IPv6 Testing on Apple Personal Hotspot

I have IPv6 set up and running on my home network, but there was some testing I wanted to run remotely. My local Starbucks WiFi isn’t running IPv6 according to my quick test with https://test-ipv6.com/

2019-10-28 (2)

The same test from my iPhone on TMobile shows it’s running IPv6 by default.


I had read somewhere that Apple supported IPv6 on the personal hotspot through a loophole in the netmask routing algorithms used by most providers..

When I tested the local network connection on my computer while connected to the Apple Personal Hotspot, it appeared to be running IPv6.

Mon 10/28/2019 14:57:08.69 C:\Users\Wim>ipconfig /all

Windows IP Configuration

Host Name . . . . . . . . . . . . : WimSurface
Primary Dns Suffix . . . . . . . : WIMSWORLD.local
Node Type . . . . . . . . . . . . : Hybrid
IP Routing Enabled. . . . . . . . : No
WINS Proxy Enabled. . . . . . . . : No
DNS Suffix Search List. . . . . . : WIMSWORLD.local

Wireless LAN adapter Local Area Connection* 4:

Media State . . . . . . . . . . . : Media disconnected
Connection-specific DNS Suffix . :
Description . . . . . . . . . . . : Microsoft Wi-Fi Direct Virtual Adapter #4
Physical Address. . . . . . . . . : B6-AE-2B-C1-21-16
DHCP Enabled. . . . . . . . . . . : Yes
Autoconfiguration Enabled . . . . : Yes

Wireless LAN adapter Local Area Connection* 6:

Media State . . . . . . . . . . . : Media disconnected
Connection-specific DNS Suffix . :
Description . . . . . . . . . . . : Microsoft Wi-Fi Direct Virtual Adapter #5
Physical Address. . . . . . . . . : B6-AE-2B-C1-24-16
DHCP Enabled. . . . . . . . . . . : Yes
Autoconfiguration Enabled . . . . : Yes

Wireless LAN adapter Wi-Fi:

Media State . . . . . . . . . . . : Media disconnected
Connection-specific DNS Suffix . : home
Description . . . . . . . . . . . : Marvell AVASTAR Wireless-AC Network Controller
Physical Address. . . . . . . . . : B4-AE-2B-C1-20-17
DHCP Enabled. . . . . . . . . . . : Yes
Autoconfiguration Enabled . . . . : Yes

Ethernet adapter Bluetooth Network Connection:

Connection-specific DNS Suffix . :
Description . . . . . . . . . . . : Bluetooth PAN HelpText
Physical Address. . . . . . . . . : B4-AE-2B-C1-20-18
DHCP Enabled. . . . . . . . . . . : Yes
Autoconfiguration Enabled . . . . : Yes
IPv6 Address. . . . . . . . . . . : 2607:fb90:f2a:1b9b:4d30:692:7441:1cf4(Preferred)
Temporary IPv6 Address. . . . . . : 2607:fb90:f2a:1b9b:2495:be8c:b229:b0b6(Preferred)
Link-local IPv6 Address . . . . . : fe80::4d30:692:7441:1cf4%4(Preferred)
IPv4 Address. . . . . . . . . . . :
Subnet Mask . . . . . . . . . . . :
Lease Obtained. . . . . . . . . . : Monday, October 28, 2019 3:01:16 PM
Lease Expires . . . . . . . . . . : Tuesday, October 29, 2019 2:46:49 PM
Default Gateway . . . . . . . . . : fe80::1089:a438:80a9:f8e%4
DHCP Server . . . . . . . . . . . :
DHCPv6 IAID . . . . . . . . . . . : 95727147
DHCPv6 Client DUID. . . . . . . . : 00-01-00-01-1D-D8-F3-3B-B4-AE-2B-C1-20-17
DNS Servers . . . . . . . . . . . : fe80::1089:a438:80a9:f8e%4
NetBIOS over Tcpip. . . . . . . . : Enabled

Mon 10/28/2019 15:03:26.55 C:\Users\Wim>

Unfortunately when I connected to my phone from my computer via the personal hotspot, I wasn’t able to get positive IPv6 results. Obviously the hotspot was working since I was able to get to the test site via IPv4 without issues.

2019-10-28 (1)

I’d read “RIPE NIC: ‘In Five Weeks We’ll Run Out of IPv4 Internet Addresses’ “ earlier today and have always been interested in understanding more of the nuances of using IPv6 compared to IPv4. Getting Ready for IPv4 Run-out has more information on how they are allocating IPv4 addresses..



FAA Drone Questionnaire

I got an email from the FAA asking me to participate in a questionnaire about recreational drone use and information the FAA can provide.

One of the questions was How long do you typically fly? My answer was 60 minutes.  I usually have three fully charged batteries, each of which will fly for approximately 28 minutes. I like to land and swap batteries with a few minutes to spare, giving me a total flight time per session of close to an hour.

2019-10-04 (2)

The form doesn’t like any answer more than 30 minutes. One more example of how out of touch the FAA is with the rapidly advancing technology.

Microsoft Surface Pro 4 Screen Flicker

My nearly four year old Microsoft Surface Pro 4 recently developed a screen flicker issue. I’m sure it was some driver update that was installed, but I’m not exactly sure when. The observed activity is that a horizontal section at the bottom of the screen about the same size of the mouse cursor flickers with data that is duplicated from the top of the screen. The rest of the screen appears to be bouncing up and down by one scan line, making the text nearly unreadable.

I searched online, and found references to flicker problems with some cases being purely hardware related and requiring replacement by Microsoft. I also found references to the problem only occurring after the screen data had not changed for a few seconds. This static screen problem matched my problem exactly.

I found a workaround by enabling the seconds display in the clock in the task bar. This is done by creating a registry entry. If the following is in a “.reg” file it will set the value to show the seconds on the clock.

Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00


I read that the seconds are not enabled by default because it saves a bit of processing power, which can be important on battery powered devices. For me the difference is minimal and worth not spending more time researching a probable driver issue that may be taken care of automatically in some future windows update.

2019-10-04 (1)2019-10-04

I hope that this helps someone else. The screen flicker/jitter was annoying and I wasn’t able to find the root cause.


Monitoring Raspberry Pi with MRTG

I’ve used MRTG for simple monitoring for years. It’s easy to get working and dependent on very few packages. It stores it’s data in simple files. This both limits it, and makes it easy to move or duplicate.

I wanted to monitor each of my Raspberry Pi network interfaces because they are connected via WiFi and I can’t monitor a particular switch port for each device. I’ve spent nearly a year searching for the reason that MRTG didn’t enumerate the interfaces before coming up with a simple snippet fixing my problem.

Adding this line to the end of my /etc/snmp/snmpd.conf file and restarting the snmpd allowed me to run cfgmaker and see my network interfaces.

view   systemonly  included   .

Quick and dirty addition and query:

sudo echo view   systemonly  included   . >>/etc/snmp/snmpd.conf
sudo systemctl restart snmpd

/usr/bin/cfgmaker --no-down --zero-speed=100000000 public@localhost
Thanks to https://www.seei.biz/cpu-temperature-of-a-raspberry-pi-via-snmp/ for giving me the simple answer that I’d been trying to figure out for over a year.

Access Windows share from Raspberry Pi

I have a shared directory from my windows server that I’d like to read and write from my Raspberry Pi. I want the share to be automatically available on my Raspberry Pi whenever both the Raspberry and the Windows server are running, but I don’t want the system to spend too much time hung up if the windows server is not available. My easy solution is below.

My Windows servername is Acid. The share I want to connect to is Web. The IP address of the server is

sudo echo Acid>>/etc/hosts
sudo mkdir --parents /media/acid/web
sudo echo username=WindowsUsername >/etc/wimsworld.smb.credentials
sudo echo password=WindowsPassword >>/etc/wimsworld.smb.credentials
sudo echo domain=OptionalDomainName >>/etc/wimsworld.smb.credentials
sudo chmod 0600 /etc/wimsworld.smb.credentials
sudo echo //acid/web /media/acid/web/ cifs credentials=/etc/wimsworld.smb.credentials,noauto,x-systemd.automount,x-systemd.idle-timeout=1min,_netdev 0 0>>/etc/fstab

That series of commands, with the correct details in the credentials, and the system automounter will automatically attempt to connect whenever there’s an access under /media/acid/web and then disconnect again after it’s been idle for over a minute.

I needed to add Acid to my local hosts file because the name doesn’t resolve from the DNS server the raspberry pi is using.

I put the windows Username/Password and Domain in a file with only read/write permissions to root so that it wasn’t clear text in the fstab file for anyone on the machine to read.

I did all of this on a machine that had been built from the Raspian Buster Lite image from 2019-07-10. I didn’t explicitly install the cifs-utils package. It might be needed on other distributions.

Raspberry Pi ZeroW Camera Focus with FFMPEG

I wanted a quick and dirty method to test my camera module installation on my Raspberry Pi ZeroW installation. I don’t have a monitor connected to the Raspberry, and explicitly did not install the desktop version of the operating system. This is especially important because the camera itself may not be properly focused after installation in the case, and the only way to easily focus the camera is with a video stream allowing you to make small adjustments and see them nearly real time.

I’ve used FFMPEG for years as it handles almost any kind of video or audio I can throw at it. I use VLC on my desktop machine for similar reasons.

I did a quick install of ffmpeg on my Pi with the following command, allowing it to install all the requirements, adding up to almost 126 new packages and 56MB that needed to be downloaded and installed.

sudo apt-get install ffmpeg -y

After it finished installing, I was able to run the following command with the address being my desktop computer.

ffmpeg -f video4linux2 -input_format h264 -video_size 1280x720 -framerate 30 -i /dev/video0 -vcodec copy -an -f mpegts udp://

On my desktop computer I ran VLC, under the Media menu, selected Open Network Stream, and opened:


2019-09-23 (1)2019-09-23 (2)

What I’m doing is to use FFMPEG to pull video from the device and push it using UDP datagrams at my desktop on port 5000. Then VLC opens a port on the local machine at port 5000 to receive the datagrams and it decodes and displays the video. An interesting thing about this method is that I can stop transmitting from the raspberry, then restart it, and VLC will accept the packets since UDP is a connectionless protocol.

What really surprised me was that when I logged in a second time to my Raspberry Pi to view the CPU usage for streaming, it was only running around 12% of the CPU. I was interested in knowing what native formats the camera supported..

ffmpeg -f v4l2 -list_formats all -i /dev/video0
ffmpeg version 4.1.4-1+rpt1~deb10u1 Copyright (c) 2000-2019 the FFmpeg developers
  built with gcc 8 (Raspbian 8.3.0-6+rpi1)
  configuration: --prefix=/usr --extra-version='1+rpt1~deb10u1' --toolchain=hardened --libdir=/usr/lib/arm-linux-gnueabihf --incdir=/usr/include/arm-linux-gnueabihf --arch=arm --enable-gpl --disable-stripping --enable-avresample --disable-filter=resample --enable-avisynth --enable-gnutls --enable-ladspa --enable-libaom --enable-libass --enable-libbluray --enable-libbs2b --enable-libcaca --enable-libcdio --enable-libcodec2 --enable-libflite --enable-libfontconfig --enable-libfreetype --enable-libfribidi --enable-libgme --enable-libgsm --enable-libjack --enable-libmp3lame --enable-libmysofa --enable-libopenjpeg --enable-libopenmpt --enable-libopus --enable-libpulse --enable-librsvg --enable-librubberband --enable-libshine --enable-libsnappy --enable-libsoxr --enable-libspeex --enable-libssh --enable-libtheora --enable-libtwolame --enable-libvidstab --enable-libvorbis --enable-libvpx --enable-libwavpack --enable-libwebp --enable-libx265 --enable-libxml2 --enable-libxvid --enable-libzmq --enable-libzvbi --enable-lv2 --enable-omx --enable-openal --enable-opengl --enable-sdl2 --enable-omx-rpi --enable-mmal --enable-libdc1394 --enable-libdrm --enable-libiec61883 --enable-chromaprint --enable-frei0r --enable-libx264 --enable-shared
  libavutil      56. 22.100 / 56. 22.100
  libavcodec     58. 35.100 / 58. 35.100
  libavformat    58. 20.100 / 58. 20.100
  libavdevice    58.  5.100 / 58.  5.100
  libavfilter     7. 40.101 /  7. 40.101
  libavresample   4.  0.  0 /  4.  0.  0
  libswscale      5.  3.100 /  5.  3.100
  libswresample   3.  3.100 /  3.  3.100
  libpostproc    55.  3.100 / 55.  3.100
[video4linux2,v4l2 @ 0x2367e40] Raw       :     yuv420p :     Planar YUV 4:2:0 : {32-3280, 2}x{32-2464, 2}
[video4linux2,v4l2 @ 0x2367e40] Raw       :     yuyv422 :           YUYV 4:2:2 : {32-3280, 2}x{32-2464, 2}
[video4linux2,v4l2 @ 0x2367e40] Raw       :       rgb24 :     24-bit RGB 8-8-8 : {32-3280, 2}x{32-2464, 2}
[video4linux2,v4l2 @ 0x2367e40] Compressed:       mjpeg :            JFIF JPEG : {32-3280, 2}x{32-2464, 2}
[video4linux2,v4l2 @ 0x2367e40] Compressed:        h264 :                H.264 : {32-3280, 2}x{32-2464, 2}
[video4linux2,v4l2 @ 0x2367e40] Compressed:       mjpeg :          Motion-JPEG : {32-3280, 2}x{32-2464, 2}
[video4linux2,v4l2 @ 0x2367e40] Raw       : Unsupported :           YVYU 4:2:2 : {32-3280, 2}x{32-2464, 2}
[video4linux2,v4l2 @ 0x2367e40] Raw       : Unsupported :           VYUY 4:2:2 : {32-3280, 2}x{32-2464, 2}
[video4linux2,v4l2 @ 0x2367e40] Raw       :     uyvy422 :           UYVY 4:2:2 : {32-3280, 2}x{32-2464, 2}
[video4linux2,v4l2 @ 0x2367e40] Raw       :        nv12 :         Y/CbCr 4:2:0 : {32-3280, 2}x{32-2464, 2}
[video4linux2,v4l2 @ 0x2367e40] Raw       :       bgr24 :     24-bit BGR 8-8-8 : {32-3280, 2}x{32-2464, 2}
[video4linux2,v4l2 @ 0x2367e40] Raw       :     yuv420p :     Planar YVU 4:2:0 : {32-3280, 2}x{32-2464, 2}
[video4linux2,v4l2 @ 0x2367e40] Raw       : Unsupported :         Y/CrCb 4:2:0 : {32-3280, 2}x{32-2464, 2}
[video4linux2,v4l2 @ 0x2367e40] Raw       :        bgr0 : 32-bit BGRA/X 8-8-8-8 : {32-3280, 2}x{32-2464, 2}
/dev/video0: Immediate exit requested

That output leads me to believe that the camera module could output either h264 or mjpeg without significant CPU overhead. What it doesn’t do is tell me efficient frame sizes. It seems to say that horizontal and vertical sizes can be anything between 32 to 3280 and 32 to 2464. I know that the specs on the camera say that it will run still frames at the high resolution, but video is significantly less.

Two Video4Linux commands that return interesting and similar results are:

pi@WimPiZeroCamera:~ $ v4l2-ctl --list-formats-ext
        Type: Video Capture

        [0]: 'YU12' (Planar YUV 4:2:0)
                Size: Stepwise 32x32 - 3280x2464 with step 2/2
        [1]: 'YUYV' (YUYV 4:2:2)
                Size: Stepwise 32x32 - 3280x2464 with step 2/2
        [2]: 'RGB3' (24-bit RGB 8-8-8)
                Size: Stepwise 32x32 - 3280x2464 with step 2/2
        [3]: 'JPEG' (JFIF JPEG, compressed)
                Size: Stepwise 32x32 - 3280x2464 with step 2/2
        [4]: 'H264' (H.264, compressed)
                Size: Stepwise 32x32 - 3280x2464 with step 2/2
        [5]: 'MJPG' (Motion-JPEG, compressed)
                Size: Stepwise 32x32 - 3280x2464 with step 2/2
        [6]: 'YVYU' (YVYU 4:2:2)
                Size: Stepwise 32x32 - 3280x2464 with step 2/2
        [7]: 'VYUY' (VYUY 4:2:2)
                Size: Stepwise 32x32 - 3280x2464 with step 2/2
        [8]: 'UYVY' (UYVY 4:2:2)
                Size: Stepwise 32x32 - 3280x2464 with step 2/2
        [9]: 'NV12' (Y/CbCr 4:2:0)
                Size: Stepwise 32x32 - 3280x2464 with step 2/2
        [10]: 'BGR3' (24-bit BGR 8-8-8)
                Size: Stepwise 32x32 - 3280x2464 with step 2/2
        [11]: 'YV12' (Planar YVU 4:2:0)
                Size: Stepwise 32x32 - 3280x2464 with step 2/2
        [12]: 'NV21' (Y/CrCb 4:2:0)
                Size: Stepwise 32x32 - 3280x2464 with step 2/2
        [13]: 'BGR4' (32-bit BGRA/X 8-8-8-8)
                Size: Stepwise 32x32 - 3280x2464 with step 2/2
pi@WimPiZeroCamera:~ $ v4l2-ctl -L

User Controls

                     brightness 0x00980900 (int)    : min=0 max=100 step=1 default=50 value=50 flags=slider
                       contrast 0x00980901 (int)    : min=-100 max=100 step=1 default=0 value=0 flags=slider
                     saturation 0x00980902 (int)    : min=-100 max=100 step=1 default=0 value=0 flags=slider
                    red_balance 0x0098090e (int)    : min=1 max=7999 step=1 default=1000 value=1000 flags=slider
                   blue_balance 0x0098090f (int)    : min=1 max=7999 step=1 default=1000 value=1000 flags=slider
                horizontal_flip 0x00980914 (bool)   : default=0 value=0
                  vertical_flip 0x00980915 (bool)   : default=0 value=0
           power_line_frequency 0x00980918 (menu)   : min=0 max=3 default=1 value=1
                                0: Disabled
                                1: 50 Hz
                                2: 60 Hz
                                3: Auto
                      sharpness 0x0098091b (int)    : min=-100 max=100 step=1 default=0 value=0 flags=slider
                  color_effects 0x0098091f (menu)   : min=0 max=15 default=0 value=0
                                0: None
                                1: Black & White
                                2: Sepia
                                3: Negative
                                4: Emboss
                                5: Sketch
                                6: Sky Blue
                                7: Grass Green
                                8: Skin Whiten
                                9: Vivid
                                10: Aqua
                                11: Art Freeze
                                12: Silhouette
                                13: Solarization
                                14: Antique
                                15: Set Cb/Cr
                         rotate 0x00980922 (int)    : min=0 max=360 step=90 default=0 value=0 flags=modify-layout
             color_effects_cbcr 0x0098092a (int)    : min=0 max=65535 step=1 default=32896 value=32896

Codec Controls

             video_bitrate_mode 0x009909ce (menu)   : min=0 max=1 default=0 value=0 flags=update
                                0: Variable Bitrate
                                1: Constant Bitrate
                  video_bitrate 0x009909cf (int)    : min=25000 max=25000000 step=25000 default=10000000 value=10000000
         repeat_sequence_header 0x009909e2 (bool)   : default=0 value=0
            h264_i_frame_period 0x00990a66 (int)    : min=0 max=2147483647 step=1 default=60 value=60
                     h264_level 0x00990a67 (menu)   : min=0 max=11 default=11 value=11
                                0: 1
                                1: 1b
                                2: 1.1
                                3: 1.2
                                4: 1.3
                                5: 2
                                6: 2.1
                                7: 2.2
                                8: 3
                                9: 3.1
                                10: 3.2
                                11: 4
                   h264_profile 0x00990a6b (menu)   : min=0 max=4 default=4 value=4
                                0: Baseline
                                1: Constrained Baseline
                                2: Main
                                4: High

Camera Controls

                  auto_exposure 0x009a0901 (menu)   : min=0 max=3 default=0 value=0
                                0: Auto Mode
                                1: Manual Mode
         exposure_time_absolute 0x009a0902 (int)    : min=1 max=10000 step=1 default=1000 value=1000
     exposure_dynamic_framerate 0x009a0903 (bool)   : default=0 value=0
             auto_exposure_bias 0x009a0913 (intmenu): min=0 max=24 default=12 value=12
                                0: -4000 (0xfffffffffffff060)
                                1: -3667 (0xfffffffffffff1ad)
                                2: -3333 (0xfffffffffffff2fb)
                                3: -3000 (0xfffffffffffff448)
                                4: -2667 (0xfffffffffffff595)
                                5: -2333 (0xfffffffffffff6e3)
                                6: -2000 (0xfffffffffffff830)
                                7: -1667 (0xfffffffffffff97d)
                                8: -1333 (0xfffffffffffffacb)
                                9: -1000 (0xfffffffffffffc18)
                                10: -667 (0xfffffffffffffd65)
                                11: -333 (0xfffffffffffffeb3)
                                12: 0 (0x0)
                                13: 333 (0x14d)
                                14: 667 (0x29b)
                                15: 1000 (0x3e8)
                                16: 1333 (0x535)
                                17: 1667 (0x683)
                                18: 2000 (0x7d0)
                                19: 2333 (0x91d)
                                20: 2667 (0xa6b)
                                21: 3000 (0xbb8)
                                22: 3333 (0xd05)
                                23: 3667 (0xe53)
                                24: 4000 (0xfa0)
      white_balance_auto_preset 0x009a0914 (menu)   : min=0 max=9 default=1 value=1
                                0: Manual
                                1: Auto
                                2: Incandescent
                                3: Fluorescent
                                4: Fluorescent H
                                5: Horizon
                                6: Daylight
                                7: Flash
                                8: Cloudy
                                9: Shade
            image_stabilization 0x009a0916 (bool)   : default=0 value=0
                iso_sensitivity 0x009a0917 (intmenu): min=0 max=4 default=0 value=0
                                0: 0 (0x0)
                                1: 100000 (0x186a0)
                                2: 200000 (0x30d40)
                                3: 400000 (0x61a80)
                                4: 800000 (0xc3500)
           iso_sensitivity_auto 0x009a0918 (menu)   : min=0 max=1 default=1 value=1
                                0: Manual
                                1: Auto
         exposure_metering_mode 0x009a0919 (menu)   : min=0 max=2 default=0 value=0
                                0: Average
                                1: Center Weighted
                                2: Spot
                     scene_mode 0x009a091a (menu)   : min=0 max=13 default=0 value=0
                                0: None
                                8: Night
                                11: Sports

JPEG Compression Controls

            compression_quality 0x009d0903 (int)    : min=1 max=100 step=1 default=30 value=30



5GHz WiFi on Raspberry Pi 4

In my post about quickly setting up a headless Raspberry I had a simple wpa_supplicant.conf file example. This week I got a Raspberry Pi 4, which according to the documentation supports 5GHz networks and 802.11ac.

I’d been running the command sudo iwlist wlan0 scan | grep ESSID and only seeing 2.4GHz networks.

It occurred to me that I’d seen some people in other countries putting the country detail in their wpa_supplicant.conf file, so I decided to see if it made a difference. Sure enough, after adding the line country=US to my file I was able to see 5GHz networks as well as 2.4GHz networks.

ctrl_interface=DIR=/var/run/wpa_supplicant GROUP=netdev

After a bit of reading on the https://www.raspberrypi.org/documentation/configuration/wireless/wireless-cli.md page, I noticed a section that made this point with the Pi 3B+, but because I’d not used a 3B+, I didn’t realize it supported 5GHz networking as well.
On the Raspberry Pi 3 Model B+, you will also need to set the country code, so that the 5G networking can choose the correct frequency bands. You can either use the raspi-config application and select the localisation option, or edit the wpa_supplicant.conf file and add the following. (Note you need to replace ‘GB’ with the ISO code of your country. See Wikipedia for a list of country codes.)

Raspberry PiZeroW Camera Module


When you’ve gotten used to Amazon Prime and free shipping, purchasing inexpensive items from other online retailers where the shipping doubles the cost of the item makes it harder to impulse buy items. An item for $5 that costs $7 in shipping often doesn’t get bought. Even a pair of items that cost $16 together that then cost $7 in shipping cause me to delay the purchase.


Because I was purchasing a Raspberry Pi 4 and Raspberry Pi USB-C Power Supply from Sparkfun, I decided to throw in another Pi ZeroW and case for another $16. I then added the Raspberry Pi Camera module because the case has an optional cover enclosing the camera and I wanted to see how it all worked together. I only wish I’d realized that there was a Noir version, because I’ve always wanted to play with infrared photography.

Having recently streamlined the installation of a Pi Zero, I installed the camera and Pi ZeroW in the case, put the configured micro sd card in place, plugged it into my HDMI monitor just to watch it boot and applied power. I never saw anything on the monitor. The Pi ZeroW only has a single LED, which is generally on, but blinks for micro sd activity. Because I’d closed the case, the LED wasn’t visible, and with no monitor activity I was wondering if I’d gotten a bad board.


I opened the case and powered it on again, this time I knew I was seeing LED activity. I did a quick search of my network for new devices and found the new board was responding on ssh and appeared to be working correctly other than no HDMI output.  I was even able to take a snapshot with the camera using the command:

raspistill -o image.jpg

I decided to test booting the device without the camera installed. That worked fine, and I had HDMI output during the boot process. Now I started to wonder if perhaps the power supply I was using didn’t provide enough power. Perhaps the camera and the HDMI device were mutually exclusive in the amount of power required

A lot of searching on the web resulted in nothing about the power required for the camera affecting the HDMI output. I found that I might be able to reduce the power requirements by 25mA by turning off the HDMI, but that the Pi ZeroW was already the lowest power draw available. https://www.jeffgeerling.com/blogs/jeff-geerling/raspberry-pi-zero-conserve-energy

I found the tvservice command and the -s option with the camera installed was resulting in a different result from without the camera installed.

pi@WimPiZeroCamera:~ $ sudo /usr/bin/tvservice -s
state 0x40000 [NTSC 4:3], 720x480 @ 60.00Hz, interlaced
pi@WimPiZeroW:~ $ sudo /usr/bin/tvservice -s
state 0xa [HDMI CEA (16) RGB lim 16:9], 1920x1080 @ 60.00Hz, progressive

At least recognizing that difference was progress. For some reason under Raspian Buster the camera module is causing the HDMI output to be different. I found options in https://www.raspberrypi.org/documentation/configuration/config-txt/video.md that allow me to force the HDMI output to what I want. I changed /boot/config.txt with the following and now I’ve got both camera and video working properly.

# uncomment to force a specific HDMI mode (this will force [HDMI CEA (16) RGB lim 16:9], 1920x1080 @ 60.00Hz, progressive)

I hope that this helps someone else having problems with both camera and hdmi video output. I don’t know if this was specific to Buster since I never tried it under Jessie or Stretch.

USPS Informed Delivery Daily Digest and Netflix DVDs

I use the USPS service Informed Delivery and highly recommend it. I get a daily email from USPS with a scanned picture of most of the mail that will arrive in my mailbox that day. Occasionally the email will say that there were items that could not be scanned, but it’s very useful since I don’t check my mailbox on a daily basis, but don’t want to have important items sit for extended times.

My mailbox is fairly secure, but I’ve also read that Informed Delivery has both good and bad features for people related to mail theft or identity theft.

I’ve been getting Netflix DVDs in the mail since 2000.  I’ve always been slightly fascinated with the efficiencies the post office and Netflix have worked out. If I take a DVD mailer to my local post office here in Seattle, Netflix recognizes it has been returned the next business day. If I drop a DVD at the local post office on Tuesday, Netflix acknowledges it on Wednesday, and I’ve usually got the next DVD delivered Thursday.

Until recently the Netflix DVDs were scanned like all other mail.

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It appears to have changed at the beginning of September. Now there’s a pair of fixed images arriving with a link that will take you directly to Netflix.

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The new behavior isn’t bad since all the Netflix disk scans look very similar, but are interesting to note. I wouldn’t be surprised that the new full color image reduces bandwidth over individual scans along with added benefit of the link to Netflix.

My new favorite WiFi Analysis Program

I recently came across WinFi Lite, and while it claims to be in beta and for professionals only, it’s currently my favorite WiFi analysis program.  The fact that it was in the Microsoft store gives me the idea that it will uninstall cleanly if I decide to get rid of it later.


The default view shows details about both 2.4 and 5 GHz networks nearby. The first picture was what it looked like when I ran it in my local Starbucks on my Microsoft Surface 4 Pro.  The next picture was what it looked like when I ran it in my apartment. In my apartment I was connected to my network via wired ethernet, so the Surface WiFi adapter wasn’t being used for my active connection. At Starbucks, I was connected to the WiFi.

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While I was at Starbucks, the number of networks it could see was 188. That number is visible in the top right of the image. Just to the left of that number are a set of buttons that allow you to look at 2.4GHz, 5GHz, or All available networks.

My apartment showed only 161 networks by comparison, but that number was bouncing around as it rescanned in both locations. I was surprised that the Starbucks had so many visible networks. There are a lot of details available in this tool, and it’s current price makes it an interesting tool to work with. I used to like inSSIDer, but the developers choice to dumb down the free version led me to drift away from it.