I made a thing to reset my modem.

May 23rd, 2017

Duck Tape Optional

CenturyLink can’t seem to stay online without frequent manual resets, so I made a thing out of other things that I got from the internet. Writing the code, soldering on some pins, and wiring up an intercept to the relay took about 3 hours, maybe 4 if you count the time I took sharing the code on github etc. It only switches the 12v DC so it’s pretty safe. Arduino sketch available via github. It’s quite primitive but, unlike the commercially available WifiResetPlug, it works with my configuration, and you have all of the source code to inspect for nefarious intentions.

Still, SO MUCH better than Comcast

My CenturyLink modem loses its connection at least twice a week, and does not reconnect until I go downstairs and turn it off and on. While I appreciate the additional exercise in my daily routine, sometimes it disconnects two or three times in a row, or while I’m in the middle of a skype call.

There are commercial products that address this issue, but they don’t seem to help. I bought a WifiResetPlug, which should fix the problem. While it does seem to be working as designed, it never resets the connection on my network. I can unplug the DSL line and it does nothing. I assume this is because my router responds to all requests when the net is down with its magical “autoconfigure” screen. Which can not be disabled, of course. So that didn’t work.

Even if it worked, how can I trust it?

And, I don’t want any unnecessary devices on my home network connected to the internet 24/7. What, your house is full of IoT light bulbs? And you have a cloud-connected thermostat that tracks what room you’re in at what time of day 24/7? And it also knows when you’re >30 minutes away from home, and all the valuables in your house are unattended, and it’s connected to some third-party web service that is not audited or regulated? OK then, that’s your decision I guess. I don’t want that.

And at some point I realized it would be actually faster to make my own reset device from scratch than to keep purchasing third party devices. I had, on my desk, an ESP8266-based Arduino device (D1 Mini clone) and it has wifi, a really simple programming interface, and there’s an off-the-shelf “shield” board with a relay. I don’t even have to figure out which pins to wire up. And, my flaky CenturyLink modem uses a 5.5×2.1mm power connector, the same used by BOSS stompbox pedals. I have a box of those from my pedal experiments. The only thing I don’t already have on hand is the relay. It’s a sign!

So, within a week, and about 3 hours of actual work later, it was done.

Update (It works great!)

Update? I never even posted this, it’s still a draft. In any case, it works beautifully, and has reset my modem several times during the recent precipitation. I updated the code and now there are stats. It’s also smarter about temporary outages, and servers up a tiny web page showing uptime stats (all in seconds at the moment).

No resets yet!


Gig report: can haz break plz?

May 18th, 2017

Ok, over the last two gigs I’ve worked something out:

If you play a four hour set with one 15-minute break, you’ve played five sets.

Yes, if you only take one short break, you’ve played as much music as you would in a five-hour gig, and you did almost all of it nonstop. That’s why you hurt.

I love playing music. Love shouldn’t hurt.

Illegitimi non carborundum

April 24th, 2017

Latin Copyright Warning

Illegitimi non carborundum is a Latin phrase meaning “Do not make illegal copies of this disk.” It is also sometimes mistaken to mean “fuck the system” by people without a sense of humor.

The phrase first appeared on copies of the Microsoft Windows 95(TM) installation CD, as a reminder to consumers that they should not make illegal copies of that disk. The warning was part of Microsoft’s 1996 “Breaking the Law Is Illegal” awareness campaign. It was thought that consumers would respect the warning if it was in Latin, because anything written in Latin is more impressive. However, it was eventually discovered that most Windows users don’t speak Latin, at which point the warning was translated into English. This translation came too late, however, and by early 1996 unlawful illegal disk copying was already rampant. Disks with the English-language warning are valued by collectors for their rarity, because by the time they were released, nearly 100% of the available Windows 95 CDs were illegal copies.

English Version

The phrase has several variations:

  • Illegitimi non carborundum.
  • Illegitimi nil carborundum.
  • Nil illegitimi piratus.
  • Nil illegitimi carborundum.
  • Discus non carborundum.
  • ILl3g1T|MY n0n c4R8oRUnDum!!!1!11

While all of the above are technically proper slang Latin, only the first was in common usage by the mid 16th century. It was originally carved onto Roman discus balls used by athletes, warning competitors not to make “illegal copies of this discus.”


The term Illegitimi is misunderstood by English speakers to mean “illegal”, but it is actually the Latin name for polycarbonate, a transparent plastic-like material that was used by the Romans to make the olympic discus. Modern compact discs are still made from polycarbonate. The gerund “carborundum” should have required a dative (“illegitimis,” “of this disc”), but historians believe that ancient Roman athletes used the slang in this way because it rhymed better in their raps.[cn]

Carborundum comes from the latin word for copying, “carborus”, which refers to the carbon paper (papyrus carborundum) used by the Romans when duplicating signatures on official documents.

Nil means “not”, or “nothing”. Everybody knows that.[cn]

Incorrect Translations

The incorrect translation “Don’t let the bastards grind you down” originated from the use of grinding systems to repair scratched or damaged CD media. Because software pirates used these devices to restore CD-ROM media instead of purchasing legal replacements (as required by law), software vendors would confuse the copyright warning as a notice that they should not use grinding devices.


This is a mirror of my uncyclopedia article on the phrase “Illegitimi non carborundum”, maintained here because I don’t trust uncyclopedia to remain backed up and un-vandalized, and because I enjoyed making it a lot.