Category Archives: Tech

Oukei TW-2700-E1 Table Tennis Training Machine: Repair

The Oukei TW-2700-E1 Table Tennis Training Machine is a consumer grade serving machine. It stopped working due to an out of aligned spring. Photo 1 by Don Tai

The Oukei TW-2700-E1 Table Tennis Training Machine is a consumer grade serving machine. It stopped working due to an out of aligned spring. Photo 1 by Don Tai

My neighbour is hard working and has few hobbies. She loves table tennis but has no partner, so she bought a table tennis machine, which shoots balls at her. This machine, an Oukei TW-2700-E1, she loves, allows her to return balls without help from the family. It was unfortunate when the machine began jamming. I opted to fix the machine, and she was grateful to have it back in service. It turned out the fix was very simple, but rendered the machine unusable.

Mapquest Gives Developers Free SDK, in Exchange for Customer Data

Here is a deal that all smartphone developers should ignore. You receive free access to a new Mapquest SDK for Android and IOS, in exchange for all your customer’s data. This is a complete breach of user privacy.

I am sure that users of a smartphone app will not give Mapquest and their a third party tool, complete access to their data. Would smartphone developers actually disclose that all your data will be sent to Mapquest?


We’re extremely excited to announce the launch of our new Mobile Navigation SDK for Android and iOS applications. Our Mobile Navigation SDK is available to you for free, if you agree to a mutual flow of data sharing.*

QQ Ceasing operations in Europe, 2018 May 20

It looks like Tencent’s QQ International version will be ceasing operations in Europe, effective 2018 May 20. I am unsure why. I also do not know if this affects WeChat. Perhaps this is about Europe’s new privacy laws, General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)? I need to do more research. This is from a friend in China. it does look like Tencent’s QQ and Wechat will be pulled from the EU market.

We are sorry to announce that for operational needs from 20 May 2018 QQi will no longer be available in Europe.

China Store Owners Forced to use Government Routers

BiHu routers are government mandated in Qingdao, Xiamen, Chifeng China for any  company providing wifi services, including all retail stores, or the stores will get a heavy fine.

BiHu routers are government mandated in Qingdao, Xiamen, Chifeng China for any company providing wifi services, including all retail stores, or the stores will get a heavy fine.

We all find retail wifi hotspots convenient. You leave your smartphone wifi on, and as you walk to can roam between different retail wifi hotspots such as McDonalds or Starbucks. The Chinese government has locked down this internet access point just a little further, by forcing retail store owners that offer wifi to use a government sanctioned router, which they can monitor. Big Brother one ups again.

Mapping GPS Coordinates: Google vs Baidu

Baidu map, Beijing University, is accurate to the line map. The map has a lot more detail about local anemities than the Google Map

Baidu map, Beijing University, is accurate to the line map. The map has a lot more detail about local anemities than the Google Map

If you play around with GPS coordinates you will quickly need access to a map. The GPS coordinate numbers do not reveal a geographic location useful to a human. The two go-to internet resources are Google and Baidu. Both have maps for North America and China, but are not as good outside of their competitive areas. As I am in Toronto and have lived in China, I can verify their usefulness for these locations, but for other parts of the world you are on your own.

Online Enbridge/Enercare Satisfaction Survey leads to…An Error

I recently had a maintenance call for my furnace from Enbridge/Enercare in Toronto, Canada. In the end they sent me an online survey of a couple of questions, which I dutifully answered. This resulted in this error message. It looks like a database insertion error.

An unexpected error has occurred!
Error Message: Invalid index (parameter 2) passed to Row function. Index must be less than or equal to the row count. Index Value: 1 Row Count: 0 Function: row(@rows,1)

Description: An unexpected error occurred during the execution of the page.

Little Giant Furnace Water Pump: Overhaul

Little Giant 554405 VCMA-15 non-submersible condensate pump

Little Giant 554405 VCMA-15 non-submersible condensate pump

Awoke, we did, to a puddle at the foot of our basement stairs. Water. Perchance Little Weed had spilled a very large glass of water? Surely not. It turned out that our furnace water pump was no longer pumping. A repair was in order, and fast. Here is how I cleaned out the pump. It now works.

LG Optimus Net p500h Smartphone from Koodo: Unlocking

LG p500h Optimus One smartphone, circa 2011, unlocked from Koodo for use on the Bell network, Canada.

LG p500h Optimus One smartphone, circa 2010, unlocked from Koodo for use on the Bell network, Canada.

Somehow I have an LG p500h smartphone, which was locked to Koodo. As Canadian law has changed, forcing mobile service providers to unlock phones free of charge, I went on Koodo’s Facebook page and requested an unlock code. They gave it to me and I was able to unlock the phone. I put my Bell sim card in and it worked! Yay, I have a 2011 phone, but it works!

PDF of graphics: Convert to Searchable and Text Copyable for Ubuntu 16.04 using OCRMyPdf

Manulife blacklist of health services providers provided in PDF but all pages are images. You therefore cannot copy or search the 22 pages.

Manulife blacklist of health services providers provided in PDF but all pages are images. You therefore cannot copy or search the 22 pages.

Our insurer, Manulife, has a list of health service providers, available on PDF, that are black listed. If you use any of them Manulife will not reimburse you. These companies go back to 2015. My doctor has recommended a provider near my house, so I wanted to check if the provider was blacklisted.

Smartphone: Tool of Evil in China

Every tool used by humans can be used for good or evil. It is up to the individual to determine its use. Smartphones are some of the newer tools for modern living. Their longer-term implications for everyday use are as yet unknown. While we in the West, where I see this in Canada, take steps to preserve privacy, this is untrue in China. The Chinese government has turned the benign too of the smartphone into a personal tracking device for its own political purposes.