slate though and add just what they want to see.

See Google rediscovers RSS: tests new feature to ‘follow’ sites in Chrome on Android

#technology #RSS #news #googlereader #browser

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Remember RSS?

SA Government takes first step toward mapping out electric vehicle strategy for SA - Accepts that global technological shifts could leave SA with stranded vehicle assembly assets

Date Published: Thu, 20 May 2021 11:38:30 +0200

“We need to do that with urgency because the reality of climate change is such that countries are setting targets of how many fossil fuel vehicles they want on their roads, and we want investors and headquarters of OEMs to see South Africa putting up its hand very early in the decision-making process about where production will be located in future.

“You miss that bus, then others would have a consolidated presence in the electric vehicle market,” he said.

Finally government is waking up to the fact that the export market is not going to be buying combustion engines in the future. But the process is only starting now, and we are a good year behind the times already.

See Government takes first step toward mapping out electric vehicle strategy for SA

#environment #EV #southafrica

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Accepts that global technological shifts could leave SA with stranded vehicle assembly assets.

How to install KDE Plasma 5 on Linux... Because you can run more than one desktop environment on Linux on your existing installation

Date Published: Wed, 19 May 2021 20:24:43 +0200

If you're running a non-KDE environment right now it's worth knowing you can install KDE alongside it without reinstalling Linux, and you keep using your existing data. You can essentially switch between desktop environments at the login screen. The same actually goes if you are a KDE user and want to test out some other desktop environment (but would you want to?).

Linux distros are really just a starting point with a pre-configured desktop and a collection of applications. From that point on, you make it your own and customise and add what you want to.

See How to install KDE Plasma 5 on Linux

#technology #linux #opensource #KDE

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KDE Plasma 5 is a beautiful, fully-featured desktop environment for the Linux desktop. It's highly modern and has tons of configuration options that any

Why I bought an Ambient Weather WS-2902C weather station and where I upload the weather data to

Date Published: Wed, 19 May 2021 16:32:48 +0200

I settled on this weather station after my Acurite 5-in-1 station started recording 50 degree C temperatures and other issues. I was looking for something that was good bang-for-the-buck, which could work in the Southern Hemisphere without issues, could ultimately connect to Weewx if the manufacturer's cloud service is disabled (like Acurite did to many of their users), and that could also do direct uploads which would mean not having to run a Raspberry Pi and maintain it.

So I've laid out the reasons and the configuration I went through so far at the linked page below.

Phase 2 is at least complete, and I'm very happy with. Taking a break until I find time to do Phase 2 which will be redoing the Weewx from scratch on the Raspberry Pi.

See Configuring the Ambient Weather WS-2902C weather station | Gadgeteer

#technology #weatherstation #PWS

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As I mentioned on my page about the Acurite weather station I was pretty peeved that Acurite discontinued the cloud support for that weather station just a year after I bought it, and the upgrade deal only covered USA and Canada, so I was stuck with it. That page also described how I used Weewx with the Interceptor driver to keep publishing my...

Google released a Tiles API for Wear OS, but it's not a Tile API which is sad

Date Published: Wed, 19 May 2021 15:22:03 +0200

One of the biggest draw cards for Apple's AirTag is that it crowdsources location information from millions of iPhones circulating around the globe. Imagine if Google had struck a deal with Tile to include an API of theirs inside all Android phones to achieve something similar... It would have been massive as there are even more Android phones circulating (except that for quite a while it is only the last 2 to 3 year old Android phones that would get the update). This would have leveraged both the power and reach of Google and Tile to have quickly neutralised Apple's advantage.

But it was not to be... the Tiles API that got me so excited is in fact an API for the widgets (Tiles) found on Wear OS watches...

One would assume though that Google should do such a deal with Tile. For now users will have to rejoice in a slightly improved Wear OS, and the loss of the long battery life Samsung Tizen OS. The reason Tizen OS had such good battery life and features, was that it was not held back by Wear OS, so I look forward to seeing the comparative reviews in the next while.

See What’s new for Wear

#technology #smartwatch #WearOS #Tile #tracking

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We're driven by the impact of wearables on people's lives. Today, we’re sharing the next chapter of Wear with updates later this year.

Google Photos improves memory recollections and enhances Cinematic photos from stills

Date Published: Wed, 19 May 2021 14:51:47 +0200

Having used Apple Photos for the last 3 months I must say I still have to default back to Google Photos if I really need to search and download something. Obviously Google does a lot more machine learning and AI and analytics of your photos (how do they know for a fact otherwise that most of the 4 trillion photos they store are never viewed).

But that aside, the new Cinematic can now be generated from only two similar still photos using machine learning. Often when we're trying to capture a very important photo, we take two or three photos. Well now those will be recognised and made into Cinematic photos with no 3rd party software and computing power required.

So good to see Google Photos at least not resting on its laurels and moving forward with better personalised memories and even suppression of some people or time periods.

See Your photos, your memories, your way

#technology #photography #googlephotos #memories

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We’re using AI to power new features in Google Photos that resurface meaningful moments — while giving you control over what you relive.

Demeo is the best multiplayer, virtual-reality D&D clone ever made - Issues aside, it already feels like sharing a real-life dice-and-minis table with friends

Date Published: Tue, 18 May 2021 14:59:12 +0200

You can move clunky, fantastical miniatures around a board, then watch them come to life to do battle while nearby friends scream in delight and/or agony when a dice roll changes everything at a moment's notice. And all of that happens on-demand within a genius VR implementation. A blend of tabletop and digital co-op gaming with a dash of real-life presence.

Unlike traditional tabletop games, Demeo's current version offers very few noncombat options. Players cannot get into conversations that might require "diplomacy." There are no "dungeoneering" checks to find and disable traps. You can't even activate "acrobatics" to determine whether or not your character can successfully jump across a gap.

VR really needs a lot more quality games and simulators for it to take off with a more mainstream adoption rate. I'm still holding back more for that reason as it is about the content for me, and not just to demonstrate a concept. This game does look like a step forward in that direction.

See Demeo is the best multiplayer, virtual-reality D&D clone ever made

#technology #gaming #VR #simulation #D&D

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Issues aside, it already feels like sharing a real-life dice-and-minis table with friends.

Remotely manage your Raspberry Pi (or other Linux machine) easily with Cockpit via a web browser - Check logs, running services, run updates, etc

Date Published: Tue, 18 May 2021 14:14:05 +0200

I do still use RPi-Monitor for temperature and load monitoring, but Cockpit does everything else (no temperature monitoring as then I could use just this one service). It will also install on any other running Linux computer.

Cockpit is easily accessible from a web browser so you can have a tab open per Raspberry Pi (or configure a single dashboard to access many Pi's) to quickly check log files, run software updates, drop to terminal prompt, manage user accounts, check what services are running or disabled, and graphs of CPU, memory, network and storage performance. It's all those essential things you should do but now don't have to SSH separately into every Raspberry Pi.

See Manage your Raspberry Pi with Cockpit

#technology #opensource #raspberrypi #linux

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Last year, I wrote about using Cockpit to manage my Linux servers. It is a web-based tool that gives you a clean, powerful interface for managing multiple servers and their associated services and applications. It also eases regular day-to-day administrative tasks.

4 essential characteristics of successful APIs - For any external system/app to connect to a server system

Date Published: Tue, 18 May 2021 13:01:51 +0200

If you are building an application that uses some variation of a client/server model, you need an application programming interface (API). An API is a clearly defined boundary between one process and another. A common boundary in web applications is a REST/JSON API.

An example of an API usage could be a police system that must verify if someone has a criminal record or not, for applying maybe for a liquor license business. Where paperwork was sent manually to the police to verify whether the liquor license applicant has a criminal record or not, could be replaced with an intersystem API call from the liquor licensing system, where the API receives an identity number, and only returns and true/false without exposing any personal details.

But some important characteristics must be designed into that API for it to be sure and to function correctly.

See 4 essential characteristics of successful APIs

#technology #API #programming #privacy #clientserver

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If you are building an application that uses some variation of a client/server model, you need an application programming interface (API). An API is a clearly defined boundary between one process and another. A common boundary in web applications is a REST/JSON API. While developers may be mainly focused on making the API work (or function), there are some "non-functional" requirements that need their attention. Four must-have non-functional requirements for all APIs are:

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