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Pimp my Garmin: Turning your Fenix 5 Plus into a D2 Delta pilot watch

A while ago I was fed up with Android Wear smartwatches and bought a Garmin Fenix 5 Plus. After using it for a while I started to explore the possibilities beyond the manufacturer specifications. This lead to a firmware patcher based upon work from Alex Whiter (who sadly passed in 2019). That patcher modified the firmware update file and disabled the license check for Garmin Maps. After installing a patched firmware, you were able to use any downloaded Garmin map on the watch without having to buy a license. Alex himself also offered a patcher to enable the use of custom made JNX "BirdsEye" files. (These JNX files can be easily created with SAS.Planet / SAS.Планета, a Windows tool to download map tiles and export them to different formats.)

These patchers sparked my interest in the firmware format as I've noticed they not only patched the few Bytes in the code but also modified other areas in the file.

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Fix stock recovery of HP Spectre x360 laptop

When I got my Spectre x360 back in 2016, I booted it into the Windows 10 it came with, played a bit around and then decided to put Linux on it. So I took a backup of all partitions, repartitioned the whole SSD and went on with Linux. Of course, I found a way to install BIOS updates which I regularly did.

Now came the time to sell the machine so I restored my backup to have to original state from back then. To give the buyer a better experience, I wanted to restore it to its factory state using the now restored recovery partition. The recovery process started up just fine and prepared the main partition and started doing things ... until it failed with a strange error message. Trying it over and over again, it always failed at the same step after completely installing the Windows operating system, not very far into installing the OEM software.

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Pimp my scope: Unlocking Software Features in a Tektronix TDS784D

A while ago I've acquired an old Tektronix TDS784D oscilloscope. Originally, it came with these enabled options:

  • 05 - Video Trigger
  • 13 - Centronics and RS232 interface
  • 1F - Floppy disk drive
  • 1M - Memory upgrade x1
  • 2F - Maths/FFT, differentiation features

While this already is a lot, there's still option 2C (Comm signal analyser) which is a pure-software option. (In later production runs, the device might also already contain the necessary hardware for the bigger memory option 2M. Check whether your serial number starts with B4xxx. Mine didn't.)

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GOTEK Slim Floppy Emulator SFR1M44-DU26

For an older oscilloscope I wanted to replace the 3.5" floppy drive with USB. After checking for the required connector and available USB emulators, the one that I needed was the GOTEK SFR1M44-DU26 - an 1.44 MB floppy emulator with a 26pin FFC/FPC connector. (There's also the SFR1M44-TU26 - which has the connector mounted the other way around but should also work.)

Tektronix TDS784D with original disk drive and emulator next to it

The emulator fit almost perfectly, but since it was meant to be used with some embroidery machine it was a bit short on one side. But that's nothing to worry about - it still functions as it should.

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The Wiki that became a Blog

I've started collecting knowledge for myself (and for everyone to see) in a DokuWiki back in 2008. In 2014 I found DokuWiki to start feeling dated and explored alternatives. I liked the idea of having all entries as single files and in a standard markup format (compared to DokuWiki's own markup language), so I started to move all entries to GitHub Pages and in early 2015 my Jekyll-based GitHub-hosted Wiki went online. While this was a great exercise and works really well, it wasn't ideal. The site being created by a static-site generator means you can only use JavaScript for dynamic things. I had to use Disqus for comments and Google Site Search to allow searching the site. Also, it being based on static text files meant I had to manually track e.g. timestamps of when an article was created or updated by adding (and updating) the times in the Markdown-file's Front Matter. And creating a new entry meant to checkout everything from GitHub, add a textfile in the correct directory, make sure the Front Matter contains all necessary data, commit the changes into the Git repository and push everything back to GitHub. Then find out there's a typo, change file, create commit, push again. And it all depended on GitHub willing to host the page. So I wanted to switch to a different system, but wasn't sure yet which.

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Import video from MiniDV camcorder in Windows 10

My dad has an old Panasonic MiniDV camcorder and wanted to import old tapes into his cutting tool on Windows 10. After hooking up the camcorder via Firewire, the import dialog showed the time code of the running tape, but instead of the video, the preview was black and there was no audio.

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Synology NFSv4 with id mapping

Disclaimer: ID mapping without a Kerberos server only works halfway with NFSv4, it seems. I managed to get the correct usernames to show up on my client when listing files, but creating new files always creates them as user nobody because the Synology doesn't map anything in that case. [This bug report][1] and the [linked thread][2] suggest this is normal behaviour of idmapd when not using Kerberos for some reason. (EDIT: [More detailed explanation.][3])

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BlackBerry KEYone OTA updates for different variants

BlackBerry/TCL has disabled the described method of gaining access to the advanced features of the Updates app in the firmware versions of October 2017 and later. However, there's a way to still get access using the Janus vulnerability and installing an older or patched version of the updater. But this, too, will be gone after the December 2017 update.

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Apple MacBook Pro A1286 Battery Replacement

If you have a MacBook Pro A1286 (15.4", Late-2008 until Mid-2012) and want to replace the battery, you must be aware of the specific battery in your device. In 2011, for some reason, Apple decided to switch from the battery model A1321 (73 Wh) to model A1382 (77.5 Wh). While the form-factor stayed the same, Apple changed the connector and pinout.

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