A minor update

Just a bit of an update, for whomever will be reading this.

Alright well I’ve been a bit pre-occupied with work and taking care of my mother for the past two or so months. But rest assured, I’ve gotten everything that I’ve been waiting for. Some breakout boards have come in the mail and I’ve attempted soldering a couple chips onto them. But boy is it hard to solder such small things! I got a microscope and a proper solder station just for soldering those pins. Sheesh, I’ve spent like 4 hours already and there’re still a few bridged joints. So I’m taking a bit of a break from that since it’s just so difficult.

In the meantime I’ve been playing around with Twilio, which is a super neat service. I’ve fallen in love with how easy it is to use. My gosh, the possibilities! I mean, you could so easily hook something like this up to an API and boom you’ve built out IVR for a company! At first, I was a bit scared at first of toying around with it because I thought it’d be a pain in the butt to learn a new syntax or whatever, but no. So, over the course of a lunch, I played around with it and picked it up in a jiff! Super awesome.

So since my ethernet switch is on hiatus…

I’ve been thinking of an application that I’d like to build for the purpose of my mom. I’ve been trying to track her actually taking her medicine, at what time, what some of her basic health stats are… etc. So I spent some time checking out what’s out there in the open source domain, and there are a ton of options, but none that really do exactly what I want. At least with my cursory glance. So I think I’m just going to build what I want in probably laravel and throw it on my server. I kinda want to hook it up with Twilio so that it’ll call and nag her if she doesn’t update it. I think that’d be fun, she’d so love me for spamming her phone like that!

The other thing I have in the works is I want to engineer yet another IoT smart button that’ll act as a pendent for her. Something that’ll call myself and my relatives if she has a fall and can’t get up or get to her phone. Shouldn’t be too hard, but it’s just a matter of finding the time. Also, I would want to 3d print an enclosure for it so that it’d be all self-contained. But I don’t have a 3d printer… yet. I backed a couple kickstarters, but who knows if they’ll ever deliver. I think I’ll make my own PCB’s for it… who knows. The ESP01 seems like the best choice because it’s just so tiny, and I’ve got a few of them. My main concern is going to be the battery life. This thing has got to last for a long time. I do know about deep sleep mode, but it still uses some current. I’m thinking maybe a D-Flip Flop or something. Spoiler alert, that solution uses like no power and it allows me to toggle the power based off of a button.

That’s about all folks

Well I guess that’s it for now. I’m sure I’ll check back in in a few months and let you, myself, know what’s going on in my engineering life. If someone is actually for some reason reading this, you’re crazy! There’s not going to be much here, maybe one day I’ll become more active… but I highly doubt it!

Well here we go…

I took the plunge and bought some ICs for the purpose of making a switch. They’re super expensive though (for the kind of budget I’m working with) and I really hope I don’t have to buy any more. Total, I bought 3 KSZ8863RLL and 3x KSZ8895MQXIA plus some 10 rj45 jacks which turned out to be a little over a dollar each! Yeesh! I spent a bit over $55 on so little… It’ll be interesting to really dig into the datasheets on these chips once they come in and I find the time. Based on my cursory glance it looked like it’ll be really easy to set these up and get them running as switches. Pretty much input in, output out and power. I mean, if it’s really that easy, then I’ll have to do something to make it somewhat more complicated. I’m thinking like a backup battery so that your switch stays powered during a blackout. They’re using less than an amp and things like the external indicator lights indicating read/write/activity/whatever could probably be shut off during power failure. IDK, just something that I’ve been thinking about. Of course it’d require some work to build a power supply that’d be smart enough to charge its self and to switch supplies based on power state so who knows if I can even figure out how to do that. Well anyway, this is where I ramble, if you’ve stumbled upon this for some reason, I’m sorry. Just keeping a log of my thoughts as I go on this journey.

First PCB

So the other day I was making my uncle a thing I knew I could make from one of his favorite tv shows the IT Crowd. Basically, it is a project box with a led inside of it that blinks. The guys present it to their manager as “the internet” because she got picked for employee of the month and she didn’t know anything about IT stuff. Anyway, I knew it could be done with a pretty simple 555 timer and so I built it out and super over-engineered it.


After doing this, my desire to minimize the circuit footprint was wet. I began looking for some PCB design software. I originally found Circuits.io which is a tool by autodesk but when I went to export it they added to the silk screen “123D Circuits”. I was a bit upset. So I started asking around in the comments sections of youtubers that do electronic videos what tool they use to design their PCBs for printing. It was there that I was pointed towards Easy EDA. About 20 minutes later I ad designed the blueprint and thrown it into a pcb. I was pleased, and when I went to export to a gerber file, not only did they offer to manufacture my pcb’s for me, they allowed me to download the gerber files without any watermarking. Since I’ve never done this before I went ahead and then ordered some PCB’s from them – they were having a sale of $2 for 10 boards (how could anyone pass that up!?) but I also downloaded the gerber file so that I could try out another manufacturer.


Well a few weeks later, I got back one of the sets of PCB’s I had manufactured, being super psyched out that something that I drew was in reality I’ve decided I’m going to make another. While I’m still figuring these things out, I think I’ve all but decided that my next project is going to be an open source, unmanaged switch. I am by no means an expert on anything in this area, but I hope that I can figure it out. Should be an interesting journey.


Claiming FL Studio for the New Razer Blade

Okay so when I got my 2016 Razer Blade I was unable to claim my license to FL Studio. So I decided to mess around with the html and see if I could enable myself to be able to claim my license. I was and here are my steps.

  1. Navigate to http://music.razerzone.com/get-fl-studio-12/
  2. Open your Console, F12 then Console
  3. Load JQuery by copy pasting the following code into your console and pressing enter:
  4. javascript:var s=document.createElement('script');s.setAttribute('src', '//cdn.blakethepatton.com/js/jquery-1.12.3.min.js');document.getElementsByTagName('body')[0].appendChild(s);void(s);

  5. Now run this code snippit to be able to load the proper form
  6. $('#blade_form').hide();$('#razer-serial').show();$(".js__razer-serial-form__serial-input").attr("readonly", false);

  7. Fill in all the fields and follow all the rest of the steps.
  8. Congrats you should have FL Studio now!

So I was on Youtube tonight…

I was looking for something to watch on Youtube and I finally got fed up to the point that I wrote a couple javascripts to decruft my subscriptions page.


Bookmarklet 1 loads jquery – jQuerify

(This is just something I find useful from time to time)

Bookmarklet 2 removes any videos with the “Watched” watermark on it – Remove Watched


Eh I decided to make it anyway. ‘aint no thing. Remove Watched

To use them yourself, just drag them to your bookmarks bar. When you get on youtube you’ll have to load jquery, and then you can click remove watched. Maybe later I’ll make a bookmarklet that does both but until then… there you go!

Started A Blog Today…

So I started a blog today. I’m not sure if I’ll really give it the attention that it’ll need but heck I sometimes feel like sharing my thoughts. Anyway I started this blog because I was updating my computer last night and it crashed. I couldn’t find readily how to fix it so I wanted to detail the process that I went through. And here we go.

So last night my computer popped up a message telling me that there was an update available for Ubuntu so naturally I felt obliged to update to the new version. I was heading out anyway so I figured I’d let it run while I was out of the house. So I clicked update, waited for the prompts for permission that I figured it’d request and then closed everything else out. When I closed out Chome though, I noticed that the screen went black. “Eh I’m sure it’s just updating the video driver or something” and off I went. I came back later last night and the screen was still black. It was on (not in sleep mode) but it was just black. So I unplugged the cable for the screen and plugged it back in. Well now the monitor just went to sleep mode. Something bad has obviously happened but I don’t really feel like going through the troubleshooting process. To bed I go.

So after much procrastination I’ve come to troubleshooting my computer. As it is always the first step you should do I should restart the computer. Did I? No. I logged into my router so that I could maybe ssh into the computer and see if I could just save myself the effort of troubleshooting anything. (After 20-60 minutes… Seriously Linksys/Cisco we need to have a talk) I get the IP of my computer on the network and try to ssh in. NOPE. No success of course. Do we restart now? Okay fine. We’ll restart.

Purple screen pops up, Ubuntu is loading, awesome! Boom, black screen again. Okay but we have ways to make you talk Mr. Computer… CTRL + ALT + F1… Seriously? Nothing still? Ugh okay… I’m going to have to reinstall Ubuntu or something, this is frustrating. But before that let’s see if anyone else has had this issue before. I’m sure I’m not the first guy. Yay for StackExchange! Step one, boot into recovery. Cool let’s do this.

Hold CTRL [While booting (purple screen before the Ubuntu logo)] — JamesTheAwesomeDude

Nope, It’s just loading Ubuntu into a black screen… Let’s see what Ubuntu has to say about this

Quickly press and hold the Shift key, which will bring up the GNU GRUB menu. (If you see the Ubuntu logo, you’ve missed the point where you can enter the GRUB menu.) —Ubuntu Wiki

Still nope. Did I mess up GRUB? Sigh. Maybe I’ll just repeatedly hit both Shift keys and both CTRL keys until something happens like I did in my Windows days. Dun dun! I’m into the boot menu. For the record, and I did want to know the proper thing to do, I had success because of tapping the shift key. Anyway on we go, what’s next?

You should see a screen with a purple background (sometimes it’s black) and a few options. One of these is labeled as a “Recovery Mode”. Choose it.

During the startup, you’ll see a bunch of text on the screen, maybe some errors. Don’t panic. Once it finishes, choose “Drop to root shell prompt”.  — JamesTheAwesomeDude

Sweet we’re in! Okay now to the bottom of his answer where we’re repairing Ubuntu. Cool just 4 commands.

dpkg-reconfigure -a
apt-get updateapt-get dist-upgrade

Well before we get into this let’s make sure we have internets.

No network
sudo ifconfig eth0 upsudo dhclient eth0

Success! Now to the script.

dpkg-reconfigure -a
(Brings up dpkg reconfigure flag help… okay well let’s just move on)
apt-get update
(Read only error. Alllrrriiiggghhhttt…. Let’s see here… Ah we gotta remount the drive)
mount -o remount,rw /apt-get update
(Yay it’s doing something… nope error’d but I got the correct command that I need to run!)
dpkg -configure –a
(Success, moving on…)
apt-get update
(Updates the repos)
apt-get dist-upgrade

Error getting authority: Error initializing authority: Could not connect: No such file or directory (g-io-error-quark, 1)
Error getting authority: Error initializing authority: Could not connect: No such file or directory (g-io-error-quark, 1)
[  OK  ] Started Braille Device Support.

(Somethings’ happening! Aannnd we’re frozen. Looks like a total of one other person has had this error before. And he’s posted about it. But there are no answers.  Alright well I guess I’ll just move on)

And just like that Ubuntu booted into the desktop environment. But for safe measures I went through the four steps of fixing a botched upgrade and resarted again. This time I had no issues the entire way though. Yay. I hope that this article will help someone out there who thinks they’ve broken their OS with an upgrade or if you’re just trying to get into the recovery menu. Below is the steps I took to get it working again without the comments. I think that the step that solved my problems was the dpkg reconfigure because that’s the only step that really did anything successfully.

TL;DR Steps

  1. Press shift to open the grub menu (or hold shift or hold ctrl or smash different keys ’till it works)
  2. Test for internet: ping
    If you don’t have internet:
    sudo ifconfig eth0 up
    sudo dhclient eth0
    Might be wlan0 if you have wifi – I think that’s the name. You could always find your device via ifconfig.
  3. mount -o remount,rw /
  4. dpkg -configure –a (or dpkg-reconfigure -a)
  5. You might try restarting to see if your problem has been fixed by this point if not you’ll want to just continue from here.
  6. sudo apt-get upgrade
  7. sudo apt-get dist-upgrade
  8. reboot

That’s what worked for me. Feel free to drop a comment if something else worked for you!