Saturday, December 31, 2016

Adagio Teas - Spearmint

Characteristics

  • Nose: Unique spearmint, drastically different than the peppermint variety (8/10)
  • Brew: Medium Brown 
  • First Note: Mint forward with strong focus on the aromas (7/10)
  • Body: Flat mint flavor (7/10)
  • Finish: Smooth, with slight tingles from the mint, nothing like the peppermint, finishes with mostly aromas (7/10)

Brew

Volume tea: 10 heaping teaspoons
Water: 1200ml
Temp: 212*
Time: 5 Minutes



Verdict

Not a lot to say here, it is a very uniquely aromatic mint tea, but for my taste buds I much prefer the peppermint version. While I do wish there was enough in the sample bag to try a mix of spearmint and peppermint, I will not end up purchasing this tea again. 

Friday, December 30, 2016

Adagio Teas - Casablanca Twist

Characteristics

  • Nose: Light notes of mint cover up almost all aromas of tea, but you can tell it is not pure mint due to a more muted nose note. (8/10)
  • Brew: Dark Gold 
  • First Note: Direct mint forward coolness (8/10)
  • Body: Very moist but light tea taste, mint hides well in the body (7/10)
  • Finish: A mixture of tea and mint lingers on the tongue with an almost unnatural fight for both effervescent mint and clean pure soft green tea (6/10)

Brew

Volume tea: 5 heaping teaspoons
Water: 1200ml
Temp: 180*
Time: 2 Minutes



Verdict

I love mint teas, green teas and light delicate floral teas, but I remain indifferent on this one. Probably not a reorder. 

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Raspberry Pi SD Creation - Easy Peasy Raspberry Squeezy

Making a Raspberry Pi Bootable SD Card

On all my macs, /dev/disk2 is the built in SD card reader.


diskutil unmountDisk /dev/disk2
sudo dd bs=1m if=./retropie.img of=/dev/disk2
diskutil unmountDisk /dev/disk2

Insert your SD card into the Pi and enjoy, depending on the OS version it may expand the image to utilize the full SD card on the initial boot, some OS's don't do this.





Backing Raspberry Pi SD Card to disk image

diskutil unmountDisk /dev/disk2
sudo dd bs=1m if=/dev/disk2 of=~/RaspPiBackup.img
diskutil unmountDisk /dev/disk2



Things to consider, if you have a large SD card and the OS expanded to utilize all of the space on the card, your backup file will be the size of the card (I use a lot of 32GB cards, this can take a while). To check the status open up activity monitor -> Disk Tab, look to see if the DD process is still actively transferring data. 

Monday, December 26, 2016

Adagio Teas - Peppermint (Herbal)

Characteristics

  • Nose: Super warm refreshing peppermint (9/10)
  • Brew: Medium Brown 
  • First Note: Strait forward refreshing mint  (8/10)
  • Body: Quickly after the smooth taste of the mint fills the mouth the strong effervescent bitters of the peppermint excites the tongue   (9/10)
  • Finish: A refreshing pure peppermint aroma lingers while the effervescent action of the peppermint causes the mouth to water (9/10)

Brew

Volume tea: 8 heaping teaspoons
Water: 1000ml
Temp: 212*
Time: 5 Minutes




Verdict

I am no stranger to mint teas, one of my favorite evening beverages has always been a bag of mint tea, so it is without surprise that larger purer leaf options such as this one delight. The crisp pure peppermint both excites the nose, the mouth and the lungs. It begins crisp and finishes clean and moist. This will be a large reorder. I am curious to try a second brew as well as seeing how the peppermint compares to the spearmint and how I might be able to combine them. 

Saturday, December 24, 2016

eero - WiFi with a brain

TL;DR Summary:

If you need a new router or an upgrade - Buy The Eeros!

They are fast, easy to setup, and very stable. You can buy one and add an additional unit at any time in the future if you need to increase your coverage. The mobile app is clean, simple and contains all the features the average user needs. The has done a fantastic job rolling out new features and performance improvements via the in app upgrade process. A quick summary of features: High Speed WiFi, Automatic WiFi Meshing, Primary and Guest Network, Device Profiles (pause wifi for the kids easily) and high level network monitoring all via their beautiful app.

The complete review

Good news - 1gbps fiber has been installed to my home.
Bad news - my favorite access point / router combination couldn't keep up.
Worse news - my favorite access point / router was just discontinued - meaning no more security patches. That is right folks, Apple has decided to end of life the Airport Extreme series.

With a large white obelisk in hand I was forced to search for a new access point route to fill my house with WiFi.

  • Must be able to sustain >500mbps routed traffic.
  • Must be be the core product of the producing company.
    • Frequently companies release a product to capture a given market segment and fail to provide software updates, as this product will be the perimeter and core of my network, I would like more than one or two software updates for it. 
  • It must be able to support WiFi mesh, I have a disconnected garage that I use for an electronics workshop and Gym(laundry drying facility), I need the ability to provide fast enough WiFi to download files and watch HD movies. 
  • It should not require any of my day job skills to setup. I work in technology during the day, I do not want to play system integrator when I get home. 
If we strike the last bullet point (easy to setup/manage) there are a lot of consumer and small business devices on the market that are up to the challenge, but if we include the last bullet point there are only two - eero and Google's. Unfortunately Google has a bad history of killing consumer hardware with little or no warning as such I cannot consider a device from Google. My option than are try these new eero access points or look at some of the SMB products. I am quite glad I was able to give these eeros a shot. 

The eeros:



My Layout:


A few items:

  • Garage is about 20ft from the house.
  • The house was built in the 1930s, as such it has thick plaster walls.
  • The house is a traditional cottage design, which has many small rooms and a maze of walls. It was built way before the concept of large open space planning was a trend. 
  • The media PC in the front of the house is used to stream HD movies. 
  • The XBox one is used to stream HD movies. 
  • The Camera is a Nest Outdoor Camera
  • The primary eero is located where the old WiFi Router used to be, in a closet with all my server gear and fiber router. 
  • The secondary eero is located in the back bedroom. 
  • I conducted the following test matrix:
    • Apple Airport Extreme located where Primary eero is marked
    • One eero installed (in primary location)
    • Two eeros installed (as shown)
    • The tests were conducted from:
      • Wired directly into the primary router (modem, eero, and Airport Extreme)
      • Desk near primary eero
      • Sofa in the top leftmost corner of the house
      • Middle of Garage
      • All tests were conducted on 1.X eero software, I need to retest with new 2.x firmware.
      • All tests were run three times, against three unique speed test servers, whole number averages were taken. 

Testing by the numbers:
(1.X) denotes version 1.X firmware
(2.X) denotes version 2.X firmware


(Click to Enlarge)

Interesting Test Points:

  • A single eero provides faster WiFi than an Apple Airport Extreme which is 6x the size, with the exception to the garage. A single eero failed to provide a stable/usable connection to the garage. 
  • Adding a second eero to the network slows down the primary network slightly (I assume this is because of auto balancing power levels and an increase to the noise baseline in the house due to more radios in use. Not surprising. 
  • The eero backhaul works amazingly well, they actually seem to do the right thing 90% of the time. 
  • Neither the Airport Extreme nore the eero could NAT traffic fast enough to saturate my link. 
  • It should be noted the tests with the 2.1 firmware and 1.X firmware were NOT under identical test conditions. There are two additional devices on the network (camera) and a steam link (near HTPC), these devices both utilize network time and add radio noise. 

What I Love:


  • Application is beautiful, stable and a good balance of features.
  • The packaging is very easy to open, I really love the frustration free packaging.
  • The units are nice, small and simple. The power supplies are small and self contained, no sizely middle of the cord power brick here. 
  • My iPhone's WiFi calling performs well and will roam from access point to access point without dropping the call (as of 2.X firmware, did not work well under the old 1.X firmware). This is something even the newest, more expensive enterprise gear struggles with (I'm looking at you Meraki...).  

What I like:

  • The individual units perform at or above similarly priced consumer devices on the market (linksys, netgear, Apple Airport Extreme (current)). 
  • Automatic mesh and network extension actually works.
  • Ability to push guest network to guest users via mobile app (no more post-it note on fridge).
  • (Updated in 2.0 firmware) - Added the ability to software turn off lights on units. 
  • (Updated in 2.0 firmware) - Increase performance of units
  • (Updated in 2.1.0) - Ability to see which access point a device is connected to. 

Problems:

  • The built in speed test feature that runs daily is highly inaccurate and provides inconsistent performance results.



  • Occasionally some devices associate with the wrong AP for no apparent reason (xbox in garage frequently connects to the network on the Primary eero and not the Secondary eero).


Feature requests:

  • Fixed/Added in version 2.0 firmware Ability to disable an access point's light (ie if one exists in a bedroom) when in normal operation.
    • In contrast to this, the network ports do not contain status lights, during installation it was uncertain if they received link state or not; after thinking about the light pollution problem, I am OK with these not existing on the ports.
  • Alert for a new device/host joining network.
    • Bonus Feature enable blocking until Authorized in App (Push) 
  • Provide DNS server functionality.
  • Fixed/Added in version 2.1 Ability to see which devices are connected to which access point.
  • Ability to pin a device to a specific access point - I have a device that is located all the way at the edge of my Wifi coverage yet it still sometimes seems to connect to the center/primary access point instead of the mesh node that is 60% closer to it. 
  • Ability to pin certain devices to a frequency. My outside surveillance cameras do not need 5.8ghz, but I find they are constantly switching between 2.4 and 5.8 - when this happens the 5.8 is too weak to reliably broadcast video, hiccups and fails back over to 2.4. During this time the video feed is broken and the auto quality adjustment goes wonky(technical term). To be honest this may be a stupid request, I haven't dug into the 802.11 spec in a long time and this may not be possible while adhering to the IEEE WiFi spec. 
  • Monitor traffic usage of devices / profiles - graph device data using historically values pushed to cloud.
    • Possibly alert to new trends (Did my IoT device suddenly start using 500% more data, maybe it has made friends with a botnet). 
  • Temporary credentials for Guest network
    • I like to use the guest network for my IoT devices; if they become an IoS device this will prevent them from being able to attack my internal resources, however I dislike having to reprogram them if I want to rotate the network key. It would be great to be able to have a guest network but also grant a temp key to ephemeral users (IE dog sitter). 
  • Fix U-Turn/Hairpin routing - If a device is on the private network with a static DHCP reservation and a forwarded port I should be able to access it from inside the network via the external IP/Port of the eero that is associated to it. I like to DNS my hosts ie: quake2.warrenahner.com -> Static External IP

Oddities:


When first setting up my eeros I noticed there were a bunch of hidden SSIDs related to their MAC address. At first I thought I was onto a security flaw, but after much poking around and contacting their engineering team my query was laid to rest. To this date I have yet to find a security flaw in their application, authentication or features - well done eero!

Purchasing:

If you are lucky, they will be in stock at Amazon - I am not the first person to discover how awesome these things are and as such they have gone in and out of stock during this holiday season. Which is great news because that means eero is here to stay!

Friday, December 23, 2016

Adagio Teas - Jasmine Silver Needle

Characteristics

  • Nose: fresh florals, contemporary jasmine  (8/10)
  • Brew: Light Golden 
  • First Note: moist and luscious jasmine (8/10)
  • Body: Thin and mild moisture, full palate, jasmine covers the forward senses while the tea goes deep  (9/10)
  • Finish: Aromas of the jasmine are quick to fill your mouth after you swallow, with a very very slight dry finish (8/10)

Brew

Volume tea: 8 heaping teaspoons
Water: 1000ml
Temp: 180*
Time: 3 Minutes




Verdict

This tea is very mild, it does not try to present itself as a center of attention in non-jasmine form, but the jasmine version has a much more bold over all flavor, thanks in part to the aromas from the Jasmine. Unlike the the non-jasmine version, which I would not casually sip, this version I could see fitting into a nice Saturday afternoon. If I order more of this tea, I might want to try an even shorter brew time than 3 minutes to reduce the finishing tannins.

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Adagio Teas - Ooooh Darjeeling

Characteristics

  • Nose: Tea Forward Aromas, light floral / honey notes (8/10)
  • Brew: Light Brown - Dark Gold
  • First Note: Forward full body classic tea taste, dry notes enter very quickly (7/10)
  • Body: Very wide dry taste, slight bitterness on edges of the sip - esp when note super hot (6/10)
  • Finish: Very pronounced dry finish, lingering bitter note (5/10)


Brew

Volume tea: 8 heaping teaspoons
Water: 1000ml
Temp: 212*
Time: 3 Minutes

Verdict

Not a lot to say about this tea, with the exception of the nose,  it reminds me of cheap bagged tea. Would not purchase again. 



Adagio Teas - Earl Grey Lavender

Characteristics

  • Nose: Light tea, strong cream, medium orange, strong vanilla (8/10)
  • Brew: Dark Brown
  • First Note: creamy vanilla, faint notes of tea, forward citrus (7/10)
  • Body: Smooth taste of black tea, vanilla, cream and soothing hints of bergamot (8/10)
  • Finish: Black tea and bergamot linger, minutes later the taste of tea and aromas of vanilla continue to saturate your senses (9/10)


Brew

Volume tea: 4 teaspoons
Water: 1000ml
Temp: 212*
Time: 3 Minutes

Verdict

A very complex tea, which has a lot going on, not 100% sure how I feel about it. It certainly delighted on the first and last sip; but it's complex and rich flavors outside of the tea itself might make this a difficult to live with on a daily basis tea. It might serve one best to keep this as a specialty tea to serve to those with taste buds not attuned to the simple joys of a plain tea (ie cream and sugar people). I could not see consuming this a morning or afternoon cup; best served as an after meal tea.





Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Adagio Teas - Yunnan Gold

Characteristics

  • Nose: Medium Tea Aromas (10/10)
  • Brew: Medium Brown
  • First Note: Moist refreshing clean tea (9/10)
  • Body: Exceptionally smooth flavor throughout the sip (9/10)
  • Finish: Very clean finish, pure to tea taste, no dry bite (9/10)

Brew

Volume tea: 5 heaping teaspoons
Water: 1200ml
Temp: 212*
Time: 3 Minutes

Verdict

This is by far one of my favorite black teas to date. It has a smooth aroma and flavor note consistent throughout the entire sip. It was described by another person as tasting like a nice milk tea minus the sugar and cream - for what it's worth. The only downside is the tea it requires a lot of tea (volume) to hit the right mass for a brew as the leafs are quite large. I used the entire sample pack for this pot.

This tea was so good I attempted a second brew with the same time, just reducing water volume to 1000ml and got a fantastic second pot as well. 



Adagio Teas - Earl Grey Bravo

Characteristics

  • Nose: Medium Tea, Strong Bergamot, faint citrus notes (10/10)
  • Brew: Dark Brown
  • First Note: Strong Tea, Light Bergamot note (9/10)
  • Body: Lots of flavor both from tea and Bergamot (8/10)
  • Finish: Slightly dry finish, lingering Bergamot aromatics (8/10)

Brew
Volume tea: 5 heaping teaspoons
Water: 1200ml
Temp: 212*
Time: 3 Minutes

Verdict

So far this is one of my favorite Earl Grey Teas, the orange is super subtle and the bergamot is not overpowering, but still finishes with powerful aromatic notes. This will probably end up in my permanent line up for breakfast teas. It has just enough boldness to wake up the senses without offending.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Adagio Teas - Silver Needle

Characteristics

  • Nose: Almost no nose, steam and a faint trail of honey (7/10)
  • Brew: Light Golden 
  • First Note: Wet and Light (7/10)
  • Body: Thin and mild moisture, deep palate (7/10)
  • Finish: wet dryness, no lingering flavor but causes palate to moisten after the swallow  (8/10)

Brew

Volume tea: 8 heaping teaspoons
Water: 1000ml
Temp: 180*
Time: 3 Minutes




Verdict

This tea is very mild, it does not try to present itself as a center of attention. It would make a great cup of tea for with a meal, it refreshes the palate and causes you to salivate when swallowed. It is like a good acidic wine with a heavy meal, it cuts away all the lingering flavors so you can enjoy the next bite. I might try a longer steep time to see if it opens up any additional flavors on the second brew. This tea is very lovely, outside of being a nice compliment to a meal, I am not sure it is a tea I would sit and sip. 

Saturday, December 17, 2016

Adagio Teas - Irish Breakfast

Characteristics

  • Nose: Sharp-Hearty "tea" scent with a hint of honey notes (7/10)
  • Brew: Dark Brown
  • First Note: Dry, Powdery, Strong (6/10)
  • Body: Dry, Sharp, Forward (6/10)
  • Finish: Powdery dryness lingers  (6/10)

Brew

Volume tea: 4 teaspoons
Water: 1200ml
Temp: 212*
Time: 3 Minutes



Verdict

This tea is what most people think of as a black tea, it has a strong body that is bold from first sip all the way through to the finish minutes after sipping it. I might try to make it again with a shorter steep time of only 2 minutes for the first brew. I made a second brew using the same volumes and time and the tea opened up quite a bit more, the taste became more smooth and presented a much more wide flavor. This is the type of strong forward notes that most think of with bagged english breakfast that lends many people to adding things like honey or milk to their tea. Additionally when I brewed the first pot I used the basket cycle mechanism to increase the circulation of the water. I did this since it was a very large brew, this may have added to over extraction as well.

Friday, December 16, 2016

Whisk(e)y vs. Tea

An experiment in pharmacokinetics

For much of my life I have been a coffee drinker and will continue to be, however I have decided to expand my horizons to other brewed beverages. I have recently decided to get into making tea my beverage of choice for sipping throughout the day and like everything in my life I have taken a very heavy handed analytical approach to what most would consider a delicate topic. 

Most of you know I am fascinated with data, I am always trying the latest health tracking technology (BP reading, HR, galvanic skin response, etc...) and always try to collect as many data points as possible. The data will set you free. Being almost a month into working from home on my startup, my days are much more structured so minor variations in substances become much more obvious. I have noticed that as I increase my caffeine (coffee) intake throughout the day my likelihood to be agitated increases throughout the day. Is baby tired? Am I a closet morning person? Nope, it appears to be directly tied to volume of coffee not time of day. Damn it, I love this black stuff. 

In doing research on the topic of anxiety and caffeine I discovered some interesting reading material around some of the secondary effects of tea, that lies in the pharmacokinetics of theophylline and theobromine (typically found in cocoa and chocolate). When they are consumed in measurable quantity the typical stress response the body relies on for safety is minorly suppressed. So by consuming these wonderful chemicals at the same time as caffeine it decreases the likelihood for caffeine to increase the stress response. Much of this research was highlighted to me by NYT bestselling author and human guinea pig Tim Ferris. 

Bringing it home. After three weeks of cycling my caffeine intake between that of coffee and that of tea I have not only soft data (how I feel/act) but hard data (blood pressure / resting HR) to support the consumption of tea instead of coffee reduces my overall late day stress levels dramatically. 

Now that I have decided to make tea part of my daily routine for some of the health benefits and emotional benefits I have noted above time to go typical Warren style and over do it in my quest to find the perfect cup. When I first started on this data collection journey I did it the only way I knew how, gas kettle on the stove, wait for the whistle, plump a bag into a cup, eventually remove the bag. Obviously for the tea snobs this is exceptionally incorrect for many reasons: most teas don't brew at 212*, tea in bags is crap tea, bags don't extract properly, some bags such as pyramids are made from plastic and as such contain chemicals that leech into the tea, the brew time must be controlled, etc, etc, etc... 

So why the title? 

whiskey:wine :: coffee:tea

Tea is interesting, because all teas come from the exact same plant, where they differ is how they were grown, when they were picked, how they were processed, did it involve fermenting, did it involve enhancing or preventing oxidation, etc... etc... and it dawned on me that tea is much more like wine. It all comes from the same grapes, but location makes the bridal and processing determines if you have a soft Malbec, a bold Cabernet, or a sweet and thick tawny port. I have spent most of my adult life chasing after the perfect cup of coffee and while there are huge variations in it's taste and how you consume it, it lends itself to less versatility in pure form, much in the same way whiskey does. You have Scotches, Rye, Bourbons, and they can be combined with other substances to make some pretty tasty drinks, it is just not as versatile in when it can/should be consumed in raw form. For those wondering about my perfect coffee; Sightglass central american beans + a bonavita and white meleta #4 filters. 

How I am proceeding

After much research I decided on purchasing a Breville electric tea kettle, it not only offers digital temperature control, but also manages the brew time and offers a keep warm/holding function. Most will balk at the $200 price point, but by the time you consider $80 for a good variable electric kettle, $40 for a good extractor and the mental cost of babysitting a brewing pot to prevent over extraction and excretion of tannins in the brew, the premium for the kettle is well worth it (and less clutter). Combined with all glass and stainless steel construction and Breville's elegant design and build quality (many Amazon reviewers speak of multiple uses a day for 5+ years) it seemed like a no brainer. Let me tell you, moving to quality loose leaf tea and proper brewing has changed my mind about what a cup of tea should taste like. 

For those who wonder what the full process looks like in high speed:



My first pass at tea sampling resulted in some Rishi teas from Amazon, most of which have been fantastic but I am hoping to expand into a larger sample size soon, as such this is the current order on deck to me brewed and tasted:



Links

* denotes teas with other herbs and spices which might not be viewed in favorable light to tea elites. 



Adagio Teas - Jade Oolong

Characteristics

  • Nose: Light floral (10/10)
  • Brew: Golden 
  • First Note: Light, Wet, Fresh (9/10)
  • Body: Light and very mildly sweet (8/10)
  • Finish: Moist with a slightly dry finish, aromatics linger. (7/10)

Brew

Volume tea: 4 heaping teaspoons
Water: 500ml
Temp: 180*
Time: 4 Minutes

Verdict

A very nice light sipping tea, not strong enough in flavor for my muted taste buds in the mornings, but its refreshing sweetness and aromatics would make this a nice evening or late afternoon sipping tea. This is definitely one I will probably keep on hand. Has a very natural honey like edge note. I might try brewing it again for 3 Minutes instead of 4 to reduce the dry finish a little bit as it is so light and moist on the onset. I hope that a reduced brew time does not lessen the body as it is already very light and delicate.

Link

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

HowTo: Test Cables/Chargers

Based on a few questions around my last post, the following is the prescribed methods used to test the speed of different chargers and cables.

  • The software used is called Ampere, free from the Google Play store. 
  • The phone was discharged to 20% each time, using youtube.
  • If a charger or battery pack had two ports I tested it once with no second device and then a second time by plugging in a discharged battery pack into the second port on the highest amp rated cable I could find from my cable test.
  • Each cable and charger was tested with each cable to assure there were no outliers from incompatibility between the charger and cable. To my surprise there was only one deviation to the data related to the Apple 10w iPad charger. 
    • The Apple 10w iPad charger only would provide 500mA to any microUSB device or cable plugged in. The smaller Apple iPhone charger (rated 1amp) would consistently provide 1500mA. I am left to speculate that the iPad charger defaults to a 'safe' low power mode to protect the device if it can't negotiate properly with an MFi (Made For i(Phone/Pad/Pod) device, probably to prevent damage to iDevices that are being charged with a defective or non-Apple certified cable. 
  • Each test was run twice using a Nexus 5 and a Samsung Edge (not the Samsung Hand Grenade Note 7
  • If you have devices that are Qualcomm Quick Charge 2.0/3.0 compatible you may see different speeds based on the negotiated rapid charge technology, this feature was not test. Some of the batteries and chargers supported this mode. 
  • I would love to see someone duplicate this experiment with a USB-C compatible phone. 
  • There is no app for iPhone/iPad that shows this data, so conclude the best cable it was based on elapsed controlled charging while in airplane mode, discharged to 20% and recharged to 80%. The phone used was a iPhone 6. Lightning cables were also ranked based on overall feel, as aesthetics for iPhone users is typically higher (don't worry this ended up not biasing the results at all, as the cables that scored highest on feel also performed the best). 

Apple iPad charger would only negotiate power at 500mA to non iDevices


AUKEY 16000mAh battery pack charging both a Nexus 5 and a Xpower battery pack.

Monday, October 17, 2016

USB charger & cable tests

I just returned from a month in Asia with a few fellow technologist friends and one trend was common between the four of us, we all use our devices heavily. Our mobile phones are our navigation, our subway time tables, our cameras, our translators and most importantly our communication channels. So having a device that isn't readily charged presents a huge issue not only when traveling but when domestically living as well.

Before the trip I purchased some new cables from an online vendor, packed a few of my favorite trusted OEM chargers and set off for my trip. After a few days in Asia a few of us started having issues, we were struggling to keep our devices readily charged, maybe it was the 220 vs 110, maybe it was the volume of use; was it the quantity of use, was it the chargers, was it the cables?

When I returned home I decided to root cause the problems we had, in short it turned out to be the cables. The "high quality" cables we had purchased from Amazon were not living up to their claims.

In an effort to not duplicate this problem ever again I set-out to find the best cables and the best and most compact chargers to include in my travel bag.

For those who don't care here are the cables and chargers I recommend, later on in the post I will include the testing results of the different cables and chargers.

Recommended MicroUSB Cables

- Anker PowerLine Micro USB 3ft
- Anker PowerLine Micro USB 1ft

Recommended iPhone/iPad

- Anker PowerLine Lightning Cable - MFi Certified 6ft
- Anker PowerLine Lightning Cable - MFi Certified 3ft
- Anker PowerLine Lightning Cable - MFi Certified 1ft

Recommended Charger

- AUKEY 12W Dual Port Home Travel US

Recommended Battery

- AUKEY 16000mAh Dual USB Qualcomm Quick Charge 2.0 (Owned)
- AUKEY 30000mAh Dual USB Qualcomm Quick Charge 3.0 (with USB-C in/out)

Travel Case for Cables/Chargers/Batteries

Good Value/Moderate Results Cables:

Micro USB Cable, Rankie 3-Pack 3ft Premium Micro USB

NOT Recommended Cables:

Cablex 2Pack 6FT 2 in 1 Lightning and Micro USB Cable Nylon Braided


In the weeds...

I tested all types of chargers, OEM (Apple, Samsung, etc...) and various after market chargers. One theme was constant, unless the charger was a no-name Chinese knockoff of a real high end unit (I'm looking at you fake Apple chargers) the majority of the chargers performed at or above their rated performance. So why did I recommend one after market charger? Simple, I ran this experiment to build the perfect travel pack, the AUKEY Dual port charger provides not only top notch charging performance but it also has fordable prongs and packs extremely small while still providing two ports. It is hands down my favorite charger I have ever used, I am actually planning to replace all my OEM chargers with them as they are so brilliant.

Back to the topic at hand, why were some cables so good while others were so bad? Simple, you get what you pay for. You can put lipstick on a pig, but at the end of the day it is still a pig. The Cablex two in one cables are a perfect example of this, they look fantastic when you open them up and see the beautiful nylon braiding, but if you cut one open you will find super super tiny wires, so small in fact I couldn't find a wire stripper small enough to strip the wires. You are basically getting a lot of cheap plastic insulation and fancy nylon braiding over top of the smallest wires they could find. 

You get what you pay for, the Anker cables are significantly more expensive than other cables but their 3ft cable is nearly twice the thickness as their 1ft cable, and about 3 times thicker than the Rankie. Larger wire = less resistance over distance. When you are dealing with small DC voltages and currents, every AWG counts.

Cable Results (2000mA power supply):


Some of the items tested:



Tiny insides of the crappy braided cable:


AUKEY Charger:

My perfect travel kit:


War Pi 2.1

After a lot of use of wigle.net on a dedicated android phone I decided to extend my wifi discovery adventures (known as War Driving) to include a higher power rig with more radios and better antennas for greater network coverage.

This was built modeled after the work of Scott Christie's SANS white paper and TeamBSF's War Pi 2.0:

Hardware


I recommend starting with the two guides listed above; you might run into some of the same problems I ran into, if so below are few scratch pad notes I made to resolve the issues. 


The Wireshark MAC Manufacture list link needs to be updated to:


SystemD is your enemy, GPSD needs a SystemD script to start and to configure systemd's systemctl to start and enable the service:

Adding the contents of /lib/systemd/system/gpsd.socket[Unit]Description=GPS (Global Positioning System) Daemon Sockets[Socket]ListenStream=/var/run/gpsd.sockListenStream=[::1]:2947ListenStream=0.0.0.0:2947SocketMode=0600[Install]WantedBy=sockets.target

Kismet config now lives in:

/etc/kismet/kismet.conf

Make sure to read the docs on how to configure your Kismet appropriately, channellist behavior is now different than some of the older tutorials:


The wpa_supplicant is your enemy and disabling it is a dark art, all of these steps need to be taken:

The scripts responsible for configuring wireless network interfaces at boot are located in
  /etc/network/{if-pre-up.d,ip-up.d,if-down.d,if-post-down.d}
Each of these directories contains a wpasupplicant file, which is just a symbolic link to /etc/wpasupplicant/ifupdown.sh, a script that states, in its header:
  #####################################################################
  ## Purpose
  # This file is executed by ifupdown in pre-up, post-up, pre-down and
  # post-down phases of network interface configuration. It allows
  # ifup(8), and ifdown(8) to manage wpa_supplicant(8) and wpa_cli(8)
  # processes running in daemon mode.
  #
  # /etc/wpa_supplicant/functions.sh is sourced by this file.
There is no reference to wpa_supplicant per se in this file, but the reference is in functions.sh, the file sourced by wpasupplicant. It contains the following lines:
  WPA_SUP_BIN="/sbin/wpa_supplicant"
  ....
  start-stop-daemon --start --oknodo $DAEMON_VERBOSITY \
  --name $WPA_SUP_PNAME --startas $WPA_SUP_BIN --pidfile $WPA_SUP_PIDFILE \
   -- $WPA_SUP_OPTIONS $WPA_SUP_CONF
  ....
  start-stop-daemon --stop --oknodo $DAEMON_VERBOSITY \
  --exec $WPA_SUP_BIN --pidfile $WPA_SUP_PIDFILE
These are the two calls you wish to modify.

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Car Washing Done Right

I recently was advised of a new product by a professional detailer of exotic cars. When he heard of my struggle with hard water and my love for black cars he immediately lit up. No matter how fast I attempt to dry my cars, the mineral deposits from our city's hard water leave small white marks all over the paint. In California we have the option of cheap hand carwashes at numerous local vendors, but at the end of the day if you want a job done right, you have to do it yourself.

He advised me to give his favorite wash product a try, it is called Optimum No Rinse Wash & Shine...No rinse really? Just from the name I felt it was some type of hippy propaganda, man was I wrong.

How To Use:
You add 1 ounce of no rinse wash in a bucket with 2 gallons of water. Use a microfiber sponge to suck up the wash solution and apply it to 1 panel of the car. You want to wash one small area at a time because you dry it right away, no rinsing. Once you have 'washed' the desired area with the solution take your waffle microfiber drying cloth and make 1 pass, drying about 80% of the moisture off. Take a second fully dry microfiber cloth and wipe off the remaining moisture off of the panel, make sure not to 'over dry' an area. You should never run a dry towel over a dry surface.
That is it.

I was able to wash my black Mercedes Benz sedan in about 20 minutes on my first attempt and it looks amazing.

If you want to build a kit this is what you need (All directly linked to Amazon as it was the cheapest place to purchase) :