ASUS Tinker Board Getting Started Guide

Tinker Board Getting Started Guide

My wife got me a Tinker Board several years ago as a gift and I always meant to cover it on the site but got busy and forgot about it. Due to the ongoing Raspberry Pi shortage and high prices I’ve been reexamining boards from other manufacturers and found that the Tinker Board is widely available for something like ~$76. There are several more powerful versions available as well such as the Tinker Board 2S model.

Today I will correct the injustice done to the Tinker Board and cover how to get a Tinker Board all set up with the latest image and updates. Let’s get started!

Using Cheap 2.5″ SSDs with PS4/Xbox to Improve Performance

Last-Gen Console SSD Upgrade using StarTech

When my wife and I were trying to play Cyberpunk 2077 on our last-gen console it was extremely painful and not just because of the bugs. It was painful because every time I died it would take 2-3 minutes to reload the game.

Eventually I decided to grab one of my spare SSDs and use a USB to 2.5″ SATA adapter and hook it up to our last generation consoles and try installing all of the Cyberpunk files to the SSD. It made a gigantic difference getting my load times down to something closer to 20-30 seconds (much better than 3 minutes).

This is also an incredibly cheap thing to do. Even if you buy a new SSD and a 2.5″ SATA adapter you will spend under $30 or so if you get a minimal capacity SSD. If you already have an older spare SSD even better.

Today I’ll cover how to set this up. Let’s get started!

Read and Reset Car Codes – Wireless ODBII Diagnostic Tool

2006 Chrysler 300C ODB Port

Chances are if you own a vehicle at some point you’ve experienced a check engine light on your vehicle. When this happens it’s common to stop by an auto-parts store or the dealership to have them read the code and determine what is wrong. Most auto parts stores will have a little diagnostic computer they can plug in to read the code.

Today I wanted to highlight a really inexpensive way that you can interface with that same diagnostic computer yourself using a cheap (<$30) adapter that not only allows you to read these codes but to actually reset them!

I’ve found it very empowering to have one of these as I can immediately research any check engine codes my vehicle has and determine what I’m going to need to do to resolve it. It’s also great if you have a check engine light for something you already know about as you are able to reset them yourself. Let’s get started!

Minecraft Java + Bedrock Server Together – Geyser + Floodgate

Minecraft Geyser + Floodgate Paper Minecraft Server

This is a new Docker container to automatically set up and run a Minecraft server that both Java and Bedrock players can connect to! This allows everyone to play on your server no matter which edition of Minecraft you are using. It uses the Geyser and Floodgate plugins to accomplish this.

Since it uses the Paper Minecraft server it also supports any additional plugins that are compatible with Paper / Spigot. This gives you the ability to do many things that are currently impossible to do in Bedrock if you are hosting the official Bedrock dedicated server.

It is fully compatible with my Paper Minecraft Java Server Container and you can swap between these two containers without changing any configuration.

Orange Pi i96 Getting Started Guide

Orange Pi i96

Recently I reviewed the Orange Pi Zero 2 and thought it was a fantastic board. I really like the amount of polish that the Orange Pi line of products have as it is the closest I have seen to anything approaching a Raspberry Pi experience. We also benchmarked the Orange Pi Zero 2 and determined it’s a very capable board.

I recently got a Orange Pi i96 (thanks munecito!) and this board is very exciting because it was purchased on sale for ~$10! That is insanely cheap. The reason it’s so cheap is because it’s a headless board that doesn’t contain any display-out ports.

If you are going to be using the board headless anyways (I use most of my SBCs headlessly) you may be able to save a fortune with this board. Let’s get started!

Android Installation for Orange Pi Guide

Orange Pi Zero 2 Android First Startup

It’s quite a bit more tricky to install Android on the Orange Pi than Linux (which is as simple as writing the image to the SD card with Etcher).

As long as you know the right software to use and where to get it though it’s not too bad. In this guide I’ll show you how to set up Android on the Orange Pi from start to finish. Let’s begin!

eMMC to SD Card Adapters Explained

UUGear eMMC to SD Adapter

The eMMC to SD card adapter shows up a lot in IoT devices. I have owned one for my Raspberry Pi for a while and they are fantastic.

In this article I will explain what these devices are, the main advantages of them (speed/performance) and benchmark some eMMCs to show performance differences. By the end of this article this should give you an idea if this is a type of device you’d want to work with / use.

Let’s begin!

Different Shapes / Sizes / Features of Compute Module 4 Boards

Waveshare PoE CM4 IO Board - Standalone

One of my favorite things about the Raspberry Pi Compute Module 4 is that you basically get to choose your own IO board that the Compute Module 4 plugs into.

For illustration purposes imagine that the IO board is the “motherboard” and the Compute Module 4 is the CPU that you plug into the CPU socket. That’s essentially the relationship between the two!

They come in all shapes and sizes. Some of them even have PCIe and I’ve covered before how to take advantage of true NVMe on the CM4. Today I wanted to show you some of the different IO boards for the Compute Module 4 I have and what features / traits led me to want to try them. Let’s get started!

Getting Root / SSH Access to a Nebra Outdoor Helium Miner

Nebra Outdoor Hotspot Opened

I won’t lie. When I opened the Nebra Outdoor hotspot I was annoyed. Like many, many Helium hotspot owners I paid hundreds of dollars and waited many, many months past expected delivery for a Helium point.

What did I get for my money and patience? I got a several generation outdated Raspberry Pi Compute Module 3 from 2015 that they no doubt paid literally a single digit number of dollars for, some connector boards and wireless chips. And of course it came too late to make any money in this last bull market.

To be fair to Nebra that is a beautiful Pi setup. If only they had used a Compute Module 4 or even a 3+ but still, that is clean except for maybe the wireless-N dongle (wouldn’t have needed it if you used a better Pi). However, it really isn’t going to make me any money at this point and is more interesting as an outdoor enclosed Pi setup to me now.

That means I needed to access it by rooting the device and getting SSH access and in this article I’ll show you exactly how I did it. Let’s begin now!

Getting Started Guide – Raspberry Pi Pico

Pico SDK - Hello World

This guide is meant to help get an environment configured to work with the Raspberry Pi Pico. It’s intended for Linux as even if you don’t use Linux as your main OS you presumably have a Pi that does run Linux and the Pi is a perfectly fine development environment for the Pico!

If you aren’t familiar with the Pico make sure you check out my Raspberry Pi Pico W Explained article as this guide is intended for people who already have the board.

Raspberry Pi Pico W Explained

Raspberry Pi Pico W

The Raspberry Pi Pico and Pico W boards are quite different from other Raspberry Pis. The price tag is very alluring at $6 but you will want to make sure you understand what it is and how it is different from a Raspberry Pi.

This will be a brief article I’ll explain these differences and give you an idea of what kind of uses a Pico is meant for so you can decide if it’s right for you and your project. Let’s get started!

Cryptocurrency ASIC Miners – Security and Hacking Audit

Eclipse - TCF Connection Manager

I’ve been mining cryptocurrency for a very long time. I’ve been recently building out my ASIC farm and I wanted to get an idea of how secure these are as I have a significant investment in this hardware. Considering that ASIC miners are machines that literally print money out of thin air (in the form of cryptocurrency) I figured they’d be quite secure. I haven’t seen any ASIC miner exploits found in years. That’s a good sign right?

Wrong. What happened was all of the ASIC manufacturers stopped releasing their source code. In the early days it was all available on GitHub. After the first set of hacks came out most of them close-sourced their firmware. But James, you might be saying, didn’t that work if there hasn’t been any exploits found this entire time?

Negative. Security through obscurity only slows them down but in the end you are more vulnerable as so few eyeballs will ever see the source code. As a result the security is a joke and today I’ll be presenting extremely serious vulnerabilities for multiple ASIC mining manufacturers. They are definitely *not* secure. They are making mistakes that there’s no way would have happened if the firmware was open source as I will prove to you.

The point will be that you need to upgrade to the latest firmware to protect yourself and that you should *NEVER* port forward a port from the internet to your miner or you are going to get hacked for sure, and you always were. We’re going to discuss everything you need to protect yourself against these vulnerabilities and other future vulnerabilities that have yet to be discovered. Let’s begin!

Orange Pi Zero 2 – Review / Benchmark / Tips – ~$35 Price

Orange Pi Zero 2 - Unboxed

Recently for my storage benchmarking site I had a GitHub issue opened about the Orange Pi Zero 2 not being able to complete the storage benchmark successfully. We were able to get the board going after a lot of troubleshooting but it was pretty difficult to troubleshoot as I had never had one of these boards before.

Until now! I recently received my first and only ever hardware donation to the site from munecito who graciously donated one of these boards to help improve the benchmark (it did not only for SBCs but it now supports PCs as well). Thank you munecito!

I was very interested in how this board compares to the Raspberry Pi experience and ecosystem because we are having a massive Raspberry Pi shortage right now and that is exactly what we are going to do. I also have some general tips for getting the most out of the Orange Pi based on our troubleshooting experience. Let’s proceed!

2022 Raspberry Pi Storage Benchmarks

Storage Benchmark #48648

It has been a while since I covered storage benchmarks on the Raspberry Pi because every time I sat down to write it I ended up adding new features to the SBC storage benchmarks web site and it never got finished. Definitely make sure you check out the web site frontend as it will always give you up to date benchmarks!

There definitely have been some changes since my last coverage of this with the Compute Module 4 now dominating the charts by taking advantage of real NVMe via PCIe adapters to achieve speeds never seen before on the Pi. Let’s get right into it!

HackRF Software Defined Radio Guide for Linux

Cubic SDR - Main Screen

The term “software defined radio” simply means that parts of a radio that were traditionally hardware are implemented in software. This means that functions that used to require knobs, dials or some kind of physical mechanism can now be controlled via software. Essentially this makes using computers/ software with radios much easier and more accessible (cheaper) than it had ever been traditionally.

Now with that background I can explain what the HackRF device is. The HackRF is a software defined radio device that is designed to let you access *all* of the radio spectrum all the way from 1 MHz up to 6 GHz! Think of it like a FM radio where the frequency controls don’t stop at 88 MHz or 108 MHz and you could turn it way below or above that. That is exactly what a HackRF is!

You are definitely not limited to listening to radio stations though. You can basically receive all types of signals with the HackRF (depending on your antenna) including video and data signals which can be processed by your computer. In this guide I’m going to cover how to get started with a device like this in Ubuntu Linux and give you an idea of what kind of things you can do with it!