Blog Stats
  • Posts - 24
  • Articles - 2
  • Comments - 91
  • Trackbacks - 0

 

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Hard Drive Disaster, PCB Solution


Hard drive Failure is a disaster that we never want to experience, but, it is a real issue that could happen to anyone anytime and we can not predict or tell when it will happen.Is it something that can be prevented? Maybe! Do we have a good plan of what to do if it happens? Maybe!

How it started:

Like any computer problem or failure, you have something working fine the next day you try to use it, it is not responding. Well, it should be working and I do not see any reason it should not.

I opened the computer and got the hard drive out and tested on the desk, I have different SATA controllers, USB, ESATA and they did not help as the drive never shows in windows, Linux, or Bios. So, it is dead.

How I found the Company:

I started to search on the internet for issues relevant to this drive. The drive has a habit to stop working, freeze, due to some Firmware bugs but, there are some links out there to get it going. doing more searches I could not find anything to get it back to work. Now, the drive when powered up it spins and sounds very clear and no clicking or jumping inside. So, I started looking at the controller Board. The controller board felt little worm to the touch and looked like it been heated up and the traces looked little dimmed. That told me the board is the issue. I tried to clean the board and looked at it under a microscope, but could not see anything suspicious. While looking on the internet, I found the same board # on sale in Amazon. Surprising, I click on it and find the link to the PCB Solution site that was selling the board for less than $50.00. I immediately contact the email address listed and again surprising, got a respond immediately from Kevin,support@pcbsolution.com. Very helpful and knowledgeable about the drives and what need to be done, he offered few advises and let me know when I am ready to go and purchase the replacement board to let him know, no pressure at all.

Trying the links I got from Kevin, did not help at all, which proved that the issue is really with the controller board. I sent the board to PCB Solution, and few days later I get an email confirmation of receiving the board and that they are working on it. Next day I get update from Kevin directly stating that the board is being shipped back and good luck with my recovery… Very professional service and great in customer service.

Now, I got the new PC Board from PCB Solution and I plug it back into the drive, connect the drive to my SATA controller, and the drive is back to life. I found that all the file structure on the hard drive was completely intact, like nothing ever happened to it Amazing, thank you PCB Solution, and special thanks to Kevin, I appreciate your help and time.


References:

PCB Solution – Hard Drive Circuit Board Professionals

 http://www.onepcbsolution.com/index.html

ODROID-X2 Embedded System Design


Coming soon,
I am designing a full embedded system that can be used in robotics/automation.  This system will use SPI interface bus to interface to ADC, DAC, GPIO, and all running under Debian Wheezy.


What is ODROID-X2:


What Can you do with this board:



GPIO Examples:



SPI Examples:



I2C Examples:




Saturday, February 19, 2011

Dependant care account, is it working for you?


Well, NO.  my little three years old boys are very sick so I need to get them out of the day care.  they keep getting ear infection so bad even the ear tube is not working.  so, now do I give my $5000.00 to the government as a donation or keep my kids in the day care and loose the hearing?  what is going on?

I was told I can change this Dependant care account ONLY in the case of a life change!  well, is not this a life change?  when a member of the family is very sick and has to go through an operation "Ear Tube", the operation does not work and keeps getting sick.  Would not this be a life change?

My Kids and Ear Infection


My Kids and Ear Infection is becoming a weekly issue.  That is why I wanted to start this blog to talk about my experience and more important is to also hear from other parents opinions and experience.

Well, I will start with my twins, they are about 3yrs old boys.  They started to go to day care about three months ago.  since they started with the daycare, they started getting exposed to germs and viruses and the ear infection started too.  every few weeks they have ear infection.  They take turns or some times they both get ear infection at the same time.  To be more accurate, one of them is more suseptive to the ear infection.  We ended up going through the specialest that suggested an ear tube operation and also remove the adenoid tissue.  His opinion was that will stop the fluid from staying in his inner ear and will eleminate the ear infedction. 

To make the long story short for now.  the ear infection never stoped.  in addtion to the ear infection, now the tube is stuck and stoped working, the tube is moved and going to fall, as the doctor said.  the problems do not stop.  they keep adding up.  and now my second son is going to need ear tube if he gets ear infection again.  what should I do?

Edit:

Thank you everyone for your feedback and comments. My Son now is doing great. The tubes he had fell and did not help a bit. We kept him healthy for a while and he did not get as many ear infection as before. Now, few years after, we are clear of ear infections. Amazing!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Chuck E Cheese, Very Bad Customer Service


If you are one of us that have some kids and like to do something active with them specially on a rainy weekend, then you must thought about going to Chuck E Cheese at least once! :)

It is a great place to spend some good time with your kids and let them play and have fun.  At the same time it is usually safe and secure so you do not have to worry about your kids getting lost or hurt.

The problem is when you find out that their customer service sucks and is run by some untrained young hosts that they have no experience or raining on how to work with the customer.

I been going to Chuck E Cheese for ever, going on the weekends, on weeknights, but this weekend, I took my wife and two years old twins to Chuck E Cheese in “Manchester, CT.” and I was shocked by the very cold and nasty service I received from the so called “on site Manager”.

After we walked-in and find a table in the very crowded place, one of the hosts that work there came and told us that we have to buy the food and get the order number before we can have a table. But when my wife explained to her that I am standing in line already trying to order, the hosts said that it is OK then and when I get the number I need to bring it to the “Reception desk” to register the table in my name.

But while I am standing in line to order my food, another hosts that standing in the “Reception desk” calls me and tells me that I can not have the table and I have to buy the food first. So I told her that that is what I am doing and I have to have a table to set my wife and little twins before I can leave them to order the food. So she said “I do not care and if someone else come with an order number I will set them and remove you from the table”! I told her that this is not going to work for me as I will not order my food and pay them money if my wife is holding the coats, kids stuff and my two little kids and standing in the middle of this crowd. So she told me OK, go and order the food quick and bring the order number to me.

Few minutes while I am standing in line I look and see my wife holding everything in her hands and my kids are crying and she is standing in the middle of the crowd does not know what to do. I immediately knew what happened, so I called her and asked her to stand in line to reserve my place and went looking for the manager.

When I found the manager, very politely asked her what happened, she goes the rule here is that you order your food first then we will set you. So I told her about the discussion I had with the hosts and that I am already in line ordering the food. She goes, I do not care, I told her that this is not a good customer service and this is not how it works, when we go to any place we should be seated then I can peacefully order the food, not looking at my wife chasing my little kids with our coats and kids bags in her hand. The attitude I got from her that she is the manager and that is how she will manage the place.

I told her that as a customer I will not stand in line to order food and pay them my money while my wife and kids are standing in the middle of the crowd like this and with a nasty customer service like this. Again the answer was she is not interested to hear my argument and that she will do what she think is right for her. I expressed my disappointment and told her that I am not happy with this attitude, I am taking my wife and twins and leaving, I called my friends that I was suppose to meet there, three families with their kids, and told them to change the plan and go to the mall instead. She did have an expression on her face like “Whatever!”

Here is the real issue, some places forgot that their main goal is to serve the customer well and that they need to train their employees and prepare them to be able to interact and respect the customers, provide the best service so the customer would be happy and comeback. But instead, they are just money making machines, all they want is to make sure you go and pay your money and does not matter if they need to respect or make the customer happy.

When we left and I was talking to my wife, she told me that the manager come and set some other people in the table where she was setting and told her that she need to remove our belongs from the table and leave the table. She did not care if that behavior has no respect or made my wife uncomfortable.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

CSS, Cascading Style Sheets


This is a great future if you used to build web sites and design a lot of HTML pages for a company or your self.

Check this link and I will have to add more as I work on this material later

http://www.davesite.com/webstation/css/

If you are interested in LINQ here is a link for you


What is LINQ?

LINQ == Language Integrated Query

I been trying to learn more about LINQ and searching the Internet until I found this link

 Introduction to LINQ

Also, this is a great link to LINQ Tutorial:

http://dotnetslackers.com/articles/csharp/IntroducingLINQ1.aspx

 

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

How to Auto scroll TextBox, ListBox, ListView


Here are some info on how to do an Autoscroll for your program controls

TextBox autoscroll

textBox1.SelectionStart = textBox1.Text.Length;
textBox1.ScrollToCaret();

ListBox autoscroll

listBox1.SelectedIndex = listBox1.Items.Count - 1;
listBox1.SelectedIndex = -1;

ListView autoscroll

listView1.EnsureVisible(listView1.Items.Count - 1);

TreeView autoscroll

treeView1.Nodes[treeView1.Nodes.Count - 1].EnsureVisible();

DataGridView autoscroll

dataGridView1.FirstDisplayedCell =
  dataGridView1.Rows[dataGridView1.Rows.Count - 1].Cells[0];

Monday, August 3, 2009

iPhone did it again


Here we go again, after all this waiting, MAC comes up with a new handicapped version of iPhone v3.0!

I bought the latest iPhone 3G and three weeks later they announce the new iPhone 3GS.   So, I say it is OK, as there will be a new firmware update, v3.0.  This update will contains all kind of new fixes and enhancements.  when they release the new firmware, what a crippled software.  It only works on the new iPhone 3GS with its new hardware and they left out the iPhone 3G.  So, with so advanced iPhone 3G you can not use voice recognition, take Videos, there is no task manager, etc...  And the story goes on and on...  I remember long time ago when they introduced the first cell phones with cameras they had 20% of the iPhone capabilities and still, were able to take pictures, videos and had voice dial.  So, what am I missing here?  Is it me or it is really that MAC likes to play games and just will use people to make as much money as they can?

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Play wav or Midi files in C# Sharp


If you ever wanted to implement sounds into your application you probably came across the API provided by the Visual Studio .Net "System.Media.SoundPlayer" and found out that it does not work or works fine with your files!!!!

Well, that is what I been doing for the last hour trying to implement the sound functionality in my application using C# C Sharp in Visual Studio 2008 and failed few times to play my wave files and my midi files using that library "System.Media.SoundPlayer" .  So what is going on here?

Here is the quick answer, I found out that there are several types/formats for the wav files and that "System.Media.SoundPlayer" library does not support all of them.  However if you try playing these files using mplayer under windows they will play fine.

Here is a good link to learn more about the wav files format  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wav.

One of the two solutions is to use another approatch to play the wav file, here is some code example:

where in your code when you need to play the sound:

 

And yes this code works fine, so far ONLY with wav files.

So what do you need to do when you need to play a midi or mp3 file?

mciSendString is used to play the midi, mp3 files.  and the mciGetErrorString is used to findout what error returned from the mciSendString to debug your code...  very helpfull.

now here is the code I used to play mp3/midi files

 In this function you will be able to pass the file name and type, 'd' = midi and 'p' = mp3 and it will play the file for you.   Moreover, if you are interested in the return value from the mciSendString the mciGetErrorString will give you a plain error message that you can read and display to find out why for some reason the file is not playing.

MicroSoft reference page for the Multimedia Command Strings  msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/ms712587(VS.85).aspx 

 I agree, there is something wrong with this editor that misses up my code.  very bad, I will have to do some thing about it.  So I will be adding a link to my other blogs where I can insert codes.

Monday, June 29, 2009

iPhone Break or no Break


Well, if you bought the iPhone 3G a month and a half ago, then you are like me.  Stuck with this device that you paid a lot for and have to keep for the next 2 years.  I read on the internet and found out that everyone said that Apple will not release a new hardware only software that will allow the iPhone to take videos and voice dialup and other new futures.  so I decided to buy the iPhone and wait for the firmware update.  few weeks later I find the new iPhone hardware and that the new firmware will work partially on the old 3G and needs the 3GS to have all new futures!!!  I am very disappointed.

Now, do I go for the jailbreak or not?  I really do not like to use any hacks because they end up missing things and there is no warranty.  but, the iPhone 3G is not fully usefull device without some extra futures that you can only get by jailbreaking it.

any ideas or thoughts.

Monday, May 11, 2009

iPhone, What about it???


I keep hearing about the iPhone and how great that Mac phone is.  So I finally decided to get it.

I had an HP IPAQ PDA that runs Windows CE 5.0 and I always liked so much.  It gave me a lot of futures and continues access to my data anywhere I go.

I just wanted to combine both my PDA and Phone into one smart device that saves me the hassle of carrying two different devices every where I go.

So, here I go and upgrade my phone with AT&T to the new iPhone 3G and sign up for two years contract.

First impression, I will be paying $30.00 monthly charge for the unlimited data package, weather I like it or not it is a mandatory if I wanted to have the iPhone.   When I used it, it is very impressive.  It has a very nice display and design, sharp looking.  It has a nice collection of very useful programs.  But, I do not know if it is me or what, I started to hit some obstacles immediately when I started to use it.  Here is a quick list and then I will talk about them next:

  1. File system not accessible!!!
  2. Can not sync email from Outlook, notes, tasks!!!
  3. Can not take a video with that so advanced phone!!!
  4. Bluetooth surprisingly does not support any communication types.  It is useless!!!
  5. You do not have the option to copy, cut, or paste any text or objects !!!

 

Finally, I find that if you are a business person that used to the IPAQ PDA, do not even think about wasting your money and time.  iPhone is still so far beyond your needs.  I can only see a phone with a lot of recourses to play games and chat or browse the internet.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

AT&T what a disaster !!


Few weeks ago, I checked my Cell phone account and found out that I am eligible for phone upgrade.  So, I went to AT&T web site and checked the phones and ordered a refurbished LG phone and paid the charges.  Few days later on Tuesday April 14th 2009, I got the phone and tried it.  It was a disaster; it was not functioning and locking out all the time.  Wednesday morning I called them and said I want to return this phone.  And they sent me a label by email to put on the phone box and return it.  I took the box and brought it to the post office and dropped it to the mail man.  That was it, since that day I do not know where the box is.  I was suppose to wait until it reaches AT&T warehouse then they would give me a credit and allow me to order another phone.  When I called to let them know the phone is not working and I would like to send it back, I asked if I can drop it to one of their stores. they said no, I have to mail it back.  So I did.

Now that I did not know where the phone is I started to call AT&T return department 866-391-0749 and got a web site to track my box.  http://www.tracking.smartlabel.com/Default.aspx and I did.  But there was not update of the status.  I called again and again to see if AT&T has a better idea, but the answer was to wait until the box reaches AT&T ware house.

Two week go by and I still have no idea when would this box make it to AT&T warehouse and when will I be able to order my new cell phone.  So I called again and spoke to someone that told me to contact USPS and find out where the phone is!  So I said why would I contact them, I already wasted all that time with AT&T and now you want me to contact USPS.  If I knew that I would‘ve sent the box UPS with a tracking number and it would’ve been there by now.  Next I ask for compliant department, he gives me this number 800-331-0500.  so I call and after another 40 minutes of nothing I get transferred back to AT&T return department as they are the only one that would take care of this issue, never mind about my complain!!  I mentioned that I been talking to them for two weeks and nothing been changed.  So when I talk to the return department, Bill Hebb, he tells me again that he is not sure where is the phone now and I need to talk to USPS.  So I explain what I said before about it is AT&T responsibility to find my phone as they are the one who sent me the label and asked to use USPS.  Now he goes well there is nothing we can do and you will have to wait.  So I tell him, how long should I wait for?  He goes I am not sure.  So I asked for a super visor and he said she is busy. !  so I get his names and ask to file a complain.  He goes back to his super visor, LG8323  Laurie, and comes back saying that they will escalate my case to higher “someone” and someone will contact me within 24-48 hours.  That was after 1:30 hour holding the phone to my ear.  It is next day and there is nothing yet.  I am not sure if there is someone will be contacting me or what.  But I wanted to start my issue so I do not forget all the details.

Today, May 6th two days later, I did not hear from anyone in AT&T or ever TNT :)  ha ha ha ha.  What should I do now?  I am planning to file a complaint at the https://www.consumeraffairs.com/php/a_report.php and http://www.consumer.gov/ and the local state attorney against AT&T of course after calling them first and making sure I mention that to them.

 

Well, a day later, May 7th, when I called I found out that they finally decided to give me the credit and fix my account.  Thanks AT&T for all this mess and time waste!!!!

I hope someone picks up this attitude fixes the way they handle their business.

 

 

Update:  2/22/2011

I have to admit, this is very embarrassing for AT&T to run their business like this.  it has been a long time since I started this blog, when I had this problem, and until now it did not change at all.  No improvement.  there must be something done towards this irresponsibility and carelessness...  Originally, that is why I started this blog.  but obviously we need to do more than this?  any suggestions, or ideas?  We need to stop these big business from using us "Customers" and making a lot of money by lying, messing up and just not caring.

Let's be one hand and force AT&T to stop and rethink their logic of how to run business!!!

Thursday, March 26, 2009

How to Add Folder Browser Dialog Option to Your C# CSharp Program


I am writting these programs in C# "C Sharp" and always needed to give the user the option to select a folder.  Well, this should not be a segnificant task.  Dialog folders are always been provided by the toolbox in Visual Studio, Open, Save, Print, Font, etc...  so the Folder Browser should not be an issue.  So, I spent all day looking for a way to give the user the option to select a folder in my program.  search all over the internet and all blogs.  found a lot of feed back, but wow, that was so much to do to add this little option to my program.   So finally I look in my toolbox components and I saw it.  the Folderbrowserdialog component.  it is there.

all you have to do is add this to a button click: 

if (folderBrowserDialog1.ShowDialog() == DialogResult.OK)
{
Selected_Folder_Button.Text = folderBrowserDialog1.SelectedPath;
}

I can not believe all that talk out there on the internet and complecated feed back, this is two lines of code!!!!

Friday, March 6, 2009

Linux copy/delete folder/file with roots rights?


If you need to copy/delete a file or folder but you need roots rights to do so,
use nautilus
sudo nautilus
then you can use the mouse to browse and copy/delete what you need.

Fix your display resulotion in Ubuntu 8.10


If you just installed Ubuntu 8.10 and started to realize that your display is not configured right, just like I just did, you will need to configure your system to use the correct display settings.  Guess what I could not do it in Ubuntu 8.10, but I can in 8.04.  using "sudo displayconfig-gtk" follow this process, I did it after a lot of experimenting...

First:  Get your old Ubuntu 8.04 Live CD ready!

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Wine for all Windows users!


So, I am trying to be a devoted Linux user  all my work is almost can run in my Ubuntu notebook.  But, when you have some special software that can only run on MS Windows, then you are really going to restart you Linux and boot into Windows partition like I do

But, with this the help of Wine, you can almost run any windows app on your Linux just like if it was a windows machine

Here are some links to some useful links

Official site for Wine 

How to installing wine

Very Good user document for Wine

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Thursday, February 19, 2009

PIC IDE for Linux


Check this site, http://pikdev.free.fr/ for PIC development in Linux
and then check this one Piklab on your Linux Package install manager

Well, I am trying to find an IDE for PIC Microchip on Linux.  Specially for PIC18.  It is nice to be able not to depend on MS Windows anymore and just use my Linux OS full time.

Now, Piklab seams to contain all the parts/options I am looking for except that it needs a compiler to use!
What?  so it is just an Editor that I can write my code in and then I need to send that to another compiler.
this is just the start, so if anyone out there has more info or already ahead of me, please, drop a note.
Thanks in advance...

Friday, February 13, 2009

Asus Eee PC 1000H battery


I just went and bought a very nice Eee PC 1000H net-book.  What an amazing little computer that has every thing you would think of.  160GB HDD, 1GB RAM can be upgraded to 2GB, WiFi, Webcam, nice touch pad, USB 2.0 and theoretically good battery to run all this!  Well, I start using it and find out the battery does not charge to full capacity.  Only to 46% and then stops.  When it is used it only lasts to about 2.5 hours. What a bummer!

OK, so I go and browse the internet to asus.com and get to the tech-support and let them know. Well, I got the answer that I need to send the battery and they will send me another one after they receive it!  But I will be down all that time 2-3weeks.  And then I will loose the option to return it if there is a bigger problem to Best buy.  Best buy gives 14 days only.  But, no, Asus do not care.  "You should explore your options with best buy" they said.

I am calling best buy to find out what should I do.  I already spent three days worth of work on this net-book computer and I can not just exchange it with another one.

I called Best buy and found out that my options are to return the notebook and get another one or, buy the protection plan and they will  get me another battery.  so I bought the plan and they gave  me another battery.  Guess what, it worked fine.  so far I charged it twice to full charge and discharged no problem...

So now I can enjoy my new  notebook.

 

 

Copyright © heshamelsaghir