I’ve been a big fan of the Raspberry Pi Zero since it came out. What’s not to like about a $5 computer? And lest you think otherwise, it’s a legit computer. It can surf the internet, edit documents, and run all kinds of gadgety sorts of things in your household. And at $5, it’s just fine if it only serves a single purpose.
However, the big issue with it was that in order to get it onto the network, you’d need to add a dongle of some sort, either ethernet or wifi. And the dongle itself would wind up costing more than the computer! That just seemed a little backwards.
That got address in spades last week. With the release of the Raspberry Pi Zero W, we now have a $10 computer that has HDMI, two USB ports (power and data), a micro SD slot and both bluetooth 4.0 and wifi. If you’re like me, you’re swooning already.
It’s a delicious combination of features. Add power to it and you can create all sorts of Internet of Things (IoT) gadgets. In the past, I’ve used the Pi Zero to listen for my Dash buttons in the house. But there’s another project I’ve been considering and decided the Pi Zero W was the perfect platform for it. So once I got my board earlier this week, the first thing I did was set it up to be a Pi-Hole server.
Pi-Hole is a black hole for internet ads. You may be thinking that’s the same thing as an ad blocker. Well, you’re right…. kinda. Most ad blockers work on the computer level. They’re chrome plugins or apps that will block apps on that specific device. Pi-Hole is run on any computer that is always on and available on your network. Then you tell your router to use the Pi-Hole to provide DNS information to every other device in your home. Pi-Hole blocks the ads before they even get to your devices. So the net result is that it blocks ads on EVERY computer, EVERY tablet and EVERY phone at the same time. Heck, it even blocks them on visitors devices that connect to your wifi! And if you’re a stats junky, it has a pretty sweet dashboard to see just how effective it is being.
$10. About 10 minutes of setup. And now I have a household-wide ad blocker set up. Wicked cool. I’m in love with this thing. And now… I’m off to buy another!
If you want to see some other interesting projects that may be on my todo list, check out the links below!