Erik Thiart's Blog: Technology Guides, Business, Life Hacks & Tips

I have a wide variety of interests including Psychology, Business, Software Development and Cryptography, my main passion though is computing. Ultimately, I enjoy problem solving, whether through software development or when managing servers.

The more complex the problem the happier I am.

Although not exclusively so, most of my current software development efforts are centered around PHP. When I have the time free, I enjoy working on Arduino and other IoT related projects, though not nearly as regularly as I would like.

I have a pretty broad range of skills, all built up through experience, but I do like to write down stuff as I test and build so that is how this blog was formed, largely as a documentation project, something I continue to add to regularly. If any of that documentation is of use to others, then that is great!

Please follow me on Twitter @ErikThiart and let us talk about whatever you want. If you can meet me in/near Cape Town, I will happily buy you a coffee or beer.

This blog contains quite a lot of posts, across a wide range of topics, and chances are you're not interested in all of them. I think the best way to find the stuff you will like is to browse through the "tags" listed in the sidebar. If you can come up with a better way to organise the blog, please let me know.

If you want to stay up to date and be notified when I post new articles please fill in the form on on the side, don't worry, you won't get spammed - I will only send you an e-mail when I post a new article, you have my word.

Occasionally people ask if they can use photographs or excerpts from my blog posts in their own articles. There is no need to ask, you can use whatever you want, with that said; do consider donating so I can buy beer.

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Featured Articles

How to transcribe video files to text files using Amazon AWS Transcribe for Free

Transcribe a video to text using AWS. In this tutorial we will create a Word Document from a YouTube Video using the automatic speech recognition service from Amazon called, AWS Transcribe. Amazon Transcribe is an automatic speech recognition (ASR) service that makes it easy for developers to add speech to text capability to their applications.

Read Article
How to download Youtube videos as MP3 files.

To convert a Youtube video or any video for that matter requires just one step, in essence you will transcode the video file (normally an MP4) to MP3 using ffmpeg. In this tutorial I will show you how you can convert videos to audio in a matter of seconds, it does not cost a cent and requires very little effort.

Read Article
A Beginner's guide on how to browse the dark web with TOR

First thing to understand is that on the hidden web, you do not know about a website unless that website is shared with you. The dark web's content on the internet isn't accessible through traditional browsers or standard browsing technology. Content on the dark web is designed to be hidden from search engines and from casual users - you can't simply stumble across dark web websites by accident.

Read Article

Lastest Articles

Review: Sonoff GK-200MP2-B a Wi-Fi and Lan enabled Wireless IP Security Camera

You probably know the Sonoff brand for smart home electronics like the POW R2 or the Sonoff Basic switches, but they also released a security camera, the Sonoff GK-200MP2-B. I decided to try it out and made an in-depth review so you can make the right decision. Considering this is Sonoff, a well-known brand for robust electronics. I expect a good working, premium product that just works especially since to use the Sonoff GK200MP2-B, you need the eWeLink application which integrates very well with other Sonoff devices.

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How to monitor the power usage of devices using a Sonoff Pow R2

Sonoff Pow R2 is a 16A WiFi smart light switch that allows you to remotely manage and control your appliances and monitor your home energy usage. The WiFi light switch works like a power monitor, which allows you to keep track of 99% accurate real-time current, voltage and power on your app.

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How to access BBC iPlayer outside of the UK

You might have found that Hulu is limited to US viewers and the BBC iPlayer is likewise limited to UK IP addresses, however using a very easy to set up proxy server you can access BBC Iplayer, Hulu and many others from any country on all of your internet capable devices such as your Laptop, PC, Mobile Device, Kindle Fire TV, Apple TV, Google Chromecast etc. In this guide you get the ultimate viewing experience when streaming/downloading any type of regional or geo-blocked content online.

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Force all DNS traffic to go through Pi-hole using Mikrotik

The following mikrotik firewall rules will force all the clients on your local network like your Sony PlayStation and Google Chromecast to use your Pi-hole or your own local server as their primary DNS server, even if they have hard coded their own DNS servers we do this because many apps and devices do not use the offered DNS servers per DHCP, they are just that - an offer. Hardcoded DNS servers will still resolve and allow ads and tracking unless we use NAT rules that will redirect all DNS requests, no matter where they go, to the Pihole.

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How to block ads on your network using Pi-Hole and a Raspberry Pi

With Pi-Hole you can block in-app advertisements. Network-level blocking allows you to block ads in non-traditional places such as mobile apps and smart TVs, regardless of your hardware or OS and since advertisements are blocked before they are downloaded, network performance is improved and will feel faster. Pi-hole is a black hole for Internet advertisements.

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An affordable VPN that also comes with a Geo Blocker

The internet is full of restrictions, censorship, privacy invasions, security breaches, and a host of unwanted entities trafficking in your personal data. Using a VPN is a great first step toward protecting your privacy online. Privacy is fundamental to a well-functioning society because it allows norms, ethics, and laws to be safely discussed and challenged. Without privacy, a free and open society can neither flourish nor exist.

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A Beginner's guide on how to browse the dark web with TOR

First thing to understand is that on the hidden web, you do not know about a website unless that website is shared with you. The dark web's content on the internet isn't accessible through traditional browsers or standard browsing technology. Content on the dark web is designed to be hidden from search engines and from casual users - you can't simply stumble across dark web websites by accident.

Read Article

How to download Youtube videos as MP3 files.

To convert a Youtube video or any video for that matter requires just one step, in essence you will transcode the video file (normally an MP4) to MP3 using ffmpeg. In this tutorial I will show you how you can convert videos to audio in a matter of seconds, it does not cost a cent and requires very little effort.

Read Article

How to transcribe video files to text files using Amazon AWS Transcribe for Free

Transcribe a video to text using AWS. In this tutorial we will create a Word Document from a YouTube Video using the automatic speech recognition service from Amazon called, AWS Transcribe. Amazon Transcribe is an automatic speech recognition (ASR) service that makes it easy for developers to add speech to text capability to their applications.

Read Article