The Openbox / Skybox , a cheap HD sattelite receiver that provides a lot of bang for the buck


A couple of years ago I bought a Dreambox DM-800HD sattelite receiver. At the time, HD receivers were pretty expensive (300-400 euros) and there weren’t many good alternatives. I wanted additional HD receivers, but I wasn’t willing to pay 300-400 euros a piece. As such, I started investigating and found out that you could get an Openbox / Skybox HD receiver for about 70 euros including shipping, so I was quite interested and bought an Openbox S11. I’ve been using it for a couple of years now with a duo LNB with Astra 1 (19,2) and Astra 3 (23,5) and I’m very satisfied with it.


  • It’s cheap and provides a lot of bang for the buck.
  • It provides good image quality.
  • It supports cccam.
  • It boots very quickly.
  • The remote is easy to use and comfortable in your hand.
  • You can timeshift / record to an USB drive.
  • You can play multimedia from an USB drive. Music, Images, Video (including MKV X264 !!!! ).


  • Menus and options are very basic.
  • Only a single tuner.
  • Lack of support.
  • Custom firmwares are limited.
    • Hard to find out which firmware is best. Each has its own advantages and disadvantes.
  • Creating channel lists / favorites from the device itself is very time consuming and troublesome.
    • You can use external tools to create channel lists. By example Ali Editor / PVR800-Editor or MediaBox Editor Studio (MES). Even with these tools, the editing experience is not as good as I was used to with my Dreambox.
    • Already created channel lists / favorites can easily be shared using either USB or over the network using STBHD_LAN_MM.

Conclusion and advice

If you’re looking for a sattelite HD receiver that provides more bang for your buck, be sure to take a look at the Openbox / Skybox HD receivers. While I paid 70 euros back then, they can now be had for about 50 euros including shipping. Keep in mind though that initial configuration can require some manual work. After that you can simply re-use your configuration.

There are now many more versions available of the Openbox / Skybox however and I have to admit that it’s often not clear to me which types provide which advantages so be sure to take a look at this as well. Versions include the S9,S10,S11,S12,S16,S18,F3,F4,F5,X3,X4,X5,X6,S1000,S6000HD. Also keep in mind that there are a lot of clones available. Personally I just ordered the X6 here because I want a spdif output, I’ll write a review about it as soon as I receive it.

For people looking for HD sattelite receivers that provide more features, take a look at the Vu+ Solo2 or Duo2 that have been reviewed very well, but are also a lot more expensive.

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Posted by on November 3, 2013 in Hardware, Sattelite Receiver


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ICT – Great article by Paul Simoneau about ICT challenges including suggestions to deal with them

As an ICT professional I believe working in ICT can be very challenging. Paul Simoneau wrote a great article about current and future challenges including suggestions to deal with them.

The challenges covered in the article are: new technology, cloud, big data analytics, virtualization, Bring Your Own Device/Apps (BYOD/BYOA), shadow IT, new generations of workers, energy  efficiency, user systems, creating value, interoperability and social networks.

I wanted to share this article because I feel it reflects reality very well.


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Microsoft – Free exam 74-409 Server Virtualization with Windows Server Hyper-V and System Center

Microsoft is offering free exam vouchers for the new exam “74-409 Server Virtualization with Windows Server Hyper-V and System Center” to attendees of the Jump Start. The amount of free exams is limited, so be sure to register for the “Server Virtualization w/ Windows Server Hyper-V & System Center Jump Start” as soon as possible.

Also for those interested in free VMware Certified Associate (VCA) exams, time is running out. For more info, take a look at my previous post.


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Apple – Create an OS X 10.9 Mavericks bootable USB flash drive or ISO

This week Apple released OS X 10.9 Mavericks for free through the App Store. Even though downloading from the App Store works great for updating, I also want to be able to perform a clean install and create VMs running OS X 10.9 Mavericks. I also don’t want to download the 5+GB update file every time I upgrade a system.

Unfortunately Apple doesn’t provide an ISO download or a tool to create an ISO or bootable USB drive. There are however many people with similar needs that provide information on how to create both. The downside of these methods though, is that you need to have a working OS X system to be able to use them.

Create an OS X 10.9 Mavericks bootable USB flash drive

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Posted by on October 25, 2013 in Apple, ICT, OS X, Tools, Tutorials


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VMware – Free VMware Certified Associate (VCA) exam vouchers for a limited time

Free certification information

For a limited time only, you will be able to get free VMware Certified Associate (VCA) exam vouchers and get certified by taking the exams from the comfort of your own home.

Update 06-12-2012 : Rasmus Haslund added a new method:

Update 24-11-2013 : Rasmus Haslund provided a new code on his site :
Give code VMRT9B503121 a try.

Update 22-11-2013 : Apparently the codes are not working anymore, see the comments. You could give code VMRT1B01791B a try.

Update 19-10-2013 : Apparently Global Knowledge provides a code as well. Can be used until January 31st:

Update 09-11-2013 : Eric Sloof from provides a code as well. Can be used until January 31st:

The currently available tracks which you can do for free are:

VMware Certified Associate – Datacenter Virtualization (VCA-DCV) – Exam blueprint
VMware Certified Associate – Cloud (VCA-Cloud) - Exam blueprint
VMware Certified Associate – Workforce Mobility (VCA-WM) - Exam blueprint

Free online e-learning modules are available that take about 4-5 hours to complete and that are sufficient to pass the exam. The registration process is a bit cumbersome in my opinion, but this blog post contains some instructions to help you with that.

From what I can see, this offer is valid until the end of October, but I might be wrong so it’s best to take the exams as soon as possible. I also think you’ll also be able to use the same voucher code to re-take the exam should you fail, but again I’m not really sure. Once I have more information, I will update this blog post.

Future additions

In the future a new track VMware Certified Associate – Network Virtualization (VCA-NV) will become available. It is not clear when it will arrive and if you’ll be able to use the voucher on this exam as well, but using the link you can at least have VMware notify you when it becomes available.


I think these free e-learnings are a good way to become familiar on a high level with VMware products, terminology and use cases. The VCA certification is proof you have this knowledge and might give you an advantage.

Being able to certify for free now can come in handy for:

  • People that are still studying.
  • People that are in between jobs.
  • People that are working in other parts of the ICT that are interested in VMware, but cannot get their employer to pay for VMware training/certification.
  • People and companies that want to stimulate certification, but also have to save costs.
  • People that are interested in virtualization and are considering doing more with it, but don’t know yet if it’s something for them.

There are of course more possible situations, but I think these are very common.


Thanks to VMware for making this possible and Rasmus Haslund (@Haslund) for sharing the information and the voucher on his website, If you decide to use this offer, please also leave a comment at his website.

Also, as always … sharing is caring, so share this with others.


Posted by on October 11, 2013 in Cloud, ICT, Learning, Private cloud, Public Cloud, VMware


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Cloud – ITpreneurs CCC Professional Cloud Solutions Architect course

At the beginning of September I had the opportunity to attend the first ever Cloud Credential Council (CCC) Professional Cloud Solutions Architect (PCSA) course from ITpreneurs. The trainer was Mark Skilton and I really loved the training. But before telling you more about my experience, I’ll first first explain both the certification and the course in a bit more detail.

What is the CCC Professional Cloud Solutions Architect (PCSA) certification and who is it for ?

The PCSA certification is a globally recognized certification for technology architects. Solution Architects need to understand the impact that cloud is having on business and information architecture, application design, data management and security architecture and be very familiar with the topology and ecosystems that are being created as a result of increasing adoption of cloud technologies and operating models The certification is designed for senior technology professionals who are architecting and designing the future generation of technology solutions. Being PCSA-certified showcases your cloud architecting experience, skills and knowledge, and demonstrates you are capable to manage the various stakeholders within the enterprise. For more information, please take a look at the website:

What is the ITpreneurs CCC Professional Cloud Solutions Architect (PCSA) course ?

The ITpreneurs CCC PCSA course is a 3-day instructor led course that provides attendees with the required knowledge and skills for the CCC Professional Cloud Solutions Architect (PCSA) certification. The course material was created by lead author Mark Skilton and peer reviewers Vladimir Baranek and RajaGopalan Varadan. For more information, contact ITpreneurs and/or take a look at the course description:

My experiences with and opinion about the ITpreneurs CCC PCSA course

Like I said at the beginning, I really loved the CCC PCSA course because:

  • It covers an important current topic that I believe will become even more important in the future.
  • The course materials are very complete and of great quality.
  • There’s a good balance between theoretical and practical knowledge.
  • The cases are mini workshops that force you to apply your knowledge, which provides more insight. They are also consistent with cases from previous cloud courses from ITpreneurs.
  • There is a lot of interaction between the trainer and the students.
  • Mark Skilton presented the course with a lot of enthusiasm and modified the course content on the go to focus more on the interests of the audience. 

One of the difficult parts of cloud computing is that it’s a very broad definition. As such, different interpretations and explanations are used for the same word/technology by different people and companies. So during the course there were some discussions. I thought this was good, because this will happen in real-life as well. It also stresses the importance of clear definitions and verifying correct understanding of all involved parties.

The special version of the course I attended was only two days, while the regular course will be three days. Since there was so much information to take in and because there were many discussions, the two days unfortunately weren’t enough to cover everything. ITpreneurs and Mark Skilton modified the course on the fly to cover the most important things, but I would have loved to go into more detail during the course if there had been time. Unfortunately this wasn’t the case, but since the course materials are of great quality I’ll be reading them at home instead.

As always there’s room for improvement. Our class provided a lot of feedback that Mark Skilton and ITpreneurs took to heart. They seemed to be really committed to improving the course so I expect the course to become even better since the course materials are currently being reassessed and restructured.

I hope you enjoyed reading about my course experience. For those interested in it, I added some more information about ITpreneurs and the Cloud Credential Council at the end of this blog post.


I’d like to thank Corjan Bast and ITpreneurs for providing me with the opportunity to attend this course free of charge. I also want to thank Mark Skilton and all other great people involved in this course for their participation, valuable input and hard work.

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TV – New TV shows of fall 2013

As every TV season, some shows are coming to an end (I’ll miss you Breaking Bad and Dexter), while new ones are premiering in the next weeks/months.

For those interested in these new TV series I’ve tried to make it convenient to find more info about the shows by adding links to both IMDB and Youtube.


Back in the game [ IMDB | Youtube ] *
Brooklyn Nine-Nine [ IMDB | Youtube ] *
Dads [ IMDB | Youtube ] *
Ground Floor [ IMDB | Youtube ] *
Hello Ladies [ IMDB | Youtube ] *
Mom [ IMDB | Youtube ]
Sean saves the world [ IMDB | Youtube ]
The Birthday Boys [ IMDB | Youtube ] *
The Crazy Ones [ IMDB | Youtube ]
The Goldbergs [ IMDB | Youtube ] *
The Millers [ IMDB | Youtube ]
The Michael J. Fox Show [ IMDB | Youtube ]
Trophy Wife [ IMDB | Youtube ] *
We are men [ IMDB | Youtube ]


Almost human [ IMDB | Youtube ] *
Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D [ IMDB | Youtube ] *
The 100 / The Hundred [ IMDB | Youtube ]
The Tomorrow People [ IMDB | Youtube ]
Star-Crossed [ IMDB | Youtube ]


Dracula (Fantasy) [ IMDB | Youtube ]
Full circle [ IMDB | Youtube ] *
Hostages (Crime/Thriller) [ IMDB | Youtube ]
Ironside (Crime) [ IMDB | Youtube ]
Masters of sex [ IMDB | Youtube ] *
Mob City (Crime) [ IMDB | Youtube ] *
Ravenswood (Fantasy) [ IMDBYoutube ] *
Reign (Fantasy) [ IMDB | Youtube ]
The BlackList (Crime) [ IMDB | Youtube ]
The Originals (Fantasy) [ IMDB | Youtube ]

Personally I’m looking forward the most to the comedy and sci-fi shows. What are you looking forward to most ?

[Update 24-09] Added some shows I apparently missed. I added an * at the end of them for those who already read the previous list.


Posted by on September 22, 2013 in Entertainment, TV


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