ABQ Sunport Wifi doesn’t work with Ubuntu Linux – workaround

I have a Lenovo X1 laptop with Ubuntu 22.04 on it, and it will not connect correctly to the Albuquerque (ABQ) airport free WiFi.  I’ve tried lots of things to debug/diagnose this, and nothing got it to work successfully.

However, my android phone does connect successfully via Wifi, so I was able to turn on USB Tethering on the phone and access the wifi via a USB cable and my android phone.

Glowforge lid / hinge separation (2nd unit)

Back in January of 2020 I received a replacement glowforge ($500 repair & shipping cost) that they swapped for my orginal kickstarter model because I needed the laser tube replaced.  You might remember that with the original kickstarter model I also had issues with the front handle coming unglued from the glass lid, as well as the rear hinges coming unglued from the glass lid.

Unfortunately, the glass lid detaching (from the left rear hinge this time) issue has presented itself on this unit as well. Currently, only the left side has detached, but I’m worried that the whole joint will fail if I open/close the lid more.

With the lid closed, this presents as the left side rear being slightly raised, and the left front not going all the way down.


You can really see the gap most obviously when in the process of lifting the lid. (Look at the gap that is between the silver bar bolted to the left hand black hinge and the glass above it…now go compare that to the photo below where I have it supported by a clamp to see the difference.)


I’m afraid to open/close the lid as I’m sure every motion is weakening the rest of the joint, so for now I’m just leaving it open with a small clamp on it to try and make sure the rest of the glue joint doesn’t have pressure on it.


Here is a video I shot when opening the lid.

Ring app on Android (3.40.0) suddenly became a background data hog

In the month of May, the ring app cost me $40 (I pay $10 a GB for cellular data).

Having the ability to see what is going on around the house when I am away is worth spending some mobile data on…in March it cost me 54MB, and in April it cost me 318 MB (54 cents and $3.18 cents respectively). However, that is FOREGROUND data, that is actively used when I am streaming data in the app. Sometime after May 5th, the ring app started to download a LOT of background data. In fact, for the May5-June 4th month, I used 91 MB of foreground data, and the ring app used 3.95 GB of background data (that’s $39.50 it cost me).

[Soon after taking these screenshots, I disabled “Background data” for the ring app, which prevented it from using more excessive amounts of (cellular) data and costing me money.
Ring app using 4 GB of background data in a month

My current version of the ring app is 3.40.0, running on Android 11 on a Pixel 4A phone.
After I got the $40 larger than I was expecting bill in June, I quickly checked to see what was using all of that data, and found that the Ring app had used 1.27 GB of data in only a few days. To put that in perspective, it was using more data than Pokemon GO, which is usually my highest data using application.


The problem is not limited to cellular data, the ring app has become a massive data hog when on wifi as well (but at least since my wifi connection is not metered, it doesn’t cost me anything). Every so often when I am at home I will use the ring app to watch the video feed from a camera if I get a motion alert and don’t want to get up to look out the window. In March and April this usage amounted to around 1 GB and 1.7 GB of wifi data respectively.     But, in May, the ring app used 61 GB of wifi data!
I did not stream more video in May than in previous months, so this is primarily background data usage by the app.
Ring using 61 GB of wifi data

If I had to guess, I suspect that the ring app on android has started automatically downloading videos of motion that occur, EVEN IF THE USER DOES NOT WATCH IT! Perhaps this a feature designed to make the app more responsive if the user selects the notification to view the video stream, but when I talked with technical support, they could not offer any explanation for why this was happening or how to disable the high data usage.

Update – Ring app 3.41.0 appears to have fixed the issue

After the Ring app upgraded to version 3.41.0 on Android, I re-enabled background data and kept a close eye on it for a few days. Including a few times I was away from wifi on cellular data, the data usage was much more reasonable, so it appears that the ring developers have fixed whatever the issue was.

2.47 mb of data used over a few days


How to extract depth images from Pixel 4 / google camera Android phone Portrait images

I have a Pixel 4 android phone which can take “Portrait” images that use a depth map to “blur” the background, focusing on the foreground.

I also have a Looking Glass Factory Portrait holographic display which can display holographic images.

Currently, the HoloPlayStudio software (version 0.3.5 beta) that comes with it only natively supports iPhone portrait photos, but will import RGB+D photos, so I need to extract the depth image (and the original image without the blurred background)

I want to extract a depth map from my android photos so that I can (manually) create RGB+D photos (which have a regular jpeg image next to the corresponding depth map).

This website makes it easy to see/download the different layers embedded in the Pixel 4A “Portrait” mode jpeg image: https://www.photopea.com/

Download the original image and the depth map, glue them together with the depth map on the right and you have an RGB-D image suitable for HoloPlayStudio.

You can also extract the original and Depth Map images using the exiftool.

The command that I found worked was suggested by Phil here:

It extracts the 2nd trailer image, which is the depth image:

exiftool input.jpg -trailer -b | exiftool - -trailer -b > dept.jpg

Incidentally, the FIRST trailer image is the non-blurred original image…

exiftool input.jpg -trailer -b > original_image.jpg

So if you extract the trailer from the original image, it will be the depth map, and you won’t have to chain exiftool together on the command line as above…

exiftool original_image.jpg -trailer -b > depth.jpg

Completely unrelated to extracting depth images, but possibly needed to create holograms from a linear slide movie is the following ffmpeg command that will extract 3 seconds of a video starting at the 2 second mark into PNG image frames:

ffmpeg -ss 00:02 -i <input> -t 00:03 filename%05d.png

Judging the balance of cells within a battery based upon ending charge profile

My S-10 EV conversion has a battery pack made up of Nissan Leaf modules. I am using a mini-bms system which has a per-cell alarm, but does not report per-cell voltages and also does not do a great job keeping the cells balanced.   To check individual cell voltages, or manually balance cells, I need to pull a few pins and lift up the tilt bed on the back of the truck.   But it is possible to determine when cells in the battery are no longer well balanced based upon the power draw when the ending voltage is reached. You can see this most easily by looking at the charge profile graphs (provided by my JuiceBox EVSE).

When the cells are not balanced, some cells are at a lower SOC than others when the ending voltage is reached, which results in the entire pack drawing more power (in this case, charging ended when the max voltage cutoff was reached, but the pack was still drawing 3,000 watts.

After balancing the cells, the normal charging profile looks like this:

As you can see, the amp/power draw slowly tapers off as the max voltage is approached, and the pack is drawing less than 1,000 watts when the cells are balanced.

I use these end-of-charge graphs to determine when it is time to pop the back of the truck and manually check/balance individual cells. [I still have the mini-bms units to automatically stop the charger if any cells voltage goes too high, or alarm if any cells voltage goes too low.]

September 27th 2020: Orange County Florida COVID-19 Report

It’s September 27th, 2020, how is Orange County Florida doing with COVID-19?

The rate of decline in new cases had grown sluggish at the end of August, plateaued and then had a slight rise in September.   Orange County is averaging 147 confirmed new cases per day over the last two weeks, compared to an average of 14 new cases per day in the first two weeks of April, so the number of people infected each day is still about 10 times higher than in April.

(You can ignore that 7 day hump at the beginning of September….a large lab reported a backlog of positive tests all at once.)
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Getting IOT devices / Geeni Smart Plugs working with OpenWRT / dd-wrt

After moving my wifi router to the OpenWRT firmware, my Geeni smart powerstrips were authenticating to the wifi router (I could see their MAC addresses) but not communicating properly (the device name was a question mark, and nothing could communicate with them).

The secret was to turn off WMM mode (Wireless Multi Media) and then they all immediately started working again.

The firewall gets in the way of HP printer device discovery, so you may need to assign the printer a specific IP address and then manually add the IP address to your clients.

HP Device Manger -> Setup -> Network/Ethernet/Wireless network. Then click Advanced Options, choose Manual Discovery, and type the IP address.