HP f200 car camcorder: bad purchase

What an unfortunate purchase on my side.
I did get it using some frequent flyer miles that I could not spend on time on an upgrade, but still I could have used them in a better way.

The angle of the camera is very narrow for the intended purpose.
On my Honda Civic I need to put the suction cup in the light hub in the middle of the roof to cover the entire dashboard and in that case records also the speedometer, the driver and the passenger.
The power cable hanging in the middle of the car is not great.

The quality of the picture can be questioned too.
The algorithm utilized places a lot of noise on the footage and this happens even in full light.
I recorded around noon with the car not moving hence it’s all about the camera and not about the environment.

Maybe I will be able to repurpose it as a very costly webcam, but it will be still suboptimal.
I should do my research better next time.

My DS411slim went south

It was a while that I was traveling quite a bit and giving little attention to my home NAS.
It was getting stuck from time to time but I was not really worried.

For Christmas I had some spare time and decided to do some much-needed backup: the notebook to the NAS and then the NAS to a USB disk that I usually keep disconnected to be on the safe side.

Things did not work out as planned because the DS411Slim was not running long enough for me to complete even the first step.
Status led a solid blue, network led blinking, but no data movement at all and it will not shutdown using the physical button.
Only way to restart the NAS was plugging the power and as you know this is not the nicest thing to do to a disk with data being written to it.

I did it once.
I did it twice.
I did it one time too many and got the status led blinking nonstop.
Not good.
One of the disk’s metadata was corrupted and the mirror diskgroup in degraded state.

Situation was bad but not tragic: I decided to reverse the order of activities and do the NAS backup first using the disk still working.
This worked fine.
Then I decided to hack the fan control file to make the fan spin faster as suggested in and then did the notebook backup using from Microsoft.
This worked fine again.

I felt all my problems were fixed, but I was soon proved wrong.
Due to the scarcity of space on the share I decided to let the NAS compress the .vhd file by issuing the command through the web file manager and I got hit by the CPU overheat issue again even if the fan was clearly spinning (relatively) fast.
I did another try at the compression after restarting the NAS and it went down again: cpu in the web interface appeared to be in the 52-53 celsius last time I checked before going to sleep, but in the morning the system was stuck again.

I have almost alternatives: I have to mod the device.
One option is to replace the fan: maybe it just got tired after a few years and can’t spin as fast as it should.
Another option is to use a thermal adhesive to attach a finned heat sink to the CPU: the heat spreader (irreplaceable) is absolutely untouchable (I mean burning) when the system is blocked hence it can clearly benefit from a better heat dissipation.
Before I go down this road I need to have a failsafe solution hence I ordered a cheap Buffalo LinkStation 220 with a pair of 1TB disks where I will copy all the content of the Synology.

Miracle Istanbul Asia

The bed was very uncomfortable for my back, to the point that after 8-9 hours of sleep I was still tired and waking up with a strong back pain.
The background noise level was significant due to the nearby highway: likely the rooms not facing the road are better in this respect.
To top up the bad experience the room had a shower with a strong smell of mold every time I opened the water.

Overall it was not a miracle for me.

Apologia della cattiveria by Teodoro Klitsche de la Grange

I could not resist purchasing and reading a book that was attempting to make the point that there it is something good about being bad.

With only 32 pages (plus the notes) it is a pamphlet more than an essay.

The first important point of the author is the split of the behavior as private citizen from the one as a public officer.
The importance of being good in our private live is recognized and then the author moves on explaining why being bad as a public officer sometimes is not only acceptable but badly needed.

Then the book shows several examples of “bad” behaviors from public officers that led to a lesser damage and examples of “good” behavior that led to major public damage.
If the state, and as a consequence the people with public roles, is unwilling to use some degree of violence there it is no point at all in having a state because the individuals that disagree with the government decisions can’t be forced into accepting them.

Bad guys, without quotes, are born every day: a state that can be “bad” is needed.

Samsung S24A300B: firmware update

3 days ago the monitor that I use in the desktop setup of my office notebook decided to abandon me and started to behave.
It was turning itself off without apparent reason and then refused tu turn itself on.
The apparent trigger was the connection on the DVI port of a second PC that I was configuring.

I had already start to look for a new monitor, using the tiny built-in 14″, when my engineer mindset jumped in and pushed me to give a try at fixing the old one.
Being already out of warranty for a while it was not a big risk.

Once opened I found out that the screen has a strange design, with the electronics floating on the back of the screen, but the solder on the power plug was perfectly good and there was no indication of mechanical wear that could explain my power issues.
To be on the safe side I re-seated all the connections and then closed the plastic shell.
For no apparent reason the screen was working fine again.

During my search on internet for possible fixes I’ve found a few blog posts and videos that mentioned firmware-related issues similar, but not identical, to mine: loss of signal and dark screen.
After prying the monitor open attempting a firmware update was a minor risk and I went for it.

It worked fine and now I have a new on-screen menu (good) and a color balance that even after several attempts does not match the old one (bad); I still miss the option to turn off the power light: it is very bright and annoying when working in the darkness.

Hopefully I will have some more years of useable life in the screen.

2014: eating @ Bar della Crocetta in Milano

I used to eat at Bar della Crocetta since I was in my highschool days and the place was managed for almost 30 years by the same crew.
It was the best sandwich place of the entire city without any doubt: rich, creative, balanced in the mix of tastes.
Just fantastic.
But two years ago the owners have sold it.

three days ago, as I arrived at the door with my wife, I immediately noticed that something had changed: cleaner place, more light, no more sausages in display, female waiters.
In theory all good changes, but I had a negative gut feeling.

The place was almost empty, but it was the day of the soccer world championship final so it was reasonable.

The list of sandwiches got axed: about 70% less choice than in the past.
Also the list of different types of sausages halved.
I went for a classical sandwich (cipollata) that I had dozens of times in the past with the previous owners while my wife got something new based on Praga ham.

Then we started to wait.
More waiting.
After 30 minutes (with 12 customers in total in the place) we finally got the sandwiches and delusion with them.

The taste of my sandwich was just a pale memory of the original one and using the same name is absolutely inappropriate
Cipollata refers to the fact that it is based on onions (cipolle in Italian) but the quantity was so little and the onions so sweet that their contribution to the overall taste was minor.
The melted cheeses were too hard and not well amalgamated.
The thickness of the sandwich interior was about 60% of the old one while price adjusted with inflation was constant. Ans this was the XL version.
My wife complained tha the ham was sliced so thin that is was almost ethereal in her mouth and about the overall lack of taste. This never happened with the old owner.

To summarize: maybe now it is a healthier place, but it is no longer a place worth visiting.
The Bar della Crocetta si dead and anyone that experienced the place in the past should avoid it to avoid getting the same delusion I had.

Incubo a cinque stelle by Roberto Dal Bosco

At the last national political elections in Italy a relatively new party got about 30% of the votes.
While it was not uncommon in Italy in the past to have a relevant percentage of “protest” votes it never went to such a high percentage.

The author digs into the details of what is the vision of this party and of the people who lead it.
While the content is interesting the book is too stretched and with many repetitions of the same concepts and quotes.
While each time they are in a different context, appropriate and well documented this still makes the reading at times boring.

I’m fairly sure that the same exact content could be delivered in 30% fewer pages with similar or better overall effect.
For this sole reason I’d not advocate this book: people’s time is precious and authors need to value it when writing.