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Free 3 Month Subscription to The Sizzle (Valued @ $15) with Purchase of Hardware Ad Blocker ($59 Delivered)

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Hello Ozbargainers!

Over at The Sizzle, I am selling Orange Pi Zero boxes with the excellent Pi-Hole ad blocker installed and pre-configured. The deal link has heaps of info about it if you're interested in a network wide ad-blocker (as opposed to just browser-based blocking).

They're $59 a pop including delivery and as a special for Ozbargainers, I am including a free 3-month subscription to The Sizzle newsletter. No code required - if the email address you enter in the PayPal form isn't already a subscriber of The Sizzle, you'll get a 3 month non-recurring subscription for free (i.e: you won't be charged extra after 3 months and you can unsubscribe at any time).

The subscription starts immediately and will last until 3 months after the Pi-Hole units ship out.

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  • Interesting hardware ad blocker

  • I think the $59+shipping needs to be in title as its misleading at the moment, its free with purchase of hardware

  • Your website needs a little tweaking, only half of each image is shown on mobile.

    Is there any discount for 2? (I was thinking 1 for dad for fathers day and 1 for me). And any discount for no subscription?

    • Thanks for the heads up about mobile - the images aren't resizing down to fit the viewport! I'll try fix it.

      No discounts for multiple units.

      • Even though it saves you shipping? 🤔

        • +3 votes

          My basic PayPal form doesn't allow for multiple item discounts. It's easier for me to offer flat rate free postage than try calculate precise postage for each order.

  • Hi, Whats the expected shipping times?

    • +4 votes

      Orders will remain open until the 27th of August.

      On the 28th of August I will order stock. Might take up to 2 weeks for everything to arrive.

      When it all gets here, I’ll start assembling the Pi-Holes. Will be complete in a weekend.

      When they’re shipped, I’ll send Australia Post tracking codes to buyers.

      All up it should take about 3 weeks from when orders close until the Pi-Hole arrives in your mailbox. I will be sending email updates along the way.

  • Looks great. Does this device block adds in youtube (TV app rather than desktop) In the last two weeks youtube have increased their advertising so much that youtube is almost unusable.

  • I really like the idea of this, but do you have information about how you take steps to ensure our privacy? Having a device like this monitoring all web traffic for ads could easily share that web traffic to someone else.

    If you can give me better info, I’ll buy in an instant. Thanks and good luck!

    • +5 votes

      The device is running Armbian (an version of Linux designed for single board ARM-based computers) and Pi-Hole (an open source DNS server with a block list)

      You can log into the unit via SSH and check up on what it's doing if you have the skills to do so. It doesn't report back to me or anyone else in any way, all data is kept local to the device. Pi-Hole and Armbian are open source, so you can see what they're up to. There's no other software running on the unit besides Pi-Hole and Armbian.

      Ultimately, you either need to have the skills to test the device yourself once you receive it, or trust that I haven't installed any backdoors or dodgy stuff on there.

    • According to Anthony this is an OpenSource Software Pi-Hole running on Orange Pi.
      Pi-Hole is not monitoring traffic. And device like OrangePi might be not even powerful enough to do it.
      Pi-Hole is a DNS. It means it only knows what websites you are trying to open. But doesn't even know exact URLs.
      There is a community maintained list of domains used to server ads and all sorts of analytics (over 130 thousands domains at this moment).
      Pi-Hole is "blocking" these domains by simply telling your browser fake location of the these servers (different IP address).

      Like I said it is OpenSource, its been around for ages.
      You can try this software before jumping in - it can be run on pretty much everything these days.

      My experience with Pi-Hole is very positive - with my family browsing internet in the evening it blocks up to 20% of internet request.
      Yeah… Internet is full of crap these days.

  • can you change email on subscription once it starts? as my regular email is not my paypal email

    • +1 vote

      Yep, that's easy to do. When you get your first issue, just scroll to the bottom of the email, click "update subscription preferences" and you can enter any email address you like.

  • so you will buy parts in a week and make.. when will you ship?

    • I will ship around 2-3 days after all the parts arrive :)
      I estimate that will be the 11th of September, but most likely earlier.

  • What impact on browsing speed does this have? Faster because you've cut ads, or slower because it has to go through the PiHole?

    Can it work with a Streaming TV DNS changer thingy like GetFlix, or should you use separate routers for each of those uses?

    • Browsing speed can sometimes be improved as Cloudflare or Google's DNS can sometimes be faster than your ISPs. It adds maybe 1-2ms extra time for DNS lookups, but because your pages load faster due to no ads, it's a bit of a wash.

      I did a quick test loading SMH with and without Pi-Hole (cache cleared before each test).

      Without adblocker: 7.47s
      With ad blocker: 1.39s

      You can certainly add your own DNS servers to Pi-Hole, so no need to run a seperate router (Pi-Hole is simply a DNS server, not a router).

      Here's a screenshot of the DNS settings page in Pi-Hole

  • Can this be setup to do proxy caching as well?

    • +2 votes

      The box just runs Armbian (a Debian derivative), so there's no reason why you can't - however, it's not particularly powerful and has bugger all storage (though you can install your own USB HDD or larger microSD card). If you've got the skill to set up a proxy cache, you may as well just jump on Aliexpress and buy an Orange Pi Zero or grab a Raspberry Pi yourself :)

  • Just curious as to why the Orange Pi and not the Raspberry?

    • +3 votes

      Orange Pi is way cheaper! The cheapest Raspberry Pi with an ethernet port is ~$30. Orange Pi + Case is like $17.

  • Cheers mate, ordered! Been a few years since MacTalk!

    • +1 vote

      Soooo many years since MacTalk - shame what's happened to the site since I sold it. Niche absolutely ran it into the ground :(

  • Is this similar to what a Pihole does?

  • +2 votes

    How does it deal with sites like cashrewards or shopback in regards to tracking cookies for cashback?

    • There's the important question!

    • There looks like some whitelisting capabilities….

    • they will probably be blocked out of the box but you can add whitelisted domains in the pihole admin control panel.

      try clicking something -> if it doesn't work, load admin panel and refresh page -> see what is being blocked -> add to whitelist -> restart dnsmasq

      there is quite a lot of stuff blocked by default that i've whitelisted (mainly to do with shopping) but it's all working fine now for me.

    • You'll need to whitelist those domains like emm2600x explains in their reply to your post.

  • Nice one Anthony. You've inspired me to put my own pihole box together, and I hope to run Home Assistant on there too.

    No one is talking about the Sizzle but it's well worth subscribing to if you like being up to date with tech. And start listening to the Reckoner podcast while you're at it!

  • The Sizzle idea is interesting. So it is a daily-email with content that is an Aussie slanted, curated version of the RSS feed I get from AnandTech/Engadget/Hackaday/Lifehacker etc etc etc? Very cool.

  • I run two Pi-Holes on my network and highly recommend it. No sure about how good a deal this is though.

    • the effort going though ordering, building, QA, making sure everything runs, posting out. A little more expensive, but worth it i'd say. Especially as a one man show.

    • Yeah, Pi-hole is really easy to setup.

  • Just wanted to say that the OP has been brilliant in answering everyone’s questions.

    More like you on this site, dear sir.

    • +2 votes

      I want to sell some of these boxes and not answering people's questions isn't gonna help!

  • I'm still on the fence, but serious considering, couple of questions, the Orange pi you are going to use is the 512MB RAM version? Just reading that's the recommendation for 4.0. What size SD card comes with it? I know it doesn't need a lot just curious.

  • I like the idea of this.

    I have one question: When I dabbled a bit with the first gen raspberry pi, I had to reimage the sd card a few times when power interruptions caused corruption in the filesystem. Is that still an issue these days? Other than maybe some whitelisting I'd like this to be a set and forget device - rather not have to do low level maintenance.

    • +2 votes

      It can still happen unfortunately - I've tested a cold shutdown scenario a few times in a row (just yanked the power out to see what happens) and there was no problems with it coming back up when the power was plugged back in (did that 3 times in a row), but I can't promise the SD card won't shit itself or the filesystem decides to crap out eventually.

      I'll pop the image I use up online with some instructions, so if you do need to re-install, it's simply a matter of writing the image to the SD card and placing it in to the Orange Pi Zero.

  • +2 votes

    Looks nifty. Ordered one. Been a while since I played around with my network - become less tech interested in the past few years. Comments above convinced me and props to OP for answering questions etc. Keen to add it in and filter ads across the network rather than just rely on inbrowser blocking. Cheers!

  • Don't know much, how is this different from enabling adblocking proxy in dd-wrt?

    • Looks pretty similar to me, but Pi-Hole's host blocking list is more regularly updated and the Pi-Hole project seems to be much more actively maintained than the adblocking proxy in dd-wrt.

  • I'm not that router etc savvy. Basically i turn it on and it works hopefully, i reset it if it doesn't.

    So this just plugs into my router? How much configuring from there does it require?

    • +1 vote

      Check out this documentation, might answer some of your questions: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1pqdh6W9CAq-irY1qJhrVIW5g...

      Basically, configuration is:

      1. plugging it in to your router's ethernet and USB port (USB for power only, if your router hasn't got a USB port, just plug it into any USB power adapter)
      2. finding the IP address your Pi-Hole was assigned by your router
      3. configuring your router to tell all the devices on your network to use the Pi-Hole's IP address for DNS instead of your ISP's DNS server
      4. rebooting/renewing the DHCP lease on your client devices (tablets, smartphones, PCs, etc.) to grab the new settings from your router

      If that sounds difficult for you, I suggest not purchasing this device as I won't be offering a very high level of support, just the basics over email.

  • That's an Orange Pi Zero…
    Those things are extremely cheap and underpowered.
    They work but they get extremely hot compared to the Raspberry Pi zero w.
    I got mine for less than $10 delivered with a case from Aliexpress, if you think referencing chinese sites is unfair then core-electronics has the raspberry pi zero w for $22 delivered.
    Pi Hole is extremely easy to install, it walks you through it like a baby.

    I would never recommend buying one for $59, the subscription is valued at $15 which means you're paying $45 for the bottom of the barrel of single-board-computers with one of the easiest software to install on it.
    Minus the $5 donation to Pi Hole that's $40 for an item sold at 1/4 of that retail.
    Even including the microSD and the case this seems way too steep for such a poor product.
    I have to wonder if the seller if buying these at retail price and just reselling them at a markup instead of sourcing the stock more directly.

    • +1 vote

      "I have to wonder if the seller if buying these at retail price and just reselling them at a markup instead of sourcing the stock more directly."

      This is exactly what I'm doing. The aim here is to save people time setting it up themselves. If you're interested in the absolute cheapest, jump on Aliexpress & DIY it.

      In regards to quality, I've been running the Pi Zero 256MB for a month now, in a relatively enclosed space and it's been great. No performance issues & temps are fine. It's literally just a DNS server, it's practically idle.

      • When I used mine the idle temps were still very high on the 512MB model, even with a heatsink. I believe I was getting well over 70 degrees on the lightest version of armbian idle.

        I appreciate you being honest and replying to my comment though, if you see it more as a service you're paying for than the product itself I can see why people would be interested.

        Best of luck.

  • Nano defender / reek or alternative?

  • Is this still available?