Radical Bomb

The homepage for Steve Radabaugh

A Computer for the After Times

I spent some time in the last week designing and building this computer. It’s based on a similar design by Jay Doscher of Back7.

My goals were a bit different than his, so I need different devices in it, and I have a screen on hand that is very different than the official raspberry pi screen that he used, so the mounts had to be completely different.

While the original was built more for an end of times situation, this one is for portable data recovery, network testing, and can function as a monitor and keyboard/mouse for any computer should I need one.

I did a test fit before I started designing anything just to see how things would arrange. The black box on the bottom is the harddrive cage that I’m using here as a spacer.

The mounting hardware was all designed in Fusion 360 from scratch. I spent a lot of time looking at the existing designs to get some ideas on how to do things, but everything here I did on my own.

The original screen that others have used has a mount for the Raspberry Pi built into it. Mine doesn’t, so I had to design a separate bracket for the Pi. I used a case that came in the kit I got with the Pi, so the 2 screw holes line up with that case.

I needed 2 power inverters, one for 12 Volts and one for 5 Volts, so I used stickyback velcro to put them in the base of the case. You can kind of see that between them is the back of the power plug where the AC power comes in. The 12 Volts is needed for the harddrive adapter, The 5 Volts powers the network switch and the Raspberry Pi which in turn powers the screen and the KVM.

The wiring isn’t super clean, but it’s functional.

I kind of dig the harddrive cage being on back like a backpack. I 3D Printed a little grommet to go around the USB cable. The inside of the grommet is filled with hot glue. All of the holes that I made got “caulked” with hot glue so it should be water tight again. I’m not going to test it though.

The network jack to the right of the screen is an extension of the raspberry pi’s network jack. It can go directly into a network, or I can jumper it through the switch if I need to connect more devices.

Below the screen is the KVM. I had to run the USB cable for the touch screen and screen power out through a hole to plug into the front of the KVM. It gives it a little bit of a cyberpunk look, so I like it.

The USB in the middle of the bottom is a USB 3 extension that goes right to the Raspberry Pi. If I’m moving files from a harddrive onto something else, that USB 3 plug will be much faster than the other USB 2 plugs that are available on the KVM switch.

The HDMI and USB plugs at the bottom right corner are for the KVM. I can plug those into any other computer and have a screen and keyboard mouse for it. This can come in handy if I’m replacing a computer and I need both running at the same time. Since the screen is powered through the USB, I won’t need to run power to it.

Overall, I’m extremely happy with the result. I’m excited for a good opportunity to road test it.

Cool Stuff • May 17, 2020


Headphones A Plenty

I’m up to 5 sets of headphones that I regularly use. This may seem obscene, but it’s what works for me. From top left going clockwise:

Sennheiser HDR175. These are wireless headphones that are hooked up to the home theater. They’re for watching loud movies after the kids are in bed. I’m a big fan of them. The sound quality is great for the price.

Steelseries Arctis 7. I just got these last weekend. They are also wireless, but use a USB connection. They live on my gaming PC. I haven’t tried the mic yet, but I’ve been told it’s really good. I only wish the transmitter for them was smaller. It’s a puck about 1.5 inch in diameter with a 3-4 foot USB cord. Not super convenient for switching to other devices. They do fit over the oculus VR headset if I want better audio while in VR.

Microsoft XBox headset. These are pretty standard headphones that are meant to plug into an Xbox controller. I mostly use them for watching movies and zoom calls on my laptop. The cord is pretty short which is sometimes helpful, sometimes not. The sound quality is okay. They get the job done. I’d probably just use the Arctis 7s if the transmitter for them was smaller.

Apple Earbuds with Lightning connector. I use these on my phone for podcasts or phone calls when I don’t want to tune out the outside world. I wouldn’t mind replacing these with AirPods some day.

Soundpeats Q30 plus. These get paired with my phone for music/podcasts when I do want to tune out the outside world. Especially if I’m using power tools, mowing the lawn, or running. As a note I hate talking on them because it’s like talking with earplugs in. I sometimes pair these to my laptop to watch TV shows while doing something else because I can walk around.

Cool Stuff • April 14, 2020


Plague Notes April 14 2020

Image from Sunday

Just finished having a long 4 day weekend in a world where weekends and weekdays just sort of blur together. We did get snow on Easter Sunday. I joked that even nature is getting confused and thought it was Christmas.

A story I heard on a podcast that I’m paraphrasing:

Two men were having an argument. They approached a 3rd person and said “Excuse me, but can you help us settle an argument? What day is it?”

The 3rd person said “Friday”

The first said, “Friday! Son of a bitch. We were both wrong.”

Outside of the normal Easter activities, I spent the weekend building a lofted bed for my son. It’s nearly identical to the one that his sister got a couple years ago. Kept me busy for a little while anyway. Fortunately the lumber yard delivers.

Not much scheduled for the week going forward. I started a Freelancer’s Workshop through Seth Godin’s Akimbo Workshops last week. It’s been a good ride so far. It’s been making me dig deeper into being a better web developer and get better clients. This way the kids and I are all doing “school” at the same time.

Status Update


April Snow brings May …. woe?

It seems that winter isn’t done with us quite yet. We are over halfway through week 3 of quarantine now. Kids are out of school for at least 2 more weeks. I’m spending my time trying to juggle being a teacher, and a Dad, and doing actual work. It’s Thursday and the last time I left the house was Monday evening, and even then I didn’t get out of my car.

IT work has slowed to a crawl. I have a little bit here and there, but definitely not overwhelming. Which is fine, see above where I mention I’m the stay at home parent.

I do have that short story that needs writing. I’m planning on getting started on that this afternoon if I can overcome the Resistance.

Status Update • April 2, 2020


Doing my part

My 3D printer is getting some miles in spitting out some of the n95 masks for a local hospital and ambulance crew. Nothing special, but it feels good to be helping out.

Cool Stuff • March 26, 2020


Quarantine, 1 week in

I keep seeing people online talking about the things they are doing with all of this newfound free time they have during the quarantine social distancing.

I’m a bit jealous. Other than my kids being home, and me focusing more on working remotely instead of onsite, everything is mostly the same for me. I have a big new website client that will keep me busy for quite a while, plus keeping up with all of my regular work.

I have a short speculative fiction piece that I’m writing with a deadline of the end of May. I haven’t started it yet, but I have most of the structure blocked out in my head. Right now is a weird time to be writing speculative fiction when I can’t even really speculate what next week is going to look like.

Status Update • March 24, 2020


Baby Yoda

Painting is a great way to fight off the existential dread. I printed this guy in black PLA, then primed with auto filler primer before starting the actual painting. When I need to quiet my mind again, I’ll work on shading and details on the head.

Status Update • March 18, 2020


Isolated

It’s a bit of a weird time. The kids are out of school for 3 weeks. The neighbor girl is watching them while I get some work done. I no longer have my own office outside of the home, so I’m camping in the empty Yoga studio to get some work done when I might have gone to the Library or something before. (Yoga class isn’t cancelled for now, it’s just not until this evening).

Since my work often has me in other people’s offices fixing their computers, I’m not sure how these next several weeks are going to play out. I’m honestly not sure at this point that we will go back to the old normal, I’m just waiting to see what the new normal is. I will probably try to get a lot more done remotely than I did before. I’ve always thought that my clients appreciated me seeing them in person and helping them instead of doing everything remotely. The downside of that is of course, keyboards are never clean.

Status Update • March 16, 2020


A new one for the collection

I picked up the SNES Controller for switch this week. I basically have the same controller for 5 different systems here.

Video Games • March 12, 2020


03.09.20

It’s full speed ahead here the first half of this week. I’m working on doing a Gmail to Office365 email migration, and on Wednesday I’m MCing the Chamber of Commerce annual luncheon, so I need to write down all the things that I need to say including a little State of the Chamber part that I need to give as President. Those two items will eat most of today.

Tomorrow I’m pretty well booked up with client appointments, and Wednesday is the Luncheon itself which will take up the better part of the day when you include setup and tear down.

Of course, there’s a variety of other to-do items on the list. At least for this morning, I’m working at home, listening to Groove Salad and I have coffee.

Status Update • March 9, 2020