Welcome to my blog! I have way too many interests, so there are a lot of assorted things here. Pick a category above to narrow things down. Thanks for visiting!


Capacitor Plague (Part I)

I have a pair of Acer LCD monitors that I have used since 2006. They were super-cheap when I bought them, but have worked well enough over the years. Some time last year, one of the monitors started having dark lines skittering through the image the entire time it was on. Knowing that it was over 6 years old, I figured one of the backlight tubes was dying and I finally decided to take it apart.

Five CubeSats Deployed from the ISS 0

Five CubeSats Deployed from the ISS

On 4 Oct 1957, the space race began — Russia successfully placed the first artificial satellite, Спутник-1 (Sputnik-1), into orbit around Earth. Sputnik was placed directly into orbit by a single stage rocket. It's payload was a simple radio transmitter that alternated between two frequencies. There were no sensors, or cameras, or solar panels. Some of the smartest people in the world were working on the rocket and satellite designs, at a time when the first commercially-made transistor was only 3 years old. Integrated circuits, ICs or 'computer chips' hadn't even been invented yet!

Completed Mount 2

VW GTI Antenna Mount

I've been thinking about how to mount an amateur radio antenna on my car for a while now. Everyone says the best way is to use an NMO mount in the center of the roof. But since I have a small car with a sunroof, there is only a small area of the roof near the back where it would be feasible. A backup option is usually a semi-fixed mount on the trunk, but my car is a hatchback so a magnetic mount will not work and there aren't any edges straight enough for a lip mount. Looking at all the various ways people have mounted their antennae, I ran across one person who had used a license plate frame mount under the bolts on their hood hinge. Looking at this location on my car led me to think this would be a really good location to mount mine. I got my father to help since he has the tools needed and we came up with a mount.


F-Script Injection in Lion

I wanted to use the very handy F-Script environment to snoop around inside an application. F-Script can be injected into running applications by using gdb, which of course works fine, but they also provide a services-menu item for performing the injection. Due to several changes in OS X 10.7 Lion, the automator workflow that came with F-Script to perform this did not work.

I reworked the injector service so it works on Lion and doesn't leave behind (or even create) any temp files.

Screenshot of PDF Maps, showing geolocation dot exactly over shelter icon. 0

Georeferencing Trail Maps for PDF Maps on iOS

When I first got an iPhone, one of the first app ideas I had was one that would let me take a trail map image, mark a few known coordinates, then use the GPS to display the blue dot like in the built-in Maps app. I've searched for something similar a few times, and had actually started doing some research into libraries for doing the math. This weekend, I thought I'd search one more time, and there was actually a free app recently posted called PDF Maps by Avenza.

HP LaserJet P1102w Firmware Update on Mac 2

HP LaserJet P1102w Firmware Update on Mac

Update: as of the last few versions, the standard HP firmware updater appears to be working fine on the most recent OS X versions. What follows is now strictly of academic value.

I have had an HP P1102w printer for over a year now.
I've had no complaints about it so far, but a firmware update was recently released that adds AirPrint support, allowing printing from iOS devices.
The problem is: the firmware updater refuses to do anything on OS X (at least in 10.6.8 and 10.7.x).
I searched but was never able to find a solution that worked.
So, I did what any normal person would do: I loaded it up in gdb.

Ford Misfire Diagnosis 0

Ford Misfire Diagnosis

My Dad has a Ford F-150 and has had a misfire problem under part-throttle, mid-power acceleration in the past. The first time, he took it to a mechanic who eventually diagnosed it as a coil failure. He had that one replaced (this engine has a coil on each plug) which fixed the problem, then several months later a second one failed. This one set a code and we were able to figure out which one to replace from the misfire code. This week, he has noticed the same problem creeping back up, but a code wasn't set yet. Using my scan tool, I was able to get the status of the misfire monitors and conclusively determine the cylinder with the issue.

Full Moon 0

Lunar Eclipse

I stayed up to get some shots of the eclipse, but it just wasn't in the cards. I did get a nice shot of the full moon though.