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 🙂

A useful continuum

Chances product will work efficiently, safely, and properly, as designed and advertised <--------------> Number of superfluous high brightness blue LEDs integrated into product

I have yet to find an exception to this rule.

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