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wireless ear buddies

Four years ago I determined the Sony MDREX15LP were the best cheap earbuds. Since then I’ve gone through many pairs. I continued to use one pair after another (they don’t really wear out, usually I lose a pair somehow) with a lightning to headphone adapter, but that’s starting to fray after some hard living.


Posted 31 Oct 2019 21:46 by tedu Updated: 30 May 2020 06:53
Tagged: gadget review

hello android

I’ve had an iPhone for many years, and an iPad for not quite as long. People would tell me I should switch to Android. I thought they were crazy. I recently got some Android devices. Now I know they are crazy. Some notes on recent experiences with a Moto G6 and Samsung Tab S5e.


Posted 01 Jun 2019 18:21 by tedu Updated: 05 Sep 2019 11:28
Tagged: gadget review

using yubikeys everywhere

Everybody is getting real excited about yubikeys recently, so I figured I should get excited, too. I have so far resisted two factor authorizing everything, but this seemed like another fun experiment. There’s a lot written about yubikeys and how you should use one, but nothing I’ve read answered a few of the specific questions I had.


Posted 20 Feb 2017 07:14 by tedu Updated: 21 Feb 2017 17:07
Tagged: computers gadget security software

RC40 card cipher

The Solitaire cipher is perhaps the best known encryption algorithm implemented with a deck of cards. Ignoring security, it has a few drawbacks. It’s pretty complicated. I can never quite remember the rules. Sure, with practice it’s possible to memorize, but ideally we want something easy to teach. It’s also pretty slow. Even with practice, the shuffling and cutting manipulations take time.


Posted 10 Feb 2017 14:27 by tedu Updated: 10 Feb 2017 14:27
Tagged: gadget security

Samsung 960 EVO

Thought I was happy with my gaming PC, but there was a Steam sale, and suddenly 256GB just doesn’t stretch as far as it used to. Even purchasing only a few games per year, at 20GB or so each, that’s not much. Looking for a bit of future longevity, decided to make the switch from SATA to NVMe. Best drive on the market is probably the Samsung 960 PRO. Saved some money by going with the EVO line, which might be the best value.

It’s an older motherboard, so I needed one of these gadgets to plug it in. Seems a bit silly to spend $20 for a bit of plastic and copper. No boot support, but that’s just fine. It’s only for storage.

It’s as fast as promised. For reference, the existing drive is a Samsung 840. Copying all the game data across, the destination drive was almost entirely idle. (For funsies, I made a second copy, both from and to the 960, and it screamed.)

Posted 07 Jan 2017 21:51 by tedu Updated: 07 Jan 2017 21:52
Tagged: computers gadget

OpenBSD on HP Stream 7

Recent events have rocked the mobile computing world to its core. OpenBSD retired the zaurus port, leaving users in desperate need of a new device. And not long before that, Microsoft released the Anniversary Update to Windows 10, but with free space requirements such that it’s nigh impossible to install on cheap 32GB eMMC equipped devices such as the HP Stream series, leaving users searching for a new lightweight operating system. With necessity as both mother and father, the scene is set for a truly epic pairing. OpenBSD on the HP Stream 7.


Posted 10 Sep 2016 13:17 by tedu Updated: 12 Sep 2016 14:46
Tagged: computers gadget openbsd

charge this

The Times asks, Should you charge your phone overnight? The answer is obviously no. I mean, yes. Or, maybe.

As the Times points out, your phone won’t overcharge. No harm there.

But, but, but... all charging “harms” your phone. Which is both alarming and useless. What am I supposed to do? Not charge it? That’s not very useful. But apparently I can charge it if I’m replacing it in two years, which sounds like it has the cause and effect somewhat reversed. Nor does it provide me with a plan if I intend to keep it.

Finally, the article drops a hint that the real issue is that fast charging pushes a lot of current into the battery, which may shorten the lifespan. This makes some sense as I understand battery chemistry. Their suggestion to use a lower rated charger seems pretty weak however. It may work, but it’s haphazard.

Keep in mind that I am not an officially licensed li-ion whisperer.

Modern chargers switch between constant current (when the battery is low) and constant voltage (when the battery is nearing full). Refer to AnandTech charge graph.

If we want to avoid the damaging high current charging, then we should aim to charge our phones frequently, topping them up with low current charging. I believe the Times article misleadingly suggests minimizing the number of charges; i.e., letting it run down and then charging, which would actually result in the most exposure to high current charging.

Posted 24 Aug 2016 00:54 by tedu Updated: 24 Aug 2016 00:56
Tagged: gadget

random failures

Lots of examples of random numbers failing, leading to cryptographic failure.


Posted 05 Aug 2016 18:15 by tedu Updated: 19 Aug 2016 04:19
Tagged: gadget security software

master lock speed dial

In addition to earbuds, I have a tendency to lose padlocks. As a result, I tend to go through more of them than I should. Note to locker designers: place the loop on the inside frame instead of on the outside of the door so that after I open the door, I have somewhere to hang the lock where I won’t forget it.

Cheap combo locks have never been that secure, but since things have gone from bad to worse, I figured I’d try a new lock. Enter the Master Lock Speed Dial.

Instead of numbers, the combination is a sequence of cardinal directions. The packaging promises I can pick any combination of any length, though I doubt they have really invented an infinite data storage device. The default sequence length is only four inputs, which is far too short for my comfort and they should recommend at least eight. 4^8 combinations just tops the 40^3 of a very precisely machined 40 digit combo lock (to say nothing of less precise models). Despite the length, with very little practice it’s easy to enter the combo quickly and accurately. Trying to spin a dial too fast I would frequently over rotate and have to start again. The speed dial can be consistently unlocked one handed in about five seconds.

Programming the lock is a little weird and error prone. The sequence of unlocking, resetting, and locking must be performed in exactly the correct order or you get a lock with the wrong combo. Or no combo! Fortunately, this video explains two common mistakes, which I definitely experienced first hand.

For a look at the insides of the lock, this video reveals a little more about how it works. Also a toool.nl PDF.

Initially, the lock was very stiff to open. I couldn’t tell if I’d done the combination right or not (pretty important right after purchasing), but after some use it pulls open much more readily. On the downside, the casing is rather large and won’t fit everywhere that a smaller lock is expected to.

Posted 27 Apr 2016 18:41 by tedu Updated: 19 Aug 2016 19:59
Tagged: gadget

iphone 6s plus

Replaced my 5s with the new top of the line, 6s plus. Kind of an awkward name. I propose 7P and 7Ps for the next gen.


Posted 30 Oct 2015 01:44 by tedu Updated: 30 Oct 2015 01:44
Tagged: gadget review