Nov 28, 2018

How to: Installing Pi-hole on the Raspberry Pi w/CLI and SSH

This tutorial will build a Pi-hole server running on a Raspberry Pi 3. Pi-hole enables network-wide adblocking. Pi-hole is your own personal DNS Server and will not only protect your network from ads, but also from malicious websites, all the while improving page load performance. You will be able to access the Pi-hole via a web interface, and also manage the Raspberry Pi unit via SSH.

Hardware Required:

  • Raspberry Pi 3
  • 4GB+ microSD card
  • Ethernet
  • Monitor connected via HDMI
  • Keyboard

Step 1: Getting the Raspberry Pi up and running


Unzip the image

Download Etcher

Flash the image to the microSD card (use a 4GB card or larger)

Connect keyboard and monitor and power to Raspberry Pi

Boot up
Log in using


Change password using: passwd

Write down the MAC address

If possible, assign the Raspberry Pi a static IP from within your router/firewall

Reset the Raspberry Pi so that the device gets assigned the new IP address from the router/firewall

confirm the IP is correct

Step 2: Installing Pi-hole

From Raspberry Pi's CLI, enter the following commands:
wget -O
sudo bash

This will bring up the GUI to install Pi-hole. Use all of the default recommended settings.

Write down the password that is generated. This will be used to log into the web admin interface.

Step 3: Enabling SSH

From Raspberry Pi's CLI:

Enter sudo raspi-config in a terminal window
Select Interfacing Options
Navigate to and select SSH
Choose Yes
Select Ok
Choose Finish
Alternatively, use systemctl to start the service

sudo systemctl enable ssh
sudo systemctl start ssh

Step 4: Configuring Pi-hole from web admin interface

Go to another computer/device connected to the same network

Open a browser

Visit the IP address of the Pi Hole device
Begin configuring Pi-hole.

Step 5: Set up Router's DNS settings to point to Pi-hole

Log into your Router
Change the DNS to point to the IP address of Pi-hole

Reboot all client machines to update their DNS server

Please consider making a donation to Pi-hole to support the development:

Nov 7, 2018

Fixed for Windows: WebM for Adobe Premiere not showing in Format Presets

Issue: After installing WebM from fnordware, WebM is not displayed in the Format and Presets drop down menu in Windows Adobe Premiere.

System: Windows 8.1 64 bit, Dual Partition with C: drive and D: drive, Adobe Premiere installed in D: drive.

Download and install:


Fix: The installer will place the WebM plugin in the following C: drive folder (which is why Adobe Premiere cannot see it because its in the wrong folder):

C:\Program Files\Adobe\Common\Plug-ins\7.0\MediaCore\WebM.prm

Now copy the WebM.prm file to the following folders:

C:\Program Files\Adobe\Common\Plug-ins\CS6
D:\Program Files\Adobe\Adobe Media Encoder CS6\Plug-ins\Common
D:\Program Files\Adobe\Adobe Premiere Pro CS6\Plug-ins\Common

Exporting WebM

  1. If you have Adobe Premiere open, close it.
  2. Go to the Format drop down and now WebM will be selectable
  3. Choose your preset 
  4. Export

Feb 12, 2018

DIY: Rocket launcher for paper/water rockets

After watching the SpaceX launch with my kids, I was inspired to build a rocket launcher to continue their excitement for the sciences. The rocket launcher can launch paper rockets and water bottle rockets.

The rocket launcher is powered by a bike pump and activated via a flip switch. I modified the design from by integrating the base into the pressure chamber and using a bike tube Schrader valve. The rocket launcher is built from PVC pipe with 1 1/2" main chamber and 3/4" legs and launch tube. The valve is a 24V sprinkler valve powered by 2 9V batteries connected in series and actuated via a flip switch. The system can be pumped up to 140 PSI, and the rockets can be built from card stock and tape.

Build complete

Tools used:

Wire stripper
Wire crimper
PVC pipe cutter
Drill bits


PVC primer
PVC glue
Flip Switch
2 9V batteries
2 9V battery connectors
Teflon tape
Electrical spade connectors (use whichever wire connectors you're comfortable with)
1 coffee can to mount the switch
1 used bike tube for the Schrader valve
3 | 3/4" pipe end caps (the photo shows 2 3/4 inner diameter end caps which was wrong)
5' | 3/4" PVC pipe
3 | 3/4" x 1 1/2" T PVC adapter
1 1/2" T PVC3/4" T adapter
2 | 1" x 3/4" threaded PVC pipe adapter (this was used for a 1" threaded sprinkler valve)
24V 1" sprinkler valve
3/4" washer

Cut out the bike tubing with scissors around the Schrader valve (or purchase a Schrader valve if you don't have a used tube). Ensure you leave enough rubber material to make a good seal within the 3/4" end cap. Insert the end cap into a vice. Drill out the 3/4" end cap with a drill bit slightly larger than the Schrader valve.

Insert the Schrader valve, then insert the washer. For all PVC connections, prime (purple can) each mating surface. Then add glue (clear can) to each mating surface and immediately press fit. Cut a 6" length of 3/4" PVC pipe using the PVC pipe cutter, and then glue into the 3/4" x 1 1/2" PVC adapter. Glue the 3/4" x 1 1/2" PVC adapter to the 1 1/2" T PVC.

Glue the end cap onto the 3/4" pipe.

The inserted washer keeps the valve in place when inserting the bike pump,

Use PVC pipe cutter to cut the sections to length and glue. Next, we'll glue the remaining 2 of the 3/4" x 1 1/2" PVC adapter to the 1 1/2" T fitting. (The one going vertical and the one extending to the rear of the base) To make the base, cut 2 pieces of 4" section of 3/4" pipe and glue to the 3/4" x 1 1/2" PVC adapter going vertical and to the rear. Connect and glue the 3/4" T adapter and glue 3/4" pipe to each side. Glue the 3/4" caps at the end of the 3/4" T. Add teflon tape to the threads of the 1" x 3/4" threaded PVC pipe adapter. This is the adapter that connects the 3/4" PVC to the 1" Sprinkler Valve. This will keep the system sealed.

Connect the batteries in series. Insert the connector leads to the top of the batteries and press down on the connector. A momentary switch would function better since you wouldn't have to turn the system on and off every time with the flip switch--the flip switch feels legit though.

Wire connectors crimped to the ends of the wire using a wire electrical wire crimp tool.

The battery leads are pressed underneath the connectors, so no need for soldering. All electrical connections are now connected via the wiring diagram. Spade and corresponding female connectors were used.

Paper rocket built from rolled up card stock, tape, and a McDonalds french fry holder. Roll up paper on some scrap 3/4" PVC. Tape the entire length of the rocket. Seal the top of the paper with tape. The air will launch the rocket, so the top of the rocket needs to be sealed. Tape a nose cone, and tape the fins. Insert paper rocket on top of the 3/4" launch tube.

10...9...8...7...6...5...4...3...2...1...Blast off!

Sep 5, 2016

FIXED: Windows update standalone "the update is not applicable"

I was running into an Windows 8.1 error. The error was related to a Windows update that I had previously installed. I proceeded to uninstall the Windows update (that was previously installed) and then tried to redownload the update directly from Microsoft.

When I tried to to install the downloaded update, I received the error message: Windows update standalone "the update is not applicable"

Turns out the problem was due to the wrong architecture. I should have downloaded the 64 bit update instead of the 32 bit update.

Solution: Download the right update for the architecture on your operating system. If you have a 64 bit system, make sure you download the 64 bit updates. If you have a 32 bit system, make sure you download the 32 bit updates.

To check what architecture you have:
Go to control panel
System Type: 64 or 32 will be displayed

Sep 3, 2016

PARTIAL FIXED: USB 3.0 External SSD not showing up in Disk Management XHCI

Symptom: Connecting an external USB 3.0 drive, in Windows, does not display in Disk Management. The only thing you see is the device is displayed in connected USB devices.

This happened to me with an Asus Zenbook UX series laptop. Attempts to connect a Samsung T3 drive failed. The drive would not show up in Disk Management, nor in the BIOS. Disabling XHCI in the BIOS allowed the drive to show in Windows 8.1, but this would revert the drive to USB 2.0 which is not what we want.

Re-enabling XHCI in the BIOS allowed for USB 3.0, but again, the Samsung T3 drive was still not displaying.

Solution: The Windows XHCI driver needs to be updated. Go to Device Manager, USB Controllers, then right click the Intel USB 3 XHCI device and select Update Driver Software.

NOTE: Not all External USB 3.0 drives will be compatible with the Windows driver and same goes with the Intel driver. The Samsung T3 works fine with the Windows driver, but another external drive randomly disconnects after copying files.

The driver will update with a Microsoft XHCI driver, and you should be able to see your drive in My Computer as well as Disk Management.

Aug 3, 2016

SOLVED: Java 32bit error on 64bit CentOS ::

Attempts to run 32bit Java on a 64bit system, the following errors would display:

/XXXXXXX/runtime/LNX86/bin/java: /lib/ bad ELF interpreter: No such file or directory

Exception in thread "main" java.lang.UnsatisfiedLinkError: /XXXXXXXX/runtime/LNX86/lib/i386/xawt/ cannot open shared object file: No such file or directory

To fix, install the following (tested on CentOS7):

sudo yum install glibc.i686
sudo yum install libXext.i686
sudo yum install  libXrender.i686
sudo yum install  libXtst.i686

Now you should be able to run the Java application.

Jun 8, 2016

Flame Arrestor Battery Charging Station - Ammo Box

The goal was to create a portable charging station that could contain a lipo fire and also prevent the fire from spreading while minimizing pressure buildup. Let me know what you think, and any thoughts on improving the design.

$20 Used 50 Cal Ammo Can - 
$7.49 3M 499 Fiberglass Cloth -
$5.47 Bronze Fine Wool Pad -
$2.08 Gampak Connector -
Hood range filter (the filters that go over your stove)
$6 Lipo safety bag -
Double stick tape

$4.99 Bcase Cable organizer -
$5 2S, 3S, 4S, 6S extension cables -

Hole step drill bit
Rivet gun and rivets
1 3/8" Hole saw

The layering of the flame arrester from top down:
Hood range filter screen mesh
Fiber glass
Bronze wool pad
Hood range filter screen mesh
Stainless grating from hood range filter - this piece is riveted to the ammo can compressing the layers