Remote administration tools such as Remote Desktop, VNC, etc. are great for controlling systems without needing to be physically present. There is only one big problem: all of these tools require a functional operating system to be present in order to function. You may think, ‘Yes, of course you need to have the operating system installed first.' While it is usually simple enough to administrate your system(s) while you are at home, what if you encounter issues that are not easily resolved when you are away from home?
Last Summer I built an airplay enabled outdoor speaker using a Raspberry Pi. It worked pretty well, and it was nice that I could stream music outside using our iOS devices while we spend time outside. Over time I noticed that the Raspberry Pi would freeze after some time of using it, and I would have to reboot it in order to start playing music again. I started with HiFiBerry OS but then tried out Volumio.
When I decided to do a fun project with my old Raspberry Pi 3B+, I purchased the 4GB model of Raspberry Pi 4 to have as a replacement (update: now they have an 8GB model that would be nice to have). Since I am working from home due to COVID-19, my main PC is completely utilized for work during the weekdays via a VPN connection. I thought it would be convenient if I had a second computer at my desk so that I can listen to background music from my Plex Media Server or use it for personal things such as banking, shopping, paying bills, and browsing the web during lunch.
When my family is spending time in our backyard especially when weather is nice, there have several times we brought a small Bluetooth speaker outside with us so we can have a little bit of music while the kids are playing. We also have birthday parties which we play some background music during the party. The Bluetooth speaker was stored in our walkout basement when it was not being used so we had relatively easy access to it.
Pi-hole is open source software which provides ad blocking (and more) for your entire home network. It does this by blocking known ad serving domains. Pi-hole even has the ability to block network requests to malicious domains if the domain name is contained in one of the block lists. The high level statistics compiled by Pi-hole provides a much greater insight to what is going on in your home network.