Just Because I’m Paranoid…

Doesn’t mean they’re not out to get me.

So I ordered some more PCBs, what, ten days ago now. This evening after dinner I was thinking, “wow, I should have gotten a ship notice by now…” then, a few minutes later, it showed up. That’s not the paranoid part.

The shipping notice from the fab house was normal, package on the way via DHL, etc.

An hour or so later, I got a phishing email purporting to be from DHL.

I get lots of phishing emails. I’m not going to categorize them based on quality, because to me, almost all phishing emails are low effort.

But I think it’s strange that I, who normally only gets DHL packages a couple times per year, get a DHL phishing email within an hour or so of an actual DHL package being sent my way.

Now I’m not saying there’s a connection, but if there is a connection, then either:
1) Someone’s got access to the fab house records;
2) Someone’s got access to DHL records; or
3) Someone’s got access to the “Deliveries” tracking app. (I entered the tracking info into that app like I do every time I learn of a package enroute). I suspect this, the rogue phone app, is most likely.

If I’ve got any phishing expert mutuals that have anything to share, I’m all ears.

How I Recovered Defcoin from a borked wallet in Coinomi

Crypto warning: I am not an expert. I don’t claim to be an expert. Don’t “ekshually” me. I figured something out, I’m sharing it with other people, some of whom are stupider than me, in case it’s useful to someone some day. I also may have the facts wrong. I’m not a Defcoin insider either.

So, a while back, Coinomi started supporting Defcoin. YAY.

No, they didn’t allow exchanging it with fungible cryptocurrencies. BOO.

But at least we had a nice phone-based wallet to send, receive, etc. at the con. YAY.

But then it stopped working. Was it last year? I’m fuzzy on the whens. BOO.

Apparently there was some legacy shit in there, maybe it had to do with finding other clients, a hard-coded list, I don’t remember.

Anyhow, sometime fairly recently, it started working again. YAY.

But not for me. BOO.

Turns out, the coinomi wallet I had set up had a LOT of transactions. And I think it was too much for the app to handle. Or maybe something got mangled somehow in the blockchain. Someone explained it once, but you know, I forgot it right away. Like a goldfish.

Look, it’s not about the “money.” I’m not even sure how many Defcoin were in that wallet anymore. Thousands? Value of 0? It’s about wanting a working Defcoin wallet on my phone. And sure, I could have just deleted it and started fresh, but I wanted to learn something and get what I could recover from it.

SO, here are the steps I took and how that worked out for me.

  1. Set up a new Defcoin instance in Coinomi. Yes, it’ll allow you to add a coin twice.
  2. For my next trick, I wanted to sweep the old wallet into the newly-added instance.
  3. Coinomi doesn’t exporting private keys that allow you to do so, but you can use your mnemonic recovery phrase to generate that. Download this to your local machine, or better yet, put it on an air-gapped machine. Because you’re going to be typing your mnemonic phrase into it, and anyone that gets their grubby paws on that can steal your fundage. https://iancoleman.io/bip39/
  4. OK, so load that page up locally on your safely air-gapped system, then type your mnemonic phrase into the BIP39 mnemonic phrase field.
  5. Set the “COIN” to “Defcoin.”
  6. In the Derivation Path section, go to the BIP44 tab.
  7. From your broken Coinomi defcoin wallet, look at Account Details. Get the Derivation Path from there. Mine was m44h/1337h/0h. Type that, without the h characters, into the derivation path field.
  8. Now look at your receive addresses in the old account. Including previous receive addresses. You should see those addresses down below in the extractor, in the “Derived Addresses” section. One by one, take the private keys associated with those addresses, and throw them into the “Sweep Wallet” private key field in the NEW Defcoin instance in Coinomi.

    This worked for me for several of my receive addresses, leading to thousands of Defcoin recovered into the new wallet. However, the one I used so often that I recognized the preamble, took way longer for Coinomi to attempt to sweep it, and it came back with “The private key does not contain any funds,” which I believe is bullshit, I just think there are, once again, too many transactions for Coinomi to handle. But at least now I have a working wallet that can send and receive funds. I just may have lost those funds associated with the largest receive address in my wallet. Perhaps I’ll try again in the future.

Another option is to try to sweep it into a native Defcoin-QT wallet, but that would require converting the private key to WIF format, which might be a bit beyond me at this hour.

Monday 9/13 DC540 Meeting = VIRTUAL

I polled the core group, resulting in two votes for virtual and two votes for “either.” The virtuals win. 6:30PM Monday in the group’s Discord.

Reminder that the Meetup site is going away. I believe it’s going away this month sometime.

PINECIL One Month Later…

A month ago I posted about the PINECIL portable solder iron, and the high-output 65W PD battery bank I had to buy to power it:

https://dc540.org/xxx/2021/08/pinecil-soldering-iron-for-the-win/

So it’s been a month, and no exaggeration here, I have soldered over 10,000 joints since then, and I have zero complaints. It’s my new old-reliable. In fact, during a recent solder party, when my battery bank was depleted (the failure was 100% mine in forgetting it needed to be charged), I gave up soldering for the evening rather than revert to my wired unit or my TS-80. The PINECIL outperforms the others by that much.

Some details:

1) ONCE, it thought it was at temp but had cooled down. Reset it, it went back to normal.

2) Behavior differences:

The TS-80, when left alone for a while, stops pulling power, which causes the old ZeroLemon ToughJuice Battery to shut down. In fact, sometimes it would stop while soldering. This was annoying.

The PINECIL, by contrast, when put down, goes into visible sleep mode, putting z’s on the screen to let you know what it’s doing, and then begins to cool down, reporting the temp as it does so. When you pick it up again, it immediately starts heating back to your preset temp (for me, for what I’m doing, I keep it at 320 C).

The EasyLonger battery (as this is about the combo, not just about the PINECIL) also has better functionality, in my opinion. The ToughJuice would require you to press the on button to start powering objects connected to it. And then shut down when it detected low draw. The EasyLonger powers the object as soon as it’s plugged in, which means it keeps my PINECIL running as long as I have it plugged in. Safety violation, are you wondering? No, because the accelerometer in the PINECIL tells it to go to sleep.

It’s been a month, and I’m using the shit out of the PINECIL and the EasyLonger, and I couldn’t be happier.

In fact, last week I ordered accessories direct from PINE: A fine tip set, a mini stand, a transparent shell, a break-out board, and yes, a second spare PINECIL. They also have a very nice desktop power supply that I will probably go back and order, now that I think about it.

DC540 8/30 Meetup is VIRTUAL

This week’s meeting will be on Discord. The basement needs some TLC after the last couple of frantic weeks since Defcon. And I need a break from solder fumes and new-PCB smell. Short reprieve while the next batch is on the way. A Discord meetup is a great time for new folks to join in and meet the group, and we welcome you. The Discord link is on the website, and we meet in the Monday meetup voice channel. Please show your beautiful faces, even if they’re ugly.

Batch 2 is gone! Batch 3 news…

Thanks for all the support! It’s been quite the ride creating this badge and fulfilling the orders. We’ve learned quite a bit — about design, soldering, group projects, logistics and fulfillment. There’ll be a lessons learned post soon, I’ll probably write that while we wait for boards and lanyards for the next batch.

Well that was quick enough results. Demand seems to support opening up preorders again. I know it’s annoying to stalk a shop for restocks. OK, there are 40 in the shop for preorders. Shipping is mid-September. I’ll update you if something comes up, but we’ve had pretty reliable everything so far. The longest lead is the lanyards, and they’re scheduled to arrive on 9/13.

Should we open up preorders for batch 3 of the Tree of Life badge?
  • Yes 100%, 8 votes
    8 votes 100%
    8 votes - 100% of all votes
  • No 0%, 0 votes
    0 votes
    0 votes - 0% of all votes
Total Votes: 8
August 29, 2021 - August 29, 2021
Voting is closed
© Kama

Amazon Customer Service: Surreal







It is understandable that a retail computer system might have a problem understanding the basic customer service dilemma here. It is less understandable which it’s one of the largest retailers on the planet.

In any case, that’s what human customer service is for — for understanding the customer’s problem and coming to a common sense solution. Here’s what happened when I tried to elicit common sense from Amazon’s customer service:

8:10 PM: (Amazon) 

OK, looks like you requested a refund for this item, but we haven’t received it back yet.Refunds are issued once returns are received by Amazon.After you drop off your return, it can take up to two weeks for Amazon to get it and process a refund.Did you return this more than two weeks ago?

8:10 PM: No

8:10 PM: (Amazon) Okay, please allow up to two weeks for us to receive your return.We’ll send you an email as soon as we issue the refund.And you can always track your return and refund status.Is there anything else I can help with?

8:10 PM: Yes, I need help with something else

8:10 PM: (Amazon) So, what can I help you with?

8:10 PM: help

8:11 PM: (Amazon) Ok, you can chat with an associate now or request a call back.You can also go to your Customer Service hub to fix most things or to search help pages. What do you prefer?

8:11 PM: Chat with an associate now

8:11 PM: (Amazon) If you have details you think would help the associate, type them here.An associate will join the chat.

8:11 PM: NNaman has joined & will be ready to chat in just a minute.Naman | Customer ServiceHello Good Day! I am here to assist you today. Could you please elaborate the issue?N

8:11 PM: I received the wrong item. The system would not let me replace with the same item, only refund.

8:12 PM: Naman | Customer ServiceI am sorry for the inconvenience caused to you.Please allow me a moment to check this for you.As I can check this item is not eligible for replace/exchange, You can refund the item and place a new order for the item. Really sorry for the inconvenience caused.I can help you with a return label for the item.N

8:15 PM: That makes no sense. I never got the item in the first place.I’m not replacing or exchanging the actual item I ordered. I am returning the incorrect item which I received.I’m just trying to get the item I ordered.

8:15 PM: Naman | Customer ServiceI understand your concern.N

8:15 PM: So I paid several hundred dollars for an item. You sent me something completely unrelated which I did not ask for and cannot use. Now my only recourse is to have my money tied up for weeks?

[At this point, the first customer service rep just ghosted me, then Rep #2 comes in, flying blind, apparently]

8:18 PM: VVishal has joined & will be ready to chat in just a minute.(Amazon) Hi, I am here to help you today. V

8:18 PM: I just want the item I ordered.

8:19 PM: (Amazon) Let me check this for you.As i have checked the package shows delivered V

8:20 PM: I ordered a laser engraver. You sent me a baby crib.I tried to return for replacement, it said not eligible.

8:20 PM: (Amazon) NO worries You can return the item i will help you with the full refund V

8:21 PM: I already tried that. It says I will get my refund up to two weeks after you receive the item.This is unacceptable.I’m asking you to send the correct item,.

8:22 PM: (Amazon) I am sorry for the inconvenience caused to you.But we do not have replacement option V

8:22 PM: It’s not replacement. It’s sending me the item I ordered.You have not done that yet.

8:23 PM: (Amazon) You can return the item for full refundAnd reorder the item V

8:23 PM: With several hundred dollars of my money tied up for up to two weeks?How is that fair.The problem was not caused by me. You sent me the wrong item.

8:24 PM: (Amazon) You can return the item for full refundAnd reorder the itemV

8:24 PM: You are being most unhelpful.

Monday August 23 meeting: another solder party

I was hoping to demo a laser engraver for this week’s meeting, in addition to assembling the last of the preordered Tree of Life badges and prepping the rest for stocking and immediate sale. But Amazon sent me a BabyTrend mini nursery instead of the laser engraver I asked for.

So the agenda for tomorrow evening is: meet at the usual space, work out a minor assembly line, and knock those out. It will be far easier than last time — I should have most of the front boards already assembled before then; and the castellated edge solder method is much, much faster than using pin headers, and leaves the back side of the badge much smoother.

There will also be some discussion of prototyping to try out a feature for next year’s badge. I ordered some Space Dust, but I’m low on other beers, so if Space Dust isn’t for you, and you’re not into Malört, Skrewball or Woodford, consider bringing something.