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NC #875 LaTeX for Document Automation by Chris, Elgato Wave XLR, EV Charging Times with Solar, 6-Button Stream Deck

Hi, this is Allison Sheridan of the NosillaCast Apple Podcast, hosted at Podfeet.com, a technology geek podcast with an EVER so slight Apple bias. Today is Sunday, February 13, 2022, and this is show number 875.

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Before we get started, I wanted to acknowledge what you’ve probably noticed, and it’s that podfeet.com is painfully slow lately. I’d love to tell you I know what the root cause is and I’m fixing it, but I can’t say that. I can tell you what I’ve tried to do to fix it though.

I’ve looked at my hosting service to see if maybe I’m running out of RAM or maybe disk, or whether my network traffic is saturating or I’m under a DDoS attack, but everything looks fine in that area.

Another possible root cause is a misbehaving WordPress plugin. I went through a process of elimination shutting off plugins, and it would seem to get better after one or another plugin was disabled, but then I’d leave it be for a while and things would get slow again. Despite my best attempts at a controlled experiment, I have been unable to figure out if anyone or more plugins are at the root of the problem.

The one plugin that may be causing my site grief is called Jetpack, but it’s actually made by the people who write WordPress! It’s a huge plugin with lots of capabilities, but the only thing I use it for is to let me write my blog posts in Markdown. I’ve tried three different alternative plugins to let me use Markdown and every single one caused an essentially catastrophic different problem. I’m still not even sure Jetpack IS the problem either.

Then Bart suggested that I move my database from the droplet on DigitalOcean where my website is hosted to a managed database server by DigitalOcean. I didn’t even know that was a thing, but Bart assured me it’s quite normal to separate the application from the database. We set up a play date and went to work on it, but we ran into a really weird problem and haven’t been able to schedule time to get back to it.

If you’re frustrated by how slow it is, imagine how agonizing it is for me to work with it all day long where it has taken as long as 40 seconds to load a single page! I apologize to all of you for the inconvenience but know that I’m fully aware and working hard to figure out what’s wrong.

Bart Busschots on Kilowatt Podcast with Bodie Grimm

You’ve heard me talk about how awesome Bodie Grimm’s electric vehicle podcast is a bunch of times, and he’s been on Chit Chat Across the Pond to talk about fire and EVs, and Steve and I both have been on the Kilowatt podcast. But he just had an even better guest – Bart Busschots! It’s a fun episode because it’s from an Irish point of view where charging and cars in general are different from the US perspective. Of course, Bart is brilliant and funny, and Bodie is at his self-deprecating best, so it’s a magic combo.

The easiest way to listen is to add the Kilowatt podcast to your podcatcher of choice, but I’ve also included a link in the show notes directly to the February 4th episode of Kilowatt. Give it a listen and enjoy.

Wifi-Hub based Sofabaton X1 Update

A few weeks ago, Kyle Sheridan came on the show to tell you about the $50 Sofabaton U1 universal remote. As you may recall, the only thing he didn’t like about the remote was that you had to be very precise about how you pointed towards your components like your TV, receiver, or any streaming devices. Steve has noticed the same thing.

I told you after our conversation that you may want to hang back for a bit before buying because Sofabaton said on their website that they were coming out with a WiFi version of their remote called the Sofabaton X1, which would mean you could do more with home automation and you might not have to be so precise in pointing the remote. It also looked cooler. I suggested waiting because their website said it was coming in January of 2022.

I’ve been going to their site and searching Amazon for the last couple of weeks, but it’s still not out. I noticed a link to learn more, so I followed that link and it took me to the Kickstarter project for the X1. They have 5,769 backers who have pledged over $5.2M! That’s around $900 per backer!

But more importantly, there’s a post dated January 29th. They say in this post that the first batch of 2000 remotes will be shipped to US backers (because they’re all US standard plugs) but they aren’t expected to arrive in customers till early March. Then they explain that the Chinese Spring Festival is approaching so the workers are on vacation, so the rest of the backers won’t see their remotes till early April.

In other words, if you want a universal remote before the middle of the year, I’ve changed my advice to suggest maybe you just scoop up one of the U1 Sofabatons now and when the X1 comes out you can relegate it to another room in your house.

Blog Posts

You’re about to hear a really interesting automation solution from Chris Nielsen using a tool called LaTeX. I asked him if he had used a script for his recording and he said he hadn’t, but that he’d write it up for us. He did something way better than I expected. What you’re about to hear is kind of the big picture of the problem he solved and how. In the blog post, he didn’t repeat what he said in audio, rather he got into the nitty-gritty detail of how to use this tool. If you read his blog post, you’ll see some simple examples that would sound like goop if he’d tried to describe them in audio. So if the solution he describes here sounds interesting to you, I highly encourage you to go read the blog post to get the complementary information. With that, let’s hear from Chris.

LaTeX to Automate Progress Report Graphs – by Chris Nielsen

Elgato Wave XLR Mic Interface – by Marty Sobo

Dumb Question Corner – Is it Better to Charge Your EV at Night or During the Day if You have Solar?

Support the Show

If you really enjoy the NosillaCast, Chit Chat Across the Pond, and Programming By Stealth and get value out of what you learn here, or maybe just get entertained, have you ever thought about maybe throwing a few dollars into the Podfeet Podcasts coffers using Paypal? You could go to podfeet.com/paypal and just type any old number you like and send it my way. It’s not cheap to run the show and every person who donates a bit of money help to keep the microphones on.

Why Jill has a 6-Button Stream Deck (no blog post)

Last week I told you all about the Stream Deck and when I got to the part about choosing which Stream Deck you might need, I said that I couldn’t see how the 6-button Stream Deck would work for anyone. Guess who has a 6-button Stream Deck? Our favorite contrarian, Jill from the North Woods. I asked Jill to come on the show to chat with me about why she uses a 6-button Stream Deck and elaborate on why she also uses a 32-button Stream Deck and the new Stream Deck Pedal. She has entirely different uses from me even though we do much of the same kind of work. We didn’t have any kind of notes so there is no blog post

That’s going to wind this up for this week. Did you know you can email me at [email protected] any time you like? If you have a question or a suggestion just send it on over. You can follow me on Twitter at @podfeet. If you want to join the conversation, you can join our Slack community at podfeet.com/slack where you can talk to me and all of the other lovely NosillaCastaways. Remember, everything good starts with podfeet.com. You can support the show at podfeet.com/patreon or with a one-time donation at podfeet.com/paypal.  And if you want to join in the fun of the live show, head on over to podfeet.com/live on Sunday nights at 5pm Pacific Time and join the friendly and enthusiastic NosillaCastaways.   Thanks for listening, and stay subscribed.

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