Category Archives: Hardware

I got a flipper this summer and it is really neat!

Earlier this year while at CypherCon, I saw people using the Flipper Zero and immediately thought “Wow, that’s neat!”.  Unfortunately, I missed their kickstarter and at the time I didn’t know when it would be available.  On June 8th, they put out something on Twitter saying that they had a limited number of units available purely for sale inside of the US.  I bit and ordered both a flipper and a WiFi dev board.  The flipper arrived in July and while it can’t do as much as I thought it could do (out the gate), it is really neat!

In order to fully “unlock” it, you really need to run a third-party firmware like Unleashed or RogueMaster.  Luckily, it is reasonably easy to do so.  There are a ton of crazy payloads out there.  I have cloned hotel room keys, remote started cars, and unlocked cars with it.  There are payloads for messing with the sign showing the price of gas at a gas station, for opening the barrier at the exit to a parking garage, and the charging port door on teslas.  It can set off restaurant pagers and mess with jukeboxes.  There is definitely room for a lot of mischeif.

Have a question, comment, etc?  Feel free to drop a comment, below.

Office Upgrades: The Pi Stack

For a while now, I have had 4 Raspberry Pi 3 Model B single board computers sitting around the office.  I had an intention to make a cluster (3 workers and 1 master) out of them but I never got around to it.  Over the winter, I got the idea to set the four of them up as one Samba server, one MariaDB server, one Apache and PHP server, and one NGINX Reverse Proxy server. Continue reading Office Upgrades: The Pi Stack

Office Upgrades: I have a 3D printer

I have a 3D printer, now.  Back in 2017, I backed the Migo 3d printer on kickstarter.  In classic kickstarter fashion, it was supposed to ship in 2018 but didn’t ship until 2020.  Once it did ship, it didn’t include the correct power adapter and the thing wouldn’t work with my mac.  On top of that, the company behind the campaign basically just disappeared.  So, I put the printer aside for two years and decided that I had dumped enough money into the thing. Continue reading Office Upgrades: I have a 3D printer

Office Upgrades: To battlestations!

Last week, I started going over upgrades that I made to the office.  This week, I figured that I would talk about upgrades to my main desk.  In November of 2020, I made some general quality of life improvements by replacing the keyboard with a Das Model S Professional Mechanical Keyboard, replacing the mouse with a Microsoft Sculpt Ergonomic Mouse, adding a Logitech C920s HD Pro and a 6in LED Ring Light to make myself look good, and adding a TONOR Cardioid Condenser Mic to make myself sound good.  This year’s upgrades centered on replacing my two Hanns·G 25″ 1080P Widescreen LCD Monitors with two LG Ultragear Gaming 32” QHD (2560 x 1440) Monitors.  Considering the fact that I bought those original monitors in November 2010, it was probably time upgrade. Continue reading Office Upgrades: To battlestations!

Office Upgrades: Network Speeds Go Vroom!

In March 2020, (when the whole world went remote) I simply brought home my laptop from the office, set it up on my kitchen table, and figured that this can’t possibly last more than a few weeks.  By that fall, I figured that this might be a while and I started rebuilding my battlestation.  This past December, I figured that it was time to step things up once again.  This month, I am going to be focusing on what I did to try to increase my general quality of life in the home office.  I plan to go over what I did right, what I did wrong, and what I want to do in the future.

As a general note, my employer only provides my laptop.  They do not provide any other hardware.  It was a very similar situation with my previous employer.  This meant that when I switched employers last year, I basically just swapped one Macbook Pro for another similarly speced (but newer) one.

For this week’s post, we are going to cover my network speeds.  Before the upgrade, I was using Spectrum’s 200Mbps/10Mbps service with a 4-point Google WiFi mesh network.  200Mbps/10Mbps speeds aren’t terrible but considering the fact that AT&T offers 1000Mbps/1000Mbps service for the same monthly cost, upgrading seemed like an easy choice. Continue reading Office Upgrades: Network Speeds Go Vroom!

Wisconsin is presumably getting more charging?

One of my largest pandemic purchases was a 2016 VW e-Golf and it is a great car but the relatively limited transportation in the great state of Wisconsin means that longer trips aren’t really doable.  Since I am neither a traveling salesman nor a political candidate, that doesn’t tend to be an issue but if I was still commuting daily to Kohler, it might be.

The other day, I was reading an article that said that the governors of Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota and Wisconsin had created something called the Regional Electric Vehicle Midwest Coalition.  The plan promises to make it easier to find charging stations, which could boost adoption of electric vehicles if it eases drivers’ concerns about the range of their batteries.  You can read the full Memorandum of Understanding for more details.

I do hope that this spurs modernization of the regional transportation infrastructure but I’m not holding my breath.

Nine electric cars that you can buy in 2021 for under $20,000

Back in May 2020, I bought my first electric car.  I spent a little over $11k for the thing (including shipping).  That was a good deal at the time but I got to wondering what you can currently buy for under $20k.  After all, it has been over a year since then and the used market has grown.  Used car prices have been a little crazy lately, though.

For this experiment, I looked on Autotrader and limited the search radius to within 300 miles of Milwaukee.  I also limited the search to models that are no older than five years. Continue reading Nine electric cars that you can buy in 2021 for under $20,000

Squeaky bike is squeaky

Last year, I talked about the e-bike that I bought back in 2018 with the goal of having something to comfortably commute to and from work.  2700 miles later, I’m not using it to bike to work as much.  Part of that is the fact that I have spent the past 18 months working from home but I also expect the new job to be a lot less bikeable.  Last year, I was contemplating a backup bike for while the main one is in the shop.  This year, I’m wondering if it is even possible to bike to work in the best of times.

In place of the ~15min daily commute to work, I have started doing more pleasure rides and the new truck helps a lot with that.  Before I bought the first of the two trucks, every ride had to start and end at my house.  Now, I can drive to a trailhead, unload the bike, and do trail segments that are normally out of reach.

So, the question that I have is if I should contemplate an upgrade, go back to the “backup bike” idea, or do nothing.  Doing nothing is probably a good default but the call of a new bike is always strong and if I get a $5k trek or something, I automatically have a backup bike.

Have a suggestion?  Feel free to drop a comment, below.

I bought a cheap pick-up truck … again

You might have remembered that a few months ago, I bought a cheap 2007 Chevy Colorado and then two months later, it was totalled by a tree branch.  Since then, I also found what remains of it for sale on a copart lot.  Well, I managed to finally buy a replacement truck.  I got a 2000 Ford Ranger for $4,400.  It is smaller and not as well equipped but I think that it is going to work well for what I need it to do.

It does need a little work to keep the rust at bay, though.  This past weekend, I stopped by the junkyard and picked up a cheap replacement fender.  I also bought new seat covers for it, moved the spare into the bed (a lesson that I learned with my 1992 Explorer), and bought some cans of undercoat and rust reformer for the frame.  Everything else seems fine but I also want to replace the head unit just because it would be a nice touch.

Back in March, I made the goal of visiting all of the state parks in Wisconsin.  The Colorado dieing kind of wrecked that plan, since the e-Golf has a fairly limited range.  This should help, now.

Have any suggestion, tips, questions, etc?  Feel free to drop a comment, below.