Archive for September, 2008


September 30, 2008

we have Charter Expanded Basic or something (70 channels?) with our internet, but none of us 5 guys could bring a TV down to our apartment. eventually, one came, so I installed it today. so I unhooked the long coax from the splitter that went to our computers, and hooked up a cable from the splitter to the TV.

I didn’t touch the internet at all, but somehow, that action killed the internet anyways, knowing our modem. (It had some odd behavior last year, of which I figured out.) anyways, some reboots and renews/releases wouldn’t do, so I swapped the wall-splitter and splitter-modem cables.. and voila, it worked.

I will never understand why, but oh well.


nexys board with LCD attachment woes

September 30, 2008

couldn’t get my project working – the LCD was exhibiting some really odd characteristics.. and eventually stopped working. with some further analysis we realized that the DC supply was providing 12 volts to the LCD, which only has a tolerance of ~5.5 volts. (3.3v under normal operation.)

that just pisses me off because the way that we power on the board severely affects what voltage gets passed on to the 3.3v LCD. there’s no regulator anywhere unless you use USB power. and the only reason i didn’t use USB power was because the PMOSFET that allowed USB power to go to the rest of the board was blown by Viet/Wilson spring 2007 when they borrowed my board. Wilson got me 10 of those PMOSFETs this summer to replace it but it is a very fine soldering job that i was too scared to do (and wanted to wait until I was done with the board to try.)

so because I used DC to power my board because the USB power is broken (by someone else), too much voltage got supplied to my LCD and .. broke my LCD. yay! not even a warning from our professor – there HAS to be someone out there who supplied DC power to their LCD and broke it…


September 29, 2008

i installed freeBSD on my laptop to work on my intel CPU architecture capstone project.

man, that was hard.

unencrypted VNC over (secure?) SSH

September 29, 2008

haha, saying “secure SSH” is a bit redundant because SSH stands for Secure Shell.

anyways.. I was trying to set up a VNC server on my desktop because .. well, it’s better than Microsoft’s RDP. (but mainly because I broke RDP and couldn’t fix it.) even for only a few hours I couldn’t connect to my home PC from school and that was an annoyance.

however, the default/free version of vncviewer that resides on the fedora9 systems at school does not support encryption, although my personal? edition VNC server on my PC does. so the only way to connect was insecure, exposing my random irrelevant password (and possibly other important data) in the packets that someone may (but unlikely) sniff.

so I finally got to figure out this “SSH tunneling” stuff – I remember being prompted with it as a solution for several other problems, but never actually did it. basically I set up an SSH server on my Windows machine (using Cygwin and OpenSSH) and forwarded a port on my router to the SSH port on my machine. then from the client machine, i would do “ssh -L RandomPort:localhost:VNCServerPort Username@IP -p SSHPort” – (thats a lot of blanks to fill in, huh? RandomPort is any [preferrably uncommon] port of your choosing, VNCServerPort is.. the port that the VNC server is listening on, username is your Windows username, ip/SSHport is the internet IP/port of the router that you’re connecting to from the outside..) and that would set up a secure link to my PC for other apps to access using RandomPort. followed up with “vncviewer localhost:RandomPort”, i can do unencrypted (free) VNC over SSH (free, secure, lol) and get my secure, free remote access.

of course i followed up my setup with Wireshark sniffing my own packets, but I’m not pro enough to actually look for data inside packets that isn’t already in my face.

un-amazing vacuum belt change

September 29, 2008

after doing it many times in my youth with my dad (picking up free “broken” vacuums off the sidewalk – 90% of them just had a broken belt), i actually had to do it once myself.

i brought this vacuum to Cal Poly at the beginning of 2008, but noticed that it wasn’t spinning at the bottom. the motor was still running, so i figured it was a common belt problem. i never really had to vacuum much though, so i just left it alone. i also left it at Cal Poly over the summer.

school just started, and on a visit to Rite Aid I saw some vacuum belts which led me to want to fix the problem because i would be using this vacuum for another year. i didn’t think that there was a chance that the correct one would be in stock (especially with so many numbers laying around):

Hoover Encore Supreme U4261-930
Series B 7.0
Bag A
Belt # 38528-027

so Wilson went on an Albertson’s/Rite Aid trip today and asked if I wanted it, but started spewing out belt/part numbers that seemed to have no correlation. i kept googling and found a bunch of belt pairs for like $4 so I figured I might as well just buy the correct one online. I googled some more and noticed that the part number and belt number were different numbers with some correlation, and that one of the part numbers he spewed out was related to the belt for this vacuum. so he got it.

and of course the belt is tiny compared to the old torn-up worn-out belt. with a lot of force I got the belt on and the vacuum .. thing.. was spinning properly. yes!


September 28, 2008

upgraded the rockbox on my sansa e280 to v3.0.

not that it actually does anything..

oh yeah, i uploaded my scrobber log to using logscrobbler ( and it really borked the unicode. i should’ve read the “Issues” page first.. oh well. until next time.

i should keep my mp3 player on MSC instead of MTP, allowing me access to the filesystem of the Rockbox every time i connect it. I didn’t realize that I could still transfer music with it connected under MSC mode. I thought it was only MTP mode. (watch me be wrong on this.)

a sad ending to my cell phone charger

September 25, 2008

we made some interesting cabling arrangements in our room next to my bed. my cell phone charger ended up going around my alarm clock, which is OK.

but sometime when my bed got misaligned from the frame, i shoved it back in. it took me over a whole day to notice that my cell phone charger’s wire was in there.

last night, i tried to charge it, but there was no connection. it was plugged in, power strip on, other end plugged in correctly. some mess happened in the middle and i knew i must have screwed it up. i pulled the whole charger out in the morning but didn’t look at it until after class. it really looks like someone just took a scissor to the wire.

what a way to end my 5 years and 9 days with this cell phone charger.. :( the cell phone still works of course.. but actually the 7 and 5 keys are losing their responsiveness.

i will use the other nokia chargers i have, but they are different models with different output characteristics (even though the current limit is way way way more than enough for the cell phone to charge, and i’ve used it for months already.)

“external cd-rom drive” part 2

September 16, 2008

turns out that the BIOS didn’t detect the drive because the jumper was set to Slave and not Master. so I borrowed Alex’s for nothing.. oh well.

dd-wrt on airlink ar430w complete

September 16, 2008

it was just Linux. it worked using tftp/putty on windows.. anyways, glad to have another dd-wrt router to play with now – definitely not a main internet router though.

audio “system” complete

September 15, 2008

for a while i wanted to figure out a way to play music from my computer onto the home theater speakers downstairs, while i’m cleaning, or my friends are over, etc. it had to meet the following specifications:

  • i already had a LAN cable dragged down there, but i did not want to have another computer on at the other end, for several reasons.. power dissipation, boot time, latency, bandwidth, protocol overhead, etc..
  • i want to have my entire database of my computer’s music, along with my media player for DFX/

well, two bullets, but lots of inner specifications. anyways, i was about to buy a wireless sound transmitter on woot, but i encountered a better idea before going to New York: stereo extension cables!

in New York I bought 2 (would’ve gotten more but there weren’t any, and I was happy with 2) 15′ stereo extension cables to go with a 6′ stereo-to-RCA cable, to go from my computer upstairs to the sound system downstairs. i now have this long cable (which i don’t mind), and have solved my problem with less than $5! cheap engineering indeed.

now I wish I bought a stereo splitter so that I could just have the sound output to both speakers (usually having one off, of course) without having to keep switching cables (at least that’s conveniently accessible.)