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Top scammer list

 I wish it wouldn't have come to this, I'm all about free knowledge but the spammers are really pushing their luck. Long story short, here's a list of companies that you shouldn't deal with, as they are most likely scammy or working with spammers. Please find another company instead of the ones below: Laptop Service Mumbai Spammer: Spammer: Spammer: Spammer: Rationale These spammers have been pouring a torrent of spam on my blog. There are at least two sides of the story. Google has refused to intervene to repeated spammers so I have to turn this around. If your company name is on the list Stop hiring these people and your name might be cleared. I make no promise of that. If you are a spammer At th

Jay-Tech (JTC) TV Android hacks

Back in January I bought a cheap 55" TV, mainly to use as a low-latency monitor. On a random note, I haven't watched TV in years, all my TVs have been used as monitors in the past 10+ years. The model is  UHD SMART TV S55U5515MQ  and uses a dual-core running at 1.2GHz with 1.5GB RAM. It's running a version of Android TV 6.0. I think a very similar set is with a model name of Genesis, distributed by the same company - Jay-Tech. Was not expecting much for the price but it does a decent job as a monitor, with relatively low latency and relatively good resolution support. However the software on it is quite bad, even wrote the company to ask some questions but never heard back from them: there is no color calibration, even though it has a green tint from the factory there are YouTube notifications of new videos when the TV connects to a network, even with no account set up could not find a way to save the program list on USB as listed in the manual there's a Home and a Sta

ZX Spectrum cassette forensics

My first "computer, while growing up, was a Russian clone of a ZX Spectrum. I got it as a "hand-me-down", along with a few tapes and a short booklet in cyrillic. Back then I had no clue of English and even less of other languages, so I just dumbly typed the programs in. I guess that first computer was responsible for me learning to program, since the games would not load from any of the tapes I had. This happened again with my second gifted computer, a Sinclair QL, for which I had no games. Anyway, more than 30 years later I thought of trying to see what was actually on those ZX tapes: There are 35 games listed, though I managed to load probably less than 10 in that computer's lifetime. Step 1 - buy a cassette deck and restore it But we're not here about that project. Instead, you should make sure that you have a decent and well-adjusted tape player. If it's a brand name and mains-powered, it should probably work. Portable players in my experience have a low

Philips 3200 Coffee Machine - part 1

About a year ago I bought a new automatic coffee machine to replace the aging Saeco. This is a Philips machine, 3200 series, which actually is a pretty close match to the Saeco. Not a surprise, since Philips is the parent company of Saeco, while Saeco is the parent company of Gaggia. Which means some parts could be interchangeable. I waited for about one year to see if any problems develop with the machine, but so far it has been pretty reliable. This post will aim to compare the old and the new machine and figure out how to automate it. Just click on the Saeco label or search this blog to see the old teardown, which thousands of people have already read. There will be plenty of pictures after the subjective review. Disclaimer : I don't work for Philips or any other coffee company, this is just a hobby.  Software and usability The new machine is much better in terms of software and friendliness. While the old one used to dump ground coffee whenever it felt something wrong, the new

Teardown and repair of a dangerous Porsche toaster

I was nicely asked if I could take a look at a disabled toaster unit that stopped doing its job. Post-cleanup it looks like this: The quick repair job turned out to be quite entertaining in figuring out post-mortem how the unit failed and the questionable design decisions. It involves no complicated electronics and it might help other people figure out what to look for before buying an appliance. With another layer of failures stacked on top, this unit could have set the house on fire or shocked someone. Fortunately no damages were recorded, but the deep-dive might prove interesting to some people.

Blinds/Shutters automation with Home Assistant

My apartment has the shutters/blinds controlled via a trio of wall-mounted button panels. Here's my experience of integrating them into Home Assistant for automation and remote control. Steps: Identify the control units Buy the remote unit or reverse engineer the control signals Build a firmware for NodeMCU (ESP8266) based on ESPHome Result I've kept the intrusion to a minimum so they can be reverted without any traces: Home-Assistant panel with the three blinds actions: Control Unit The button panels have Elero stamped on them so the first thing was to go to the manufacturer's website and search for a product: The closest match seemed to be Elero VarioTec, not sure at this point if it supports remote control or not (spoiler: it doesn't).

Quick "inside stuff" - Bardusch textile towel dispenser

This is an interesting piece of tech that gets a fair amount of usage. I think some everyday industrial objects hide a complex mechanical layer and present it as simplicity. To understand this piece, think of the single-use paper towel dispensers inside public toilets. This has been raised this to the next level, providing a continuous textile towel - which possibly gets afterwards washed and repaired - guessing around 50 meters in length. You pull the towel piece facing you, from the top, it allows about 30cm to be drawn out, after ~10 seconds it draws the slack (30 cm) back into the unit. This has to be experienced in order to understand the mechanical clockwork hiding inside. There are no electronics involved here. Fortunately, there was a broken unit waiting for repair, complete with refill instructions. The upper roller supplies the towels. The lower roller is the take-up roller. The green cylinder, spring-loaded, flattens up the take-up so that it's as tig