Post Ubuntu 22.04 upgrade fixes

After upgrading from Ubuntu 21.10 to 22.04 on my Lenovo X1 Gen 5, I had the following issues:

1. The built in video player (Totem) would display H.264 AVC videos squished to the far
left of the video window and only black and white. This appears to be a problem with vaapi, as the following command fixed it:

sudo apt remove gstreamer1.0-vaapi

2. Desktop icons disappeared. Had to manually run:

sudo apt install gnome-shell-extension-desktop-icons-ng

3. Firefox (snap) refused to display a file dialog for uploading files to websites (or download any files) until I manually installed:

sudo apt install xdg-desktop-portal-gtk

3. OpenShot video editor 2.6.1 refused to run. This is more of an issue of 2.6.1 not being compatable with the latest desktop that Ubuntu is using, but to fix it is annoying, as OpenShot has not had an official release since 2.6.1 in Sep 2021. You have to use the “Dailies” appImage (or install from the most up to date source yourself) to get a working OpenShot.


4. When trying to open a file on the desktop using the “find software” dialog, I got an error message “Failed to start GNOME software”, which was solved by:

sudo apt install gnome-software

5. Thumbnails would not show up for video files in the file browser, until I installed:

sudo apt install ffmpegthumbnailer


Fixing my Neato X11 robot vacuum LCD screen

I’ve lived with a blank screen on my Neato X11 vacuum robot for a few years, but recently the robot started to beep error messages and refused to start up correctly, and I couldn’t figure out what the problem was without the screen.

So I found this thread and this specific post and decided that injecting 12 volts to the c5 line would be worth trying (I’m NOT going to go to the effort of replacing the entire LCD, especially if I have to remove polarized sheets and reverse it ;> )

I used a 78L12 12v 100ma linear regulator (TO-92 package) because it was inexpensive and small.

Of course, I added in a lot of hot glue for stress relief….

Thanks to AlainCAN, this fixed my LCD and I can now read the error message (fan was stuck, I found/removed a rice grain and that fixed things right up!).

Unfortunately, I somehow appear to have broken the LED’s (backlight for LCD as well as the button LEDs). I’m not sure if this is related to this throwaway line in Alain’s post:

By the way, don’t forget to replace the C10 capacitor as it can cause trubbles later (dimmed light green led).

Or perhaps I just forgot to plug something in….. but I can read the screen, which is better than having LED’s without being able to read the screen, so I’m going to count it as an overall success.

3D printed Prescription Lens Inserts for Oculus Go

I’ve always wanted Prescription Lens inserts for my Oculus GO VR headset. But I just couldn’t justify the $80 price just so I wouldn’t have to wear my glasses while using the VR headset.

Then I found this project on Thingiverse: Oculus prescription lens adapter (Quest 2, Quest and Rift S)

That’s right, you can 3D print your own adapters that will convert a standard round eyeglass lens (such as you receive if you order Zenni Optical Round Glasses 55002. Which just happen to only cost $35 in my prescription).

Seven days later, I was ready to mark the correct orientation, take the lenses out of the glasses (requires a small screwdriver), and pop them into my 3D printed adapters.

The “Version1” adapters pop right into my Oculus GO (which apparently are the same size as the original Quest), and now the VR headset fits more comfortably on my face (no more distracting gap around the nose area!).

Plus, I can give my son the now empty frames to have fun playing Harry Potter….

Update – July 19th 2022:

The lenses are working well in the Oculus Go, but after about 8 hours of use the right hand lens holder loosened up and stopped “gripping” the Occulus socket and holding in the foam.  I believe one of the small “lips” printed along the bottom had either snapped or had gotten worn down.  I printed a replacement part and before installing I dipped it in low viscosity epoxy resin. This made the part significantly more rigid (and smoother). I found it easier to install the lens (possibly due to experience) and it had a very satisfying grip on the Oculus.  If you are installing for the first time and have access to low viscosity epoxy, I’d recommend using it. (I also wonder if superglue would have a similar effect….) My left hand lens mount is still holding strong, so I’m not going to mess with it at this time.

May 2022 energy rates – Duke Energy – Orlando Florida

Residential Service rates for Duke Energy (Florida):

$12.45 per month Customer Charge *

13.082 cents per kWh (first 1000 kWh)
15.039 cents per kWh (all kWh above 1000)

* – Duke also imposes a 30$ minimum bill adjustment, so if you use less than 134 kWh of power ($17.55 of electricity usage + 12.45 customer connection charge = $30) they will add a Minimum Bill Adjustment so that your total charges are $30 (+3.37 of taxes in Orange County Florida) for a total minimum bill of $33.37


Painting the Castle Ravenloft Skeletons

I painted the three Castle Ravenloft board game Skeletons with slightly different colors (mostly on the shields and swords, but the bones have different levels of tints on them as well) so that people could say things like “I want to aim at the one with the blue shield!”.

The general approach for bones is to do shades of gray/white first, then tint them with a bright yellow wash, followed by a transparent dark brown (burnt umber) wash.  Variations in lightness and color can be made by the lightness/darkness of the base coats, and amount of washes you use.

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VECY’s CR60 car Fridge / Freezer (Dual Zone) Review

VECY's CR60 fridge

I reviewed the VECY’s CR60 car refrigerator / freezer. It is a 60 L wheeled cooler with built in dual zone compressor heat pump.  It has a dual zone control panel that can maintain temperatures between 68F down to -4F, and is powered by 12-24 volts DC. (It also includes an AC adapter to power it from 120-240v AC.)

You can watch my 5 minute summary review here:

(I also have a 30 minute long full review…but unless you are REALLY interested…the summary review gives you all you need to know.)

If you would prefer to read your review, here are the relevant details:


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Battery Tray / Door discoloration on First Alert Smoke Detector (2018, SA511)

When changing smoke detector batteries on my First Alert SA511 smoke detectors, I noticed that ONE (of the six) has a discolored battery tray/door. It appears that the plastic used to make the battery tray was of a different composition from the rest of the shell, as it has turned yellow with age, while the rest of the smoke detector has not. (Also, my other five smoke detectors all have pure white battery trays that match the body as well…) Continue reading

It’s March 2022, how is Orange County (FL) doing with Covid-19?

The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Orange County last week was 2,018, as low as in mid-December of 2021. The Omicron surge is mostly over, and the new case positivity rate has dropped to 6.9% (close to the < 5% threshold that indicates community spread is under control).

While the total number of cases in the Omicron surge was significantly higher than in the Delta surge, the number of hospitalizations (orange line) was slightly lower, and the number of deaths (blue area) is significantly lower. This is partially due to a larger percentage of the population being vaccinated, partially due to the nature of Omicron (infecting the upper respiratory tract more than the lungs), and partially due to survivor bias from prior waves.

According to the CDC, a total of  3,089 covid-19 related deaths have occurred in orange county , or 212 deaths per 100,000 residents.  The total number of confirmed cases is at 371,647, with more than 1 in 4 residents having been infected over the course of the pandemic.

I am hopeful that by next week the test positivity rate will fall below 5%. The CDC community status tracker just recently changed from orange to yellow: