Pssst, dude! Wanna some secondhand chips?

There are many wonders in electronics land. Even more await an engineer that stocks up at aliexpress to save a bit on his hobbies. Well, I needed a few RTC chips for some prototype hardware, so I picked DS1307. As usual, placed an order at aliexpress. once in a while shit happens .

No, this time they didn’t write ‘sex toy – 3$” on the customs declaration sticker, as they did on a parcel with a dozen of TRIACs a few weeks ago (Or, did I use TRIACs wrong my whole life! Should have asked them for instructions!)

Anyways this time I received some second-hand chips. Packed in a plastic tube, no flux whatsoever, but small solder blobbies are all over the pins. Without unpacking, I’ve made a few pics. Sorry for the quality, but I put my USB microscope somewhere far and my usual camera doesn’t handle focusing on something that close well.



Simple things that look complex: ping from android

Coding for a mobile platform has always been a frustrating experience ever since J2ME. Right now I really hope, that Jolla Mobile will succeed and roll their thingie to the market, since both iOS and android are smoking crap. But for now – I choose droid as a lesser evil.
So, a few days ago I needed to ping the internets from my app, to check if the connection is live. It’s been less than a week since a friend told me of all the ‘fun’ he had with SCNetworkCheckReachabilityByName on iOS for that purpose.


Beware: USB killer-hubs

A few days ago a friend told me he had a nasty crash. An externally-powered USB hub screwed up his motherboard on the laptop just after he plugged in the power brick. He even showed me that hub. A 10-port hub just like the one I got from china (DX or aliexpress – I do not recall). The only difference – he picked up his at a local shop for twice its actual price. So, once I got to my lab, I cracked mine open to have a look what the heck could deal such a damage.