ASUS TF300 Charger Magic

So here’s something. I realize that no one really cares, but I’m posting this as a public service to some intrepid internet traveler facing the same problem.

Yesterday I discovered that the charger for my ASUS tablet had suddenly quit working. It’s a typical liitle black block with a USB outlet, but when connected to the tablet (or its dock) it puts out 15V @ 1.2A (as opposed to the USB spec of 5V @ 500-900mA). I have all sorts of USB power adapters, but none that put out the voltage/current the tablet requires.

Soo… panic-stricken, I go online and order a replacement. A bit of Googling reveals that this is a fairly common issue which a number of people claim has a novel solution: Put the charger in the freezer. This supposedly resets some sort of thermal-overload breaker, returning the charger to working condition. (The charger in question is for the SL101 Series, TF101 Series, TF201 Series, TF300 Series, TF700 Series, and their docks.)

Dubious, but having nothing to lose, I put the charger in a Ziploc bag and place it in the freezer. Much to my surprise and delight…
It worked! Thanks interwebs!

I’m back!

I haven’t posted here in over a year. Here’s my excuse: My webhost upgraded their servers to the latest version of PHP, which was incompatible with the (seriously out-of-date) version of WordPress I was using. They were able to recompile my database to work with PHP 5.3, but if I posted anything, WordPress broke the database again.

Since my version of WordPress predated the automatic updater (by several versions), this meant a tedious, and time-consuming manual update.

Anyway, several failed attempts later, here we are. There are still a few glitches I need to work out, but overall things seem to to be working okay.

Crazy distributed bots

This is a 28 day graph of my website’s traffic through Feb. 5. Normally my site transfers between 5 and 50MB per day. A distributed bot called “80 legs” (or user-agent: 008) crawled the site on the 5th, sucking up 391MB of my bandwidth to God knows what end. Since this is a distributed bot for-hire, it could conceivably crawl my site like this every damned day or even multiple times per day. No thanks! I immediately blocked it in my robots.txt, we’ll see if it obeys or not.

I found this thread about “80 legs” to be informative.

It’s a catastrophe! (or is it?)

I love it when what at first appears to be a catastrophe turns out to be no big deal.

Earlier my power went out, just for a minute. Once it came back on I discovered an issue with my file server. It would power up briefly then shut down. It wasn’t even making it into POST, no beeps, no nuthin’. Immediately panic starts to set in as I imagine all of the expensive, time consuming, pain in the ass possibilities. I try it several more times, each with the same result. Then, after I got ahold of myself, I decided maybe it was the power supply, as that seemed the most likely culprit.

So… I retrieved my power supply tester, turned off the power supply, opened up the case and disconnected the 20-pin connector from the motherboard. I plug it into the tester, power it up, and it’s fine. Hmm…
must be the 4 pin connector for the CPU, that’s the only other line I can think of that might keep the computer from POST-ing. Again it tests as good.

Puzzled, I plug the connectors back in and give it another try. Just as before the power LED lights and the fans spin up, but this time, one short beep! Hallelujah! I punch it up on the KVM switch and see this message: CMOS Checksum error. Hmm… could the battery be dead? I pull the battery, grab my multi-meter, and sure enough, it’s dead. Completely, 100%, graveyard dead. Happily, I have a spare battery on hand. I replace the battery and it boots right up, happy as a clam.

Hooray for successful trouble-shooting (and a bit of luck). The “experts” on the internet seem to be split as to whether or not a dead CMOS battery can stop a computer from powering up. Some say yes, some say absolutely not. Well, I now know for a fact that it can. So, if you have a computer that powers up then right back down and isn’t giving any beep codes, test the power supply and the CMOS battery before letting visions of fried CPUs, dead motherboards, or bad RAM dance through your head.

Hilariously Bad Spam

Like anyone with an email address, I get my fair share of spam. Most of it is simply annoying but every now and then I get a gem like this, brilliant in its awkward absurdity:

Attn;My Dear,

This is to bring you notice that i have register your ATM VISA CARD with DHL COURIER .And the card’s value is $1.5 millions united state dollars,so The delivery charges has been paid but i did not pay their official keeping fees since they refused.Reasons for their refusal is because they do not know when you are going to contact them because the keeping fee is $45 dollars per a day.

And i deposited it yesterday 23th June 2010 So that is reason why i did not pay for keeping fee and that is only you are going to pay them,so i want you to contact them urgent to avoid increase of their keeping fee.

Contact Mr. Johnson Udo
Phone +229-9841-6839

This are the information needed for easy delivery of your CARD.1.YOUR FULL NAME_____,2.YOUR HOME ADDRESS______,3..YOUR PHONE AND CELL NUMBER____,4.A COPY OF YOUR PICTURE____,5.YOUR COUNTRY_____

So as soon as you recieved your card do let me know ok,

Best Regard

Mr.Robert Erickson.

Attn;My Dear,“? “A copy of my picture“? Fabulous!
Why wouldn’t DHL Express’ email domain be “”?
Of course I’ll pay the “keeping fee”, I want my $1.5 millions united state dollars!

Seriously, anyone dimwitted enough to fall for something like this deserves whatever misfortune befalls them.

What I want in a car “entertainment system”

I’ve been thinking about building a PC for use in the car for ages (most likely running some flavor of Linux). Gradually the market is catching up with my desires and it looks as if soon I may be able to buy exactly what I want “off the rack”. Here’s what I want:

1) A touchscreen interface that fits a double DIN dash opening. (common in many late model cars)
2) Provisions for (2) 3.5″ Hard drives. I want all of my Mp3’s in the car.
3) The ability to accept any cell phone’s SIM card and work with a “douche tooth” earpiece.
4) Obviously 3G/4G connectivity, Bluetooth, and WiFi.
5) GPS with turn by turn directions.
6) Alarm System

This is all I can come up with now. I’m sure I’ll be adding to the ‘wish list’ as time goes on.
Does anyone out there have any experience with, or opinions of, these type devices?
Share in the comments.

10 Years of searching for ET, curing cancer ‘n stuff

It’s just come to my attention that I first signed up with SETI@home on September 1, 1999. I did take some time (a few years, maybe; who knows?) off after they discontinued the original SETI@home and switched to the BOINC client. Anyway, during those first few years I completed 5,218 SETI classic workunits, donating 41,374 CPU-hours. Since switching over to the BOINC client I’ve earned over 900,000 credits split more or less evenly between SETI@home, Einstein@home and Rosetta@home. As a matter of fact I’m on pace to surpass 1,000,000 credits sometime in October. It really is quite remarkable to reflect upon. I first started crunching data for SETI with a Pentium 233 MMX with, I think, 128M of RAM (That’s 233 Mhz, kids). Now the slowest computer I’m running is a Pentium 4 2.8Ghz with 768M of RAM. Moore’s law, indeed!

If for some inexplicable reason you’d like to see my BOINC stats, you can do so here or here.

Still here, not eaten by bears (yet)

I feel bad for neglecting the blog. If you feel like you’re missing out on your daily/weekly/monthly allotment of Gregisms, you can catch up with me on Twitter (@gargreguan). Anyway, I just wanted to share my latest brainstorm with you, my adoring public.

I’m going to start an “anti-social networking” site and call it…

HateBook(!) As soon as I figure out a way to monetize the thing I’ll be sitting on easy street.

Shut up! I hate all you melon-fevers!

Spring Fever

Does the Spring Fever make one shop compulsively? If so, then that’s probably what I’ve got. In just the last two weeks I’ve bought:

5 new cycling caps (what the Hell, they’re cheap, right?)
1 “new” CPU (another 3.0G/512K/800Mhz Pentium 4)
Yet another video card (for a thus-far unsuccessful attempt to run CUDA on Kubuntu).

At least they’re all fairly small (<$50) purchases, so I guess it's not so bad. It’s not like I’m buying new bikes or fancy new wheelsets (yet).