Weekend Workshop: How to auto tweet your ISP when your Internet slows down

Weekend Workshop
Need something to keep you busy this weekend? Look no further. The Weekend Workshop is our weekly column where we showcase a badass DIY project that you can complete with minimal skills and expertise. We’ve dug through all the online tutorials on the Web, and gone the extra mile to pinpoint projects that are equal parts easy, affordable, and fun. So put on your work pants, grab your tool belt, and head to the garage — it’s time to start building!

If all goes well, you might never have to suffer through glitchy, slow-loading kitten gifs ever again!

No matter who you are or where you live, we’re willing to bet that your ISP probably sucks. Your broadband is probably slower than advertised, and on certain occasions (usually the most inconvenient times possible), it probably gets so slow you can hardly load a kitten gif on Reddit. Obviously, this is no good — but most of us simply don’t have the patience to call customer service, wait on hold for half an hour, and then complain to a person that probably can’t fix the problem anyway; so we just let it slide.

But, believe it or not, it doesn’t have to be like this. With a handful of cheap electronics and a few lines of code, you can actually create a robot that logs your Internet speeds throughout the day, and then automatically complains to your ISP through Twitter. You don’t have to do it yourself! And don’t let that whole “lines of code” part scare you off, either. You don’t need any programming experience to make this contraption. There are a handful of really smart people in the world who have published their code online. All you have to do is get the right hardware and make sure your copy/paste skills are up to snuff. Here’s what you need to make it happen:

Required gear:

Yup. That’s it. Once you’ve got everything together, you just hook up your keyboard and monitor to your Raspberry Pi, then fire everything up. From there, just follow these awesome instructions from Alsdair Allan of Make. He breaks down all the big, scary Python programming into a series of easy-to-follow steps — so as long as you know how to copy/paste, you should be golden.

Oh — and one last thing. Technically the aforementioned tutorial shows you how to log your Internet speeds and automatically save them to a Google Docs spreadsheet with IFTTT. This is great for keeping track of your broadband, and will help you hold your ISP accountable if your speeds are consistently lower than what you’re paying for. On the other hand, if you want to take things a step further and send out an automatic complaint whenever your speeds dip below a certain point, you’ll need to switch up Allan’s IFTTT recipe and use the Twitter channel instead of Google Docs.

If all goes well, you might never have to suffer through glitchy, slow-loading kitten gifs ever again!

Product Review

DJI has always been the king of drones, and the new Mavics are almost perfect

After flying both the Mavic 2 Pro and Mavic 2 Zoom for over a week, we’re convinced that these are two of the best drones that DJI has ever made.

How to easily record your laptop screen with apps you already have

Learning how to record your computer screen shouldn't be a challenge. Lucky for you, our comprehensive guide lays out how to do so using a host of methods, including both free and premium utilities, in both MacOS and Windows 10.

Turn your iPad into a display for your new Mac Mini with this workaround

The folks at Luna Display have figured out a workaround which lets you get the best of both worlds and use Wi-Fi and an adapter in order to turn your iPad into a display for the 2018 Mac Mini.
Home Theater

How to make your TV squeaky clean for not much green

Not sure how to clean the LCD, OLED, or plasma display that's the cornerstone of your living room? You don't need to buy expensive cleaning solutions to clean your TV -- we'll teach you how to do it with simple household items.

Want to keep connected on the road? Here are 5 ways to add Bluetooth to your car

The best way to make an old ride feel young again is to bring it up speed with the 21st century. Here's how to properly add Bluetooth to your vehicle, via independent kits, vehicle adapters, or aftermarket head units.
Emerging Tech

OSIRIS-REx spacecraft successfully tests its asteroid-sampling arm

The OSIRIS-REx spacecraft, launched in September 2016, is closing in on its target of the Bennu asteroid. The craft has now unfurled its robotic arm, called the Touch-and-Go Sample Acquisition Mechanism (TAGSAM), and tested it successfully.
Emerging Tech

Microsoft’s friendly new A.I wants to figure out what you want — before you ask

Move over Siri and Alexa! Microsoft wants to build a new type of virtual assistant that wants to be your friend. Already making waves in Asia, could this be the future of A.I. BFFs?
Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: A.I. selfie drones, ‘invisible’ wireless chargers

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!

Cyber Monday 2018: When it takes place and where to find the best deals

Cyber Monday is still a ways off, but it's never too early to start planning ahead. With so many different deals to choose from during one of the biggest shopping holidays of the year, going in with a little know-how makes all the…
Emerging Tech

Smarter cities need smarter addresses. And you just need 3 words

To make really smart transportation choices, more precise location data will have to be integrated with citywide transportation data. Here’s how one company is mapping the world by using just three words.
Emerging Tech

Ghostly galaxy discovered lurking on the edge of the Milky Way

A team of astronomers from the University of Cambridge have discovered a strange galaxy next door to the Milky Way. The dwarf galaxy, named Antlia 2, is dark and dim and gives out much less light than expected.
Emerging Tech

Ancient crater the size of NYC discovered under the Greenland ice sheet

A huge crater has been discovered beneath the ice of Greenland, and is thought to be the result of a meteorite impact millions of years ago. The crater is one of the largest ever discovered, measuring 19 miles across.
Emerging Tech

Here’s how the InSight mission to Mars will confirm its landing to NASA

NASA's InSight mission has sent a lander to Mars. NASA researchers have now shared details on how they will monitor the touching down of the lander at the end of its 91 million mile journey.
Emerging Tech

Would you swap your keycard for a microchip implant? For many, the answer is yes

Put down your keycard! More people are turning to implanted RFID chips as their choice of workplace identification. Should we be worried about a world in which employees get microchipped?