Author Archives: grenville

Dump your Foxtel iQ3 box, get an iQ2

If you have Foxtel cable TV service in Australia, do not put up with the broken-as-delivered iQ3 box. Demand a “downgrade” to Foxtel’s very functional (and far more reliable) iQ2 box. We battled with an iQ3 for December 2016 and January 2017. Signed up to a special deal in November 2016 where the iQ3 was […]

Splitting and merging of .m4v video files with ffmpeg

While constructing content for a Plex Media Server (PMS) at home I’ve recently need to both split and merge .m4v files containing h264/aac encoded material.  These are my notes to myself of what I did using ffmpeg after much googling. If you’re not me, hope these notes help you too 🙂 Splitting an m4v file Hypothetically, I’ve ended […]

Toslink to Analog adapter for TV

Back on April 19th 2015 I ordered a Optical Digital Coaxial Toslink Signal To Analog Audio Converter Adapter from It arrived April 30th 2015.  For my own records — it works!  Very simple use-case: The TV in our front lounge had a Toslink optical audio port, but no headphone jack. How to use headphones? An adapter, […]

An ESP8266 Wifi module — first impressions

On Dec 4th 2014 I purchased a “ESP8266 Remote Serial Port WIFI Transceiver Wireless Module” from, based on an ESP8266 reference design by Here are my initial experiences poking around with the device. (Usual caveat — this post is largely to help my own recollections. If it helps you too, that’s a bonus.) Board […]

A clone of the Saleae Logic 8-channel Analyser

I purchased a cheap clone of the Saleae Logic 8 port logic analyser (LA) from on Dec 16th 2014. This page reflects my initial experiments with using the device under Windows 7 and FreeBSD 9.1. The clone does 8 channels of digital capture (no analog capture) and peaks at only 24MHz sample rate, but […]

MB102 Power Supply

Recently purchased an MB102 dual power supply from as part of a supply+breadboard+wires combo pack. Nice little unit — provides regulated 3.3V or 5V rails from 6.5-12 V (DC) or USB power supply, and has pins set up for plugging into a standard breadboard. The two separate output rails are independently configurable for 3.3V or […]

Temperature variations between my server’s HDDs

In December 2009 I rebuilt my home file server to be a FreeBSD 8.x machine with six 1.5TByte Western Digital HDDs in a ZFS raidz2 configuration. From February 2nd 2010 I’ve been sampling the internal SMART temperature senors of each drive every 6 minutes. This post summarises some of what I’ve captured.

Building OpenWRT under FreeBSD

I’d been toying recently with building OpenWRT natively under FreeBSD, but my Google-fu failed to reveal a sufficiently up-to-date “how to”. So, I had a colleague (Chris Holman) nut out the details, and we’ve put up short description here of how we prepared both a FreeBSD 8.x jail and a FreeBSD 9.1 (actually a PCBSD 9.1) […]

Animating signals and statistics

I’m experimenting with building animations to help early-year students visualise the relationships between signals and statistics about signals. For example, I constructed the following animated gif to show how the sampled data points from a sine wave, and a randomised sequence of the same sampled data points, results in the same CDF at multiples of […]

Programming the Arduino Uno and Nano under PCBSD 9.1

This post describes the small patch required to the FreeBSD Port of avrdude 5.11 to enable programming of the Arduino Uno R3 directly from a PCBSD 9.1 desktop. At the time of writing, the Arduino IDE version 1.0.3 is available as a PCBSD “PBI“. This PBI bundles avrdude version 5.11, which does the low-level programming for […]