• Harsh Realities, 1st World Problems

    04/20/2017 at 08:33 5 comments

    This is one of the things I have to deal with.

    I get a real buttload of flack from all walks of life. I'm on benefits, and as a carer exempt from the usual crap of going down the JobCentre and looking for work. Scrounger, lazy, crazy, scruffy and worthless. Probably a stoner and a drunk too, its not my favourite place to hang out anyway. They hate me in any case - even if I didnt have Bea to look after I'm practically unemployable.

    Who in their right mind would take on someone who could replace them and half their staff, and document it in multimedia. Thats another reason the benefits agency dont like me very much, and I'm not proud of it. I should be, I know, but I'm not a star...

    Then I get this nonsense. Luckily for them, it isnt for me. Because we have an agreement about this after lengthy discussion with the social arm of local authority... But if you want evidence of the idiocy of this government that ^^^ would be it. Instead, they are asking my daughter to justify her benefits.

    Considering they wrote to me, and know I have to fill it in on her behalf because of her profound disabilities. They wont even let me volunteer, or do charity work without sanctioning me. What the actual f*ck is wrong with these people?

    I'm not crazy, but there is a real danger to my sanity and thats why I get depressed. There's only one way out. Two if I count suicide, and I dont mean crying for help. Been there, done that, have a range of hand-painted TShirts on the subject... What the system wants is Bea in care and me earning them significant tax return on my endeavours, and I'd agree if she minded. But we both know it means her staring at the walls, unkempt and not cared for like I do, while I fly off to fulfil my dreams.

    Would you?

  • Quantum Electron Tunneling Revisited

    04/08/2017 at 21:53 0 comments

    While I was digging around around among my boxes of crap looking for hardware, I found a whole bunch of things I havent seen in a while. Oh Seredipity, sister to Muse...

    This is one of those things. I made some batteries accidentally but I dont have the equipment to test and reverse engineer what I've built, so I'm guessing. Well I found the original test pieces that are now over three years old and are still performing as they did when built.

    Being as I cant print yet, having lost a motherboard to my nemesis Lady Fate, I decided to test them again.

    These are the test pieces. As you can see, really simple. Just a layer of silicone flue sealant and another on top with graphite added, smeared on a piece of lead. The lead is oxidised to hell, this bit came off a roof and was scavenged from a pile of rubble that used to keep one away from the ground.

    Yep, still reads half a volt. Thats not electrolysis, it would have dried up a *long* time ago.

    Similarly with the other one. The copper and aluminium test pieces are as good as dead, only marginally above the flutter you get on a test meter anyway. I havent shown them but they are pretty much the same as these ones otherwise.

    Knowing lead, that shouldn't work but it does. You need to poke the oxidised surface quite hard to get a clear reading with the probe, so the silicon crystal is definitely doing something to it in contact. The reverse side in contact with the lower one is not cleaned up.

  • Aaaaaa... Ah, fixed it.

    04/07/2017 at 16:05 4 comments

    Embarrassing, I hurried my soldering on the last repair and left a little bit of stray wire, which I think touched the case of the adjacent power socket. I didnt make a proper job, didnt secure it and it slowly dropped under its own weight... Well it shorted out and tripped the power supply but I've now fixed the fault, and the PSU resets itself and is running again.

    This is just the tip of the cosmic helium berg that chose my life to tear the hulls out of. Grrr...

    The whole story

    It began with a power outage, and when it was restored my Athlon X2 motherboard was toasted by a spike. I threw everything I knew at it, and managed to get it through the POST once, and that was it. Then it refused to boot, and the drive light locked on with no BIOS output. Since it does half-work with no drives plugged in I'm guessing its not the BIOS at fault. I cant be bothered to grub it out of there and solder in a new one anyway. I swore, profusely, and tried to boot the mill's motherboard. I haven't used that in two years or more as the development is on my Athlon, so I was only marginally more annoyed that didn't work. I gave it up as a bad job and didn't bother. I thought I was doing well until then.

    First and last time I saw this. Why I took a picture I dont know.

    I tried my Raspberry Pi B, hooked up a HDMI cable and booted that, but its fitted with a 3.2" touchscreen and the video modules are patched to output to that. I still didn't have any proper browsing, HaD wouldn't work as the screen was too small. I managed to post in messages that I was down and tried to unpatch the video, and broke it. Joy...

    Next I dug out an Acer laptop I'd been given for spares and tried to fix that unsuccessfully, then a Compaq NX series using bits from the Acer, and a USB-SATA adapter for the DVD. I managed to boot that with a Live DVD and tried Hackaday again...

    Big mistake. The code for the page made so many referrals to the CD it took more than an hour to load, and then a script gave up and it fell over. Wow, why is that so huge? I hadn't noticed running on a decent system. Mind you, it is a Turion1.6GHz. I tried to install Mint Sarah on it as its all I had laying around, and the install failed. I was a bit annoyed by then, I can tell you.

    I dug out the remains of an Advent Modena and wondered. I had to find it memory and solder on a power supply to bypass the missing battery and broken power socket, hardwire the network, use a big external monitor and a USB keyboard and mouse just to get that to POST.

    Then I used the Compaq to copy the Live CD to it's internal drive as an ISO, then I imaged that onto another SATA drive using the thumbdrive writer app in Mint, then booted it on the SATA-USB and installed it to the internal drive before putting it into the Advent so it ran. The Advent wouldn't boot the DVD off the USB for some reason so it became the target system for the repair.

    I wouldnt have had to do any of that if HaD ran on a mobile phone, or had an app... Or ran on a piece of sh*t Turion, or on any system with a Live DVD - which is really in the spirit of hacking. I mean, HaD looks nice, but it doesn't work so well unless you have a good system. A little exclusive there. ;-P