Contact Me

I’m a pretty reasonable person, but, the number of e-mails requesting personal support and peddling spam is getting beyond reasonable. With the recent rise in time-consuming e-mails, I have been completely overwhelmed and that has come at a great personal cost.

So before e-mailing me, please consider the following:

  • I am not your personal helpdesk. I don’t know everything, I cannot possibly know everything, and I cannot possibly help everyone that comes along with a question.
  • I am not a shop – I do not sell products, and I am not interested in selling my items to you.
  • I am not a distributor or an importer – I have no interest in becoming a business partner in selling your products.
  • I’m not interested in SEO or advertising services or helping you to promote your SEO site which is even less popular than a personal blog such as my own.
  • If you have a question, it is often better to post a comment so that everyone can see it and any responses I may wish to offer. That way, as many people benefit as possible.
  • If you have a very specific question relating to your circumstances, unfortunately, 99% of the time, this will not interest me. Do not be under the impression that just because I’ve written something on a similar topic that I will suddenly answer every question about the topic that you might have.
  • Within every field, there is jargon and technical aspects which can only be adequately explained using the correct terminology. I won’t be involved in lengthy “lessons” in trying to privately educate you about some of these technical aspects. Please take the time to self-educate by spending some time on Google. There’s a lot you (and I) can learn from the internet.

That being said, I am happy to receive e-mails from users when they have something that concerns me – maybe it’s a complement, maybe it’s some well-reasoned disagreement, maybe it’s some opportunity or something not covered above. I’d be happy to receive offers of products to review, or enquiries about licensing my content. Whatever it may be, please be polite and don’t let this deter you from sending me a message. I’m a reasonable person.

If you send me an impolite e-mail, or one about your specific problem that doesn’t interest me, I will no longer reply. If you are half-reasonable, I might provide you half-a-reply. There are many forums online where many technical minded people are able to better help you with your specific problem.

I honestly don’t care for e-mails that go “you’ve written about this, so you must know this, so please solve my problem”, or “you’re so smart, so this is going to be easy for you”. If you leave a comment, I may or may not reply depending on whether I have any time, or information to contribute.

Just because you leave me a message does not make me in any way obligated to help you. I’m sorry, but I need to live too.

I hope that this will save me enough time so I have a better chance of updating the blog with more interesting, different and exciting experiments.

Now that you’ve read that, if you still wish to e-mail me, my address is (please retype and interpret – don’t copy and paste):

mxex(xatx)xgxoxuxgxhxlxuxix.xcxoxm

For vision impaired, or where the browser does not render the above intelligibly, the address has been read out in the NATO Phonetic Alphabet as an audio recording

18 Responses to Contact Me

  1. turnkit says:

    Something wrong with your email server config?

    Dec 4 via Gmail:

    “This is an automatically generated Delivery Status Notification

    THIS IS A WARNING MESSAGE ONLY.

    YOU DO NOT NEED TO RESEND YOUR MESSAGE.

    Delivery to the following recipient has been delayed:

    [redacted]

    Message will be retried for 2 more day(s)

    Technical details of temporary failure:
    DNS Error: Address resolution of mail.goughlui.com. failed: Domain name not found”

    • lui_gough says:

      Thanks mate!

      In the transition, I had unfortunately removed an A-record for mail.goughlui.com in the DNS which caused things to become unresolvable. It was working fine earlier because I was still hosting mail through the old hosts, but then they terminated my hosting before my requested end date which caused a bit of a fuss.

      With the DNS propagation delays, it might take a day before it’s ultimately fixed. I hope it is. I will keep an eye on it.

      Thanks,

      Gough

  2. Tony says:

    I’m not tech savvy. Have a 49 plan on iPhone with Lyca but it won’t let me tether to my computer. I need that, what to do??

    • lui_gough says:

      If you use an iPhone, tethering is controlled by the carrier. There is absolutely NOTHING you can do on your end to enable or disable tethering without the help of the carrier. This is an Apple design decision, and is one of the reasons I don’t use Apple devices in general. Unfortunately, I don’t think Lycamobile offers tethering support for iPhone, so you’ll have to look for a different carrier which supports it. Do make sure you check with the carrier before you buy in – because it’s no good changing to another carrier that doesn’t support tethering either.

      – Gough

  3. ibmpc5150 says:

    Hi.

    I’ve sent Email about MS-DOS 4.01.
    If you didn’t receive my message, can you send Email?

  4. jake says:

    just wondering if a satalite finder could be hacked into a gold or metal detector

  5. Matt says:

    Great Read. Keep it up

  6. Congrats on the Thesis. Great read every time I come here. As a techie, I love the analysis you do of everything, really encouraging.

  7. Nikhil Anjane says:

    Sir,

    This is Nikhil Anjane. I’m an engineering student in 3rd year at K. J. Somaiya Institute of Engineering & Information Technology, Mumbai. I’m currently working on a project which involves the IC-STA8088EXG manufactured by company, STMicroelectronics for positioning applications.
    For this reason I need a schematic diagram of this IC which I cannot find anywhere on the internet.

    So it would be a great help if you provide me with the schematic of this IC.
    Hoping for a positive reply soon.
    Thanking You.

  8. Barbara W says:

    Hi – read your post on the damaged flash drive repair – glad you could help them! Gives me hope. I am contemplating a DIY on my own Lexar 128G flash drive whose retractable usb port snapped off. Plastic port! Who makes an entire usb AND port out of cheap plastic? In my defense, it was purchased in blister packaging and the offending plastic port was not visible.

    I got solder and flux today but I don’t want to screw it up or make it worse, it is so tiny! The circuit board looks different too, doesn’t appear to have a copper layer, but copper wire threaded through the wafer itself. Can you recommend a company that you would send one to? Or have a look at it? I have photos of it.

    This has tons of work files with thousands of hours of material, and presentations I need. I know, bad idea to not back it up when so vital, but I was actually leaving a client, literally on my way to get a backup drive. I slipped it into my bag for a minute to get to my car – and the unthinkable happened. When I fished it out at the car to put it away in the protective pouch- the retractable port apparently had not retracted fully and snapped off in my bag. I have some older files backed up, but the newer ones I couldn’t because my laptop memory was maxed out, which is why I was heading to the store for more memory.

    To add insult to injury, one file I need for a new client was still open in Photoshop on my laptop so I went to resave it to the laptop c drive – and Windows 7’s infamous ‘no warning’ system update took over and shut everything down and lost it. That was so so unfair. (Really, would it have killed them to give you a 60 second warning? Or let you opt out?) I had files on it for several volunteer projects I was doing in my local community too so that hurts – I donated hundreds of hours to create material – and it is a punch to the gut to look at this flash drive in pieces.

    • lui_gough says:

      Every drive has a different circuit board layout, and some don’t even have a circuit board at all. Depending on how it is designed, it could be entirely impossible to repair yourself, or you might need other spare components (e.g. cut up a USB lead to get the connector).

      As I am in Australia, and I normally solve all my problems by myself, I can’t really recommend anyone by name. That being said, I think recovery might get costly, so maybe it pays to shop around especially if you’re not willing to accidentally damage it beyond repair. Depending on how much you value your data, maybe some companies can offer you a service for a reasonable price.

      Yes, automatic update reboots are a pain, but a simple regedit fix (creating the NoAutoRebootWithLoggedOnUsers value) seems to do the trick for me: http://answers.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/forum/all/i-want-to-turn-off-the-automatic-restart-for/88191194-d3e7-428d-a2a5-89e427756ccc?auth=1

      I don’t think it’s economical to send it to me, and really, if you were to send it to me, it would be the absolute last-resort, and I will take no responsibility and provide no guarantees especially not knowing further what the unit looks like and what the repair strategy would be like.

      – Gough

  9. Amii says:

    Hi Gough, I came across your site and your article on the Woomera modem, from searching google. My mother (71 years old) lives in Winton, Queensland (a small outback town) and, as I discovered recently when visiting her, has a Woomera modem. She has the one before the one you wrote about in your article. To be honest I was shocked when I saw it because it looked really old to me and I wondered how it could possibly still function! But it does function and she accesses the internet with it every day. I took a photo of it so that I could show my sons (18 and 27) when I came back (to Melbourne) as they are both tech minded and I thought they would find it interesting that a modem from so long ago is still being used today. I could email you the photo, if you’re interested? Thanks for the well-written article, it was very interesting and informative! Kind regards, Amii

  10. Jack says:

    Hi Gough, thank you for your excellent teardowns of laptop battery publications.
    I would like to connect 2 laptop batteries in serial then in parallel for tests.
    Could you tell me what are the risks to damage the cells or the controller ?
    regards,
    Jack

    • lui_gough says:

      Personally speaking, I would not recommend connection of any sort of finished battery packs in series or parallel for a number of reasons as it can cause danger or permanent damage to the cells. If you choose to do any of these experiments, please do so at your own risk. I will not be held responsible for any damage which may occur because of your own doings.

      Basically speaking, a properly made laptop battery has an internal charge controller, software-based protection against overdischarge/overcharge/overcurrent, balancing, colomb-counting and I2C/SMBus communications to let the computer know about the charge state and battery capabilities. A properly made laptop battery (with the exception of cheap copies) also has a physical fuse as a last line of defense against controller failures, and likely also a thermal fuse to protect against overheated packs. The 18650-cells they are made from also have a PTC protection on the cell which should go open in case the per-cell draw exceeds a set limit (5-8A normally), and a cell interruptor device in case of overcharge. Despite all these protections, it is known that some times the protections do not work correctly or are absent in the case of cheap copy batteries, and or some protections when activated are irreversible resulting in permanent damage to the pack. Power banks are fairly similar to this, but with the exception that each of the power banks has its own switching (normally) boost converter to push up the voltage and frequently LESS protection around the battery itself.

      As each laptop battery itself is a collection of series-parallel sets (e.g. a 9 cell battery is often three sets of three cells in parallel), internal balancing is necessary to make sure that the differences in capacity of each set of cells is accounted for, to prevent a single battery from overcharge and failure by venting with flame. Hence charging with the controller or an external charger with balance connections (e.g. hobby R-C Li-Ion/Poly chargers) is advisable.

      If you put several assembled batteries in series, you run the risk that the batteries will inevitably both have a different capacity. Assuming the protection works, the lower capacity battery should shut-down its output once it is depleted, however, the other remaining working battery is still putting out a voltage and if an external load is present, there is a potential that this voltage is enough to damage the MOSFETs which allow the battery to shut down by forcing current through it, heating it up and burning it out. Permanent damage may result. In case of short circuit, the protection level may not be the same on the two batteries – the same result may occur, but with the added potential that any primary protection fuses may permanently blow as well, rendering the pack unusable (at least, not without physically attempting to repair it). If you put a large number of batteries in series, the voltages which are developed may be above the insulation ability of the PCB and breaking ability of fuses/MOSFETs which could result in fires when the protection attempts to open due to striking an arc that is not extinguished. Incorrect connections or even interfacing to the in-cell microcontrollers are also likely to cause trouble – as the I2C bus is referenced to ground and the “ground” of each battery is its own negative terminal, so they can’t blindly be bussed together (as far as I know).

      Parallel connection is also problematic, as the cell voltages are likely to differ, especially if the state of charge is different on the batteries. Depending on the protection, the high current flow when batteries of dissimilar voltages “equalize” can permanently damage the controllers or protective MOSFET/fuses. More unusually is that the batteries might get a little confused, as incoming current is usually only experienced when charging, so the controller might oscillate between charge and discharge operation. In case of cell/battery fault, the working battery could dump its charge into the failed battery resulting in high current flow, heat and fire – or protections to trip, but if you parallel a number of batteries, the protection is not designed for the high level of fault current and is likely to fail to trip. Even if all else is fine – the first battery that becomes discharged and falls into protection may immediately “awaken” due to the voltage supplied by the other batteries in parallel, and so the protection may fail to work as intended. To get around this, it’s advisable to at least prevent the batteries from charging each other through the use of an “auctioneering diode” arrangement, but this involves some losses, as well as current limitations of the diode that you choose. Charging under this circumstance is not a realistic possibility.

      In short, I highly recommend not doing any of this at all. It can result in dangerous situations which are not obvious until something “happens” – e.g. cell trips out because it empties first, unit switches off, charging occurs, highly inductive load is connected, etc. In the case of power banks, because power converter circuitry is used, they may power-on and off erratically and protections can trip randomly as well. Insulation can be an issue if developing higher voltages in series, and damage from reverse-polarity back-feeding a unit that has switched off could permanently destroy the power converter as well or heat up its MOSFET.

      Note that the controllers do NOT have a limit on allowed charging cycles as you mentioned in your e-mail to me. Some merely count cycles, others don’t do it at all, but most of them will report the remaining full-charge capacity to a computer and may shut down the pack permanently when a safety condition is violated – for example, charging has gone too long but the cell did not fully charge, or the pack is so out of balance that it’s likely that there is a cell failure within the pack. When the battery shuts down, it’s trying to keep you safe.

      – Gough

  11. Jack says:

    Hi Gough, thank you for your excellent lecture. You are exactly right but we poor unexperienced developers try from time to time to make things to work against the technology standards known to experts like you. I have studied personal drone crashes in US for a year, since the date FAA imlemented compulsory registration of small personal drones. Since all flight parameters get registered by black box, I could have done that job remotely, getting flight data logs for analysis. Ts of personal drones crashed already and more may crash tomorrow, but ppl still buy, build personal drones, fly and crash them ( visit diydrones website one day).

    Quite recently I was offered Li-Ion packs made of used laptop batteries connected in parallel and large packs of used Li-Ion cells connected in serial and parallel.

    I have received images of such Li-Ion packs as attachments, so I will try to send them attached to you via email.

    Thank you very much for your expert’s opinion and let me be your student and junior researcher/ developer.

    You really deserve to be promoted to Research Professor, as soon as possible.

    Thank you once again for your excellent job done so far for the Internet community.
    Jack

    • lui_gough says:

      Interesting to hear that – I have torn apart power banks with mismatched cells that appeared to be harvested “recycled” pulls from old laptop batteries possibly sent to China for recycling. I’ve also found some anomalous cells with Samsung “claimed” branding, but the printing on the sleeve and battery internals differ from genuine Samsung cells.

      As a rule of thumb, Li-Ion cells degrade from the date of manufacture. As they age, they invariably get more and more “different” with their remaining capacity. Most manufacturers set 70% or 80% of the initial capacity as the “designed lifetime” because after this point, the degradation can sometimes be very rapid and unpredictable.

      Aged “reused” cells in this manner tend to have lower than original capacity, but also more unpredictable cycle life. When you start combining cells (or batteries) that are towards the end of their life like this, aside from the safety implications, you also potentially decrease the reliability of the system as a whole unless special design precautions are taken. As far as I’m aware, the capacity loss on Li-Ion batteries is not “reversible” by any end-user possible means, so things generally only get worse over time.

      – Gough

  12. john says:

    i am an MD interested in dect special wireless headset development. see radflowspace.com
    Need your talent. thanks

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