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Thursday February 14th 2013 (Entry was updated on Thursday February 14th 2013)


Egads, the pictures are gone!

So with the latest Opera browser update to V12.14, I noticed that linked pictures to Photobucket.com were no longer showing up when browsing forums.

I don't know why, but I do know how to fix it.

I wrote a simple little userscript that takes care of it. All it does is change any reference to ixxx.photobucket.com to img.photobucket.com. Normally PB links are in the style of img.photobucket.com, but for some reason that now doesn't work in Opera. imb.photobucket.com does, though.

So here's the script:

// ==UserScript==
// @name Photobucket Missing Images
// @description Fixes missing photobucket images
// @include http://*
// ==/UserScript==

if(new RegExp("i[0-9]+.photobucket.com", "i").test(document.body.innerHTML)){
document.body.innerHTML=document.body.innerHTML.replace(new RegExp("i[0-9]+.photobucket.com", "ig"), "img.photobucket.com");
}


Just copy/paste into a text file, then save in your userscripts folder. Make sure you name it something that ends in .user.js, like photobucketfix.user.js.

Don't know what userscripts are or how to turn 'em on? Read here



Tags: greasemonkey script userscript opera missing pictures images latest version after upgrading photobucket

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Monday February 4th 2013 (Entry was updated on Monday February 4th 2013)


Worst movie of the year?
Death Race 3 Inferno. Even though the year has just started, I'm pretty sure this will be the worst movie I've watched in 2013.

That's all!



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Friday January 25th 2013 (Entry was updated on Saturday January 26th 2013)


My Anilam Wizard 450 DRO died!
Most likely a power surge took out the power supply.

Turns out the switching transistor (2SK2628) and the switching controller (KA3842A) both died. The transistor shorted, which probably in turn fried the output on the controller. Replaced the two (ended up using a 2SK3326 instead since I found one a lot cheaper than the 2SK2628), and it's back in business.

Okay, the obligatory pictures:

First the circuit board. As you can see, it's a typical switch mode power supply.


The first thing I did was replace the 2SK2628 with a suitable substitute.


I fired it up using my variac, but still no go. On the bright side, the fuses no longer blow. To easier facilitate doing some test measurements, I add a test point to the 0V line. This is just a piece of wire looped, then soldered into an existing unused hole.


Okay, let's do some measuring. First, the output voltage of the controller (KA38242A). This is what drives the transistor (2SK3326). Well, that's certainly not enough voltage, only about 0.5V max.


Let's check the oscillator input to the controller. After all, without the oscillator the controller isn't going to work. Well, the oscillator works, but keeps resetting.


How 'bout the 5V reference output? Same deal, works, but cycles on/off.


Let's check the supply voltage to the controller. This is supplied through a resistor and capacitor at first, until the circuit successfully starts up, at which point the power is supplied from the secondary side of the power supply. The sawtooth waveform is caused by the charging/discharging of the capacitor. Once the capacitor charges beyond a threshold voltage, the controller kicks in. At this point the capacitor starts discharging since the resistor that feeds it is of a high value. Typically, this is where the power supply is supposed to start working and regulating itself, feeding the controller. But it doesn't start up, since the signal driving the transistor isn't a high enough voltage. So the supply voltage stored in the capacitor drops, at which point the controller shuts iself off again. This is where the voltage start going up again, and the cycle repeats over and over.


At this point I figured that the output transistors inside the controller were probably fried when the 2SK2628 shorted out. I measured a low ohm value between the drain and gate, so much of the high voltage stored in the primary side capacitor would have made it to the controller output.

So I replace the controller. I also solder in an IC socket while I'm at it, so if it breaks again in the future, replacement will be a lot easier. I didn't have an 8 pin socket around, so I cut off half a 14 pin socket.


Now let's do some more measurements. I power up the circuit, and to my joy, I now measure some amp draw from the 120V line. Looks like it's working, but let's confirm.

First, let's check the oscillator input.. Works great!


How about the output voltage? Again, great!


Reference voltage? Nice and steady 5V!


I check the outputs, and they're all good. 5.1V, 38V and 6.5V all within an acceptable range.


So I plug in the logic board...


...and it fires right up. All fixed!


I just need to wait for the fuses (2 x 2A) to arrive, since I had to order them.

The entire power supply board seems to have been manufactured by someone other than Anilam, by the way. The sticker on it says Model NAD-60. The OEM seems to be YCL. I couldn't find any information on that number on the internet, though. I did find references to YCL making power supplies.

Tags: DRO Digital Read Out Anilam Wizard Mill 3-Axis Dead Repair

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Friday November 30th 2012


Corsair Flash Voyager flash drives
Worry-free. That's the phrase Corsair uses when describing their Flash Voyager drives. I'm almost offended.

The story starts on 11/21/2011 when I order a Corsair Flash Voyager 32GB USB 3.0 (CMFVY3S-32GB). All is well for while, even though negative reviews keep piling up on the Newegg page for this drive.

1/11/2012: Drive fails out of the blue. Just doesn't work at all anymore. I RMA the thing, and Corsair sends me a replacement.

5/28/2012: Replacement drive fails. Again, Corsair replaces it.

10/25/2012: I had great hopes for this drive, but alas, it wasn't to be. Another one dead.

This is where the fun starts.

I call up Corsair and tell them what's going on, and that clearly their product is no good. They agree to upgrade me to a GT version of the drive. Promises to send a prepaid label to return the defective one. I should receive the e-mail by the end of the day.

A week goes by, no e-mail. I call 'em up again and leave a voice mail for the person I talked to.

Another week goes by. Still no label. I call 'em up again, explaining about the drives again, and about the upgrade/prepaid label I was to receive.

A few days go by, and I receive a package from Corsair. Inside in ANOTHER drive like the 3 previous defective ones. I call 'em up again and explain the situation. Seems they don't know why that would have shipped out. They tell me they're going to send me a prepaid return label (where have I heard that before?), and I'm to return the defective drive as well as the (for now) good drive. Lo and behold, I do finally receive the prepaid label.

I return the drives and Corsair finally sends the promised upgrade drive, and I receive it on 11/28/2012.

Now I have a Flash Voyager GT 32GB... and it works. However, it's physically quite a bit bigger than the other Flash Voyagers I've had. I even still have a 16GB Flash Voyager that's lasted me probably 3 years by now without a problem. I don't know why they can make a 16GB last, and not a 32GB.

What I discovered about the 32GB drives that failed was that it seemed to be a physical failure, as opposed to electronic. If i squeezed the drive just right behind the USB connector, I was able to read the contents of the drive (although they read corrupt). The moment I let go the drive would go offline as if it was removed from the USB port.

Anyway, the new, larger (physically) GT drive has the "innards" enclosed in a plastic housing, which in turn has a rubber liner around it, so hopefully this thing will last.

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Tuesday October 30th 2012


Power outage
The power went out last night, but not for me! The neighbors across the road lost power. I couldn't help but enjoy the moment since they rarely lose power.

They're apparently on a different feed than I am, so 9 out of 10 times when I lose power, they don't. It's frustrating. Here I'm without power for 2 days, and meanwhile the neighbor 100 feet away has power.

This time the roles were reversed, albeit only for 2 or 3 hours. But hey, I'll take what I can get.

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Thursday October 18th 2012 (Entry was updated on Thursday October 18th 2012)


Phillips Sonicare Toothbrushes - Long term update
Back in January 2007 I posted about my then new Sonicare toothbrush. It brushed teeth pretty darn good, and I was happy. I paid about $90 at the time, if memory serves me right.

But that didn't last long. It didn't take long to realize the brush had what I'd call a design flaw. The "well" where the magnetic part of the brush head moves collects any fluids that run down the brush while brushing. This eventually causes all kinds of nastyness down there, even if you rinse it out after every brushing. I took to putting bleack in the "well" for a while to clean it out every now and then.

Okay, so that's not so bad, right? But it gets better (worse?). A couple years later (right after the warranty ran out, of course), the brush would start turning on/off by itself. I'd be brushing, and next thing you know the brush turns off. I turn it back on, and it would turn itself off again. Other times, it would start going all by itself, without me even being in the room. Eventually I realized that it was acting up due to moisture inside it. So I figured out how to open it up, and dried it out. This worked fine for a while, but it soon started acting up again. Finally it just stopped working all together.

So I bought a Braun Oral-B, and have been happy ever since.

Meanwhile Sonicare had come out with new models, and it would appear the major flaws of the first design had been addressed and fixed. So I decided to give them another go and bought a Flexcare 930 for Red for her birthday. Now, 2-1/2 years later, this $129 toothbrush is exhibiting the very same symptoms as my first Sonicare. Turns on/off by itself, power button is non-responsive, etc.

I contacted Sonicare (online chat) about this, and told them that one brush doing it is a fluke, but two of them in a row, that's just a bad product. They asked "So the unit is TURNING ON WITHOUT PROVOCATION" , a phrase that's also used on the .UK version of the Sonicare site. This means it's clearly something that happens fairly often. Since it was typed in all capital letters in the chat, I'm thinking it is probably a pre-programmed phrase they just paste in. Clearly this is not a new thing to them.

They offered me a 15% off coupon to use on their site, and told me that's all they can do for me since the warranty is only 2 years. Even with the 15% off coupon, I can get their products cheaper elsewhere without a coupon. I told 'em no thanks and that I'll go buy an Oral-B.

Not only that, but Oral-B products are generally cheaper than Sonicare, and the replacement heads are also cheaper. As far a quality of the brushing, they come out about even, with Oral-B actually coming out ahead most of the time.

So here I am, heartily suggesting you DO NOT BUY a SONICARE product.

EDIT: And here's the replacement. Oral-B 8850 3D. $35 shipped from Drugstore.com.


Compare that to the $89.99 for the CHEAPEST Sonicare from their site. Even after their 15% off, they'd still be much more expensive, and it would still be a piece of crap.

Tags: Sonicare, bad, product, customer, serivice, no good, crap

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Wednesday October 3rd 2012


It's official, I'm old!
I had my first official rite of passage to getting old today. I fell in the shower!

I overslept by 20 minutes, so was trying to hurry. As I had finished showering, I opened up the door and reached for my towel. That's when my upper body went forwards, and my legs and feet went backwards. I went down like a log, and landed hip first onto the ledge of the shower. Ouch! (and a few other choice words).

On the bright side, the kids got to school on time, and I got to work on time.

Tags: getting, old, hurts

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Monday July 30th 2012


How big is a big screen TV
So I see this ad on Craigslist for a 52 TV. Not only that, it's a "big screen" 55" TV. I'm not sure what's so different about a "big screen" TV vs. other 52 TVs, but there must be something.

Personally I have a 60" TV. Is that a "really big screen" TV then?

I understand that in the olden days, rear projection screen TVs were generally "big screen" compared to the average 25" CRT TV of the days. But these days, 40"+ is the norm for TVs, and a I'm not sure where the line crosses from "TV" to "Big screen TV". And are there other lines as well? "Small TV", "Tiny TV", "Monster size TV", "Jumbo TV" (I suppose a Jumbo Tron would fit in that category).

Yes, these are the kind of things I think about!

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Friday July 20th 2012


One for the money (2012)
This movie has received rather horrible reviews. Fortunately, I didn't read the reviews until after I saw the movie. People complain about Katherine Heigl being cast as the lead character. I don't know why, 'cause I thought she worked out just great.

I gotta admit it, I liked the movie.



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Thursday July 19th 2012


Computer troubles
I went with the family to visit family (yep), and when I got back I figured out why my cameras and such were unavailable while I was gone.

The Antec power supply had failed, seemingly boosting the 5V feed for while before calling it quits. This boosted voltage had fried the mainboard (Asus M3N72D), 3 hard drives (2 x Samsung 2TB drives, 1 x Western Digital 500GB drive) and the video card (MSI N9500GT-MD512).

Yay.

The CPU and memory seemed to be the only surviving components at first, but yesterday I tried the CDRW/DVDRW drive (NEC brand) again, and it actually worked. Not sure why it didn't work at first after replacing the MB/PSU.

I managed to save the 2TB of data on the Samsung drive(s) (RAID 1) by purchasing a used drive and transferring the circuit board to the broken drive. I knew the circuit board was bad, because I could see where some components had melted a bit, and actually melted the solder on the pcb. An educated guess figured the "physical" part of the drive was okay. Another 2TB drive (a new one) has been purchased to restore the mirror.

Anyone have a circuit board from a Samsung HD204UI for sale? Korea or China made doesn't seem to matter, as my original drive was China made, and the replacement board was from a Korea made drive.

The WD 500GB drive only stored recorded TV, so I'm not worried about the data loss from that one.

I decided to upgrade the video card to an Asus ENGT440 DC SL/DI/1GD3 (Nvidia GT400 w/1GB DDR3 memory). It's a fanless card like the MSI that fried. Gotta keep it sort of quiet since it's a Media Center computer that resides in the living room.

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Thursday June 28th 2012


Spam!
Apparently someone's been sending out spam with from addresses belonging to tehpear.com (usually in the form of xxx123yyy@ where xxx and yyy are alphas, and 123 are numerics). For now it seems to be mostly limited to .jp addresses.

Just wanted to say that I have nothing to do with the spam, and that the e-mail addresses they're using aren't even real addresses at @tehpear.com.

Tags: Spammers, die, long, painful

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Saturday June 16th 2012


Bridgeport Variable Speed milling maching, replacement belt
Some sources on the internet list a 2426V343 variable speed belt as a replacement for a Bridgeport Series 1 variable speed mill. I found this to be inaccurate.

The 2426V343 belt is a 26 belt. The current belt I have on the mill is an HQT belt, and it measures out to 28. Measuring the actual pulleys, I get about 30.

So, the 2426V343 belt might work, but it won't have as much contact area between the belt and pulleys, so it will slip sooner.

2428V345 should be a better fit. It's a hair longer (7/32"), but it has a 28 angle.

Of course, you could just buy a belt that's sold for a Bridgeport, and you should get the right belt. But if you need one right now, and a 2428V345 is available, it should work.

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Saturday June 16th 2012


Dell N7010, no backlight
So a coworker brought me a Dell N7010 notebook with a smashed screen. She said she could still see the Dell start screen and such when it was turned on, so the rest of the computer seemed to be okay. I ordered a replacement screen, and installed it.

Once installed, it turns out the backlight wasn't working. Some Google searching pointed to a possible blown fuse. I couldn't find a fuse, so I decided to troubleshoot it myself.

I started by downloading the data sheet for the screen. It told me the backlight's voltage range, as well as which pins supplied that voltage.

I then measured the backlight supply voltage at the connector on the LCD scrren. Nothing. So I checked continuity between the "pins" on the connector that supply voltage, to the connector that connects to the motherboard. I couldn't find any with continuity. At this point everything pointed to a bad cable. To be sure, I checked voltages on the motherboard. I identified some pins that had 11.xV on them, and this was well within range of the "typical" backlight voltage.

To be 100%, I jumpered a wire from the 11.xV source to the backlight voltage supply pins on the LCD screen, and voila, the backlight came on.

So I ordered a replacement LCD screen cable, and installed it. Problem solved.

To to recap:

1. There's no backlight fuses on the N7010 (and similar models, I'm sure.
2. If you don't have backlight, measure voltage at the LCD screen connector on the motherboard. You'll see some thick circuit board traces going to 3 pins towards the right side of the connector (when viewing from the front of the computer as you would when using it). This is the backlight supply voltage. Measure between these and a ground source. If you have 11V+, the supply is okay. If there's no supply voltage present at the screen connector, change the cable.

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Monday June 11th 2012


The dearly departed Turbo finally put to rest
I've been meaning to bury my dear Turbo for a while now. I've had the spot picked out and even prepared (I had to move a rose bush) for a long time. Problem was, I didn't want to just put him in the ground and not have a grave marker.

I finally came up with a suitable grave marker, so here's the result:


This is right next to the front steps of the house, so he can sit there and guard the entrance, so to speak.



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Thursday May 31st 2012


In stock but may require an extra 1-2 days to process.
So I placed an order on Amazon.com for some misc junk, and one of the items was listed as "In stock but may require an extra 1-2 days to process". Well, no biggie, I don't need 'em immediately, and I always use the Super Saver shipping option anyway.

Lo and behold, the very next day, I get an e-mail saying it shipped. And today, the day after, it's already out for delivery via UPS.

The other stuff on the order, however, hasn't even shipped yet, and when it does, I'm sure it'll go USPS parcel post.

That's all!

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Friday April 27th 2012


Costco, Cartier?
So I was watching this documentary about Costco, the members warehouse chain. Coincidentally, I bought my last two TVs at Costco, but that's beside the point.

Anyway, at one point in the clip they show a $27,000 Cartier watch. Really? You're gonna spend $27k on a watch, and Costco is the placew to get it?

Personally, I'd never, ever spend anywhere near that much on a watch. To date, the most expensive watch I've had cost me $69.99, and that's the only watch I've ever paid for. The other 2 or 3 were gifts from my parents, or freebies.

For sake of argument, let's say I was dumb enough to waste $27k on a watch (which I wouldn't even if I had millions in the bank), would I go to Costco to buy it? I think not.

Personally I'd put the $27k towards a Porsche 911. :)

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Tuesday March 27th 2012


So you want to be a douchebag?

Step 1:
Put a monster sticker on your car.



Step 2:
Chances are if you already did step 1, you're already a douchebag, 'cause only douchebags put monster stickers on their cars. You probably wear a flat brim DC hat as well.

Tags: Douchenozzle!

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Thursday March 1st 2012


One word describes it



NASTY!

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Monday February 27th 2012


Druggies need a hobby
So as I'm watching Drugs Inc. and other TV shows that deal with drug and its users, I can't wrap my head around why anyone would want to use them.

Are their lives really that dull that they need to augment reality by getting high? I think what they need is a hobby. Seems to me these people do nothing constructive. They live to get high. What's the point? Might as well take on huge dose and get it over with.

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Thursday January 26th 2012


General Motors and their drunk headlight aiming techs
At least it seems they must be drunk. I swear, 95% of the vehicles I see on the road with ill-aimed headlights are GM products. And they're all newish vehicles as well, probably 2005+.

I think I might have commented on something similar in an earlier blog post.. namely how the vast majority of vehicles with one headlight out also seem to be, yep, GM products as well. Their truck/SVU platforms are by far the worst.

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