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Ritek Mini CD-R: Part 2

Ritek Mini CD-R: Part 2

Hi everyone,

Today, I burned a few more Ritek Mini CD-R media, where I found out they have a surface issue:

Ritek CD surface issue 2

I didn’t realized this, but it seems to be a plant manufacture problem. I opened another of the 100-pack I have and it have the same problem.

The problem is that the data was burning fine, with no errors on my Lite-On iHAS524, but it failed to verify on some parts of the disk, as it was approaching the end. I was burning them at 24x, the maximum speed it supports on the writer.

I decided to use the Optiarc AD-7561A drive I have to see if it would burn fine with it, since slim drives usually burns at a lower speed.

M Way External DVD Drive - Colorful Flame Pattern - Teardown - 10
Optiarc AD-7561A

When the CD is inserted in this drive, it is detected as a 10x media:

I burned the CD with this drive, where it was able to both burn and verify successfully. It also seems that the drive burned surface is a bit darker than with the LiteOn drive, so maybe that makes it handle the bad surface better.

Quality tests

I burned 2 CD’s with the Lite-On drive where both burned successfully but didn’t read fine. One was able to read completely, but lowering the read speed at the bad section. The other one failed with unrecoverable errors.

Let’s see their quality tests with the LiteOn drive first, followed with the Optiarc drive:

CD #1 – LiteOn

This is the CD that was able to read completely but lowers the speed. When playing it back, it pauses while reading the wrong area. It can be ripped, but will struggle in the bad area. The ripped file appears to be fine, but EAC reports timing problems. Listening to the track didn’t revealed any issues.

You can see the excesive amounts of C1 and C2 errors.

CD #2 – Optiarc

Here is another burn of the same data, burned with the Optiarc drive and tested on the LiteOn drive. You can see that it only reports a maximum of 10 C1 errors and no C2 errors. The quality score is 99%. Same media, but burned on a different drive, at 10x speed.

CD #3 – LiteOn

This CD failed to test properly. Once again, you can see the excessive amounts of C1 and C2 errors. The positions of the C1 and C2 errors seem to match the ones of the previous LiteOn burn.

CD #4 – Optiarc

Here is another burn of the same data of the previous burn. You can see this time it was successful, with only a maximum of 8 C1 errors and a total of 19. Again, the quality score is 99%, which is the same as the other Optiarc-burned media.

Conclusion

As seen from the above tests, it seems the Optiarc AD-7561A drive can successfully burn these discs if we intend to use all of its capacity. Maybe it is because of the slower burning speed, or because the optical laser can burn them better than the one on the LiteOn drive.

The LiteOn drive can only burn these CDs at 16x and 24x, while the Optiarc can only burn them at 10x. I’ll test burning a disc at 16x at a later time and see if it works. If not, I’ll continue using the Optiarc drive, which has proven to burn them correctly and without any issues.

Installing Node.js 10.x on Ubuntu Focal (20.04) before the official release

Installing Node.js 10.x on Ubuntu Focal (20.04) before the official release

Hi everyone,

Today, I’ll guide you through the steps of installing Node.js 10.x on Ubuntu Focal (20.04) which is stated to be officially released on April 23, 2020.

Right now, installing Node.js using the NodeSource Node.js official repositories do not work because they do not support unreleased versions of Ubuntu.

You may think of using a previous Ubuntu repository in order to install Node.js, but this will actually not work. This is because Ubuntu 20.04 renamed the Python 2 packages from python to python2.

Trying to install Node.js using the NodeSource repositories

The easiest way to normally install Node.js 10.x is by using the official NodeSource repository. For this, we follow their steps.

curl -sL https://deb.nodesource.com/setup_10.x | sudo -E bash

The problem is that because the OS hasn’t been officially released, we get the following issue:

NodeJS script failing on Ubuntu Focal 20.04

No problem. Let’s move to the manual installation method:

  1. Add the NodeSource package signing key:
    curl -sSL https://deb.nodesource.com/gpgkey/nodesource.gpg.key | sudo apt-key add -
  2. Set the version to node_10.x:
    VERSION=node_10.x
  3. Let’s set the distro to eoan, the current stable Ubuntu version:
    DISTRO="eoan"
  4. Now, we need to add the repository to our Linux installation:
    echo "deb https://deb.nodesource.com/$VERSION $DISTRO main" | sudo tee /etc/apt/sources.list.d/nodesource.list
    echo "deb-src https://deb.nodesource.com/$VERSION $DISTRO main" | sudo tee -a /etc/apt/sources.list.d/nodesource.list
  5. The commands should like this in the terminal:
    NodeJS Manual installation commands
  6. We can now run sudo apt update to update the repository information:
    NodeJS manual installation apt update
  7. We will now attempt to install the nodejs package by running sudo apt install nodejs:
    NodeJS installing nodejs fails

As you can see above, following the manual installation steps fails as well because there is no python-minimal package in Ubuntu 20.04. To solve this, we will manually download the Node.js Debian package and modify it to have it refer to python2-minimal instead of python-minimal.

Manually downloading, modifying and installing Node.js 10.x

  1. We will manually navigate to the repository to download the file here: https://deb.nodesource.com/node_10.x/pool/main/n/nodejs/
    NodeJS HTTP repo
  2. From there, just copy the desired Node.js package link to the clipboard. Then, use wget to download it on the terminal. I recommend downloading it to a clean directory since we will run some commands to extract and perform some modifications to it:
    Downloading the NodeJS debian package
  3. Once the download finishes, we need to extract the downloaded debian package with the ar utility:
    ar x nodejs_10.19.0-1nodesource1_amd64.deb
    extracting the NodeJS debian package
  4. We need to extract the control.tar.gz file:
    tar -xzf control.tar.gz
    Extracting control.tar.gz
  5. Using nano or your favorite text editor, we will edit the control file. Look for python-minimal:
    nano control
    Editing the control file
  6. Change python-minimal to python2-minimal:
    Renaming python-minimal to python2-minimal
  7. Save the file. On nano, press CTRL + O, then exit pressing CTRL + X.
  8. We now need to recreate the control.tar.gz tar package to include the modified control file. To do this, we will run the following command:
    tar -czf control.tar.gz control md5sums postinst pr einst prerm
    Recreating the control.tar.gz file
  9. Finally, we will replace the control.tar.gz in the debian package file. We will run the following command to do so:
    ar -r nodejs_10.19.0-1nodesource1_amd64.deb control.tar.gz
    Replacing the control.tar.gz in the NodeJS debian package
  10. We can now install the package with dpkg. We’ll run the following:
    sudo dpkg -i nodejs_10.19.0-1nodesource1_amd64.deb
    Installing the modified NodeJS debian package

After following the above steps, we should have Node.js installed on our operating system. We can confirm this by running node -v and npm -v:

Checking NodeJS and npm versions

And that’s it! We have successfully installed Node.js on our Ubuntu Focal installation.

Ritek Mini CD-R Photos and Quality Tests

Ritek Mini CD-R Photos and Quality Tests

Hi everyone,

Yesterday, I received some Pocket/Mini CD-R I purchased on eBay, which were being sold for cheap due to them not being branded or not having their specs listed.

The seller was selling 3 packs of 100 unbranded silver surface Mini CD-R, and since the price was lower compared to other branded media, I decided to buy all 3.

Ritek Pocket CD-R 210MB media - 1

The discs were wrapped with no spindle.

Ritek Pocket CD-R 210MB media - 2

The discs have a silver surface:

Ritek Pocket CD-R 210MB media - 3

Here we can see a single CD-R:

They have the usual light green color on the data side.

The disc loaded fine on my LiteOn iHAS524 drive. I launched ImgBurn which says that the discs are made by Ritek. Their media ID is 97m15s17f:

Pocket CD 97m15s17f Ritek Media 1

They also have a capacity of 210MB or 24 minutes and a maximum write speed of 24x.

Pocket CD 97m15s17f Ritek Media 2

This is the first Mini CD I use with this LiteOn drive, which has the unique LabelTag feature to add labels to the data side. The software detected the disc and a label can be created:

Pocket CD 97m15s17f Ritek Media 3

I burned some of these CD-R with Nero Express, which allows the creation of the label on the same run. I also burned them at its maximum speed of 24x without any failure.

Quality tests

I ran a Disc Quality test using Nero DiscSpeed. Below you can see the results of those tests. I limited the test to the first session of it, as the second one is the label produced with the above software and contains unreadable data. This makes the test fail. By limiting it to the first session, we can get the actual data track quality.

Disc 1

The first test gave us a maximum of 14 C1 errors with a total of 58. The average was 0.11. There were no C2 errors reported. The Quality Score was 98%.

Disc 2

This test was perfect! No C1 or C2 errors were reported, making the Quality Score be 100%.

Disc 3

This disc had a maximum of 9 for the C1 Errors with a total of 13. The average was 0.07. No C2 errors were reported. The Quality Score was 99%.

Disc 4

This final disc I burned had a maximum of 13 C1 errors with a total of 27. No C2 errors were reported. The Quality Score was 98%.

Final Thoughts

These blank CD-R media seems to be good to write small amounts of data. This could be an MP3 album, some photos, or software you’d like to archive. The burns seem to be of good quality and the 24x burning speed is adequate. This sure was a great find on eBay!

The M Way External DVD Drive Teardown

The M Way External DVD Drive Teardown

Hi everyone,

In this post, I will be tearing down the M Way External DVD Drive.

This is a slim external CD-RW/DVD-ROM Combo drive that can read and write CDs but can only read DVDs.

Let’s begin with the teardown.

First, we must remove 2 screws that are found on the back to open the drive enclosure:

M Way External DVD Drive - Colorful Flame Pattern - Teardown - 1

We can then open the enclosure:

We can see the DVD drive along with the board and USB Cable. We can also see that it seems that the USB cable is not actually soldered to the board.

Removing the DVD drive from the enclosure, we can see that the cable is in fact a Mini USB cable. This means the cable is not an actual USB 3.0 cable:

M Way External DVD Drive - Colorful Flame Pattern - Teardown - 4

The fact that the cable is not soldered to the board is good news for us since we could replace it if the original cable goes bad or we want to use another cable.

On the back of the drive, we can take a closer look at the USB board:

M Way External DVD Drive - Colorful Flame Pattern - Teardown - 5

Taking it off reveals a nice surprise:

M Way External DVD Drive - Colorful Flame Pattern - Teardown - 6

The board is a USB to PATA/IDE adapter. This is interesting and somewhat makes sense, since the drive is just a CD-RW/DVD Combo Drive, and back in the days, we could see tons of CD writers for laptops. It uses the Initio INIC-1511 IC.

Here, we can see the PATA/IDE conector of the drive:

M Way External DVD Drive - Colorful Flame Pattern - Teardown - 7

I decided to take off the sticker that it has on the top, revealing something more:

M Way External DVD Drive - Colorful Flame Pattern - Teardown - 8

The included TEAC DW-224E-C drive was manufactured in November 2005. This could mean they are recycling old DVD drives or using refurbished drives. If this is true, this is good news for the environment, since they are repurposing drives that are in working conditions.

Here, I have the original drive connected to my computer without the enclosure:

M Way External DVD Drive - Colorful Flame Pattern - Teardown - 9

Because the drive is basically an internal drive on an IDE to USB enclosure, we should be able to use it with other drives. I tested it with an old Optiarc AD-7561A drive. This drive is a CD/DVD writer with Lightscribe technology, which I haven’t used it for years:

M Way External DVD Drive - Colorful Flame Pattern - Teardown - 10

When I connected the drive to the board, and to the computer, it recognized it without any issues:

M Way External DVD Drive - Colorful Flame Pattern - Teardown - Optiarc Device Manager

And here we can see its capabilities as reported by ImgBurn:

M Way External DVD Drive - Colorful Flame Pattern - Teardown - Optiarc Capabilities

The Optiarc drive still works after a lot of years of not using it. This also means that we should be able to use other PATA/IDE drives with this particular USB board and exchange the original drive if it ever goes bad.

That’s basically it for this teardown. If you’re interested in getting this CD-RW/DVD drive, you can get it on Amazon here.

The M Way USB External DVD Drive

The M Way USB External DVD Drive

Hi everyone,

In this post, I’ll show you the M Way USB External DVD Drive.

This is a slim External CD-RW/DVD-ROM Combo drive, which is quite interesting, given that most units today are DVD writers. This one just reads and writes CD-R/RW, and reads DVD’s, but can’t write them.

The brand is unknown, too, but it was on sale a few days ago and decided to get one, just to have just in case one of my other drives goes bad. While CD/DVD usage has degraded over time, I do have music CD and I listen to them sometimes, so having a drive is handy to listen to them.

Unboxing

Let’s start with the box:

It is pretty colorful, and has a description of what it contains, as well as its features.

Opening the box we find the drive inside a bag:

We then find that the drive is wrapped in bubble wrap, and that there are some cards inside:

We can see that the faceplate of it is generic, with no CD or the actual DVD logo.

Taking off the bubble wrap, we see the DVD drive:

On the back, there is the USB cable:

M Way External DVD Drive - Colorful Flame Pattern - 10

The USB cable contains a USB-A 3.0 plug as well as a USB-C plug. Both can be used depending on the device you wish to use this DVD drive.

The documentation included is a manual, a thank you card, and another card telling to send an email to get a free 32GB USB drive.

M Way External DVD Drive - Colorful Flame Pattern - 12

Once the drive is plugged in the PC, I’m able to open the tray:

The drive is detected as a TEAC DW-224E-C drive:

M Way External DVD Drive - Colorful Flame Pattern - 15

The following is a screenshot of the capabilities of the drive as shown in ImgBurn:

M Way External DVD Drive - Colorful Flame Pattern - 16

As we can see, it reads most major CD and DVD formats and can write CD-R and CD-RW. Interestingly, it reports that it can’t read double-layer DVD+/-R. I’ll need to test this to confirm if this is in fact true.

I tested the drive with my Music CD collection and it reads and plays them fine. This is really great, and will be my main usage for it.

You can get this External CD-RW/DVD Combo drive on Amazon here.

The Techin Wi-Fi LED Smart Bulb

The Techin Wi-Fi LED Smart Bulb

Hi everyone,

In the past few weeks, I purchased the Techin Wi-Fi LED Smart Bulb, as I was curious about Smart Bulbs in general. These are LED bulbs that connect via Wi-Fi, and this was a factor I took into consideration since some other Smart Bulbs require having a hub.

Techin Wi-Fi Smart Bulb

These bulbs also are RGB, and also allows configuring their brightness and white balance. This is really nice because sometimes you want to have less brightness in your room, while at other times, you want it to be well illuminated.

Being Smart Bulbs, they integrate very nice with Google Home and Amazon Alexa. This means that you can use Google Assistant or the Google Home app, as well as connect them with an Amazon Echo device, to control them via Alexa. This is another great feature because I can speak to Alexa and she will turn the lights on or off.

Techin Wi-Fi Smart Bulb

The packaging and the LED bulb looks like a normal LED bulb would look:

Techin Wi-Fi Smart Bulb

Setting up the Smart Bulb is as simple as replacing your existing bulb:

Techin Wi-Fi Smart Bulb

Configuring the Smart Bulb requires downloading the Smart Life app to your phone. This is before you can link them to Alexa or Google Home since you need to have a Smart Life account first. The Smart Bulbs must be linked in the app first, and then Google Home and Alexa will find them.

Techin Wi-Fi Smart Bulb

It’s as simple as following some quick instructions, however, I ran into some problems with my router. I’ll talk about this in a later blog post, but the important thing is that I was able to successfully connect them to the Wi-Fi.

Once it is connected, the Smart Bulb will turn white by default:

Techin Wi-Fi Smart Bulb

By using the Smart Life app, you can configure the white balance or change colors:

Techin Wi-Fi Smart Bulb

The colors are accurate. Here is a picture of it turned red and blue:

In the Smart Life app, this is how the color control looks:

Techin Wi-Fi Smart Bulb

Because we have set up our Smart Life account, we can now link our account with Alexa, and Google Home. This is how the light control panel looks in Alexa:

Techin Wi-Fi Smart Bulb

Alexa also allows us to change the brightness and color. It provides us with a list of colors to choose, as well as different shades of white:

Techin Wi-Fi Smart Bulb

We can also speak to Alexa, and this is one of the benefits of having Smart Bulbs, as we can turn them on, off, or change colors by just talking to it.

If you prefer to use Google Home, it is also compatible. Take a look!

Techin Wi-Fi Smart Bulb
Techin Wi-Fi Smart Bulb

As with Alexa, we can also change the color in Google Home:

Techin Wi-Fi Smart Bulb

In conclusion, these lights work as expected and the interoperability across different Smart Home ecosystems is a plus. I’m planning on getting more of these Smart Bulbs to finish replacing the traditional LED bulbs.

One feature I like is that they are compatible also with Alexa Guard. When paired, Alexa will turn them on or off as if someone is in the house. Apparently, this helps keeps the house safe. Just a word of caution, don’t get scared if you come back home and see them turned on. It happened to me, and it took me a while to realize that it was because of Alexa.

These Smart Bulbs are not only convenient, but their power usage is really low, at just 8 Watts. Now, keep in mind that even when the lights are off, it will still consume a bit of power, since they are always-connected, but the power usage is still relatively low.

The final point would be regarding price. My 4-pack Smart LED Bulbs cost about $41.99, with a $4-dollar coupon attached bringing it down to $37.99. Almost at $10 dollars per bulb, this is one of the cheapest ways right now to replace your lights with smart, wi-fi-enabled ones.

If you’re interested in these LED Smart Bulbs, you can check them out on Amazon at the following link:

Hope you enjoyed reading this blog post!

Unboxing the MagaBolt MagX Magnetic USB-C Cable

Unboxing the MagaBolt MagX Magnetic USB-C Cable

Hi everyone,

Today, I’m sharing my unboxing video of the MagaBolt MagX Magnetic USB-C Cable which was a campaign that ran on Kickstarter.

This is a Magnetic USB-C cable that resembles Apple’s MagSafe connector. It is compatible with all USB-C devices, so you can use this cable to charge your phone, for instance.

Watch the video below to see how the cable looks:

Unboxing the BaseUs USB-C Hub for Phones (NuDock on Kickstarter)

Unboxing the BaseUs USB-C Hub for Phones (NuDock on Kickstarter)

Hi everyone,

I uploaded a new video to my YouTube channel. This time, I present you the BaseUs USB-C Hub, also called NuDock when it ran on Kickstarter. The final product turned out to be this BaseUs USB-C Hub, with identical features to the Kickstarter project.

The project creator told us that because NuDock was already being used, they had to rename the dock to BaseUs.

Watch the unboxing video below:

Fixing the Orange LED of the Tempotec Sonata iDSD Plus

Fixing the Orange LED of the Tempotec Sonata iDSD Plus

Hi everyone,

I have found a solution for when my Tempotec iDSD Plus gets the Orange LED.

The solution is fairly easy. I believe that something may not be making good contact with the printed circuit board and may be preventing the DAC from working. However, slightly pushing around the SmartAction SA2000 chip, it seems to make the LED change back to green and allow the unit to work.

You can see the video below where you can see the fix in action:

To put it back in the case, I put a small piece of paper to make a bit of pressure around the SA2000 chip and so far, I haven’t yet had the orange LED issue again.

I hope that it keeps working fine, because I really enjoy the sound this DAC produces.

How to install Windows 10 Insider Preview Build 18875

How to install Windows 10 Insider Preview Build 18875

Hi everyone,

Today, I finally managed to install Windows 10 Insider Preview, build 18875. Previosuly, I was getting an error with code 0xca00a000.

Installing Windows 10 Insider Preview 18875 1
Installing Windows 10 Insider Preview 18875 1

After reading around the Feedback hub, it seems that disabling the Windows Search service and deleting the content of the Windows SoftwareDistribution folder fixes this, and the update is able to be installed succesful. Here, I’ll show you step by step how to do it.

Disabling the Windows Search service

First, press the keys Win + R and type services.msc, then press OK:

Installing Windows 10 Insider Preview 18875 2
Installing Windows 10 Insider Preview 18875 2

The Windows Services management console will open. Go down and right click on the Windows Search service. You’ll click on Properties:

Installing Windows 10 Insider Preview 18875 3
Installing Windows 10 Insider Preview 18875 3

Once you are in Properties, go to the Startup type drop down and select Disabled. Then, press OK:

Installing Windows 10 Insider Preview 18875 4
Installing Windows 10 Insider Preview 18875 4

Right click on Windows Search again, and click on Stop:

Installing Windows 10 Insider Preview 18875 5
Installing Windows 10 Insider Preview 18875 5

You may be prompted to disable other services. Press Yes:

Installing Windows 10 Insider Preview 18875 6
Installing Windows 10 Insider Preview 18875 6

The Windows Search service should now be stopped.

Cleaning the SoftwareDistribution folder

The next step involves navigating to C:\Windows\SoftwareDistribution and deleting everything inside:

Installing Windows 10 Insider Preview 18875 7
Installing Windows 10 Insider Preview 18875 7
Installing Windows 10 Insider Preview 18875 8
Installing Windows 10 Insider Preview 18875 8

You may be prompted to give administrator permissions in order to delete the contents. Press Continue:

Installing Windows 10 Insider Preview 18875 9
Installing Windows 10 Insider Preview 18875 9

The contents will be deleted:

Installing Windows 10 Insider Preview 18875 10
Installing Windows 10 Insider Preview 18875 10

And the folder will be empty:

Installing Windows 10 Insider Preview 18875 11
Installing Windows 10 Insider Preview 18875 11

Now, on Windows Update, press Retry:

Installing Windows 10 Insider Preview 18875 12
Installing Windows 10 Insider Preview 18875 12

It will begin getting ready, downloading, and installing the update:

Installing Windows 10 Insider Preview 18875 13
Installing Windows 10 Insider Preview 18875 13
Installing Windows 10 Insider Preview 18875 14
Installing Windows 10 Insider Preview 18875 14

Finally, you’ll be prompted to restart your machine. Click on Restart Now:

Installing Windows 10 Insider Preview 18875 15
Installing Windows 10 Insider Preview 18875 15

Everything should run smoothly now and the update should install fine:

Installing Windows 10 Insider Preview 18875 16
Installing Windows 10 Insider Preview 18875 16
Installing Windows 10 Insider Preview 18875 17
Installing Windows 10 Insider Preview 18875 17

Once the installation finishes, you’ll be on the 18875 build of Windows 10:

Installing Windows 10 Insider Preview 18875 18
Installing Windows 10 Insider Preview 18875 18

That’s it! Hope these steps were useful in getting you to install Windows 10 Insider Preview build 18875!