My 2021 Geeky Wish List

My geeky wish list blow on a dandelion

I review and discuss a ton of smart home, cordcutting, and home networking gear at this blog. You’d think I have all the gear I’d want, right? Not even close. Unfortunately, two things stop me from having everything I want. I don’t have unlimited money, and I certainly don’t have unlimited time. I also only tend to buy things that are reasonably priced and that will get a lot of use. If I don’t think my family will use something a lot I probably won’t buy it, even if I want it. And, I try to be somewhat frugal about my smart home purchases. Any smart home purchase under $50 gets a lot less thought than a purchase over $50. But I still keep those ideas for purchases on my wish list!

Here’s a list of items on my wish list (not in any particular order) but haven’t bought because it’s too expensive, I don’t have the time to implement it, I don’t think it will get used much, or any combination of those reasons.

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10 GbE upgrade all around the home

I wouldn’t really get a lot of use out of this one, but I’d like to have it. It would be great to have planned for the future. I have Cat 6 going through my house, which should be able to handle it. But all my switches are gigabit, as are my network cards. I’d love to put 10 GbE cards in my Proxmox hosts and see if I can run them as a cluster in high availability mode. 10 GbE would make that easier. For now, I think I’d just need a 10 GbE switch in my office, a 10 GbE Thunderbolt 3 adapter for my NUC, and a couple of PCIe 10 GbE network cards.

4K TV and install, 4K capable receiver

A 4K TV has been on my wish list for a while. We have a smaller one in my bedroom, but it is time to upgrade our 9-year-old plasma TV in our family room. I think 65″ will suffice. I don’t need it to be smart because I have a 4K capable Roku and a Chromecast with Google TV. But I’m not opposed to it being smart. I think I’d also pay someone to install it. It’s a two-person job to remove my current TV and mount a new one. Here are a few on my wish list:

And if I get I new 4K TV, I’ll need a 4K 5.1 capable receiver to pair with it. I’ve had good experiences with Denor receivers:

A second NUC

I purchased this Gen 8 Intel NUC as an inexpensive, energy-efficient Proxmox host, and it has been rock solid for me and all I need in a Proxmox host. I’m currently using a 10-year-old desktop as a second host, but I’d love to just have another NUC and make a cluster. Another inexpensive 8th Gen NUC would be just fine, but so would a step up to the 10th Gen Core i7 model.

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NUC Powered Server Rack
My NUC Powered “Server Rack”

Nest Hello Doorbell, with upgraded transformer

I have a good surveillance system set up already, and I don’t really need the Nest Hello. But, now that I have a Google Nest Hub Max, a Nest Hello would be a great integration. The video would automatically show up on my Nest Hub Max whenever someone rings the doorbell, which would be kind of cool. And, it would have a much better view of packages on my doorstep than my security cameras do. However, I haven’t gotten around to testing if my transformer is powerful enough (I know this one is) I tested my transformer and it is powerful enough.

Robot vacuum with lidar and boundary control

So, I have a robot vacuum that I really like. The only problem with it is that isn’t that smart. It basically uses a random search-and-destroy algorithm to clean, making it inefficient, and it sometimes misses a spot. I could move this robot vacuum to a more open space like my basement, and then get one that is smarter for our main floor. One that I could tell to skip rooms instead of setting up boundaries as I do now. One that will use lidar to map out and efficiently clean. I’d still like it to integrate with Home Assistant as well. A few vacuum robots that fit the profile are:

FLIR One Pro thermal camera

I’ll admit, I’ve been fascinated by thermal cameras since I moved into my current house. My home uses hydronic heating; there are pex tubes that run through my walls and floor that provide heat by running hot water through them. I’d love to know where they all are and pinpoint problem spots (and make sure I don’t puncture them if I’m doing something to a wall!). A thermal camera, like the FLIR One Pro, would help me do all of this. The lesser expensive FLIR One Pro LT would probably get the job done too.

Synology NAS with multiple drives and tons of fast storage

I’ve been running home-built Linux based fileservers for years, and they have served me well. But as I’ve gotten more into virtualization my disk needs have grown. I’d love to have fast, redundant storage that I could run VMs off of, run ZoneMinder with, and use as shared storage for the home. While I can probably build one on my own, I’d love a prebuilt one. They are expensive for what they do though, especially when you add in the hard drives. I’d love the Synology DS420+, but could probably make due with the Synology DS420j. I think I’d go with four 6 TB NAS capable drives to give myself more than enough storage for years. Yeah, that adds up, and that’s why I build my own.

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Editor’s Note: I ended up going with the TerraMaster F5-221 NAS, which has been great for me.

Smart air quality monitor

As I age I become more concerned for my health. It’s obvious that over time things affect my aging body more, and air quality is no different. But I’ve never even measured the air quality of where I live and sleep. How do I know if it is any good? All I have are smoke, CO, and explosive gas detectors, which may keep me safe from catastrophe but don’t do much for my day to day health. Here are a couple of air quality monitors on my wish list:

Smart air filtration system

While knowing if I need to improve my air quality is useful, having a device that can actually do it is more useful! Of course I’d want an air purifier system that is smart and that has proven to be effective. Here are a few I’d consider:

Laser Measure

A laser measure is not something I really need because I have a tape measure. But laser measures can be extremely convenient and eliminate the haggle of running tape measures over long distances. I still remember my basic geometry, but most laser levels can calculate area, volume, and angles for you from the measurements. Just another cool tool to have in my smart home toolkit.

Smart mirror

In some ways, this could be considered a little creepy, but it also has a great cool factor and that’s why it’s on my wish list. I’d love a smart mirror. One we could install in our bathroom or master bedroom. Most smart mirrors don’t do a ton, but I’d be happy to see the weather, a clock, have good backlighting, and maybe some hacking/upgrade capabilities. I wonder how hard the installs are on these things. Here are a couple of options:

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Lithium-ion UPS (longer-lasting battery for structured wiring closet)

This item on my wish list might seem esoteric but I’ve been thinking about it for a while. My structured wiring cabinet is in my master bedroom closet behind all my clothes, and not much fun to get to. In there is my backbone network switch that supplies wired network connections to the house. I’ve gone through two UPSs that I’ve shoe-horned in there. I don’t need much power, just a small-capacity UPS that will last a long time. Lithium-ion technology seems to fit the bill, but there aren’t many reasonably priced ones that fit in my cabinet. One I’ve been looking at is this APC unit, but I think it is a bit overpriced.

Editor’s Note: I’ve got a great UPS solution now.

Oculus Quest 2

VR on my wish list -> Oculus Quest 2

Once I get past the deep integration with Facebook I think I’d could fall in love with the Oculus Quest 2. I really want to play games that are more immersive, and VR fits that bill. I also don’t want to be tethered to a PC. Especially since that PC would probably be expected to be Windows, which I don’t use. So the Oculus Quest 2 seems to be the best option for me on the market. I can see myself getting a workout with a boxing game right now.

Wi-Fi projection clock

Can I tell you a secret? I’m not a fan of clocks or alarms in the bedroom. In fact, I don’t use an alarm. I also find the light from most clocks to be distracting. That’s why I have a projection clock in my bedroom. It displays the time on the wall in an unobtrusive way that I can easily see. I also hate setting clocks after power outages and changes from daylight savings to standard time. So, what I need is a Wi-Fi version of a projection clock. The Lacross C82929-INT comes close, but it projects to the ceiling only. I want one that projects to the wall. I haven’t found one yet.

Final thoughts

Well, that was a lot. Geez, I guess I think about a ton of things to play with. But hey, I love technology! If you are feeling extra generous go ahead and pick something off this list and buy it for me :). Just kidding. Unless you’re gonna do it…

What’s on your wish list?

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4 thoughts on “My 2021 Geeky Wish List”

  1. My first Synology DS414 became a major part of my network. Many devices store and share data via SMB or NFS. Adding a new DS920+ that supports Docker has been a quantum improvement. I need fewer server devices now that I’ve moved applications to Docker on the Synology. So my suggestion is to step up to a + model. Start with 2 disks and add more disks as your storage needs grow to spread out the costs.

    • I run a virtualized file server with Ubuntu as the OS, and I already have a place to run my docker containers (and LXC) that works well (I run everything off my Proxmox host). So I really just want the file storage. But a + model would give me flexibility.

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My 2021 Geeky Wish List

by HomeTechHacker time to read: 8 min