Cool tech projects to tackle over a weekend

A weekend with nothing to do and no plans in sight is the perfect opportunity to tackle cool tech projects.

It is also a good time to organise your systems and online life, and catch up on administrative tasks you may have neglected – such as backups and managing your passwords.

Cool tech projects that will take up your whole weekend – or several weekends – are listed below for you to try.


Set up a media server

A media server is a great way to use computer hardware left over from your last upgrade.

Software like Plex and Kodi make it easy to set up a home media server. It is also a great excuse to try Linux, if you haven’t already.

In addition to making home media easier to watch on a network-connected TV, the media server can help encourage you to back up files that may currently only be on one computer.

Plex Windows 10 screenshot


Try a new programming language or tool

If you’re staying home for just over 48 hours, it is a good time to try new programming languages or development tools.

Here are a few languages, frameworks, and tools worth checking out:

Code


Speed up your PlayStation’s download speeds

PlayStation 4 consoles have an issue with slow download speeds due to the small TCP Receive Window that Sony sets.

To speed up downloads, you can set up a proxy server on your network. If Linux isn’t your thing, you can use CCProxy for Windows or SquidMan for Mac.

While the PS4 will still throttle its TCP Receive Window, downloads will run through the proxy using a larger Receive Window, and the proxy provides a lower latency connection for the console. This allows for faster downloads.

playstation-4-slim


Make your own Amazon Echo

If you have a Raspberry Pi and are looking for a DIY project, building your own Amazon Echo is one to look at.

In addition to the Pi, you will need a speaker with a 3.5mm jack, and a USB microphone.

While your final product may not look as slick as an Echo, Amazon’s APIs lets you build a device that is practically functionally identical to its own smart speakers.

Alexa Pi header


Make a weather station

Another fun Raspberry Pi project is building your own weather station.

There are several options for this, including one on Instructables that measures wind speed, temperature, humidity, pressure, rain, and light.

Other weather forecasting projects rely on the data from online services rather than collecting your own, and then focus on displaying the forecast on an LCD or LED display.

Weather station

Weather display


Switch to a password manager

If you are still reusing passwords across online services, now is the time to start using a password management system.

Whether you use a software-assisted method like 1Password or Lastpass, or some other offline or old school method if you don’t trust online systems, there is no excuse for password reuse anymore.

password


Backup everything

As you get busier throughout the year it is easy to let good backup habits fall by the wayside.

If you’re setting up a media server, that may offer one avenue to back up photos and other media.

However, important files should be backed up to more than one hard drive and machine, in addition to a secure cloud service.

Toshiba 1TB external hard drive


Now read: Raspberry Pi vs Arduino – What you need to know

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Cool tech projects to tackle over a weekend