2021 was a year of great progress at HomeTechHacker. Read on to see what changes you might have missed, our most popular and favorite articles, and what’s coming in 2022.
Changes at HomeTechHacker in 2021
2021 was a big year for the HomeTechHacker website. Changes and upgrades include:
- We redesigned the site. We changed themes and added a graphic on the home page that better reflects our brand. Other visual changes to the site aren’t prominent. The biggest changes are under the hood. We made a ton of speed improvements and moved to faster hosting service (Cloudways – affiliate link). This resulted in a much better user experience for everyone.
- We added the HomeTechHacker Shop. The HomeTechHacker shop provides you with an easy way to see the items I use and recommend. If you’re interested in a product, you can easily go to Amazon and other stores to purchase the product or learn more about it. The shop has smart home, home network, PC/laptop hardware, cordcutting, and other product recommendations.
- We added email courses. These are short, daily 5 minutes or less lessons designed to teach you something practical that you can do right now. The first of these courses is the Create Your Smart Home in 5 Days course, which is completely free.
- We added the HomeTechHacker Technology Advisor. Do you need personalized advice for home technology purchases? This tool will ask you a few questions and recommend technology specific to your needs. It currently includes personalized recommendations for smart home starter kits, smart bulbs, smart LED kits, smart switches, smart plugs, smart thermostats, streaming devices, and more.
- We added some fun and useful quizzes. Want to know what type of smart home owner you are? This fun and useful quiz will ask you a few questions and tell you what type of smart home owner you are and give you some advice to make the most of your smart home.
The 5 most popular articles of 2021
Which articles end up being my most popular articles fascinates me. Some articles I think might be more popular aren’t, and sometimes articles I worry won’t be of interest to many people turn out the be really popular. Here are the five most popular articles of 2021:
- Smart Home Dimming with The Shelly Dimmer 2 — This article is both a review and a step-by-step walkthrough of installing and configuring the wonderful Shelly Dimmer 2. I had a lot of fun installing the Shelly Dimmmer 2, and apparently many people find the it and it’s features interesting.
- Updating My Home Lab: Proxmox, pfSense, and More — This article walks through my home lab update project. Aside from upgrades to my website, this was my biggest project of the year. I walk through my home lab configuration and hardware, list my goals for my upgrade, and then detail the decisions and steps I took to make improvements. I’m glad this article was popular!
- MQTT With Home Assistant Using Docker & Mosquitto — This article is an update to my previous article about installing and configuring MQTT with Docker and Home Assistant. In this article I detail switching to the more updated Eclipse Mosquitto container and walk through how to do it.
- The Best Choices For Home Assistant Hardware — Home Assistant seemingly can be installed on anything. This article discusses some of the best hardware for Home Assistant enthusiasts.
- 11 Great Choices for pfSense Hardware — I’ve been running pfSense in a virtual machine for years. This year I decided to switch back to running it on dedicated hardware. This article is the result of my research into various pfSense hardware choices so you don’t have to start from scratch in your research.
My 5 favorite articles of 2021
These are articles that I enjoyed writing or working on during the year for the reasons I describe below.
- What’s In My Smart Home Toolkit? — This article is filled with information about the tools that smart home tinkerers can use to make projects easier and more efficient. I like this article because it contains really helpful tool suggestions that I wish I had when I started working on smart homes.
- How to Make a Smart Home Test Bench — Speaking of really useful tools… This article steps through constructing a tool to help configure and test smart lights, switches, and relays. I really like this article because it produced a tool that I’ve used many times to troubleshoot and set up smart devices.
- Using a Telegram Bot for Home Assistant Notifications — Can you believe Google Hangouts still isn’t fully retired? Actually I can. Still, I didn’t want to be caught holding the bag when Google Hangouts retired. I previously used Hangouts for my Home Assistant notifications. This article details the steps to use Telegram for notifications, and why I chose Telegram. I’m still really happy that I did.
- DIY Garage Door Opener w/ Security+ 2.0 GDOs — I like this article because it has real practical implications for my smart home. My garage door opener broke. I replaced it with a newer one that didn’t work with my old smart garage door opener solution. This solution, however, should work with most any garage door opener.
- Start Using A Two-Factor Authentication (2FA) Key — I like this article because of its importance. Security is extremely important for everyone. This article goes through the reasons for and best ways to implement two-factor authentication.
Final thoughts and a sneak peek at what’s coming in 2022
This has been another great year at HomeTechHacker. I really appreciate everyone who has helped and supported me throughout the year. Most of all, I appreciate you, the reader, for continuing to come back and read my articles. I plan to keep giving you loads of great content and improvements. Speaking of, here is a sneak peek at some of the things HomeTechHacker will bring you next year:
- The Home Network Manual — This book will launch February 21st, 2022. Having a fast, stable, and secure home network is more important now than ever. After reading this book, you’ll be equipped with all the tools and information you need to have the trouble-free, fast, and secure home network you need.
- I have another book planned for next year. It isn’t titled yet, and I haven’t started writing it yet, but I have some concepts that I’m starting to flesh out.
- I will make additions to the HomeTechHacker Technology Advisor. Is there a specific technology or product you need personalized advice for? Let me know in the comments or send me a message.
- I will add more email courses, more quizzes, and more articles to help you get the most out of your home technology!
Lastly, I will be working to get more press appearances in magazines, blogs, podcasts, maybe even television or radio. Be on the lookout for me in 2022!
Interested in supporting HomeTechHacker?
Have you found the content on this site useful? If so, are you interested in supporting me and this site? There’s no obligation of course, but I would really appreciate any support you can give. Below are a few ways you can show support:
- Share this site with your friends and on social media (use the sharing links at the end of this page for your convenience)
- Subscribe to this site
- Purchase one of my books, The Home Network Manual or The Smart Home Manual, for yourself or as a gift
- Put a link to HomeTechHacker on a site you have access to. Be sure to let me know about it!
- Reach out to me via my contact page or Twitter and let me know something I should write about
- Shop at Amazon through my affiliate links and ads on these pages. See my disclosures for more details about affiliate links. You can also just shop from one of the links below:
- HomeTechHacker Shop: This is a listing of products that I use, have reviewed, and that I recommend
- HomeTechHacker Technology Advisor: This suite of tools will give you customized home technology product recommendations based on your needs
- My US Amazon affiliate link: Just click on this link to go to Amazon and shop
Thank you! I really appreciate it!