Digital Credit Cards

Posted by RedNERD in Tech News on July 16th, 2016 |  No Comments »

DIGITAL CREDIT CARD



WHAT IS IT?

The biggest question I get about the topic is… “WTF is that?” Well to make it simple, it is a single credit card like device that can store multiple cards on it at a time.



WHY WOULD I WANT ONE?

I found that one of the biggest problems with my wallet is that it has 20-25 cards at any given time. Now you might be asking, why would you have 25 credit cards… I do not. I have a couple of credit cards, a debit card, auto insurance card, AAA, health insurance card, a few gift cards, some rewards cards, license, etc. Before I knew it, my wallet is over stuffed and looks terrible no matter where I have it. When I wear a suit I resort taking most things out of the wallet to avoid it bulging out. However, I often find myself regretting not having the few cards I left behind. With the help of a digital credit card, I am able to carry a license, digital credit card and a backup card yet have ALL my cards on me.



WHO ARE THE MAJOR PLAYERS?

The field is fairly new for now. However, there are a few players that stand out. Coin 2.0 is the current market leader and Plastc which is the card that seems to have the best card, but has trouble finally getting it to market. Coin 2.0 has been available for some time now (well over a year) while Plastc keeps setting dates for release but keeps moving dates due to various issues within supply chain. Plastc says now that they plan to release it either August or September 2016 and I certainly hope they do – it seems like a worthy competitor. There are others but they’ve not made a splash large enough for you to care.



WHAT MAKES A GOOD CARD?

Well I would look for the following features in order to consider it a good digital card:

Wireless charging – preferably a non-proprietary standard

Touch screen – while buttons are ok, being able to swipe to select is premium

Battery life of at least two weeks – I would hate to have to think about recharging this thing any more than that.

Chip on card – many cards today have chips on them; this feature would be required to be fully compatible with most modern cards.

RFID – it would be nice to be able to use the card as your RFID entrance key as well

NFC – for proximity payments



WHAT DOES IT LOOK LIKE?

coin20 plastc



FINAL DECISION

While Coin 2.0 is nice and is available right now, the e-ink touchscreen on Plastc is making me hold off for now until I can see it in real life. I am a little put off by Plastc’s use of proprietary charging.



Silly Cats Gallery 1

Posted by RedNERD in Uncategorized on May 1st, 2016 |  No Comments »

I love cats. If you cant’ get enough cats either, check out these crazy silly felines.

Pick a power/presusre washer…

Posted by RedNERD in Uncategorized on April 29th, 2016 |  No Comments »

I was set on purchasing a pressure washer this year. When I buy tools, I never get the minimum of what I need. I get the best available in my price range.

What I was looking for:

  • at least 3200psi
  • at least 3 gallons per minute
  • reliable engine
  • triplex pump

 

Brands under consideration:

  • Husqvarna – Assembled here in USA (remember that no small engines are made in USA in years, but rest is USA assembly)
  • Generac – Assembled here in USA (remember that no small engines are made in USA in years, but rest is USA assembly)
  • Dewalt – is a rebranded Simpson, uses Honda engine

I love Honda engines, but the more I looked at reviews for the Dewalt units, the more I found unhappy customers for all different reasons which made me back off from the brand.

Husqvarna is my favorite small engine yard equipment manufacturer. However, I found their washers to be on clearance in Lowe’s, if you can find it. I could not find the model (3300). Lowe’s site advertised it for less than $200 – that would be a steal!

Generac, had great reviews on all sites I visited, their engines are made to their spec. There is no concern of low quality here as there is with some other brands. Yes I am looking at you Poulan Pro.

 

Pumps and Drives.

Most cheaper models come with direct drive instead of belt drive. However, unless you’re dropping at least $1100, forget about belt drive.

Pumps, there are Axial and Triplex pumps. Really, when you’re buying a pressure washer, the pump is your most important piece. Don’t get a cheap pump as once it fails it doesn’t matter how nice your engine is…

 

The model I finally decided on:

Generac 4200PSI 4GPM w/triplex pump.

It is much more machine than I NEED, however price is a consideration here:

The listing price for all this hardware is $899. I shopped around and found that with a little work, the best price would be from Lowe’s.

Why “with a little work”? Well, there are a few things to consider here: I asked Lowe’s to price match Amazon.com. They refused at first, but after a bit of encouragement, they agreed. After we came to terms of them matching the Amazon.com price (at the time $809). I asked them to apply a moving coupon (1o%). Save additional 8-12% by buying giftcards from raise.com or use your lowes card to get a 6 month financing

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Proper long term storage (over 30 days) of small engine equipment

Posted by RedNERD in Uncategorized on April 29th, 2016 |  No Comments »

Truefuel

I have a bit of gas powered equipment at the house.

  • Mower (Husqvarna)
  • Tractor (Husqvarna)
  • Trimmer (Husqvarna)
  • Blower (Husqvarna)
  • Power Washer (Generac)
  • Snow Blower (Husqvarna)

Most of this equipment has an inactive period during the year. Regular gas is all good and well but left in equipment for extended time could result in gumming up – even with fuel stabilizers.

I found my 2 cycle equipment using gas fairly slow so not finishing all the fuel before the season was over would happen often. I’ve read many bad stories of equipment no longer starting after being left alone for a while. When I was buying my Husqvarna Snow Blower, it came with a 5 year warranty if I properly took care of the engine. I asked for clarification as I read opposing opinions about what is worse for an engine, stale gas or no gas. They referred me to using ‘all-fuel’ of my choice for best results.

Once I switched my 2-cycle equipment to TruFuel it starts much easier, it runs smoother, love it. For 4 cycle equipment, I run the engines on normal gas, but at the end of the season, when I am ready to store it, I run it dry, fill it up with TruFuel and run it for additional 5 minutes before shutting it off for the season.

I now use TruFuel product exclusively as brands are concerned because of price vs performance (best prices are at either Amazon.com that will ship to your house or Lowe’s which normally gives you a good deal for buying more)

TruFuel comes in 50:1 premixed 2-cycle, 40:1 premixed 2-cycle and 4-cycle fuel. It contains no ethanol so no gumming of the engine and the 2-cycle fuel is pre-mixed and bound on molecular level with the oil – no separation, no need to shake the equipment to re-mix the gas prior to use.

LGT2654 Husqvarna leaking oil from engine – RESOLVED

Posted by RedNERD in Repair on April 27th, 2016 |  No Comments »

In late 2015 I purchased a 2008 (ish) Husqvarna LGT2654. I knew of an oil leak, but wanted a winter project and so I took it on.

Initial condition:

It starts and drives. Oil leak is not constant, at times it would not leak other times it would leak fairly fast. Tires would go flat in 24 hours due to cracking. One of the tires is beyond repair, but seller had an extra wheel to go with the tractor. The deck stabilizer bar was bent.

 

Original condition

 

When I got it home, I took off the stabilizer bar as it was just getting in the way – i was able to find an exact replacement on Amazon.com

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I had to right away pop off the wheel with the damaged tire and replace it with the wheel the seller provided.

The tractor’s general condition was fairly poor as it was kept outside by previous owner. I cleaned it out and gave it some polish so that it wouldn’t look so terrible.

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It was time to start the real work to determine the source of the leak. I started my research and shortly after found that Briggs and Stratton VTwin engines have two common reasons for oil leaks. If caught on time, it is a fairly easy fix. However, it seems most people don’t realize they have a problem until they ruin the engine.

The two most common leaks with these engines are: Head gasket and sump gasket.

However, if you choose to do this job, don’t cheap out and get the full gasket kit. I found mine on Amazon listed as Briggs and Stratton 694012 Engine Gasket Kit

All numbers, values and procedures on working with the Briggs and Stratton VTwin 26HP engine can be found in this manual sold on Amazon (or any other place of your choice)

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I replaced the first head gasket on the side of the engine that the leak was coming from, however, after pulling out the gasket I knew it was not going to be the cause of my issue as there was no tell-tale burn through the gasket that happens at times.

With the head shield removed, I could now see the problem. The sump gasket had an issue as I could see oil pump out of the engine in a small stream where sump meets the rest of the engine.

I took off the engine (held on by four bolts from the bottom) and drained oil. Took off the sump and there it was… my problem:

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You can see that pieces of gasket are missing and broken down. I scraped the old gasket off with a razor window scraper. While the manual calls for a plastic scraper, I found that plastic scraper broke because the gasket was cooked on. You must be extra careful with a razor because engine block is soft and you could damage it and cause additional leaks. In order to make sure I had a tight seal after using the razor, I added RTV high temp gasket maker on both sides of the gasket – while the manual does not call for this, I wanted to be extra sure 🙂

The fast-forward version of the video of the ordeal: Husqvarna LGT2654

This is a good opportunity to start taking care of that engine: I recommend AMSOIL Signature for all your engines. If you have a favorite oil already, use it. If you do not, I would like you to do your research on best oils and make your own choice.

ATM

My four top oils:

  • AMSOIL
  • Texas Refinery Corp
  • Mobil 1
  • Royal Purple

 

NOTE: Make sure the two dots on the gears match for timing. The reason I mention this is sometimes when you take the sump off, the gear could slide up and get out of sync.

IMG_5650

 

2010, 2011, 2012, 2013 Hyundai Tucson Limited – No Audio issue

Posted by RedNERD in Repair on September 4th, 2012 |  No Comments »

Not sure about you, but when i buy a car with all the bells and wistles i’m always thinking of all the things that could go wrong with it. So my wife and I bought a 2010 Hyundai Tucson Limited (leather, roof, nav, backup camera, etc). For a few years it was a great car.

Problem:
Today my wife was riding back from work when she noticed that all her audio is gone. While the screen is on, she can change the volume (visual), she can change the stations, she can push the buttons… no sound at all. Not the beeps from buttons, not the music from radio, not the GPS audio, NOTHING.

I searched up and down the internet running from one dead end to another. Some people even stated that their dealers made them change the entire stereo to get the audio back (not covered under warranty if your car is either more than 3 years old or more than 36,000 miles. I called the hyundai customer support. The agent was nice, but had little to say about what i needed to do other than go to the closest dealer ASAP. He also stated that if it was my stereo that was the issue, that I would not be covered as we now have 42,000 miles.

Solution: After searching all over my car for a loose connection that was suggested in other forums I noticed a very small button on the stereo (the type of button that if you are familiar with electronic devices is used to reset such a device). I had my car in second position, the unit screen was on with no audio as I pushed the button with a tip of a pen. The whole audio unit shut off except for the blue lights in the buttons. I paniced at first when the stereo didn’t come back on it’s own. Then I just pushed the stereo unit’s POWER BUTTON and the unit rebooted, right away all of my audio came back. No trip to the dealer, no replacing my head unit, etc etc.

I had a case open with hyundai about this, so I called them back and told them the solution to this problem (since they said they had nothing like it in their database). Though when I called back and told the new agent that I found the solution, he seemed rather dismissive. He said he was going to enter it into the system like I asked him to, but it felt like he couldn’t wait to hang up. So I decided why not just post the RHINOTECHIE blog for all to see for free.

EVGA FX5500 and DELL 8200 THAT DIDN’T TURN ON

Posted by RedNERD in Hardware on January 28th, 2009 |  No Comments »

dell_2

The older DELL Dimension 8200 with a orange light problem. So first check if the lights in the back of the computer light up at all. Those lights are there for diagnostic purposes! In this case none of the lights lit up.

Several possible suspects come up…

      • Motherboard
      • Memory

However, this was not the usual case…

After looking around and taking out one PCI card at a time the Video Card was the problem.

Let’s take a look at the pictures to figure out why…

After taking a closer look at the card, an electrolytic cap came to attention due to it’s blown top. Check out the details on the next three pictures to see what i’m talking about. The cap surface should be clean and smooth, if it has brown stuff oozing out of it then it’s most likely not good. However, please understand that the only way to really check the cap is by measuring it with a cap meter, but if the top is blow it’s a pretty safe assumption…

The value of the blown cap is defined using two numbers,

uF and v (Microfarad and Voltage)

Make sure that the new cap you place in it’s place:

      • HAS THE SAME Microfarad value!!!
      • Has same or HIGHER voltage (this value is sort-of an ‘UP TO’ value, so higher would be fine)
      • Size DOES matter here… it should be same OR LARGER size… it is used for heat dispersion

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Notice that the numbers are 1000 and 16v

So that means that our blown cap is:

      • 1000uF (Microfarad)
      • 16v

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I replaced the silver blown cap with the slightly larger green cap (with same value)

When you take out the old cap, you will notice that there is a circle that marks the spot where the cap was. Half of the circle is shaded and half of the circle is not, THIS IS VERY IMPORTANT! The shaded half is USUALLY the ‘Negative’ side, BUT in this case it’s the exact opposite, make sure to place the negative side of the cap into the correct half of the circle 🙂

You can use other caps on the board to reference the direction as ALL caps on the board will follow same direction…

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Here is the only tool needed for the job…

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If you have any questions, submit them to me at artem@rhinotechie.com

We’ve started working on http://www.IamMarcus.com

Posted by RedNERD in Our Customers on January 28th, 2009 |  No Comments »

Our Client Marcus Monteiro (Sax Musician) has requested a web-site!

We will be working on his site for the next few weeks. If you are looking to book a great Sax player, please visit http://www.IamMarcus.com to hear samples and get in contact with him!

He provides bands of all styles and sizes for any occasion!

Please check the schedule on the site to see him live!

DELL 5100/5150 [Replace Power Jack] Pictorial

Posted by RedNERD in Hardware on January 25th, 2009 |  1 Comment »

Several requests came in recently to show how to replace the Power Jack on the Dell 5150, several other models are close enough where you can follow the pictures that will be presented here.

I took the pics as I was putting the laptop together, so i’ll switch their order to show you how to take it apart. There are LOTS of screws and little pieces. IF YOU DO NOT FEEL COMFORTABLE WITH SOLDERING OR SMALL PARTS, PLEASE DO NOT ATTEMPT THIS.

What you will need for the job:

  • This job should take you anywhere between 30-90 minutes to complete, please do not hurry, take your time.
  • You will need a small Phillips Head Screwdriver. I used Craftsman Professional 1X4 (41528)
  • You will need a small Flat Head Screwdriver. I used Craftsman Professional 1/8 X 4  (41523)
  • You will need a 3/16″ driver (For the VGA connector pins) I used 1/4 Extension from Craftsman (43372)
  • You will need a GOOD soldering iron (At least 35 Watt, no more then 50 Watt) I used a Weller WP35 with a needle tip.
  • You will need a small roll of solder. I used Nippon America (60% rosin core) 0.8mm
  • You will need a solder sucker or a small roll of solder remover tape. I used Techspray PRO Wick (Width .044″(1.4mm)) 1802-5F

So, now that we got that out of the way…

Let’s get started…

Let’s Start by taking out the battery and place the screwdriver into the little crevice on the right side and pry off the cover that spans the front of the laptop including the power button… Once the cover starts coming off you can carefully pull it and it will come off. It is held to the computer by a few clip-in’s. Step one is complete 🙂

b1c1c2

Next we should take care of the keyboard! Let’s start by taking off the FOUR screws that hold the Keyboard down as shown in the pics below…

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The keyboard has several metal tabs that keep it in place at the bottom and a black ribbon cable that connects the keyboard to the motherboard.

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Now we will take off the scree to take it out of the way and out of path of damage 🙂

Take out the two screws from the back panel:

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Now Flip open up the screen. You will see the screen is held to the chassy by two metal brackets (one on each side) The brackets are attached to the chassy through two screws on each side.

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Now the only thing standing between you and taking the screen off is the ribbon cable connecting it to the motherboard. Please BE VERY CAREFUL! Pull off the sticky tape that holds the ribbon cable to the frame and gently pull the connector up for it to come off.

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VERY IMPORTANT: Now pull the screen up and place it in a SAFE location where nobody will step on it, sit on it or scratch it!

You should now have a screenless chassy in your posession. Let’s take out the extra’s starting with the battery and hard-drive. Try not to drop/shock the hard-drive as that may result in permanent data loss… Take off the RAM cover and pull out the chips…

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Undo the screw on the Wireless Card (C) cover, take the wireless card out by disconnecting the two antenna wires and sliding the two metal holders apart so that the card can come up and out of the mini-pci slot and disconnect the small wire from the modem card

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Take out the Power button control panel, it is held by two screws

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Next, let’s take out the metal retaining plate where the keyboard used to be. It’s only held by one screw, so should be easy…

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OK… most of the work is DONE… Just kidding…

While the laptop is facing up as in the picture above, you’ll see two small screws that partially hold the top cover to the bottom assy

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Let’s take out the DVD-ROM… Unscrew the screw shown here an pull out the DVD (some of these laptops also have a screw holding the DVD-ROM under the keyboard area. So double check. This particular machine did not have it, but I’m pretty sure I did have a screw hold the DVD-ROM under the keyboard on a different 5150…

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Time for the TOP cover to fly off…

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Alright… a few more screws out of the way…

Let’s flip the assembly and pull the top cover off. Please noticed that the TOP cover is connected to the motherboard by a small connector which is located right above the mousepad…

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Take out the graphic card, it’s mounted by two screws. Once the screws are out, pull it up by the white tab…

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Let’s take out the CPU, start by disconnecting the power for the fan and then unscrew the four silver heat sink mounting screws…

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Now there are a few heatsinks that require your attention…

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Take out the metal brackets for PCMCIA cards and DVD-ROM and the plastic bracket for battery…

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Once you took out the two screws holding this bracket you should be able to wiggle it out of the spot it is in. Don’t be rough with it, but it might take some playing around to get the metal holders out of the slots they are in.

Next let’s take off the PCMCIA slot and a supporting card…

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One more bracket left (plastic) that holds the battery… two screws like the previous brackets and then lift up 🙂  …

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We’re almost DONE! The motherboard is held to the plastic casing by the VGA adapter, you’ll need the 3/16″ to take that out…

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Disconnect the Audio Connector…

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So now that we have the laptop TOTALLY apart… the power adapter is a small metallic box with plastic input. Notice that solder around the pins of the connector could be cracked, if there is a crack-ring around the solder joint, this might just be your problem. However, the jack may also have damage on the inside and MAY need to be replaced. The jacks can be purchased for a rather cheap price on ebay… Expect to pay between $6-$10 (including shipping) DON’T PAY ANY MORE!!

There are four ground pins, one positive voltage and one detector pin. The detector pin is important!

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Congratulations… You’ve successfuly took apart your 5150…

Now just follow the directions in reverse order to put it back together!

Antivirus 2008/2009 IS A SCAM!!! HERE IS HOW TO FIX IT!

Posted by RedNERD in Windows XP on January 24th, 2009 |  No Comments »

antivirus-2009-website1

As so many of our customers have noticed, a product that calls itself Antivirus 2008 or Antivirus 2009 is not an Antivirus at all or in the words of Peter Griffin “it doesn’t make you breakfast at all… all it does is shoot you!”. As a matter for all intents and purposes this software disables many everyday functions of your computer and should be considered armed and dangerous…

The makers of this ROGUE software went so far as to inject code into web-sites you visit to make it look like that site recommends for you to register/pay for a copy of that software. A good example was http://www.google.com, it brought us to the google page with a warning from ‘Google’ that the copy of Antivirus 2009 was not registered and that we should do so as soon as possible.

thmb-google

While to a tech this looks funny, to a normal person that trusts that these words come from a respectable organization (Google) will go and pay the makers of Antivirus 2009 to further infect their computer.

The software protects itself well by making sure that you cannot browse the net for solutions by labeling the sites with solution as ‘Too Dangerous’ and not allowing you access.

The good news is that there is a solution! MalwareBytes software is able to clean Antivirus 2009 and loads of other threats.

vws4mo

You’ll most likely not be able to download MalwareBytes from the infected machine. As I mentioned previously, this software protects itself well. However you can download and burn the MalwareBytes onto a CD and use it to remove the parasite. Make sure to perform an Update prior to scanning, as you will need the latest definitions to fight this type of parasite.

If you need help removing Antivirus 2009 email me at artem@rhinotechie.com