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Scifi Review Podcast

Scifi Review Podcast

so yeah, I’ve been holding onto the domain for quite some time now.  tried to start a website a couple of years ago but never really was able to make it work….  Now my sister and I are going to try our hands at a semi-weekly podcast.  We’ll just talk about the scifi stuff we’ve seen recently, upcoming stuff that looks cool, etc.  If we start getting downloads then we know we’re onto something.  We’ll also be updating the website when it goes live with longer, more in-depth reviews of stuff.  Should be cool.  We’ve recorded two episodes so far, which I need to get edited so we can take the site live….

Check it out at


Babby’s First Press Conference.

I took the time to watch (well listen anyway) to Babby’s first press conference and took these points away. Well, other than the undeniable fact that the man is a moron and a complete piece and utter of crap.
  1. “…China’s taken advantage of us…” Point of order. Seems to me that US businesses have taken advantage of dirt cheap labor and the “black box” mentality that China represents. We send money and they send product. We need China as much as they need our money right now. If you think big bidness is going to change this relationship and risk cutting into the boardroom profits… I have a bridge to sell you.
  2. “…Nobody knows what they’re doing anymore with respect to hacking…” I would agree that this is true, BUT…. See Point Number 1, only s/China/India or Malaysia/ … US Business has commoditized IT into just another “black box” and you’re seeing the result of that. I’ve personally seen this happen over the last ~8-10 years or so. Also, see #1.  This won’t change.  Knowledgeable and skilled people aren’t cheap.  And big business is only interested in cheap.
  3. “…We’re going to have a great hacking defense…” As someone who operates on the internet, run my own servers and websites, etc… this made the hair on the back of my neck stand up.
  4. Almost forgot! His refusal to answer the CNN rep’s question and his “I won’t answer you because you’re fake news” response are not only the actions of a childish douchebag, but a stark warning that he will try to manipulate how the press reports on him to an extent never before seen.
Prediction: His FCC chief will not only completely trash the absolutely necessary provisions of net neutrality, but go even further and make it more difficult for people like me to operate, by handing control and oversight of the internet soup-to-nuts in the US to his EvilCorp buddies in the name of “security.”
Stock up on KY and breath mints, folks.
K5HRA Tech

Rechargeable Battery Tricks

So I’m cleaning up the office again, and I come across my old set of Cobra FRS radios, model 3850’s.  A while back the rechargeable batteries that came with them stopped taking a charge, so I bought a set of Amazon brand AAA batteries, and it should have all been good.  Nope, wouldn’t take a charge through the radios.  If I put them in another charger, no problem.  So that’s what I’ve been doing.  I wasn’t going to mess around if it worked that way.

This time I’m like, “nope, this is going to work the right way now.”  So a quick Google search later, and I discover that there’s a little contact in the battery bay that must contact the negative post/battery casing for the radio to charge the batteries.  Apparently the factory ones have this consideration built into them, where the ones I bought do not.  A quick X-Acto knife surgery on just that battery to remove the plastic covering, and voila.  The red-charging light of success appeared.

I’ve called out the little contact switch and the surgically modified area of the battery in the attached image.

Just an FYI to anyone who ran across this.  Shame that Cobra makes it seem that you have to buy their batteries just to make this work.  I haven’t priced them, but I bet they’re significantly more expensive.

DO NOT try this with regular old Alkaline batteries.  You’ll make a nasty hazardous mess of battery acid and probably ruin your radios.  Also be careful cutting.


Inside a Dead ioSafe

Well, my trusty ancient 1TB ioSafe solo time machine drive finally succumbed to the ravages of time.  Came home the other day to hear, “click, click, click, click” and nothing there.  Oh, well.  I have another time machine disk running, so nothing lost, but I figure its time.  Time to take this thing apart and see what makes it so special.

For those who don’t know, ioSafe makes these disk drives that are purportedly fireproof and waterproof.  So, in the event your house burns down, theoretically your data should be safe inside this heavy little bunker of bit safety.  They’re pretty pricey, too.  Although most of that I suspect is because they come with something like a year of free data recovery service should you need it.  After that, you’re on your own.  Which is where I was. The drive was at least four years old.  I’m surprised it lasted as long as it did, actually.

So let’s tear this down.  Once you get past the screws on the top and bottom, taking care to “pop” the plastic feet open with a pair of pliers first, you find yourself looking at two halves of the ceramic brick that makes it fireproof.  Actually I was hoping for some space-age foam or something.  Not an actual, literal, brick.

Disconnect the IO board from the back (more on this later) separate the two halves, and voila, you find the hard drive.  The waterproofing comes from the disk just being wrapped up in a metallic-plastic bag, similar to a static bag, with the wire-hole plugged up with silicone or rubber or putty or something.  Really, not what I was expecting.  I thought the things needed air to stay cool?  Like I said I’m surprised it lasted this long.

I order a new 4TB drive and wait for it to arrive.

[time passes]

Unpackage the new drive, install it in the case, get it all buttoned up, and nothing.  #$^@#$^ what?  Take things apart again, and realize I forgot to plug the power connector back on the board.  Derp.  One more time.

Still nothing.  But I can hear/feel the drive spinning up inside.  Great.  Disassemble one more time.  Swap in a 1.5TB drive I use as my 2nd time machine disk.

Still nothing.

So, I’m left with one of three options:  1) this control board simply can’t deal with drives larger than 1TB (most likely); 2) its specifically tied to the 1TB Seagate in some way, firmware wise and won’t let anything else run on it, or 3) The IO Board itself is fried.

Sigh.  Live and learn.  Ordered a $20 USB3.0 enclosure and had it up and running again in no time, but I still would have liked to have the ioSafe back in operation.  I may still see about fitting the newer IO in the ioSafe box, just because.  It may not be waterproof, but the weight makes it undesirable to steal, at least in a hurry.