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The Rock 5 B is not a Raspberry Pi killer—yet

Rock 5 model B on desk with Raspberry Pi in background

Radxa's Rock 5 model B is an ARM single board computer that's 3x faster than a Raspberry Pi. And that's just the 8-core CPU—with PCI Express Gen 3 x4 (the Pi has Gen 2 x1), storage is 7x faster! I got over 3 GB/sec with a KIOXIA XG6 NVMe SSD.

It's still half as slow as modern ARM desktops like Apple's M1 mini, or Microsoft's Dev Kit 2023 (see my review here). But it's way faster than a Pi, it comes with 2.5 Gig Ethernet, it has two M.2 slots on board... and, well—it also starts at $150!

Is AM Radio Dead?

...that was the question I asked my Dad, a radio engineer for many decades, who worked at the biggest AM station in St. Louis, KMOX. The station is approaching its centennial in 2025, as are—some YouTube commenters argue—its primary audience!

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I recorded that video during my convalescence at my parents' house (I am feeling much better now, thank you!), and my Dad discussed a few reasons why AM radio—at least in the US—is not dead. But it is suffering.

In the video, I pointed out the current dichotomy:

Raspberry Pi's Camera Module 3 adds autofocus and new Sony sensor

Raspberry Pi just announced their new Camera Module 3, which comes in four variations (standard and wide angle, normal and NoIR for infrared use), and costs $25 for the standard versions, and $35 for wide angle.

Raspberry Pi Camera Module 3 varieties - standard, wide, and NoIR

That's a step up from the older Camera Module 2, which cost $25 and only came in a 'standard' focal length.

I posted a video reviewing the Camera Module 3 on YouTube, and you can watch it here:

Part of the wrong 1% — Ostomy surgery, part 2

About 1 percent of Americans have diagnosed Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) like Crohn's Disease or Ulcerative Colitis. And about 1 in 500 Americans (0.2%) have ostomies—small openings called stomas that help when their bowels get really screwed up (whether through disease, cancer, or trauma).

IBD Ostomy and Me Venn Diagram

I'm in both groups. And this month, I had a second ostomy surgery. I now have a revised stoma, so now I'm in the 0.001% of Americans who have IBD and have had multiple ostomies!

I'm not sure that's the type of 'one-percent' I want to be...

But I digress.

1 Million Watts of RF - how the FM Supertower works

As the son of a radio engineer, I've seen my share of radio towers. From small, rural AM and FM towers to urban 'constellation' towers serving dozens or even hundreds of services, there's a lot more than meets the eye.

FM Supertower from ground looking up

My Dad and I visited the so-called 'FM Supertower' in St. Louis, MO twice now, to explore the tower and the supporting infrastructure below. Both of these visits are documented on our Geerling Engineering YouTube channel:

Crohn's Disease takes its toll - back in 2023!

After battling IBD complications through the summer and fall, I've come to a point where surgery is necessary. You can learn more about my health issues in my lighthearted book about Crohn's Disease, You Only Have Crohn's Once!.

The surgery (an ostomy revision) will take place tomorrow, December 2, and it'll be a pretty rough recovery, so I'm not planning on doing any substantial work until at least 2023.

It's ironic I had just given a presentation titled Just Say No: Staying sane while you maintain weeks before learning the surgery was necessary. I was planning a video on the topic (burnout, protecting your time, and open source maintainership) this year, but I guess the blog post will have to do.

I have plenty of fun tech and software I want to highlight here and on YouTube (some of it detailed in my video embedded below), but for now it's all on the shelf waiting until my strength returns:

Why I use Jellyfin for my home media library

The blog post Streaming services lost the plot detailed how streaming services have become the thing they were made to destroy.

Like cable networks and satellite companies before, they're raising rates (at a rate higher than inflation), stuffing their content libraries with filler that's not even worth the bandwidth to stream it, and shoving ads in paying users' faces.

And in my first video of this two-part series, I showed how I rip Blu-Rays and DVDs into my computer.

Jellyfin - Collections listing with many movies