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About richfiles

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    Spacecraft Instrumentation Engineer

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  1. The thing I'm not complaining about, is that I already got my renter's tax refund deposit pending in my bank account. I suppose I could complain that it's pending. It's a decent chunk, and I realize, I could do some nice things with it. One thing that I've wanted for YEARS, and never had, was a 3D printer. filament printers have the appeal of large print sizes, but the finished product is not really all that great without a LOT of finish work, due to the low resolution. Strength is also an issue. As a model builder, something with a much finer resolution is more appealing, and so 2K resolution LCD based resin printers have finally dropped into the $200-300 range. This is within the realm of affordability for me, AND I just got that refund... The GOOD one, as in the model that gets all the good reviews, is sold out. The other ones that are available in that price range... All of them have a fair share of meh reviews. Even if the good model did come back in stock, Delivery wouldn't be till sometime in August. Supposedly, there's also a massive temporary discount on that good model, that supposedly ends today. Don't know if that deposit will still be pending, and still don't see it in stock. I want... but I want the good one.
  2. At least the screwdriver is an option. Look at how much is just flat out glued together these days.
  3. Finally bought a router to replace my old junk one that barely gets a signal sitting in front of it... The replacement lasted 3 hours, then died.
  4. Regarding the cart sizes, many companies have actually been avoiding the 32 GB carts for cost reasons, however the Witcher 3 appears to be using a 32 GB cart, and Pokemon is a game that very often sells two copies to hard core players (there are always exclusive Pokemon that have to be traded between the two games). The prices of those 32 GB carts seems to be finally coming down, and with a mass seller like Pokemon, they certainly could justify it. Really, what it comes down to, is if Gamefreak were actually any good at coding, they could probably actually fit the game on a 16 GB cart. Their code, models, and textures are historically observed to be extremely inefficient. Even if the weren't the case, the sheer size of the franchise more than warrants the extra expenditure. They've always sold their games for $40, and this time around, they will be $60 each. That alone is an extra $20 per game, which easily absorbs the expense of the more expensive memory. It's just a bad situation, bad coding practice, and years of getting away with anything, cause the fans were rabid, and would put up with it.
  5. I was an old school Pokemon fan (mostly the anime) back in the 90s, and fell out of it for the past 20 years. I was vaguely aware of the progression of the game series, but never bought any of them. Honestly, the mechanics and play of the old games was very rudimentary, even for their era, and I alway thought that I'd jump into it when Gamefreak decides they want to make a fully 3D Pokemon game. I bought Pokemon: Let's Go Eevee, and very much enjoyed it. My only gripe with it, is that it was strictly limited tot he old Generation 1 Pokemon, so it felt like I was just rehashing the original games, but it was alright. The game did feel much improved over the old games, and I thoroughly enjoyed it... Besides... When Pokemon Sword and Shield come out this November, I'd finally be able to pick up that fully realized 3D Pokemon game and finally go and "catch 'em all"... NOPE!!! Turns out, Gamefreak got lazy, and decided not to actually make the game capable of allowing you to catch 'em all. The previous games have always permitted you to transfer Pokemon from older games into the newer games. It would have been a justifiable reason for me to go back and pick up the last games, or use my Pokemon Go game, or just trade with other players to build up my collection of Pokemon. The basic idea, is that the Pokemon that were not available in that region could still be traded for, and you could still eventually "catch 'em all". Well, they removed that capacity entirely. You can still trade or transfer Pokemon into the game, but only ones that are already local to the new region. If a Pokemon isn't local to the region, you simply can't transfer it into the game, and this is NOT how any of the prior titles have worked! I finally wait for the absolute APEX of the Pokemon franchise to jump in... And the screw it up royally! Long time fans are FURIOUS. Some people have had Pokemon that they caught on the Gameboy advance, and transferred them to the DS, and then to the 3DS. Inter-generational transfer was always a feature, with he exception of Gen 2-3, where major changes in the stats structure, and the switch from Gameboy to the Gameboy Advance hardware put up a technical roadblock. Even the very first Gen 1 Pokemon games could transfer to Gen 2. While the Gen 2-3 gap was unavoidable back at that time, it was something the fans didn't care for, and for the past 13 years, it's been possible to transfer Pokemon from one game to the next. Amazingly, it later became possible to transfer even Gen 1 Pokemon into the Gen 7 games, thanks to Virtual Console versions being made compatible with the Pokemon Bank app, used for later era transfers. Gamefreak claims that they made the decision to make room for improved animations and model on the Switch... Umm.. YeeeeaahNOPE... Back when Gen 7 came out, people complained about the framerates. Game freak explained that they created models far in excess of the resolution the 3DS was capable of, to "future proof" the game assets. And indeed, the models are indeed of a high enough quality that they could be used in future, higher resolution games... and indeed drag down the FPS on the aging 3DS. Note, that they included ALL the Pokemon, from ALL generations, on a 4 GB cartridge. The Switch supports a 32 GB cartridge, and while it is true that they have created a much more detailed landscape, consider that The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is on a 16 GB cartridge, and the base game only took up about 12-13 GB of space for it's MASSIVE world. Even if you make the assumption that you need that much space JUST for the massive world, consider Gamefreak fit ALL the upgraded 3D models on the 4 GB 3DS cart... 13+4=17GB... And with 32 GB carts being available, that still leave a LOT of free space! They had PLENTY of room. The issue, is that Gamefreak is actually kinda BAD at coding... They got away with lazy coding and made 80 billion dollars off of it. They have rabid fans that'll take whatever they shovel out... People ho have dug into some of the Pokemon games have discovered HORRIBLY AMATEURISH coding and asset management. An example, in many Pokemon games, rather than creating a universal asset, and referencing it for every occurrence of a character, they have been found to have a unique identical asset of the same character REPEATED in ROM for each and every separate instance where it is called... So instead of having one model, one set of textures, and call that one model and texture set 14 times, they instead have 14 identical models and 14 identical sets of textures... I mean... I can't even imagine how such abysmal coding could ever have stood the test of time... But that's how Gamefreak is! It's undoubtedly the case that poor and lazy coding and asset management has RUINED what was supposed to be the GRAND PINNACLE of the Pokemon series... This is such a massive blunder, that not even the most hardcore fans are letting it slide. The new Pokemon Sword and Shield was a HIT a week ago. 6/05 - Pokemon Direct - 124K likes to 5.9k dislikes 6/11 - Pokemon Treehouse - 14K likes to 35k dislikes That is one BRUTAL shift in ratio... It all comes down to the fact that you CAN NOT catch 'em all anymore. I know it's just a video game, and I know long time players are even more furious, for even better reasons, but I'm genuinely disappointed by this development. I waited 20 years to jump in to this game. I got my toes wet with Let's Go Eevee and Pokemon Go, and when I was ready to dive in, I find they drained half the pool water. I guarantee Gamefreak's lazy coding and asset management is what did this! Absolutely pathetic!
  6. I know. They came into the launcher/store scene poised to be "the good guys", but within a month or two just started throwing money around and sniping exclusives. They started becoming aggressive, and taking away consumer choice, all while "bragging" about how good they were for "competition"... What competition! There's already, besides Steam, GoG,, Origin, and others. Epic is just one of many, but rather than let the consumer choose to favor their more generous developer cut, and play the hero, they got greedy and got pushy, and people don't like being pushed. It's all about how hard Epic is forcing their store down people's throats by taking options away from people with their cash pile. They ruined their own reputation. I was 100% in favor of them until they got stoopid™. Crazy thing is working now! It still doesn't speak well of the state of the driver chip. I'll look into a beefier variant, or individual darlingtons and nice big ol' snubber diodes. I'm half tempted to break it out to a socket mounted under the front panel, so if the dumb thing blows again, I won't have the pull the whole unit out of the wall to service it... I'm so sick of cheaply made modern garbage... I get it... People like low prices at the store, but how worth it is it really, when things fail after a few years. That's why I support my Right to Repair! I also just feel like randomly complaining about how insane Apple has become, trying' to sell a stupid $1000 monitor stand. Absolute madness...
  7. I WILL NOT install the Epic Game Store launcher on anything I own. Epic is throwing around Fortnite money to buy exclusivity, and stifle competition. They refuse to take any of that money to actually improve their infrastructure, have a worse store than their competition, and then have the audacious gall to claim they are "good for competition". Had they come into the playing field on the claims of being good for competition, and just offered devs a higher cut, and left it at that, they'd be the heroes! Instead, it took them all of a month to shift into full on anti-competitive mode and start throwing out that sweet, sweet Fortnite lucre to buy off developers. Then there was the spying bit, where they got caught with their pants down reading the files of competing game launchers, to report on what their customers had installed from he competition. First, they got Satisfactory... Then they snagged The Outer Worlds... Then they got Borderlands 3... Now they picked off Shenmue 3... Epic exclusive just means that I am writing off something I wanted, because I am EXCLUDING Epic from my hardware! Epic can keep buying off developers, but I can keep holding out, and keeping my money! They came into the game looking like heroes, but quickly revealed themselves to be the villain, and I absolutely refuse to support them, or any game that remains exclusive to their awful, anticompetitive storefront. As of right now, I just add a year to the release date of any game announced. I'll either wait for the Steam version, or not buy it at all. Also, my Air Conditioner compressor is stuck running again, even when I turn the unit off, meaning it blew another one of the Darlington transistors that controls the compressor relay. I need to look into a beefier part, and possibly a better snubber diode configuration. These failures are absolutely ridiculous!
  8. Makeshift materials can be a blessing to a stranded motorist! Especially one that grew up watching MacGyver! I was stranded on the side of an interstate highway outside Sparta Wisconsin by the aforementioned Fiero... Among the MANY things the seller of that car failed to do, was to include the heat shield that covers the exhaust header. The result was that about 2/3 of the way on my trip home, the throttle cable had melted and collapsed under it's own pull force. The guide sleeve of the cable butterflied outward, tension was released from the throttle body, and the retainer clip and retainer pin and throttle body spring all let lose, with the clip and pin dropping onto the road at 65-70 MPH, and the throttle spring coming detached. The cable had no ability to pull tension on the end anymore (it just flayed the cable sleeve when you pulled on it), and even if I could fix that, all the attachment hardware that connected to the throttle body was gone. It was all literally held in place by the tension. A highway patrol officer stops to assist, seeing me pulled over. with he trunk open, staring at the engine. I explain the situation, what happened, discovering the missing heat shield... He asks me if I want a ride to mechanic or motel... I asked him if he had a clicky pen, the kind with a spring in it. Confusedly, he looks and finds one. He offered it to me, and asks what i need it for... In the car, I had the following materials: A wire loom a paper clip a single zip-tie duct tape and a bellows style EGR (exhaust gas reflow) tube that was old, worn, and torn, just hanging onto the port on the air cleaner. Add to that pile, the officer's pen spring... (expand to see examples of the items I had... For that visual effect...) I used the paperclip to construct a new retainer clip for the throttle body. The zip tie passed through the throttle cable's end to secure it to the retainer and throttle spring. The pen spring was partially unwound and used as a wire to secure the paper clip, cable, zip-tie, and throttle spring together. It was convoluted, and in a tight space, but I made it work! The EGR tube and wire loom, along with the duct tape were used to rebuild the cable sleeve of the throttle cable. I fed it through the wire loom, which was about the correct size to contain the throttle cable's overall diameter. I tightly wrapped the loom covered throttle cable with duct tape to bind the flayed portion. Problem is, the exhaust heat would just remelt it, so I peeled the EGR bellows tube into a long strip, and loosely wrapped it around the throttle body. this acted as a heat shield. I taped the ends of it to keep it from shifting position, keeping it centered over the exhaust manifold area. I cranked the engine, and revved the engine a few times, made a few adjustments, and declared it a successful MacGyver job! I won't lie... I loved the face the officer made seeing the engine rev. He sat there and watched the entire process of rebuilding the throttle cable and throttle body clip... Basically out of junk and his pen! Anyway, the officer offered to follow me for a while, to make sure it worked... Honestly, I think he didn't expect it to last. I got the impression that he expected me to get 300 feet and have it all fall apart... Then ask for that ride... After 20 miles (32 km) I gave him a thumbs up and a wave when I got to the exit at the border of Minnesota, and he got himself turned around to head back to Wisconsin. I ended up driving that car for an entire month, without trouble, till I found the replacement cable. Sadly, as I mentioned in that pervious post... The guy I bought that car from had left too much to reasonably deal with, and the car was simply not economical for me to try to deal with. Ended up letting it go for a loss, but stuff happens... I'm just proud that I got to literally avoid a tow, a mechanic, and a (albeit kind) ride in a police car by literally Utilizing parts just a step away from "Found lying by the side of the road"... A very fittingly Kerbalish "Found lying in a car's trunk, and in a police officer's cruiser"... How Jeb's Junkyard of me! Now... All of this sounds very much like bragging (and you'd not be wrong )... How is this discussing anything negative... Well... Murphy. Good ol' Murphy... Not even a whole a day after I mention the horrid brake "service" done to that old Fiero, my current car... starts grinding metal to metal on my front driver side brake... You have GOT to be kidding me!!! So, I had to wait till Friday to get it into the shop. It had a sticking caliper, and that was leaving the pad to wear heavily, till it was just gone. Had to replace the brake pads, rotors, and one of the calipers. The other side was fine. Cost me $380. I was just about to replace my router... I don't get but maybe 1 Mbps on a GOOD day to my workshop, and it constantly drops connection. Three months in a row, this has switched my phone over to mobile data, and chewed up my monthly data cap. I managed to find a good deal that bumped me from 2 GB to 5 GB per month, for only $5 more... and I took it... I need more of a safety margin. I still think that ANY of these ridiculous single digit data caps are backwards, and not fitting for modern services for modern phones... The cost of mobile data is obscene! Anyway... No router for me! I have to be able to drive!
  9. I once rode the train for 12 hours (spent the extra for a sleeper! Totally worth it!) to pick up a Fiero. Paid $600 for work to be done to it before I left with it... A month later, after making the 12 hour trip back, I had it in the shop, and the mechanic comes and asks me to come back into the shop with him... On a Fiero, the engine is mounted in the rear. the rear wheels and engine sit on a frame that hinges against the body behind the seats, and is supported by the shocks and struts. He points to one of the two main hinge points... The driver side was half unbolted, and there were NO tool marks and a uniform layering of rust, typical of something that hadn't been touched anytime recently. If the nut securing that hinge had come loose, the driver side rear wheel and engine would have dropped the frame to the pavement... I traveled on 12 hours of interstate highways like that. The brakes looked like they had only minimal work done to them. Clearly, I got had for $600 for repairs and inspections that clearly didn't happen, or were barely given any real effort, and with the remaining work that needed to be done, I more or less got a lemon of a car. I never did get that cash back either. I had bigger fish to fry at the time, and moved on. It was still pretty low to cheat me on SAFETY NECESSARY WORK though! And let's be honest... A Fiero is either a GREAT car, or a WRETCHED car... There is no in between... They require diligent maintenance to remain good cars, and the second you lapse in your auto care... They will betray you and rapidly turn into the worst lemon! This car was too far gone for my capacity to bring back, so I just got rid of it at a loss. It was fun for a month... Then terrifying... Then angering... Then frustrating... And then I was just defeated. Already a long time subscriber. Right to repair is a serious issue that too many people just don't care about... Well... That is, until they drop their precious baby photos, I mean iPhone into the toilet!
  10. Well! A statement like this absolutely requires a counter! This is where I went to on Monday... In Minnesota... Clearly you weren't in the right part of Minnesota!
  11. I'm sorry to hear that. What's next? Who knows? All a person can do is move forward one step at a time. Live life from moment to moment and keep on taking steps till you find or make your path again.
  12. And update... Since sending that message (at 12:45 pm), Apparently I now get this when trying to contact that seller an hour later... "We're sorry we couldn't find an answer for you. Unfortunately this seller is not able to respond to your question. We suggest reviewing the item again to see if your answer is in the seller's listing." I... I think they blocked me... WELP! Time to escalate to a claim! I tried to be nice and resolve this with polite questions... Now I'll have PayPal and Ebay go to bat for me.
  13. So, I recently replaced my old iPod Mini's battery with a new one, as well as upgraded it's storage to 128 GB (Originally, it was a 6 GB hard drive, then I upgraded it to 16 GB flash the last time I replaced the battery). Anyway, getting inside an iPod Mini isn't too hard. Pull the two plastic endocaps off, take out a couple screws and a retainer clip, unplug the click wheel, and it slides right out. The battery plugs into a socket on the board, and the hard drive used a standard IDE over CF-Type II connector... That's why Compact Flash and SD-to-CF converters work in the iPod Mini. It's honestly one of the nicest iPods ever, in terms of service and upgradability. I also had an 8 GB second generation iPod Nano, years back, but the cat broke it in half. it too was rather easy to disassemble. Like the Mini, but just smaller. So, I mention to my boss at the machine shop about how I'd upgraded and replaced the battery on my iPod, and he mentions his old Nano, and asks if I'd be willing to replace the battery on his. I say sure, it'll be easy! Oho boy... What I did not know, is by the time the fifth generation iPod Nano had been released, Apple was will into their attitude of don't fix it, replace it, and we're gonna help make you not WANT to bother fixing it! I am going to break down the... unique... methods that Apple used to make any service on this iPod a huge pain in the aft end... Like the iPod Mini, you start by prying off the two plastic endcaps, which are both glued down by adhesive tape. This is identical to the Mini. So far so good... There is no retainer clip, but in it's place, there are now 5 screws, more than the Mini. Let me detail these screws though... All 5 screws are a size 00 Philips *(I previously thought these were Tri-Wing... They actually are not, but are tiny, and gummed with adhesive) 4 of the screws go in at a 30° angle There are three DIFFERENT sizes of screws The screws strip so incredibly easily... Which means the tools to remove them tend to be unhardened... You can ruin a screwdriver on each repair! Why... So, once you get these screws out, you try and slide the board out, and it doesn't budge... You can loosen two more screws to remove the top retainer by separating the hold switch from the retainer. That's another two screws, but that part wasn't difficult. But no... something was holding the board in place, so I went online and looked... Wow... Rather than bond the glass screen window onto the case, they bond it to the LCD itself. It's necessary to pull the glass off and clean up the adhesive, in order for the LCD to slide out. You must pop out the click wheel and unplug the flex cable under it, pushing the click wheel up from inside the unit... Which is full of parts... in order to remove said parts... You must remove the camera bezel... *drumroll* because they hid a locking pin behind it that interlocks the board and case, preventing the board from being able to slide out of the case! Really Apple... So yeah, that was very fun... Also, since the adhesive was on the LCD, sliding the unit out of the case has smeared adhesive residue all over the LCD itself. Fun times... Ah, but the fun times don't end here... The battery in the unit is a piddly 0.91Whr, or about 245mAh (for comparison, my iPod Mini now has a 1300mAh battery, and I think the original was around 900mAh). I know battery technology tends to advance gradually over the years, so I spent extra time searching for the highest capacity replacement battery I could find. Most were rated at either the stock 245mAh, and a few I saw from China were rated even lower! Yikes! I did find one supplier listing a battery that was rated at 300mAh, at double the cost ($16 vs $8), and thought this is the route I wanna go... That battery arrived today, and the label is identical to the stock label, showing it's capacity at 0.91Whr (245mAh)! I was cheated! I've contacted the seller, and requested an explanation for receiving a battery with stock ratings. Now I wait... Frustratedly... *and looking over the description, I see the claim IN TEXT, is that it is a 350mAh battery! Ugh!!! The text claims an even higher rating than the photo, and neither are remotely accurate! Dang, if I'd caught that, it might have been a red flag... Time to send a second message, asking now why it wasn't a 350mAh battery, and asking why the listing is so absolutely brokenly inaccurate... Ugh...
  14. Oh... Intermittent issues... (technically, this IS a thermally dependent form of intermittent issue). NOTHING... Absolutely NOTHING brings out the frustration in servicing electronics like an inter-friggin'-mittent fault! My old job used to actually be servicing an old line of brushless servo drives. Of course, they were an ANCIENT design, from the late 1980s, maintained for industries that still relied on the old installations. There was no "boot up"... They were a combination of analog sensing and control, PWM, and digital glue logic in a PAL chip. A casual search online suggests that on some models, a ceramic current sense resistor can get pretty toasty, sometimes enough to weaken and crack the solder joint. Heat does cause thermal expansion. Examining a board for cold or cracked solder joints can sometimes nip those intermittent faults, but if that's not it, it might need further evaluation or servicing. Outside of that general advice... One post I found suggested that an individual had never found a solution, and just perpetually left them on instead... Yup, checking electrolytic caps too. That can be a source of issues, but as I said, an issue on cold power on feels like it leans toward cracked solder... Or a bad anything else... Intermittent issues... If only you could heat your drive with the energy of your frustration!
  15. Yup! We save those nasty bodges for our own sorry selves! Ah yes... When you make a million units of a product, a 10 cent savings is $10000 saved on the bill of material. Yeah, those chips can be a pain, but this time it was also it's own savior. Hehe... I'd debated linking the diagram. I didn't expect anyone would care that much. Glad to be proven wrong!