Seagate 5TB Backup Plus Portable (2019 Edition)

Seagate has recently updated their 2.5″ Backup Plus Portable line, redesigning the hard drive’s enclosure. The previous version was somewhat popular for drive shucking due to price, capacity, and ease of shucking. This new model, the STHP5000400, contains a 5TB 5400RPM hard drive in the 15mm tall 2.5″ form-factor. For those looking to inexpensively fill 2.5″ drive bays in a storage server/NAS, this seems to be the only choice.

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Moto X4

Back in July (2018), I upgraded to the Motorola Moto X4. After over four-and-a-half years of faithful service, my Moto X (2013) was no longer cutting it. The battery was not lasting a day. I was pretty much out of storage (16GB is not enough), even with a minimal set of apps and music on the device. Topping it off, things were getting generally sluggish.

While I had been looking at phones since December (2017), nothing hit the value mark I was looking for and worked on the Verizon network (they sure do not have “the devices” unless you want a phablet or an iPhone). I was considering the Google Pixel, but given its price point I was disappointed in the second generation device (the screen to body ratio was worse than the Moto X (2013)). I ended up settling for the Moto X4, and picked up the Amazon Prime version on Prime Day.

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A Charger Option for the Panasonic DMW-BLG-10PP Battery

The DMW-BLG-10PP is a 1025mAh, 7.2V, lithium-ion battery that Panasonic uses in a few of their newer cameras (including the GX85). In the case of the GX85 kit, Panasonic opted to not include a battery charger. Instead, the battery is to be charged in the camera body through the micro-USB port. This is slightly annoying as the flap protecting the micro-USB port is not as easy to deal with as the battery hatch.

For those who want a standalone charger, Panasonic sells it as part of a battery and charger accessory kit. However, if you have a DE-A99(B) lying around (the charger from the GF5 and a few other older kits), it will work for charging the GX85’s DMW-BLG-10PP battery pack. The battery physically fits into the DE-A99B, and the electrical interface is the same (4 pins: -, D, T, +). Despite the capacity of the DMW-BLG-10PP being larger than what the charger was originally designed for (940mAh), the DE-A99B will still charge it.

-John Havlik

[end of transmission, stay tuned]

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Alcatel LINKZONE 4824 and Linux

After almost 4 years of service, the time has come to replace my Netgear AirCard 340u. While it works great with my IdeaPad s405, it has problems with newer Intel systems (the AirCard falls into a cycle of infinite boot loops). Since I’m retiring the s405, it was time to find a new mobile data device. Unfortunately, the market for USB broadband modems has not advanced in the last 4 years (the AirCard 340u is still the most capable). So, I had to settle for a wireless hotspot.

The Alcatel LINKZONE 4824, at the time of writing this, is the latest wireless hotspot for T-Mobile USA. It supports 802.11b/g/n and emulates an Ethernet adapter over USB via RNDIS. On the data network side, it supports LET band 12 (T-Mobile USA’s 700MHz spectrum)—a significant advantage over the AirCard 340u in areas where band 12 has been deployed.

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Garmin Forerunner 230

After a decade of faithful service, it was time to retire my old Forerunner 305. While the electronics still work, the silicone watch band failed back in December. Due to poor running weather and an injury, I put off replacing it until recently.

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