Decluttering the House

For the new year, I’ve been on a mission to declutter the house and found an old hard drive from 1995 in box of old computer parts. Curious to see if it contained anything fun from the ’90s, I plugged the hard drive in a IDE enclosure and gave it a go.

Unfortunately, the hard drive started making cranking noises and failed to install. Since the drive is failing, I figure I’d open it up and see how it works before tossing it in the trash.


After opening the drive. the hard drive installed correctly and the data was accessible.


I was hoping to find old AOL emails and pictures from my teenage years, but alas, the drive was wiped.

Oh well. At least I got it to work 🙂

Toyota Prius 12V Auxiliary Battery Diagnosis and Replacement (Gen II: 2004-2009)

Turned on my car one day and saw this: “Caution – The Transmission P lock mechanism is abnormal. Park your car at a flat place, and apply the parking brake completely.”

I’m thinking: “It looks pretty flat to me, buddy.”

The 12V battery (not HV battery) is failing. Here’s how to diagnose the problem and repair the issue.

** There’s also way to access a nifty hidden maintenance menu on the MFD (Multi Function Display) – See video at the bottom of this post **

Gen 2 Prius bad 12v battery – symptoms

How to Replace the 12v Auxiliary Battery 2004-2009 Toyota Prius

Optima Yellowtop DS46B24R
Purchased at O’Reilly Auto Parts, price matched with Pepboys for $129.70 (Originally over $220).
This Optima battery is supposedly “exactly the same size as the OEM battery.”

My Video: My First Readings from MFD Maintenance Mode and Scanguage 2 after the 12V battery swap

Cutting the cord with Kodi (XBMC) & Leaf HD Antenna

When I moved into my Pasadena apartment, I wanted to see if I could “cut the cord” and not pay for cable/satellite tv or any streaming services (Netflix, Hulu).

My solution: Kodi (XBMC) and a Leaf amplified HD antenna.

<nerdflex> I am evangelist for Kodi/XBMC (Open Source Home Theatre Software) and have installed it on all supported platforms: Windows, Linux, OSX, Android, Raspberry Pi, and iOS. I have plugins installed that allow me to pretty much stream Anime, TV Shows, and Movies for free. </nerdflex>

Check it out: http://kodi.tv/

Using the Leaf HD antenna, I was getting 40-50 channels over the air in my Pasadena apartment. The HD quality was on par, if not better than cable. This fulfilled my need to have access to local tv channels.

Hacking my Toyota Prius – Fun with OBDII

Toyota did not intend for Prius owners to perform maintenance on their own vehicle. Without a tool that can send commands to the car’s ECU/computer, standard maintenance such as changing brakes, flushing the radiator, or changing the transmission fluid cannot be done properly. As I perform my own maintenance on my car, I became interested in OBDII (On Board Diagnostics) tools and researched the difference between dealer and consumer OBDII tools. Consumer OBDII tools such as the Scanguage2 and ELM327 can only pull diagnostic codes and read data from the ECU while Dealer tools can issue commands to the ECU and even reprogram the ECU. Definately dangerous if you have no idea what you’re doing 🙂

In the video, I’m toggling my on/off the power indicator light (see top left) using Toyota Techstream TIS (dealer/mechanic software), Drew Technologies Mongoose OBDII cable, Windows XP (32-bit) virtualized on my Mac.

Gallery of Prius in Maintenance Mode and various OBDII tools

OSX Virtualization, Hackintosh, 4 phases of assimilation into the Apple Computer Cult

Phase 1: The Resistance – Below are my attempts to run OSX without owning Apple Hardware.
OSX can be virtualized — it just runs like ass on my old Thinkpad.



In 2012, using some recycled parts, I was able to build a high end Hackintosh (specwise, obviously) for $800.


Phase 2: Coercion – If you do any kind of iOS development, you will eventually convert to a Mac (likely with kicking, cursing, and screaming).

Once you get over the:

  • New workflow (“forced to use it for work”)
  • OSX UI elements are completely opposite of Windows
  • Many options like “Viewing hidden files in Finder” require a terminal intervention.
  • Paying double or triple what you’d normally pay for a comparable PC

Phase 3: Adoption  
**gasp** You might actually start liking Apple computers and wondering why it took so long to convert.**gasp**

Phase 4: Acceptance
Resistance is futile. You will be assimilated into the Apple Cult – really, because all Operating Systems are crap and OSX is just slightly less crappier than Windows 😛


Logitech Revue GoogleTV Software Root “NandPwn”

The Logitech Revue is a big steaming pile of crap.

UART root was not an option as this device had been updated and not in “out of factory” state. All this so I could try to install XBMC on the unit… and learned the differences between Android NDK and SDK implementation 🙂


More Info: Software Root Now Available For Logitech Revue, But It’s Not For The Faint Of Heart