All articles by Erik Thiart

I want to help people understand technology by talking about it in plain English. I’ve been posting my thoughts about life, technology and business all over the internet since 2007 and recently started to bring it all together here. If you’ve got a spare day or two you can trawl through my archives to get an idea of where this website has come from and where it’s going.

My measure of success as a blogger is not whether I write a lot of posts or get 100 000 page views a month, but instead whether what I write interests you.

So please let me know on twitter (@ErikThiart) if you enjoyed an article or not and if you want some guidance on something specific or if you want something covered in more detail, then ask me and I will try my best to write about it for you.

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.

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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.

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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.

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The tools, habits, and hardware needed to speed up your computer

Whether it happens gradually over time or all of a sudden, trying to work with a slow computer can be seriously frustrating. Even if you’re fairly diligent with the maintenance of your laptop or PC, it’s surprising how quickly things slow down. If you are asking yourself “Why is my laptop so slow” and running Windows 10, 8, or 7, this post is for you!

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The most important plugin for your WordPress website

Google's official WordPress plugin. Get insights about how people find and use your site, how to improve, and monetize your content, directly in your WordPress dashboard. If you have a WordPress website and would like to see how users find and use your website, Site Kit is right for you. To help you build, maintain, and grow your online presence, Site Kit gives you easy-to-understand metrics and actionable insights directly on your WordPress dashboard.

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How to choose the right web hosting company for your business

There are plenty of web hosting providers out there, and it may seem difficult to decipher the good from the bad. So I have put together a guide on how to find the right web hosting provider for your business and my personal recommendation of who to use depending on where you are in the world. Teaming up with the right web hosting service is more important than you think. It's a partnership. Opt for the wrong one and you could find yourself struggling to get support, suffering downtime, or worse.

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Xiaomi Mijia 1080P 170° Smart IP Camera with AI Human Detection

I know this review is long, but I wanted to include all the details to help you decide. This smart security camera from Xiaomi had so much going for it, I still believe there a route for Xiaomi to redeem themselves and make this camera available to its full potential by issuing a firmware update to remove the restrictions and allow RTSP access from the Xiaomi camera.

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A smart bulb that works with the eWelink app

The Sonoff lightbulbs are very affordable and provide you with the basic functionality that a smart home needs. If the budget is tight and you don't need all bells and whistles of the more expensive lights, Sonoff lightbulbs will do the job just fine. The prices start from $9.90 for the (plastic, White + color temperature) B02 B A60 and $12.90 for the fancy, pear-shaped B02-F-ST64 (glass, retro look, White + color temperature). As far as connected lights go, the prices are very attractive and Sonoff lightbulbs indeed are as inexpensive as you can get.

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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