Category: General

  • Not enough ass in your pants?

    Growing up, when someone was attempting a job that was clearly too big for them, my uncle would say: “You don’t have enough ass in your pants for that!” What this expression meant of course was that all the strength, gumption or determination in the world were irrelevant, and the task at hand just required…

  • MAPFRE Data Breach, or, “What’s a MAPFRE and why do they have my information?”

    So, I had this brilliant idea for a legitimate passive income opportunity: Start a company with an online presence and terrible information security. Buy personal information in bulk, store copies of it on our servers, then sit back as eeevil hackers steal it. Repeatedly. Each time it happens, offer the affected customers 12 months of…

  • Spookifying Haunted Mirror build using Stable Diffusion

    Spookifying Haunted Mirror build using Stable Diffusion

    For this Halloween, I built this haunted mirror display for the porch that turns any trick-or-treaters extra spooky. Using the voodoo power of AI, those who gaze into the mirror will be treated to a visage of their best Halloween self. See below for code and build tips if you’re interested in making your own!…

  • Fixing Dell Ultrasharp (U3014/U3014T) Monitor Not Working (Now with Firmware!)

    Fixing Dell Ultrasharp (U3014/U3014T) Monitor Not Working (Now with Firmware!)

    So, I found this lovely behemoth in my work’s e-waste pile and yanked it out, figuring on harvesting a nice big diffuser and backlight for a different project. But a quick search on the partnumber showed this thing is pretty impressively specced, and maybe I’d rather have a go at getting it running again instead.…

  • Solved: YouTube Watch Later ‘Remove Watched’ missing 2021

    TL;DR: Watch one of the first 10 videos in your “Watch Later” list and see if it magically reappears. Doing a web search for this problem reveals it has been an issue for some time, but possibly for varying reasons in the past. The above is working for me on Web + native clients as…

  • Sticky Nano Heater, a small fishtank heater that stays dry

    Sticky Nano Heater, a small fishtank heater that stays dry

    While procrastinating on my current year+ long “couple long weekends” project, in which I’ve clearly bitten off more than a post-kids me has time to chew, I set my sights on a stupid-simple project I could actually complete :-) This is an adhesive stick-on fish tank heater for nano aquariums. The thin PCB trace heater…

  • Potential Safety Flaw in Home Depot HDX brand wire shelving units

    Potential Safety Flaw in Home Depot HDX brand wire shelving units

    Asbestos undergarments? Check. Lawyer-proof socks? Check. Here we go. I got a small safety lesson over the weekend I wanted to share. Officially, it’s about an extremely common design of wire-rack shelving units, but the real safety lesson is to double-check the workmanship of load-bearing products with a critical eye, because the manufacturer may not…

  • Tim Tears It Apart: SunGrow Betta Heater, a Sketchy Preset Aquarium Heater

    Tim Tears It Apart: SunGrow Betta Heater, a Sketchy Preset Aquarium Heater

    Spoiler alert time. Did you know there are ferrous metal composites with arbitrary Curie points, extending down to room temperature and even below freezing? You never know where a teardown of a theoretically boring product will lead. Seriously, take more stuff apart, it’s good for you. I’ll spare you the lengthy story of the goldfish…

  • Other Utricularia for aquascaping besides UG

    Other Utricularia for aquascaping besides UG

    Utricularia graminifolia (UG) is a popular foreground plant for planted aquariums, with grass-like leaves that eventually form a lush green carpet over the substrate. It is considered anywhere between easy and impossible to grow, and has some special needs that make it not a beginner’s plant. However, there are a whole range of Utricularia that…

  • Disable automatic reboots on Windows 10 (maybe)

    Look, I get it, updates are important, and so is installing them timely. But after waking up this morning to find yet-another overnight job lost to an automatic reboot, it’s the last straw. To afford nice things (you know, like computers), I need to do my job, and that requires actually using my computer and…

  • Notes To Myself: Fixing File Sharing in Windows 10 after “Fall Creators Update” breaks it

    About 2 years ago, sharing movies from my desktop (Windows 10, alas) to the old Linux Mint laptop acting as a Chromecast-that-plays-local-content-without-weird-workarounds randomly stopped working, with Gigolo reporting the very helpful error, “Connection timed out”. Fair enough, it’s not Gigolo’s job to diagnose problems caused by dodgy Windows updates. After more Googling than it should…

  • Silly Subproject: Switching 7805 / 7833 TO-220 replacement

    Silly Subproject: Switching 7805 / 7833 TO-220 replacement

    Thanks to an oopsie on a larger project that involved not doing the math before dropping a small 3.3V linear regulator into a >20V input circuit design, I had a need to swap it for something that generated less finger-burning, board-cooking, smoky-smelling heat. I’m sure everyone and their dog has done one of these already,…

  • Not Dead

    I’ve just been busy with a couple of little things. Now that the littlest one is figuring out this whole sleep thing, I might have time for projects again :-)

  • Hooah! Could your next MRE contain bug meat?

    This delicious solicitation for an upcoming DARPA project rolled …er, scuttled? across my desk last week. Now, I’m no stranger to unconventional protein sources with way too much exoskeleton, but this project might be food for thought if you plan to enlist. Excerpts, emphasis mine: Component: DARPA Topic #: SB172-002 Title: Improved Mass Production of…

  • Solved: Mazda (JCI) Infotainment crashes when playing OGG Vorbis files

    The Fix (Tl;dr): The Mazda Connect (a.k.a. “JCI infotainment” or Johnson Controls Infotainment, etc.) firmware available as of 1/2016 has a problem with long tags in Ogg Vorbis files, specifically the tags used for album/cover art. Vorbis files containing cover art will likely cause the radio to freeze and then reboot. To fix this, you…

  • Free IoT Telemetry using DNS Tunneling and Other Peoples’ WiFi (Part 1)

    Well, it happened. Despite all my talk about “Internet of Things” hype being teh suck and not ready for primetime yet, I’m now an official IoT Hero. I suppose I should actually do something about that. Today, we explore cheap-as-free data exfiltration for mobile IoT gadgets using a trick known as DNS tunneling. Internet of…

  • Notes To Myself: Starting out with OpenWSN (Part 1)

    TL;DR: Successful toolchain setup, flashing and functional radio network! Still todo: Fix network connectivity between the radio network and host system, and find/fix why the CPUs run constantly (drawing excess current) instead of sleeping. Over the last few weeks (er, months?), I build up and tried out some circuit boards implementing OpenWSN, an open-source low-power…

  • Clutter, Give Me Clutter (or, a GUI that doesn’t use Google as an externalized commandline)

    UX nightmare: Get the menu at a restaurant, and it has only 2 items: toast and black coffee. But if you spindle the corner just right, a hidden flap pops out with a dessert menu. And if you shake it side to side, a card with a partial list of entrees falls in your lap…

  • Tim Tears It Apart: Measurement Specialties Inc. 832M1 Accelerometer

    So, yesterday the outdoors turned into this. Not quite the snowpocalypse, but it was enough that a travel ban was in effect, and work was closed. What happens when we’re stuck in the house with gadgets? All right, I’d like to tell you that’s the reason, but this actually got broken open accidentally at my…

  • Tim Tears It Apart: Koolpad Qi Wireless Charger (Also: how to silence it without soldering)

    My wife goes to bed long before me, so when I go to bed, it behooves me to do so without significant light or racket. After countless nights of fiddling with a 3-sided micro-USB cable in the dark, I bought this neat little USB phone charger. It’s not the cheapest, nor the priciest, but was…