Category Archives: Misc

What is a CoCo? ChatGPT has some thoughts…

Meanwhile, over at… I told it:

The CoCo is the nickname for the Radio Shack TRS-80 Color Computer. Can you come up with something that “COCO” stands for, that would be related?

– Me, to ChatGPT

It responded with some interesting suggestions…

Interesting question! The CoCo is indeed a nickname for the Radio Shack TRS-80 Color Computer, a line of home computers developed and sold by Tandy Corporation from 1980 to 1991¹. It was based on the Motorola 6809E processor and used the MC6847 Video Display Generator (VDG) chip¹³. It was also compatible with Microsoft BASIC and OS-9 operating system¹.

Some possible things that COCO could stand for, related to this computer, are:

  • Color Operating Computer Organization: A name for a group of enthusiasts or hobbyists who use or collect CoCo computers.
  • Colorful Objects with Computational Outputs: A description of the graphical capabilities of the CoCo, which could display up to 16 colors on screen⁴.
  • Commonly Observed Computerized Oracle: A humorous way of referring to the CoCo as a source of information or entertainment for its users.
  • Cooperative Online Colorful Operations: A term for multiplayer games or applications that could run on the CoCo using its serial port or modem⁴.

Source: Conversation with Bing, 3/16/2023
(1) TRS-80 Color Computer – Wikipedia. Accessed 3/16/2023.
(2) TRS-80 Color Computer – CoCopedia – The Tandy/Radio Shack Color …. Accessed 3/16/2023.
(3) Radio Shack TRS-80 Color Computer. Accessed 3/16/2023.
(4) trs 80 computer products for sale | eBay. Accessed 3/16/2023.


And, there was more…

  • Colorful Output with Creative Options: A way of highlighting the CoCo’s versatility and potential for different types of programs and projects.
  • Computerized Optical Colorful Oscilloscope: A reference to the CoCo’s ability to display graphics and sound using its VDG chip and 6-bit DAC.
  • Compact Original Colorful Object: A simple description of the CoCo’s physical appearance and design.

There are only some many words beginning with C or O that make sense for this topic, but it might be fun to keep asking it until we find the ultimate backronym.

Until then…

FreeRTOS: Virus?

The discussion about using FreeRTOS has come up at my day job in recent years, so a month or two ago I downloaded it from the official website with plans to take a look at it.

I never got around to it, but today our IT department contacted me about its removal from my system. The download was flagged to contain a virus. I am sharing this information here so it will show up in search engines:

Severe Gen:Variant.Tedy.307215 - Virus.Generic - Deleted

File - C:Users<username>DownloadsFreeRTOSv202212.00FreeRTOSv202212.00FreeRTOSDemoWIN32-MSVCDebugRTOSDemo.exe

md5: 2F1699A8E9DE9D946FD6DDCC4BCC2F45

It appears all I did was open the project and build it in Visual Studio. Nothing else on the system was flagged, and we use Visual Studio to build two of our in-house apps, so I am curious why this happened.

Anyone seen this? Please leave a comment.

Stay safe :)

Synology NAS, DSL Modem firewalls, and OpenVPN

Ages ago, I started my blog mostly with the goal of posting research items that I couldn’t figure out by web searches. I figure, maybe someone else will be searching for the same thing one day and run in to my efforts and together we can figure it out.

This post is for that reason, so feel free to skip it. I have the solution, but it will not be in this post since I do not have the details with me at the moment.

Synology DS1522 NAS

The Synology NAS devices can install software, and support three types of VPNs. Choosing which one to use is a rabbit hole, but OpenVPN seems pretty common and cross platform.

OpenVPN can be enabled on the NAS, but if it is inside a network, you cannot access it. Some routers are directly supported by the NAS and it can open up holes in the router’s firewall (UPnP) and, I suppose, it just magically works. (We should really all turn that feature off, because if something naughty gets inside your network, it could potentially do the same, opening up your private network to the outside world.)

If you NAS is behind a cable modem, DSL modem, etc. you may have to manually open up ports and forward them to the IP address of your NAS.

Once that is done, a profile can be installed on a PC, Mac, Linux, iPad, Android, etc. and then you can run a VPN app and connect to your NAS. It can selectively allow access to other things inside your home network.

I plan to document some simple steps to make this happen, and save hours of watching YouTube videos and reading knowledge base articles.

But for now, I wanted to post this to get something in the search engines. In my case, I’ll be mentioning a specific CenturyLink DSL modem.

To be continued…

Google and Apple and multiple accounts…

I am posting this for the search engines to find, in case others have found themselves in this situation.

Google and Apple created situations where you ended up with multiple accounts that could not be merged together.


2000 – iTools

Apple introduces iTools, which included a free e-mail address “for life.” This service was renamed to .Mac in 2002, and later MobileMe in 2008. It was replaced by iCloud in 2012.

I signed up for my free e-mail address back then, and still have that original e-mail address. I never used that e-mail, since I had been using the same service for that since 1995.

As iTools/.Mac/MobileMe/iCloud evolved, they remained linked with my original 2000 account. When I purchases extra iCloud Drive space, that had to be done through my iCloud (.mac) e-mail address, since that was the account all the services were on.

2003 – iTunes Store

Apple introduces the iTunes program in 2001, which was used to sync music to the brand new iPod MP3 player. In 2003, the iTunes Store launched, and I signed up for an account there and purchased my first music digital download.

These were two completely different services and accounts. I signed up to the iTunes Store using the e-mail address I’d been using since 1995.

Over the years, all my iTunes purchases were made under my iTunes account. This includes any iPhone apps purchased from the App Store, introduced in 2008.

Apple ID

At some point, the Apple ID was introduced. One of the features is:

Users can use different Apple IDs for their store purchases and for their iCloud storage and other uses. This includes many MobileMe users who have always had difficulties as they were forced to use more than one Apple ID, because on signing-up to the MobileMe service a new Apple ID was automatically created using the email address being created at the time, meaning users could not change their previous Apple ID email address to be their email address and has always remained so. Apple does not permit different accounts to be merged.[13]

Wikipedia page for Apple ID



2004 – Gmail

Google launched a free web e-mail service on April 1, 2004. It claimed to give every user 1 gigabyte of e-mail storage, for free. That was such a huge amount of storage that many suspected this was an April Fool’s Day joke. Like many, I signed up for a e-mail address.

I never used it, preferring to stick with my alias I had been using since 1995.

2005 – YouTube

YouTube was not created by Google. It was purchased by Google in late 2006. I signed up for a YouTube account in those early days, before Google was involved. Thus, not a Google account. After Google acquired YouTube, they rolled the accounts over to Google accounts, but could not merge them.

Thus, I ended up with one Google account, which was for my gmail, and another Google account, which was my YouTube. As Google introduced more services, they were added to both my accounts.


Today, I have two Apple IDs — one that I had always used for purchases, and the other was just a free e-mail account. As more and more Apple services were added, they were added to both accounts. Anything with an iCloud login, such as an iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, Mac, etc., I would use my original iTools account. Anything associated with the Apple Stores would use my original iTunes account.

Fortunately, iOS devices have these areas separated — you can log in to your iCloud account, and log in to a separate account for purchases and subscriptions.

Meanwhile, as Google introduced new services, they rolled in to all accounts. I used them with my original YouTube account, and kept my Gmail account just as e-mail.

Which means today I have two Google Sheets, two Google Docs, two Google Voice, etc. I log in to one if using e-mail, and the other if using “everything else.”

Neither company has a way to merge these accounts. With Google, I had created a free Google Voice voice mail number in the mid-2000s to use with the podcasts I was making at the time, Then, several years later I had to give up my cell phone for awhile. I ported my old Sprint-then-AT&T number over to my other account’s Google Voice. If Google ever did allow merging accounts, I’d have to lose one of those numbers.

As to Apple, I initially liked having the thing connected to money (credit cards on file to make purchases or pay for subscriptions) separated from the thing that was just e-mail and free Apple services. But that created a problem, as I somehow have been in different accounts when I’ve activated different things, such as AppleCare on a device, or a subscription to some service. Now I have to log out and re-log to the other account just to see what all I am paying for.

It’s quite a mess.

YouTube Channels makes things even worse

To make things even worse, at some point Google introduced Channels to YouTube. This allowed you to have one main YouTube account (hooked to you Google login) but create sub-channels that could have their own videos and playlists. My channel has always been an odd mix of theme park home movies, Halloween haunted house interviews, Renaissance festival footage, retro computer videos, and dogs skateboarding. Channels should be a solution, but YouTube does not allow you to move a video from a legacy account to a new Channel. They advise you to download the video from YouTube, then re-upload to the new channel. That loses all play history, comments, etc.

Is there a solution?

I am posting this here in case anyone finds it via search, and discovers any type of solution to these issues.

I spent about an hour with various Apple Support folks last night — initially as a Chat, and then via phone as I was forwarded from department to department. Obviously, changing billing credit cards is a different division than the one that handles iCloud Disk subscriptions, so I don’t feel I was ever put in the wrong place. There were just a bunch of different places that are all part of this ecosystem. I expect, if I could reach a Google support person on the phone, I would have a similar experience there.

I offer no tips. No solutions. And no advice. But if you end up here with a similar story, please share it in the comments. I’d like to hear what you have discovered.

Until next time… Remember: Anything simple today may become a huge pain in the arse decades later ;-)

Drobo “saves the day”?

I hate it when this happens… It looks like a 4TB drive in my 5-bay Drobo has gone out. Drobo cannot detect it. I have dual-drive redundancy enabled, so two drives can fail and I’d still have my data… Fortunately.

Drobo 5C showing a 4TB drive failure.

Hopefully, I won’t have two drives fail between now and the time my replacement drive arrives. :)

On the plus, drive prices have dropped since I bought these drives in 2019. I’ll begin the process of upgrading drives to 6TB models over coming months, money permitting.

Project Blue Book: The 1970s TV series called something else.


  • 5-20-2022: IMDB, blogs and other sites with comments all seem to have folks reporting that this was called “Project Blue Book” when they saw it. I have also found one reference to it being called that for the United Kingdom release. If anyone can find proof it was ever called that in the U.K. or anywhere else, please leave a comment. Until then, I guess this is just a mass false memory/Mandela Effect…
  • Here is a 2012 blog post about the subject:

I have memories of watching a late-1970s TV series called Project Blue Book. This would have been how I first learned about the government’s actual investigation in to U.F.O.s. Here is the wikipedia entry about the real government project:

Not too long ago I saw something about a new TV series called Project Blue Book and I had wondered if it was a remake/reboot of the 1970s one. I have yet to see any of the episodes, but here is the wikipedia entry about this TV series:

I have certainly heard much more about the real Project Blue Book over the years, thanks to seeing the occasional show about U.F.O.s. When it was brought up, I always through about that 1970s TV series.

As far as the series goes, I don’t remember much about the actual episodes, except it seemed they were always debunked by the end of the show. I remember one that shared the story of how a U.F.O. blasted the hood of a car. By the end of the series, it was declared a hoax, and they showed that the burn marks on the hood had been made with a road flare or something like that.

So why this post now?

The other day, I saw a reference on Mastadon to “project bluebeam” — whatever that was. I wanted to respond with a link to the TV series for Project Blue Book, and make a reference to “liking the original project better.”

There is indeed a wikipedia entry for the TV series I was remembering, except it was listed as Project U.F.O. — which I had never heard of. It did include a note:

Also known asProject Blue Book (in some countries)
-wikipedia entry for Project U.F.O.

…and the wikipedia page for “Project Blue Book (TV Series)” goes to a page about the new series.

Apparently Project U.F.O. must have been used outside of the U.S.A. Or not.

A quick YouTube search led me to a copy of the show, recorded over the air from a Chicago, Illinois TV station:

As soon as the video began, I remembered that opening sentence about Ezekial and the wheel. (You know, that passage in the bible about him seeing a U.F.O. We can discuss the passage in the bible that discusses the unicorn sometime, as well…)

This informed me that at least in Chicago, the show aired as Project U.F.O. (and I noticed the intro did not make any reference to Project Blue Book).

Asking around (online), I found folks who grew up on other parts of the U.S.A. that also saw it as Project Blue Book.

I am posting this here to see if any of my U.S.A. readers were old enough to have seen this show, and could tell me what it was called where you saw it (and please let me know where you saw it).

It’s interesting thinking about a show airing in different regions using different titles.

UPDATE: Looks like others saw it air at Project Blue Book. Look at he IMDB reviews…

To be continued…

Web searching takes the fun out of History channel UFO shows.

I love a good conspiracy theory, but usually they fizzle out within a few minutes of web searching about them. Want to get the other side? Just search for whatever it is plus “debunk.”

The Secret of Skinwalker Ranch on History, for example, doesn’t hold up very well. In the season two finale, they fly a helicopter around to take sensor readings. The radar altimeter starts alerting them that the ground is less than 50 feet below, when they were 1500 or more above it.

The helicopter pilot was (pretending to be?) mystified. It was as if there was something just below the aircraft that no one could see.

A quick search reveals tons of documentation on things that mess up radar based altimeters and give them false low readings.


I was really hoping for an invisible UFO flying around below them.

But, do your own research. Though, it may be a funner show if you don’t.

Kugoo G5 electric scooter problems.

I received a Kugoo G5 electric scooter to review. It seems to have died after a few minutes. And I can’t find any references to it anywhere on YouTube or the internet beyond a bunch of Kugoo websites, Alibaba and Amazon. This, this post.

When powering up, the display and lights come on for a second, there is a beep, then it shuts back off. The app can still connect via Bluetooth, but trying to power up via the app has the same result.

It’s weird not being able to find something on the internet.

I have been making a list of errors in the manual, as well, which I will provide back to Kugoo when the review is complete. Assuming their support responds and can get this review unit running for me.

Here is a Facebook group I created just for discussing this model. So far, no one has found it…

Kugoo G5 electric scooter (non functional)

The mind blowingness of Spatial Audio

Although I had heard of this new-fangled “spatial audio” now supported by Apple, my devices are all so old they are limited to good old-fashioned stereo.

And I like it that way.

I mean, just because you give “surround sound” a new name doesn’t mean I’m gonna fall for it.

And “surround sound” doesn’t work in headphones, in spite of all the demos trying to convince you that this ultra-separated stereo recording can make you think a sound is coming from in front of, behind, or above you.

I was wrong.

While I still don’t think headphone based “surround sound” is anything more than two-speaker stereo with fancy mixing, spatial audio turns out to be something quite different. And I discovered it by accident.

A few months ago, I picked up some Apple AirPods to use as noise cancelling headphones while spending many weeks working in a noisy warehouse. Being able to turn noise cancelling on and off was, on its own, a slight form of magic. At least, that’s how I felt when I first got to demo the BOSE noise cancelling headphones in the Denver airport two decades ago. Today, however, noise cancelling is built in to even cheap headphones.

I read that these AirPods supported spatial audio, but when I tried to listen to the demos it just sounded like stereo to me.

New name, same scam. Or so I thought.

Later I read that spatial audio was only supported on newer devices that the ancient ones I had. This intrigued me. Why would the device’s horsepower matter?

I learned why, quite by accident.

I swear I heard something…

I got to use a new-model iPad and was watching HULU using my AirPods. I thought nothing of it, until I turned my head to look at something. I heard the sound in my right ear.

Oops. Had I actually not turned these headphones on, and was blaring HULU through the speakers? How embarrassing.

I checked and my speakers were silent. What just happened?

I resumed playing the video, this time paying attention to the sound to see if, somehow, the iPad speakers were turning on. As I turned my head to test again, the sound was heard to shift to the closer ear.

I felt a tad bit of magic, as I realized turning my head was shifting how the audio was playing, simulating listening to a TV at a fixed point in space. I had never heard anything like this before in headphones. After all, headphone sound doesn’t move.

And now I know what makes spatial audio more than just surround sound. Sensors in the headphones, combined with processing in the playback device, are able to create custom mixes of the audio as your head moves. It’s difficult to describe, beyond just saying “it’s as if the sound was real and you weren’t wearing headphones.”

If your iDevice supports it, there is even a test built in to the Bluetooth connection settings for the AirPods:

When I first tried this demo, I switched from Stereo Audio to Spatial Audio and it just sounded like a better stereo mix. But when I tried again, now aware of what spatial audio was, I found I could turn my head away from the screen and the audio mix sounded like it was coming from the screen to the left or right of me, depending on where I turned.


Very cool magic.

While I was a two-speaker surround-sound denier (I still am), I am definitely a believer of spatial audio.

Not all apps support it, but the ones that do provide a very new experience when using headphones to listen to audio.

Until next time…