Western Decrepit strikes again


Amazing. This newer Western Digital notebook HD has its paper thin logic board secured to the HDA chassis by means of rivet-like studs that are part of the chassis itself. Cheap as hell, but now a broken sata connector or logic board fault will definitely be harder to deal with. I’ve done board swaps on hard disks before to recover data… good times but I guess that ship has sailed.

Quest Diagnostics or Why this blog has a fail tag

Quest Diagnostics is the least professional corporation I have ever had the misfortune to deal with. Oh, by the way, quest.. I want you to read this post, and I will not remove it.

I had to make an appointment for a drug screening as part of an employment application. Once requested, the test needed to be completed within 24 hours. I immediately attempted to make an appointment but was told by their online scheduling system that none were available in the Miami area that day. The system gladly let me set an appointment for 2:40 pm the next day (today, as I write this) at a testing center on 41st street on Miami Beach.

I arrive at the testing center to find it closed with a note on the door indicating they shut down for training at 1 PM. The note had an 800 number, the location of another testing center at 170th street, and a pencilled note “most unprofessional lab ever”. Buuuuuuurn.

Pic attached.


I called the 800 number only to be given a line for a BROKEN IVR scheduling service. This IVR had no option to connect to an operator and simply referred me to questdiagnostics.cok. While waiting for another bus*, I checked my previous appointment in their web based scheduler. Gone without a trace. Poof.

It was, however, able to give me a new appointment for a testing center near Dadeland South station, so I requested that. The confirmation page gave me a different 800 number so I hammered its IVR until it gave me an OPERATOR QUEUE! Advertisements rattled off for test services that’d only make sense to medical specialists until I got a person on the line. I asked if it was possible to call ahead to the testing center since this was my last shot at being able to piss in their Magical Science Cup within the allotted time period and was informed that this is impossible.


They literally don’t have a phone. I even found a big clinic list that was posted on an HMO’s website and that had the 800 number for all of them.

I very politely confirmed my appointment with her, she said it’d be fine as long as I can get in by 3:30 pm. The hours listed say until 3, I don’t know who to believe. She confirmed they are one of the few centers in the Miami area that can do the drug test.

I politely asked that she register my complaints. She said the local office was supposed to post a note on their door, which they had, but that doesn’t help anyone who scheduled through the Quest web site.

In summary, Fuck you, Quest Diagnostics. Go jump off the floating piss cup you came in here on. DIAF. Fail fail fail. I really hope you do not cost me the opportunity at what will probably be the best job I’ve ever had.


Interesting… Valve has hidden an Easter egg in the latest update to Team Fortress 2. It adds banana peels as a crafting item, and attempting to craft two banana peels together leads to a Banana Error.

See for yourself at 14 seconds into the video.

Note the hex codes at the end of the Banana Error message. When the content of the Banana Errors is combined (probably by order based on Banana Error number), it’s beginning to form a PNG image with a QR code in it.

There is suspicion that once the QR code is complete enough to be readable (it doesn’t have to be TOTALLY complete, thanks to QR’s embedded forward error correction), this may lead us to the long-awaited Meet The Pyro video!

It’s rare as hell that I even think about videogames, but this is just too damn clever and I totally want to see whether the Pyro’s male or female. It’s been a MYSTERY, you see. I don’t even play TF2 and this is most intriguing.

— Updated: It was decoded!! It leads here —

Telecom secrets revealed – A Sprint PCS cell site!!

What you can't see in this photo is that it's over 100 degrees in the room, lolz
The Now -- Failing --Network

This is what a particular Sprint PCS cell site in southwestern Miami-Dade County, Florida, looks like inside.

Shield your eyes, it’s horrible. No, actually, you will want to shield your eyes because the batteries were installed so badly that I felt the need to place some cut-up pieces of a plastic container in between the battery terminals and some aluminum-cased monitoring widgets that were sitting on top of them to avoid an electrical fire. (Upon testing the batteries I found then to be at about 10.1 volts DC. FAIL.)

And this kind of thing is why I trust ham radio for communications more than anything I pay a mystery team for “service” on. 🙂

On FTDI USB Serial chip problems and the Arduino Nano

The Arduino Nano is pretty cool but when using it for a project recently, I found that I pretty much had to pull it from its socket to use the USB serial interface for programming or a serial terminal. If the chip had received power before USB host connection was made, it would never appear to my system and programming was impossible. It was rather maddening.

The issue, as I found here, is that pin 26 (TEST) wants to be grounded on the FTDI chip.

There’s a ground right next to it, and you can delicately solder bridge them. Hopefully Gravitech will implement this on their boards right from the factory 🙂

It’s kinda sad there’s this rough spot, as the Arduino Nano platform has some cute hardware available for it… itty bitty little thing’s the size of a wide DIP package 🙂

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