Oklahoma City Skyline

Here is a photo that I really liked from a trip to Oklahoma City. The Devon tower dominates the skyline of the city, and I think that I got a nice shot of it.

iMac Hard Drive Replacement

At the beginning of every year, I try to knock out as many projects as I can. This year has been no different from earlier years, and this is another project that I have completed so far. The hard drive on this 2007 iMac finally died, and I replaced it for a friend of mine. He uses it for random things, and he wanted to get it back working again. I am extremely impressed that the drive lasted 10 years, and I jumped at the chance to change it out because I have never opened an iMac case.

After reading a few how-to’s, I got this thing apart pretty quickly. The most surprising part of the repair was how easy it was to get the glass off. I had no idea that it was held on with magnets. A suction cup and light pulling gets you access to the screws that need to be removed, and I think it was only 10-15 screws total that had to come out. The whole job of changing out the hard drive and getting it back together took 30 minutes, but the attempt to recover the data was longer.

On the drive, the partition table was corrupted and damaged beyond repair, and it was unable to be mounted under normal means. To get the data off, I used a data recovery program, but it was heavily duplicating the information on the drive in some instances. To solve this, I used a de-duplication program, and I was able to remove 30 GB of duplicated files. In the end, I think that I was able to save most of the data on the drive.

Based on how new drives are built, I doubt that this one will achieve the same length of service, but the first one was a surprise so I am keeping my fingers crossed.

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Replaced Back Glass on Samsung S6

The other day I was asked to change the back glass on the Samsung S6 after it had cracked. I believe that placing two pieces of glass on one phone is Samsung’s second worst design decision in recent memory. The first is the Note 7 battery debacle of 2016, but I think that everyone has discussed that one enough so back to the repair.

The repair on this is straightforward. The back glass is held on with just adhesive, and you just have to heat the adhesive to allow the back glass to separate from the device. Since I don’t own the tools that people recommend you have, I just used a hair dryer. It took about 5 minutes to remove the glass, and I got it back on about a minute later. I wanted to give the phone time to cool down some. I have included the photos I took of the repair below. The hardest part was making sure that I had the correct color and phone carrier for the part.

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Random Router Fix

Recently, I have seen an issue where my router is losing its internet connection for an extended period. The way that I have noticed to fix this is to reboot the router by unplugging it from the wall. If I don’t do that, it can take forever to come back on its own. Other than this issue, I can’t complain about the service with U-Verse. From the speed test below, you can see that it is pretty fast.

To get around the random router hangs, I put an SSR that I have lying around to use. I have these from a Christmas light project that I was working on, and they were pretty cheap and easy to build. They are DirkCheapSSRs. I remembered that I could trigger them from my Raspberry Pi that is already running on the network. The Raspberry Pi runs PiHole, and it is already sitting next to the router. I wrote a small python script to trigger the GPIO pins on the Raspberry Pi based on certain conditions. Essentially, the Pi cycles the power on the router based on it being able to ping google.com, and it checks for the ping every five seconds. If the ping fails, it waits ten minutes before it starts the check again.

from __future__ import print_function 
import RPi.GPIO as GPIO, time, os 
log = open("/home/pi/reboot/logs/reboot.log","a") 
GPIO.setmode(GPIO.BCM) 
GPIO.setup(18, GPIO.OUT)
try: 
  while True: 
    if os.system("ping -c 1 google.com") != 0: 
      print('Ping failed. The router is being rebooted.', file = log) 
      GPIO.output(18,GPIO.HIGH) time.sleep(5) 
      GPIO.output(18,GPIO.LOW) 
      time.sleep(600) 
    else: 
      GPIO.output(18,GPIO.LOW) 
      time.sleep(5)

except KeyboardInterrupt: 
  print('Program quit.', file = log)
 
finally: 
  GPIO.cleanup()

Here is a picture of the Raspberry Pi and the SSR in the closet. I could technically control all four outputs on the SSR, but I am only using one at the moment. I had to change my Pi’s case some because it didn’t have access to the GPIO pins.

The cheapest way that I could find to do this when searching was around $100. From what I remember, the DirkCheapSSR cost me around $7 with the case.

Downtown Dallas Photo

For my birthday, I was given a DJI Phantom 3 Drone. It has a pretty great camera, and I have always loved skyline photos. I took this one right outside the back of my apartment, and I uploaded it to Google Photos. When I looked today, Google had done something pretty cool to it, and I thought that I would share it here.

The original is below. The red light that you see on the left side is from the LEDs that help you orient the direction of the drone while flying. I have turned these front ones off lately.