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I am The Cyberwolfe and these are my ramblings. All original content is protected under a Creative Commons license - always ask first.
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Random Thought: God is not dead. He is alive and working on a less ambitious project.

Busy month

Posted in Life on April 26th, 2019

Since one of the functions of a blog is to serve as a bit of a diary, I will jot down the following merely to place it in my personal narrative timeline if nothing else.

We moved last weekend. Just a couple miles up the road to Greyduck & Vyx’s complex, but in the process we crossed over the main East-West corridor of the area, which means one less traffic obstacle on the way to work. We also have a larger apartment now, on the second floor – which has already done wonders for foot comfort since we don’t have a concrete subfloor any longer. Lastly, we have a garage now, with enough room for the Outback and a small workbench plus storage area. That will make dying jobs simpler.

As part of moving, we also decided to treat ourselves a bit, and for the first time in nearly a dozen years we have an actual adult-style bed – with a headboard! Amazing! As an extra-special treat, I opted to replace the TV for a number of eminently logical reasons, (one of which is “cuz I wanna!” Really, the other one was too small for the area now, and very picky about viewing angles) and that will make for happier viewing. The new sound bar to go with it shows much promise.

The most specialest thing to happen this month, however, may be the simplest of all: I made the last and final payment to my student loans.

$0.00 balance. WooHoo!!!!!!!!

Twenty-seven freaking YEARS to pay that shit off. Those of you out there in similar conditions, my advice is always pay extra, even if it’s only a buck. Every penny over minimum you pay is a penny they can’t charge interest on, and it adds up.

On the downside of the newsfeed, the doctors tell me I have mildly high blood pressure, and the damage to my pancreas in my youth has finally caught up to a diagnosis of low-end diabetes. Both appear to be treatable with simple pills and some better dietary and exercise habits, so that’s good news.

And that catches us all up. G’night!

Eagletec KG010 Mechanical Keyboard Repair

Posted in Geekery on February 24th, 2019

Hey! I remembered the password!

Wow, lotta cobwebs around here, let me tidy up a bit… How many updates?! OK, install install install… done.

So, uh, it’s been *cough* a while since I’ve done anything here, uh… shit. Almost two years? This must surely be a sign of the End Times then, so if you’ve ever wanted to to anything wild and crazy, now may be a good time to do it. Go kiss your crush, you may never get another chance. Tell ’em I said it was okay.

*Ahem*

So, as you can see in the title there, I had a problem with a keyboard recently and managed to fix it. There were a couple points that weren’t online anywhere, so I figured I should be a good ‘Netizen and document my findings.

The keyboard is an Eagletec KG010. It’s a mechanical jobber with a nice click action, and a pretty blue backlight, and when I bought it they went for $50 on Amazon. I think one of the nicest features that is NOT shared by several keyboards in the $100+ range is that it includes the shift-symbols in the backlight – crucial for folks like me that can’t touch-type to save their life and must stare at the keyboard to find anything. (I’m talking about you, Razer…) 

Eagletec KG010 keyboard

(Don’t mind the strip of yellow sticky-note over the status LEDs, it’s there because those lights are blinding…)

Anywho, it’s a good deck and I was happy with it – until the Windows key stopped working totally and things were getting weird with other keys on the left-hand side. I figured the thing was dead, and bought a replacement from another company. (Yet another board without the symbols lit…)

In the back of my head, however, the part of me that used to be an electronics guy kept thinking that maybe there’s a simple fix. So, I took it home to tinker on in a spare minute or three. That moment came around and I started digging around for teardown instructions just on the off-chance someone else had been there first, but I couldn’t find anything. Aha! Inspiration for a post!

So, for anyone else that may need to look into the operations of a decent mechanical keyboard, here you go.

Screw locations:

Eagletec KG010 screw locations

You’ll have to pull off a number of keycaps to get to them all, but the caps just pull off. You can find tools for this on Amazon, or just do it carefully with a pair of needle-nose pliers. All of the screws are the same except for the two dressy ones at the top, so don’t worry about mixing them up. Those two won’t fit anywhere else so you’re good.

That depression at the top is where the manufacturer logo sticker goes. I was all prepared to have a fight with it and risk scratching the top plate to get it off, but about the only thing holding it on was a static charge – the glue was terrible and it popped right off. Shrug. 

Once the screws are out, lift the top plate away from the plastic base (careful with the cable) and flip it over to reveal the business-side of the circuit board:

Circuit board

Once I had it flipped over, it only took me about 5 minutes to spot what the actual problem was: a component had somehow popped off – a signal diode. Specifically, an OEC PMLL4148L. Thankfully, I have a buddy that works in electronics manufacturing that was able to snag me a few of them, cost him a grand total of 11 cents rather than me buying 100 of them from Amazon for $5.

Like all surface-mount parts, it’s tiny. Here’s one next to a dime for scale:

Diode with dime for scale

I promptly dropped this one and it disappeared. Points to my buddy for delivering it with 4 other friends.

Here it is after I replaced it:

Replaced a diode

Yeah, yeah, my soldering skills leave a bit to be desired. It’s been almost 20 years since I’ve soldered SMT components. :P

And that was, as they say, that. No idea how that diode managed to break off in the first place, the solder that was left on the board didn’t look to bad, and it was just sitting on my desk. I dunno, maybe the office cleaning crew picked it up to dust and dropped it or something. The important bit is, it works again.

Score one for the Wolfe.

Wow, 36 years

Posted in Geekery on March 30th, 2017

The free dice have improved greatly since the first D&D boxed set my stepbrother got back when I was 9.

New Dice

My stepbrother Josh used to get pissed and throw dice at his brother Sean the DM when he didn’t get his way. Those two dice were the only ones to survive.

Mom got me the AD&D Player’s Handbook and DM’s Guide for my 11th birthday, but I haven’t seen those books in years – I loaned them to Sean when he moved to California and of course never heard from him again.

In the 5th grade a buddy and I were building a Character Generator program in BASIC on an Apple ][ – we had most of it down, but got bogged with trying to type in the entire weapons and armor catalog.

We skipped 2nd Edition – none of their ‘fixes’ to Gary’s original (somewhat broken) rules meshed with our own house rules.

I picked up the 3.5 Player’s Handbook – mainly because it was the first to come with an official Character Generator program to help crunch all the math – but never ended up playing that version. The Ratboy got some use out of it.

Then there is the mess that was 4th Edition. We had some fun with it, but the whole “Dungeons of Warcraft” vibe got to be too much, and then Wizards tanked it right around the time my last gaming group imploded. I’ve got about 30 pounds worth of 4th Ed rulebooks on a shelf, if anyone’s interested…

Now the wife says she wants to run a game for me, the Daughter Unit and her beau, so we picked up the 5th Edition box set today. We’ll see how far we get between this and the online rules before we think about sinking $50 per book to get into the full set, and the basic box set is ideal for starting out a new DM. (And at $20, it’s not a huge investment.)

Just remember: dice hurt when thrown. Duck!

The Couch is Dead… Long live the Couch!

Posted in Life on March 25th, 2017

The Couch (ok, futon) of many years and at least one major rebuild has finally succumbed to the ravages of time and my notably fat keister. Note the stack of phone books, which I have kept specifically for the purpose of supporting the center, which is prone to sagging.

The Couch Is Dead

(Everyone on-deck to disassemble)

Long live the new Couch!

Long Live the Couch

(Wasabi approved. Dig the hex pattern on the throws, that was my contribution.)

Shout-out to Christopher at Hollywood Furniture who helped us with the customizing process of this couch from Stanton Sofas here in Oregon. (Keeping my economy local when I can). Nice folks, very helpful and patient.

Sneaky snow

Posted in Life on January 11th, 2017

With news sites that generally over-hype the bejeezus out of any possible weather event, we were all a wee bit surprised that there was as little screaming about last night’s weather here in the Portland Metro as there was.

Here’s my parking lot last night…

Tuesday night snow

…and this morning:

Wednesday morning snow

I tromped around a bit first thing, and there’s up to 6 inches worth on the ground. One of the guys drove his car all the way to the office only to get high-centered in the office parking lot.

Me? I’m taking a day off. I have zero desire to try and work from home, and 70+ hours of PTO that says I don’t have to :)

Won + Lost = Wost

Posted in Geekery, Life on January 8th, 2017

A few weeks ago, we stumbled upon Catan Universe, which is at this point an online, faithful representation of the game and it’s various expansions. It has multiplayer and as a bonus, it offers AI players so you can still play even when your buddies aren’t around.

The AI players all have typical German names, but quite honestly if you have an AI player in a game with live players the AI might as well be named “Victim”.

The wife and I both love to play games, but our circle of buddies has shrunk rather alarmingly in the past couple years, especially since we moved to the West side and my former roomie Greyduck opted to get his own place, so this has been a great way to get back into the swing of games.

The problem with playing a lot of two-player games, however, is that there’s only ever one winner, and they might not feel to well about that. Not a big deal if it’s just your buddy, but when it’s your significant other, well, something needed to be done. So, the wife and I have come up with a standard forfeit: the winner has to scoop the litter boxes.

“You pulled Longest Road AND arched wool in one turn?!? Well, have fun scooping, I’m pretty sure Wasabi let off a stinker in there for ya :)”

Oh the felinity!

 

Hover Mode failure

Posted in Geekery on January 7th, 2017

HP Gen 9 servers have better fan control now and don’t quite sound like Cessnas at takeoff so I had to adjust my customary customization.

Hover Mode Failure

Scenes from Real Life: Incidental Idiocy

Posted in Life, Proof! on January 6th, 2017

My Mom and my Old Man divorced when I was fairly young, and after a couple years of wrapping her head around it, Mom started dating again. Years go by, and she eventually settles down with the man who will become my stepfather. He’s about 10 years younger than Mom, I figure she just wanted someone easily manageable, rather unlike my Old Man.

My stepfather – I’ll just come right out and call him Jackass for the sake of convenience – well, Jackass wasn’t the smartest of men in some areas, but he was gifted in others. Game strategy and daily math he was an ace at, but other skills just weren’t in his wheelhouse. (Don’t ever play Cribbage with him; play Scrabble instead, he can’t spell worth a damn.) Some other skills that most modern Americans seem to have absorbed through the osmosis of modern pop culture just never managed to seep into his head though. Read the rest of this entry »

Required tools for Subaru owners

Posted in Miscelleny on August 16th, 2016

As I learned the hard way back in high school, if you’re driving a ’70’s era Subaru with a manual transmission, it may behoove you to own a pair of long needle-nosed pliers with a bend in the jaws. A lack of this tool turns replacing a clutch cable from a 30-minute task to a 2-hour task. That’s 2 hours of lying on the back of your neck upside-down in the driver’s footwell trying to remove and replace a cotter pin by reaching a pair of straight needle-nose pliers through a hole in the actual clutch arm… yeah, buy the pliers.

If you own a 2009, replacing the #1 spark plug requires a wobbly (“universal joint”) socket extension due to the placement of a pressure sensor solenoid mounting bracket. At least, I think that’s what the device is, I can’t find a specific picture. It’s a block with a half-dozen or so small-diameter pipes sprouting out of it, and it looks like way to big of a pain to remove. A wobbly adapter is useful and only costs $3, so it’s worth the purchase.

The irritating part is that there’s nothing in the owner’s manual about spark plugs save for one small section that says something along the lines of “this should be done at intervals, but it’s difficult, so take it to your dealer”. How about you include pertinent information for those of us who actually have the same skills and don’t feel like buying the dealer repair manual?

Quick! To the Movies! – “Star Trek: Beyond” and “Suicide Squad”

Posted in Reviews on August 13th, 2016

Just a couple quick takes on the movies we went to see this weekend. A hugely rare event for us, going to two movies in a weekend is something we never do.

Star Trek: Beyond

This one was on our list from the beginning, and worked it’s way higher after a number of reviews remarked favorably on the lack of stupid visual effects that do nothing for the story. (Take a note here, J.J., we really don’t like the lens flares.)

Overall, a good flick and worth the price of admission. There’s one bit that stood out for both the Wife and I, however as ridiculous in the extreme: at one point, Kirk asks Uhura to open the all-ship address system. A fairly routine request on a starship, you would think – probably happens about twice a day. You’d expect this to be a couple quick taps on one of the square yards’ worth of touch-enabled consoles, right? Nope. Uhura has to reach up over her head with both hands to flip open the safety latches, and then flip a pair of toggle switches to turn on the mic.

O_o?

Thankfully, this is the most-egregious bit of bad blocking in the movie. They did manage to leave a bit of an open plotline by not definitively nailing down the fate of the bad guy’s right-hand man. (This bothered the Wife more than me, but it’s there.)

Suicide Squad

This one was on and off our list a number of times due to ‘meh’ reviews and the general handling of the DC universe by Warner Bros. (We still have not seen, nor desire to see, ‘Batman v. Superman’). The final deciding factor for us was Kevin Smith’s review of the movie. Die-hard comic book guy liked it? OK, we’ll watch.

It ended up being better than I thought it would be. I was disappointed with a couple things. It stood out badly that Rick Flag had the scruffy beard and they had him portray the character with a kind of Southern redneck personality that just didn’t work for me. (At one point I swear the guy had a pinch of chewing tobacco in his mouth…) I think Adam Baldwin did a better job in the Justice League animated series.

To the guy suing Warner Bros. for not including enough Joker? I side with the editors on this one, they cut whatever they cut for good reasons. This was not a Joker movie, this was something else. Joker will have more of a presence in that upcoming Harley movie that’s hot in the rumor mill now.

 

So, if you’re of a mind, either movie will sit well with you I believe. Enjoy!