When A 4 Port HDMI Switch Is Not Enough

So, I already have a 4 port HDMI switch mentioned in earlier blogs but I now need more inputs. I chose the Novete 6×2 HDMI switch for the following reasons:

(a) Great reviews on Amazon

(b) Dual output HDMI (as I need to route the picture to my TV AND my projector)

(c) Separate Audio out (SPDIF and 3.5mm jack) to my hifi

(d) It can be powered on an off via the remote (many HDMI switches cannot)

Other features include

  • 6 INPUTS & 2 OUTPUTS: Features 6 HDMI signal inputs and 2 HDMI signal outputs; supports full HD and 3D videos; supports the highest resolution of up to 4K x 2K@30Hz
  • AUDIO EXTRACTOR & ARC: Synchronizes the separation of audio signals; ARC (Audio Return Channel) allows the sound from the TV to be played through a sound system (only OUT A supports this function); S/PDIF digital audio formats support Dolby Digital (AC3), DTS and LPCM2.0
  • PIP (PICTURE-IN-PICTURE) FUNCTION: Displays 1 main picture and 5 small pictures; enables you to select your favorite channel with the simple press of button
  • REMOTE & MANUAL CONTROL: IR remote control allows for easy control from the comfort of your sofa; you can also control the functions by using the buttons on the device
  • WIDE APPLICATIONS: Resolutions supported includes 1080p@120Hz, 1080p 3D@60Hz, 1080i and 720p; offers a great solution for signal transmission in home theater systems, multimedia systems, monitoring systems and more;Β 

I installed it in about 3 minutes and then it was just a matter of teaching Harmony, its command set (yes it works with the Harmony Hub as well which is a must for me).

Now Alexa can turn on my movies, TV and Cinema again and I have 2 spare outputs for other projects (stay tuned).

I was very pleased at how quick it was to integrate this into my system.

hdmi switch

As usual, I have added a handy affiliate link for those that are interested.

Noteve 6×2 4K ultra HDMI switch

WhereThingsAreBorn πŸ™‚


Something More Than Free – Jason Isbell

If music is the soundtrack of my life, then mine is one that is ruch and lustrous

Imagine that Don Henley and Neil Young had a child together, then that child would be Jason Isbell and is sound triggers prolonger periods of introspection in me and I get lost in his world and my own.

I have added a handy affiliate link in case you want to listen (or purchase). They are all great tracks but 24 Frames, and Speed Trap Town are my personal favourites.

Jason Isbell – Something More Than Free


WhereThingsAreBorn πŸ™‚

A Great Bluetooth Speaker For The Amazon Echo Dot


We all know that while the Amazon echo dot acts as a great input device for voice commands. However, the limitations of of of its speaker are realised when playing music.

Thankfully it has a lineout in my case I prefer to use the lineout rather than bluetooth as they will always sit next to each other but bluertooth can also easily be used.

I came across the following speaker on Amazon it it sounds great when connected to the Amazon Echo Dot. It has both linein and bluetooth and a great bass sound. Just look at the reviews on the Amazon site.


I have added handy affiliate links below in case you wish to purchase either or them πŸ™‚

Aukey Bluetooth Speaker

Amazon Echo Dot

I was so please with this purchase I bought 5 in total πŸ™‚

WhereThingsAreBorn πŸ™‚



A Great Little Mixer For The Amazon Echo Dot

In an earlier post I mentioned in in my kitchen I have 1 zone of a multi room music system. This consists of

(a) A Raspberry pi using a PIFI DAC board that goes into a small amplifier (lepy 2024A+) connected to JBL control One speakers

This gives me a fantastic sound…

The Lepy amplifier iand Amazon echo Dot is available at s available at

Lepy 2024A Amplifier

Amazon Echo Dot

Raspberry Pi 3



But i want more πŸ™‚

I wanted to be able to feed in the Amazon echo and “mix” the output. The lepy amplifier has 2 inputs and both are active but the differences is line levels meant that I couldnt just plug the amazon echo output into the amplifers 2nd input so another solution would have to be found.

And then I found this


Its a non powered 2 channel mixer available on ebay


The raspberry pi output goes into channel 1, the amazon echo dot in channel 2 and the output into the Lepy amplifier.

Now I can listen to my music AND ask the echo DOT to respond at the same time OR turn off my multiroom music and have the echo dot play music without touching anything.

What more could I ask for.

WhereThingsAreBorn πŸ™‚

Alexa Devices, Groups And Routines

So its been a while since I added anything here but now Im back and have more time to mess around with this stuff πŸ™‚

With the recent Alexa updates. its now possible to create routine and groups and its important to understand the deifferences.

Using my my zwave plugs (lamps) mentioned in earlier blogs thats that I have setup in earlier blogs, I now have lamps one to fifteen.Β  These can be considered as devices and I can say things like

“Alexa turn on lamp one”

These are the devices that were setup with the smart things app.

However I cannot say “Alexa turn on lamp one and lamp two” 😦

This is where groups come in.

In the alexa App, I can create a group (in my case lamps one to four are in the living room) and if I create group “lamps” which consists of those 4 lamps then I can say

“Alexa turn on lamps” or “Alexa turn off lamps”

Even if there is only one device in a group its often more useful to create a group (in my case i create a group called hallway that only consists of lamp seven” and then I can say

“Alexa turn on hallway”

Note that the “turn on or turn off only applies to devices or groups”

Routines can now be used in the Alexa app to trigger variousΒ  mixtures. In my case, I have setup two routines

(a) Biglights: I selected each group I setup (Bedroom one,Bedroom Two, Bedroom Thrtee,Hallway etc) to turn on the lights – note that I used the groups – not the device names. This make life easier going forward.

(b) Darkness:This turn off the lights for Bedroom One,Bedroom Two,Bedroom Three, Hallway etc)

so I can say “Alexa Biglights” or “Alex Darkness” (note there is no turn off or turn on required)

I also created a routine called bedtime that

(a) Turns off lamps (in the living room)

(b) Turns on Hallway

(c) Turns on Bedroom One

This routine “bedtime” illuminates the path to my bedroom.Β  When Im tucked up in bed I just the say “Alexa Darkness” and every group turns off.

Now lets suppose I added another lamp in my bedroom, I would

(a) Create it as lamp XXX in the smart things app.

(b) Add it to the bedroom One group in the Alexa app.

and that its. I dont need to update any other routines because they all refer to “Bedroom One”

And thats that.

WhereThingsAreBorn πŸ™‚




What Do You Do With Old Computer Manuals ?

So I finally given in and decided to give away my old computer manuals and there are literally 30 to 40 manuals. I know that I got some of them in America and I know that some were very expensive. They cover subjects from computer graphics to the design of the UNIX operated system, to manuals on Internet security.

Even though I haven’t used them in many years and have still kept as many as I have given away, I feel sad and I think its because I’m recognising the passage of time and that a period of my life has now drawn to a close.

I know that they have served me well and I thank them for their service.

WhereThingsAreBorn πŸ™‚


When 3 Monitors Is Not Enough (FSX)

So now that I have 3 24 inch monitors to handle FSX scenery, I still need to see my instruments πŸ™‚

My solution was to use another PC and a piece of software called Air Manager. Its talks to the the FSX PC over the network and takes all of the flight instrument data and displays it on an R44 instrument panel. It has hundreds of instrument panels available and its very cheap at around 30 euros.

Get It Here



WhereThingsAreBorn πŸ™‚