why thank you officer nitpick

Crawling down the road and a car suddenly leaps out behind me from a driveway and starts the bad red, white, and blue disco lighting.

Officer comes to the passenger side window and asks for my license, registration, and insurance card.

He doesn’t even walk to his car to look up my license or anything, instead, leaning in my window right above the huge TV camera on the seat, he offers wisdom…

Why the hell are you still driving that beat up piece of shit?!

And here is where I regret not having that thing running.
I recognize the officer. He pulled me over a while back and then the exchange was more insensitive than tonight’s.

Where are you from? You don’t look like you’re from around here.

Oh, you are?

… Native American? Aren’t you guys usually totally covered in tattoos and shit? Well I’ll believe you because you’ve got the hair…

Once again you leave me without any cause to write a citation.

Cry me a cuntpuddle canal.

Truckwall is the worst ransomware

For over a year I’d been trying to rent a storage unit to stash some of my equipment in when not in use. I had no luck for a very long time– every offering I found was either over $300 a month and/or required an astronomically large deposit and a yearly contract. Finally one place I’d gotten on a waiting list with eight months ago had a unit available and it was surprisingly affordable, especially for a climate controlled facility, even after the $10 a month extra fee for the 24 hour access they never disclose anywhere as requiring an extra fee!

It’s built in and around the site of a former large bakery, which left South Florida due to a necessity to consolidate and the exorbitant costs of producing their goods here.

It now houses a large number of climate controlled storage units in the old bakery building and some additional ones in outbuildings, as well as a maintenance facility for rental trucks.

Of course there’s gotta be a reason it’s so cheap, and that’s that it is nearly impossible to access.

Access to the facility is only possible via one road, in one direction, which in turn is only accessible via one small isolated industrial district. During the day, that’s a two hour queue to get in and another half hour to get back out.

At night, it’s perfectly fine…. Until they suffered the Truckwall infection.

A tow truck driver collected the shattered remains of one of the company’s rental trucks from what looks to have been a pretty severe crash. The whole front of the pickup was smashed in and the cab appeared to have been cut open to rescue the occupants. The tow truck driver came in and dropped it…. right in front of the only access gate to the storage facility.

I came up trying to get in as he was filling out his paperwork and asked if he had to leave the truck there or if he could move it a few feet away from the gate to restore access (if anyone is inside the facility right now, they’re trapped as well!!)

He told me that he would…… If I gave him $150 in cash within the next ten minutes. Otherwise he’d just leave.

OOPS! YOUR STORAGE HAS BEEN BLOCKED BY TRUCKWALL!!!

I gave up and left after calling the city’s police department, who outright refused to send anyone.

There are just some things you have to, sadly, come to live with as a fact of life in South Florida, and one of them is that you sometimes you’ll find yourself locked out of where you want to go due to road based stupidity.
Infection resolved!

As I feared, TruckWall had trapped users of the facility. One of them had a large pickup truck with bull bars on the front. TruckWall’s payload was shoved back from the gate…. with slightly more damage than it had originally.

The worst meme

The worst meme: Brand name recognition.

“Turtle Wax” presoak that does nothing but smell bad
Seriously. Presented with the same shit tier product, both with no brand name, and with a recognized brand name, consumers will go for the brand name.

Never mind that the contact that once held that brand name is gone and the brand name itself has been sold off as an intellectual property asset.
Man, people will buy anything. I’m pretty sure underwear with “covfefe” printed on it exists now. Morons.

HELLO, MY NAME IS MUD.

This little turd blossom!!! Its blower relay inexplicably turned its cooling fan off while I was using it to shitcan 23,500 watts of RF power!!!

Looks like I’ve got some interlock logic to fix up! This should have opened an interlock upon the load’s air vane switch dropping and caused the transmitter to drop back to plate off. You know, instead of me hearing its blower stop from in the restroom and having to go running to prevent the meltdown. XD


Dummy load INDEED
The silver plating in here is a bit tarnished from the unit’s prior big smokeout… Detailed elsewhere on this blog.

Tech Note #69: The Fuck You Cracker

Little do you know, until it’s too late, but many electronic systems feature a sort of latent failure mode that can be triggered by a seemingly asymptomatic event happening seconds, minutes, even days prior.

The Fuck You Cracker

Meet the Fuck You Cracker.

When the Fuck You Cracker detonates, it goes off taking the software, sometimes hardware, but always at least a bit of your hard work with it.

The event that lights its fuse is often very strange and minor. In the case of Ericsson IRD satellite receivers, one detonator is a loss or glitch in the black burst sync input when the receiver’s internal frame sync is enabled.

In the case of these camera robotics, it’s a slow loss of nitrogen gas pressure in the pedestal which led to loss of even lens zoom/focus control minutes before a live show. Seen here: Deco Drive before the magic is applied.

Rawr XD

Other examples I can think of:

Internal software fault on a Mazda 6 ECU causing runaway battery charge to 19VDC

Sony XDCAM deck losing sync and trashing closed caption data on line 9 in a recording quietly– it went from Closed Captioning to Clclososeded  Cacaptptioioniningng.

Any number of I/O accesses to an NFS filesystem that’s gone offline

The Monroe Systems DASDEC, where a received EAS alert hangs forever in the machine’s “inbox” if it’s received with an out of range valid time, and there’s no way to delete it or let it expire until the valid window comes up again. This is fine unless you put audio of a national EAS test alert into it, as the infamous Bobby Bones show incident did– the DASDEC will always auto relay this, you cannot override or filter it out, thus not only causing the Fuck You Cracker fuse to burn until it’s valid again but possibly also relighting the fuse on any station that monitors yours………

I’m sure you’ve also run into the Fuck You Cracker. Watch out, it’s a sneaky one.

Your design is bad and you should feel bad for it.

A friend of mine posted a link to this on Facebook and it is literally one of the worst designs for anything I have ever seen.
Straight from the Walmart online marketplace, right next to the counterfeit Duracell batteries

Not that any of these have ever been designed WELL, but this is worse…

It’s literally the worst designed ear piercing gun I’ve ever heard of. Of particular note though, the description suggests it can also be used on the nose or navel. How? No, don’t. Just don’t. On anything.

Also note the random weirdass stud jewelry that comes stuck in a sheet of pink antistatic foam.

A little background on how these things are supposed to work: The tip of the stud (not seen anywhere in the description photos) is pointed. Not really all that sharp, but pointed. The butterfly back of the stud earring is placed in the other end of the gun and it’s driven by brute force (this one appears to use a spring) through the earlobe.

The most common place you find these things is in kiosks and stores in the mall. Claire’s uses a variation made by Studex and theirs has a disposable sterilized plastic cartridge that goes at the end. The gun itself can never be fully cleaned or sterilized, but at least most of it is not in contact with the person it’s used on. Thanks to this, infection caused by bloodborne pathogens left on the gun itself is at least rare. The complications caused by the body trying to heal a rough bruised hole created by jamming a somewhat dull metal stud through, that’s another story. This one, uhhhhh….

good luck

On this design you just get a little stack of steel plates with a notch in them. The outer one is bent to hold the butterfly back of the earring. Sort of. I can’t really imagine how it keeps it lined up such that the stud will align with the hole in the end – chances are better it just kind of crashes into it and either further tears the hole by skewing at an angle, or launches the backing into space.

But it’s not covered with any sort of disposable part…. and it couldn’t even be effectively wiped down to clean it because it’s got all those gaps between the plates.

A felt tipped pen and a magnifying glass are also included for your convenience. I can’t even understand why, as there’s no logical reason this thing should actually make the hole where you want it to land.

 

It should be no secret that I think the ear piercing gun is one of the worst products of modern misengineering, but this just… this deserves some kind of award. This is BAD and whoever designed it should feel bad for it.

Yeah. Do yourself a favor and go find a member of the Association of Professional Piercers if you’re looking to get any sort of piercings and want the process to go as well as possible.

And do beware of the utter bullshit that shows up in the Walmart “marketplace”. Same goes for Sears. It’s all the ecommerce equivalent of the Opa-Locka Hialeah Flea Market or something.

Fnord Motor Company

Last weekend, when I was making the drive to Derp Island, deep in the Florida Keys, it was pretty hot but stormy out and I was driving down there with the A/C on in the car set to use outside air, since the air down there is not 97% diesel spooge like it is up on the mainland. As I was going down the road I noticed the A/C started getting slightly warmer, then the airflow abruptly dropped as if the blower was burning out or the system had sucked in rainwater and soaked the cabin air filter. (I’ve had both happen on that car. We wear out A/C system blowers here in South Florida like mad.)

Then smoke blew out of the vents……!!

I pulled off at a gas station, stopped, and was looking around trying to figure out what Let The Smoke Out, unsuccessfully. Then I started the car again and… maddeningly… everything worked fine, although I had the reduced airflow problem every now and then afterwards.

Last night, I was driving down what I like to call Miami-Dade County’s emergency exit (I’m not telling, otherwise EVERYONE will try taking it!). The road was empty and as it started raining, I hit the vent button again. The airflow faded away again after a burst of fog came out of the vents, then the airflow cut back. I suspected a coil freeze. Sure enough.. I turned off the compressor and cold wet air began to gradually blast out of the vents.

For sake of illustration, a typical, severely frozen over A/C coil. Watch out – this often leads to flooding.

Later, with the A/C back on again, the airflow started to fade away… then the engine misfired(??) and shut down impolitely. I shifted into neutral and coasted into a well lit parking lot to investigate. I found three blown fuses.

Now I was thoroughly baffled, why did things SHORT OUT? I pulled the glove compartment off to look at the area where the cabin air filter is, and found that a wiring harness runs along the plastic air duct. Just almost out of view in the center console area, that ran between the duct and a razor sharp edge on the dash frame.

The plastic duct had swollen up from the ice buildup and pinched the harness, cutting into some wires.

Sorry, no pictures as the clearances were insufficient to get my phone into the space. I was working with a flashlight and a dental mirror!

I fixed the issue for the time being with electrical tape and cable ties to hold the harness out of the area where it’d gotten pinched, and cut up a plastic bottle to serve as a protective sleeve.

 

Lessons gathered from this:

A. fnord!*

B. Never trust lazy automotive engineering.

C. Don’t let your A/C refrigerant get low.

 

 

* Fnord? What is fnord?

Continue reading »

A day at Derp Island Broadcasting

“Hello, Derp Island Broadcasting, may I help you?”

“Hi, I’m with Papa November Network, and I’m interested in an LMA from your site.”

“Okay. We’ll give you 250 watts ERP from our expertly maintained state of the art transmitter site. However, you may not install remote monitoring here, and if you try to visit the site, you will be run off by our management. But rest assured you’re getting your money’s worth.”

*click*

“Hey, can you go check on our station on Derp Island?”

What fresh hell is this

I have screamed internally all I can and now I must shitpost

Oh. Look. A cool waterspout.

The toxicity simply explained

Gate erected by Sylvester Stallone to seal off access to a public park and trail.

The one underlying rule of living in Southeast Florida:
If you can afford to make life difficult for everyone else, you are required to make this investment.


Examples of this include the pictured Stallonegate, countless ten foot concrete walls in residential areas, the building of condo towers in areas where the infrastructure can’t support them, the entire city of Golden Beach, people paying $14.50 a pop to further encourage the spread of Lexus lanes, etc…

SLIME.

This has been a bad week when it comes to things full of water.

First, early in the week, I was walking down a corridor at work when a big fat raindrop got me right in the eye. I jumped a little and this caused my shoes to hydroplane on the wet floor.

Upon further inspection, it was coming from a large overhead AC unit. The drain was clogged. I used a wet vac to clean up and finally to forcibly blow the snot rocket out of the line.

Then the toilet tank in my apartment spontaneously cracked open and tried to start a flood. It started with a bang, ended with the somber howl of a Home Depot cheapie wet vac.

Then I was informed that water was pouring thunderously down the side of the building while I was at work. The fault was one we’re not unfamiliar with.

image

The thing in the foreground is a large ballcock like that which would fill your toilet. Something was wrong inside it and it wouldn’t stop gushing so I reduced the water flow to it from a roaring geyser to a smaller, “someone left the sink on” flow and went back inside.

Later, the 11 pm news had just ended when I heard a very odd noise in the building and started trying to track it down. My first thought was maybe the water level in the tower had fallen, but there was still water pouring off the roof, so that couldn’t be it. It seemed like a lot, actually. And that’s when the temperature alarms started going off….

I switched on a backup ac for our most critical server room and took a look at the pool on the roof. The first thing I noticed was it was overflowing but I didn’t hear much water flow in it and the fan wasn’t on. I peeked inside again and realized that this time I couldn’t see the sieve at the bottom anymore. I opened the filler valve back up full blast so I could also use the garden hose up there.

Uh oh. I located a stick and started poking around. I found the sieve had become totally occluded with a mat of algae.

Scrape
Schlorp
Bloop
Slurp
Squirt, squirt
Chatter
Bang
Gurgle

The next thing I knew, I was looking at the sieve…. but no water. It was running down there as fast as it filled the basin, but now it was also raining down through the fill like it should, albeit slowly.

It continued to do this a while as the entire system refilled.

My only thought is that the entire system had basically started sucking air back through the overflow pipe adjacent to the main drain/return as the sieve plugged, and the pumps had cheerfully returned all the water back to the overflowing tower until there was just about nothing left but the small amount needed to churn back and forth in the pumps and make awful sounds.

Once refilled, I found all the AC units cooling once again, and the awful sounds absent.

But why the slime? There’s a system to prevent that….

Oh

Heck

image

The barrel. What’s in it?

image

Nothing. In fact there’s algae in the barrel itself…

image

Algae and calcium build up all over

image

A pump that sounds fouled

image

And a cool looking skyline

So at least there’s that

Also, for no good reason one of the air handlers seems to have experienced an accidental thrust reverser deployment and yacked all over the place

image

image

And it’s still pissing itself. At least everything is staying cool…

image

Good night from beautiful Broadcast Key, Miami, Florida.

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