Aug 14

ATEM Mini – Secrets and opportunites?

The ATEM Mini is an awesome HDMI Switcher from Blackmagic Desgn. With 4 HDMI Inputs, one HDMI Output, and one ‘WebCam’ USB output it offers great value for money. It is widely used by video bloggers and YouTubers for quickly changing camera angles and views, and is also a fantastic addittion to any livestream setup for places of worship, gigs and gamers. But what lies inside – does it hold any secrets? My teardown reveals some interesting facts. Read on…

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Dec 02

Allen & Heath ZED 24 Repair Part 3 : Stereo Channel Card

Part three of a series of videos looking at the repair of an Allen & Heath ZED 24 Audio Mixer.

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Dec 01

Allen & Heath ZED 24 Repair, Part 2

Here is Part 2 of a series looking at the teardown and repair of an Allen & Heath ZED 24 Audio Mixing desk.

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Nov 28

Allen & Heath ZED 24 Teardown and repair

Here’s Part 1 of a series of videos I’m doing on repairing an Allen & Heath ZED 24 audio mixing desk.

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Feb 24

Building Yocto Linux for Edison

The Intel Edison is a tiny embedded micro that has 4GB Flash and 1GB Ram. It runs Linux, and is ideal for embedding as an application platform into all kinds of devices, but especially for IoT and wearables. I am currently working on some new products for a major client of mine based around Edison, and I’m loving the power and flexibility it brings. However the current BSP provided by Intel is broken. Here’s how to fix it.

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May 20

Repairing PCBs with bodge wires.

I received six PCBs from a contract manufacturer, but due to a glitch in the manufacturing plots two traces were missing from the boards. To get the boards working I need to add two bodge wires to each board. This video shows the process of me repairing the board from start to finish.


Feb 03

Calculator in Apple’s OS X El Capitan cannot perform basic maths!

I have discovered that the Calculator app that ships with OS X El Capitan cannot do some pretty basic programmer’s maths. Being able to add and subtract in Base 10 (decimal) and Base 16 (Hexadecimal) is a pretty basic requirement of any programmer’s calculator. Developers use these number systems all day long, and the Calculator App in Mavericks does claim to be able to. Except it can’t do the most basic subtraction.

Lets start with a pretty basic example in decimal. Open the calculator app and make sure it’s in “basic” mode. (CMD+1). The try this sum:
0 – 5 = ? the answer is -5, and the calculator gets this one right!

Screen Shot 2016-02-03 at 10.29.36

Now, with the answer still showing press CMD+3 to take it to programmer’s mode. You should see the display change to 0xFFFFFFFFFFFB – which is correct – that’s how you show -5 in 64-Bit Hexadecimal. Good so far! (click any image for a full view)

Screen Shot 2016-02-03 at 10.32.49

OK, so now hit the AC button to clear everything and we’ll try again, this time starting in Programmer’s mode.

Enter the same sum again 0 – 5 = and what answer do you get? You will get 0x7FFFFFFFFFFF – which is totally wrong. It’s not even one of those “oh I see what it did” type of wrongs, it’s just plain old wrong.

Screen Shot 2016-02-03 at 10.36.02

And just for fun, the same thing in Windows 10’s new calculator app..
Oh look, it gets it right!

Screenshot 2016-02-03 10.38.59

For the above tests, the most recent publicly available released version of OS X El Capitan 10.11.3 was used.

Jan 05

2016: An interesting year.

However you look at it, 2016 will be an interesting year.  It’s one that won’t be repeated for another 16 years, and then another 8, then another 4, then another 2, then the following year, then the year after that, and then not for another 1024 years.
What I’m talking about is the year 2016 when represented in binary digits is 11111100000 – an unbroken string of 1’s followed by an unbroken string of 0’s. The only other years in the next millennium, and beyond, that display this pattern will be:

2016 - 11111100000
2032 - 11111110000
2040 - 11111111000
2044 - 11111111100
2046 - 11111111110
2047 - 11111111111
2048 - 100000000000
3072 - 110000000000


For anyone who works with electronics or embedded computing, binary is just another number system that we use on a daily basis, so these patterns are interesting to us. For everyone else, well, we probably just look a bit nerdy.

Like I always say: There are 10 types of people in the world. Those that understand binary, and those that don’t. Which one are you?

May 20

Another exploding iPhone battery

I’ve posted before about how an iPhone in my pocket one day burst open when the battery inside it exploded. Now another iPhone, sitting on a shelf, has done the same thing.

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