Baofeng BF-888S Battery Capacity

I opened up a BF-888S battery today to reuse the case and in the process I noticed something interesting. Note the label on the outside of the case that indicates the battery capacity is 1500mAh:

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However, once the internal battery is exposed, it’s clearly labeled as a 1000mAh battery:

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Apparently Baofeng thinks that adding a plastic case increases capacity by 50%.

Fry’s Electronics Bag Policy

Today I tried to go to the Duluth Fry’s Electronics store and was not let in because of my bag. I refused to leave my bag in the car or check it, and thus my only other option was to leave and find somewhere else to shop. I found what I needed at Micro Center, which I highly recommend over Fry’s Electronics. While they have a smaller selection of electronics parts, you won’t be treated like a criminal as soon as you walk in the door.

Update: I received a reply from John McGuffin, District Manager, indicating that the intent of their policy is not to deny people carrying bags from entering the sales floor. See the full reply below my initial email.

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Goodbye, Mandrill

I received the following email from Mandrill yesterday which unfortunately means that I will have to discontinue my usage of Mandrill for sending and receiving email. Specifically, I am currently using a free Mandrill account as the incoming email provider for Disposamail, and continuing my usage of Mandrill is not worth $20 per month for a paid MailChimp account. I will therefore have to revert to an older version of Disposamail which uses Haraka and update it to match the functionality of the Mandrill version.

I’ve also been wanting to update Disposamail to use Angular and this is a great opportunity to do so.

Update (3/10): Disposamail has been updated to receive and process raw email bodies from an external service such as postfix and no longer relies on Mandrill.

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Stubby Antennas

Radios with Stubby Antennas
Radios with Stubby Antennas

Recently I’ve switched from using long-ish, better-than-stock antennas on my HTs to short stubby antennas which are more convenient for carrying them around. Specifically, I was using the Diamond SRH-519, which is advertised as having +3db gain over stock antennas, while the new antennas are the Maldol MH-209SMA for radios which use normal SMA-male antennas, and the Comet SMA-209J for my Baofeng which uses the odd SMA-female antennas.

From my non-scientific tests within the perimeter of Atlanta, they appear to perform just as well as the stock and long antennas that I was using, at least while using repeaters that are located within the perimeter; I have been able to access every repeater that I would be able to with the long antennas from any location which I would normally use my HTs.

I do keep my other antennas in my bag in the event I need a better antenna for any reason, however over the last month or so I have yet to need them. At the moment, the convenience of short antennas overpower the usefulness of higher gain antennas.

The Baofeng Mystery

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BF-F9 V2+ (left) and BF-F8HP (right)

Update: I have since taken the BF-F8 HP completely apart and the backing appears to be painted aluminum, not plastic, and have updated this article accordingly.

I’ve gotten into amateur radio recently and therefore have been looking into a lot of different handheld radios. Within the amateur radio market, Baofeng is generally the cheapest and is a good bang for the buck, however there’s a lot of question over what the “real” radios are as Baofeng is a Chinese manufacturer. Specifically, the two largest resellers of Baofeng radios are Baofeng Tech and Foscam (i.e., baofengradio.us). First, to settle the fact that they are both authorized resellers as Baofeng, in a recent press release explaining their renaming to Pofung, referred to both companies as “authorized distributors,” and therefore they both sell “official” Baofeng radios (Foscam as mentioned as “baofengradio.us”).

The two specific radios that seem to be the source of all this talk is Baofeng Tech’s BF-F8HP and Foscam’s BF-F9 V2+; they both use the same radio internally however they have different casings, of which Foscam’s is the same case as the UV-5R V2+. The BF-F8HP also comes with a higher capacity battery, a better antenna, and a better manual, however I’m more concerned with the actual quality of the radio.

Continue reading “The Baofeng Mystery”

Birthday Doodle

Google

It appears that Google changes it’s Google Doodle just for you on your birthday, assuming that Google knows what your birthday is. While I like it, the only potential problem I see is that it effectively hides what the “real” doodle is for the day. For instance, today’s actual doodle was the following:

Google

In other words, had I not used an incognito window to see what the doodle actually was for the day, I would have never known about Emmy Noether. Though to be honest, I never really pay attention unless it’s something cool and interactive like PAC-MAN.

Account Locked – Action Needed

Account_locked__Action_needed

For the second time in the last few months, GoDaddy has locked my account and forced a password change “for security purposes”. While I would expect this kind of behavior if someone managed to login to my account in another country or in an area that I’m not normally in, GoDaddy seems to be jumping the gun a little bit and generally being silly about how they’re handling this.

To give a little bit of background, I have two-factor authentication turned on as I do with all of my accounts that support it. If someone did manage to guess my password, I would have received a text message with a verification code; I have not, however, received an unwanted text which means that no one actually guessed my password. Therefore, asking to change my password is a bit premature; it’s as if I were asked to change the locks to my home because someone tried to get in with my neighbor’s key.

In other words, I was asked to change my password because it succeeded in protecting my account. Thanks GoDaddy.

New Beginnings

After almost six years of working at Overgroup I have decided that it is time to move on; not that I dislike any of the work I was doing however it was time to start something new. I started at TalentQuest on Friday which I am very excited about; there are lots of big projects in the queue and lots of decisions that need to be made. One of the great things about this move is that it’s still within walking distance, though I’m opting to take Atlantic Station’s “free ride” bus instead.

I’ll miss everyone that I’ve worked with at Overgroup over the last 6 years, though, as I’ve truly enjoyed working with everyone and consider them all part of my extended family; we’ve been through a lot together.

That said, during my job search I learned a few important lessons:

  • Don’t take the first offer that is thrown at you. Evaluate your options and take some time to think about each one. The good places to work will allow you to take some time to make your decision than ones that are just trying to fill a slot as fast as possible. It’s really a good indicator of the culture you’re going to be a part of.
  • Don’t get your hopes up on any specific opportunity, even if you believe you’d really love it. Getting your hopes up make any other opportunity seem worse if you end up not getting it, even if you were excited about it from the beginning.
  • If anyone is giving you any kind of open test (i.e., there’s not one right answer), ensure you know what they’re looking for going into it that way you don’t get hung up on anything they’re not interested in or anything they don’t want you doing.
  • If during an interview you decide it’s not the place for you, find a way to gracefully end the interview. If it’s not a position you’re interested in then there’s no sense in wasting anyone’s time, including your own.
  • Don’t stop looking or accepting interview requests until you’ve accepted an offer; you never know what is right around the next corner.

Hopefully the next 6 years will be just as good or better than the last.