Last week I described here the inspection microscope I bought to improve my visual comfort while working on small-sized projects. This morning, I made a few improvements to my setup. First, I replaced my old ViewSonic VP191b monitor, which was unable to display the signal outputted by the AFSCOPE C102 C-mount camera, with a new 13” HDMI-only display. I had similar issues earlier this month when I worked on the VidHD video card for my pimped Apple II computer (here). I will likely upgrade this 13” monitor later, for something a tad bigger and more importantly with additional inputs (BNC, RGB, Composite, VGA at least in addition to HDMI).

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Then, I will mount the 13” monitor directly onto the microscope, using a VESA mounting bracket I already installed on the microscope bar. The second improvement was to cut to size a blue insulated and fire-resistant silicon mat. The next and likely final upgrade to my system will allow me to acquire and share video footage from the CCD camera. This should improve the quality of my illustrations. In the meantime, we can already see the improvement vs. my DSLR. For example, I took several pictures and videos of the core-memory board I used in the post here.



The other improvement of the week was in extremist salvation. I am using several NAS-es to store and mirror our digital data at home. Over the years, I learn the hard way never to trust these devices. Not only HDDs fail – we have RAID to protect ourselves from such failures –, but PSU-es, motherboards, and even NICs can and will fail us. I had it all! In particular, I recall the awful experience with Western Digital, and their infamous Sentinel DX4000. The system is garbage, and the customer support is deplorable. You can read about it here. Well, guess what? For some unknown reasons, the UPS protecting two NAS-es and my workstation crashed (I am adding this to the list of what will fail on you). After swapping out the UPS, of course, the last Sentinel DX4000 I own refused to boot and stubbornly showed a useless Startup Failed: 0xD9 message. I relived the same horror movie: no more support (that’s the only wise move from WD), no clear explanation or procedure to follow on the forums, miserably failing recovery procedure, etc., etc. In the end, I was ready to toss the unit into the garbage can where it belonged when I tried a final trick. While the NAS was powered on, I removed and re-seated every HDD. Then, I rebooted forcefully the system (the only thing you can do after 0xD9 error anyway). Then a miracle happened, and the unit engaged in a repair cycle. As suspected, there was nothing terrible, and the recovery only took a few hours – versus a week when I swap out a dead drive. Good job, WD (this is ironic, just in case 😊).

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