Tuesday, May 19, 2009

keeping us safe - The dangerous lithium battery

Our Sun servers have CR2032 lithium coin cell batteries. Thes batteries are obviously very dangerous, considering how replacements are shipped. When one goes bad, this is what you get from Sun : A large box with ominous stickers, which contains a smaller box protected by "packaged air". Inside the smaller box is an anti-static envelope (protected by foam). Inside the envelope is a single CR2032 lithium coin battery.

For what it cost them to send me one battery, they could have bought me 20 batteries.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Alien Autopsy : Wierd POS terminal

I found this item on a recent trip to the Raleigh Flea Market. It appeared to be some sort of custom point-of sale terminal. It had :

  • smart card slot
  • credit card scanner
  • PC card attachment
  • large rectangular touch screen
There were no external markings. It was only $1, so what the heck. As is usual with such items, I take them apart.

The internals are a spectacular mess. Wires go in every direction. Copious silicone caulk holds it together. The PC Card/flash connector on the back goes nowhere. Apparently a design change.

I am impressed at the volume of stuff they managed to jam in there :
  • smart card reader
  • credit card scanner
  • processor board
  • VGA PC Card
  • thermal printer
  • 2 rechargable batteries
  • 2 alkaline batteries, caulked in place
  • 4 AA battery holder
  • 2 AA battery holder
  • LCD touch screen
  • 2 pushbuttons
And of course the case, which is the best part. It will make a nice case for an upcoming project.

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

King Charles Troupe : 44 years of unicycle basketball

On my ride into work today, a spoke with an ex-member of the King Charles Troupe, a unicycle basketball exhibition team founded in 1968. It's a small world.