Tethered Photography

Tethered Photography

Tethered Photography

Tethered Photography

Sometime roughly around the early 2000’s camera makers offered the feature of tethered photography to some of their lower end cameras.   Tethering a camera to a computer allows for stable, hands free shooting.  It also allows the photographer instant feedback on a large computer monitor.   Camera settings can be changed quickly on the computer until the desired results were reached.  This was especially useful in food photography, or in sales and marketing of products.  Hobbyists like me used it for photographing items for sale and for photographing things like coin collections, and even portraits.  As you can see in the pic, you don’t need a fancy studio to get a good shot.

In a nutshell, tethered photography is a PRO FEATURE.  Canon, Nikon, FujiFilm, and Sony had tethered options but Canon mostly led the pack.   With the release of the Canon Powershot G11 in 2009, Canon removed this feature.   I guess they figured out that people wouldn’t purchase high end cameras if they could achieve professional results with less expensive, point and click cameras.

Tethered Photography

Canon A640

Even to this day cameras from this era that are able to be tethered fetch a premium price on the secondary market.  If you don’t believe me, go to eBay and look for a Canon G9 or G10.

Even a 20 year old Canon A640 goes for over $100 still.   It should be noted that I took this photo with a Nikon D7000 It was tethered to an $80 Evolve III Maestro laptop using Nikon Camera Control Pro 2 software.
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Dyson V10 Trigger Replacement

Dyson V10 Trigger Replacement

Dyson V10 Trigger Replacement

Dyson V10 Trigger Replacement

This blog is going to be a little less on the technical side and a little more on the “Right To Repair” side.  I can’t find a receipt for when I bought this Dyson V10 vacuum.  But I did find an email stating my warranty was expiring in May 2023.  I bought it refurbished and I think I paid about $350 for it.  So my best guess is I got it in May or November of 2022.  Let’s call it just over 2 years old.

A couple of weeks ago my wife brought me the vacuum and told me it was broken.   A cursory inspection let me know right away that the trigger was not rebounding. Additionally, it remained in the fully depressed position.

As soon as I went to Google I learned a few things:

 

  1. The trigger on the Dyson V10, V11 and other models is a HIGH FAILURE RATE ITEM.
  2. Dyson won’t sell you a trigger.
  3. 3rd party vendors sell REINFORCED triggers.
  4. Replacing the trigger requires COMPLETELY disassembling the Dyson vacuum.
  5. A Torx #8 screwdriver is required for assembly / disassembly.

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Evolve III Maestro Laptop Review

Evolve III Maestro Laptop Review

I was scrolling around some tech sites and saw some discussion on an $80 laptop.  The device in question was an Evolve III Maestro 11.6″ laptop at Micro Center. Sadly, that price is for in store only and there isn’t a Micro Center anywhere near me.  Other outlets sell these, but the going rate seems to be $130 to $140.  While this laptop is appealing at $80 it really isn’t really very enticing at any higher of a price tag than that.

I managed to find one on eBay for about $65 and while it claimed to be used, it was for all intensive purposes a brand new laptop.  It still had the plastic screen protector on it.

Evolve III Maestro

Evolve III Maestro

Booted it up and it had a clean, uninstalled copy of Windows 10 on it.   But that’s not what I wanted it for.

I bought this to play around with old OS’s, primarily Haiku.  I’ve been going through a nostalgia phase and a “what might have been” phase.  OS/2 Warp, BeOS, etc. both of which were superior operating systems to Windows 3.1 and Windows 95.

I found a cool installation video for Haiku on this laptop by YouTuber Action Retro.

So I set about to install Haiku on here and lo and behold……..I succeeded.

Evolve III Maestro

Haiku on Evolve III

It worked, but with a few caveats.  I must have the version 1 of this laptop as I had audio straight out of the installation.  I’ve heard that later versions of the laptop have no sound driver for Haiku.

The trackpad didn’t work and neither did the onboard WiFi.  Both were resolved by adding USB dongles for a mouse and WiFi.

Sadly that ties up both USB ports on the laptop.
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GMKtec NucBox G3 Review

 GMKtec NucBox G3 Review

I caught a great deal on Amazon for the Intel N100 based GMKtec NucBox G3.  The barebones kit is probably the best way to go at $119.  Guys like me always have sticks of RAM laying around and even NVME SSD’s.

GMKtec NucBox G3 Intel N100

GMKtec NucBox G3 Intel N100

The Intel N100 is a 4 core processor with a Turbo Boost up to 3.40 GHz.  This little box rocks.

The Intel N100 is a low wattage draw  (6 watts) chipset that tops most Celeron and Atom chips at a modest cost.  It is roughly comparable to an Intel N95 chipset.

With the NucBox G3 there are a ton of connectivity options as well.  Best of all is a 2.5 GHz Ethernet Connector.  Toss in some USB connectors and a couple of 4K, 60 Hz HDMI connectors and a 3.5mm microphone / speaker jack and you have a winner.

This is a perfect desktop machine for the kids or for the guest room.  It would be right at home in the camper as well.   It also is an economical platform for supporting that one piece of hardware that is far away from the wired network such as a CNC machine.

I slapped mine in the guest room and am in the process of bookmarking streaming services such as Sling, Netflix, Hulu, and my Plex Media Server.  That essentially is the extent of how we use a Firestick or Roku.  I can’t count the number of times that the Sling app has been non-responsive on Roku, FireTV, and LGTV.  Web steaming always seems to work.  This may be the answer.
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Casio F-91W Sensor Watch

Casio F-91W Sensor Watch

Casio F-91W Sensor Watch

Casino F-91W Sensor Watch Project

I’m not trying to be too fancy.  But I fancy myself a horologist.

horologist

noun

ho·​rol·​o·​gist hə-ˈrä-lə-jist 
1
: a person skilled in the practice or theory of horology
2
: a maker of clocks or watches

 

Translation:  I like watches!  And I enjoy the study of time.  Atomic clocks, GPS pulses per second (PPS), Biblical time, etc.  The history of time keeping is fascinating as is the history of the wrist watch.  Did you know that men kept pocket watches and when the wrist watch was invented it was pretty much shunned as being not very manly?

That is until people started getting shot at in wars.  It became much more practical to have both hands free and knowing what time it was at a glance.

So a fancy horologist such as myself probably likes very expensive and complicated watches, you’d think.  Not so fast.   This blog is about a $20 wrist watch which has been in production since 1989.  The Casio F-91W.
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Ecobee vs Nest

Ecobee vs Nest

Ecobee vs Nest

3rd Generation Nest.  Ecobee vs Nest

Since I moved back to the US in 2015 or so one of the first things I did was to purchase a Nest Learning Thermostat.   At that time they were called Nest Labs.  Now they are Google Nest.  In this blog we’ll examine Ecobee vs Nest thermostats.

Recently I had a new package unit installed at our home.  Previously we had a gas furnace and A/C package unit, however, this time we went with a heat pump. My HVAC installer told me he didn’t like using Nest with 2 or more stage heating or cooling units.  While my 3rd generation Nest still seemed to work it only took me a day to realize the indoor temperature was reading too high.  Also, it seemed to think it was about 30 degrees cooler outside.   A trip to the Googler revealed I wasn’t the only one.

I still have a Nest upstairs and it continues to work fine.

One of its best features is that their API incorporates into my Home Automation console.  Ditto for Ecobee, which is on the left.  Nest on the right.

Ecobee vs Net

Home Assistant Dashboard

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Auto-Vox Solar4B Wireless Backup Camera

Auto-Vox Solar4B Wireless Backup Camera

Autovox

Auto-Vox Wireless Backup Camera Solar4B

I was recently contacted by a Auto-Vox and was provided their Solar4B Wireless Backup Camera ($169) for review.  At the time of the review there was a $50 off coupon available at the Amazon link above.

Auto-Vox did not apply any conditions to the review nor did they pay for the review. Conversely, what you will read here is what I actually think of the camera.

First of all, they couldn’t have selected a better person to review this.  I have a 17′ Rockwood A122  pop up camper and have always wanted some form of backup camera mounted on the rear  of it.

You’d think every single camper in the world would have wiring and connectors preinstalled. But you would be wrong for thinking that.   An Auto-vox backup camera is perfect for my situation.
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ARS Rescue Rooter HVAC Review POFS Award Winner

ARS Rescue Rooter HVAC Review POFS Award Winner

ARS Rescue Rooter

ARS RESCUE ROOTER EARNS TOP PIECE OF FUCKING SHIT AWARD.

I usually reserve my coveted “Piece Of Fucking Shit” Award for tech components.  Today however, we are breaking new ground and awarding it to an HVAC service.  ARS Rescue Rooter.

When your furnace or air conditioning goes out, the customer expectation is to show up within 5 minutes of calling and fix it within 10 minutes.  ARS response time is actually very good,  But let me spin my yarn.

It is 2 or 3 days before Christmas. I’m at the sink and the vent that usually blows hot air starts blowing ice cold air on my feet.  I go outside where the furnace is and it “STINKS”.  There is clearly something wrong with the combustion on the furnace.

I go flip the breaker and restart.  It blows hot air for about an hour and then turns cold again.  When I go outside again, it stinks even worse.

I call ARS and they actually show up in less than an hour.  The Tech was kind and went right to work.  When he opened the furnace panel it was obvious the burners were not blowing tight, blue jets of flame.  It was mostly orange and it wasn’t a compressed jet.  It was clearly dangerous.

Tech tells me I need new burners and it will cost $570 to install them.

While he is talking I notice a red light blinking on the Ignition Control Board.  I ask him about it. He has no manual, says that doesn’t know what the code means but says that we’ll change the burners and go from there.

The blink code 7 times was a Flame Rollout Switch trip.  That means the burner flames are rolling back inside.  The switch is a thermal switch that chops the flow of gas to prevent a build up of heat, flame, CO², and prevent a fire.

Hey, he’s the HVAC pro.
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Capturing NOAA Satellite Imagery With RTL-SDR

Capturing NOAA Satellite Imagery With RTL-SDR

NOAA Satellite

NOAA Satellite Imagery

In this entry I’ll show you how to grab NOAA Satellite Imagery.  There are still 3 operational satellites.  NOAA 15, 18, and 19.  NOAA 15 started acting up last October but is still functional.  The pic just to the left is from NOAA 15.

Did you know that ANYONE with the right hardware can download telemetry from these satellites?

Not only that, it can be done pretty cheaply.   All it takes is a computer, an antenna, a USB RTL-SDR device, and some free computer software.

It isn’t that difficult either but does take some time to get it working correctly.

And for the purposes of the blog, I am doing this on a Linux (Ubuntu) laptop.  But you can do it on Windows as well.
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Building A Linux Computer For Offline Use

Building A Linux Computer For Offline Use

Linux Computer

HP 15.6″ FHD 15-ef2030tg for a Linux Computer

I talk a lot about having a computer set up for off grid situations.   But let’s build our own Linux computer that we can use both online and especially offline.  I’ll try to teach you some valuable tips along the way.

Yeah, yeah, yeah, the picture next to this shows Windows.  That’s a stock photo of the laptop I’m using for this project.   The HP 15.6″ FHD 15-ef2030tg.

I picked this up for a song and it was so cheap, I believe, because this is a model from 2021 that is probably the last of its stock.  It has decent specs though and this thing is IDEAL for a Linux computer.
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