Two numbers for Google Voice

By default, Google voice ties the number to your Mobile phone, which enables text forwarding, but you cannot have two Google voice numbers forwarding to the same phone.

If only voice forwarding is needed, each Google voice account can link to your Home and Work phone numbers instead. Since they are not considered a Mobile number, you are treating your mobile number as a landline number, which obviously doesn’t have text messaging.

Therefore at most you can have 3 Google Voice numbers going to the same phone, but only one of them (the account where the target number is set as Mobile) can forward text messages.

The tricky part is that this designation can only be changed through the classic setting page here:

The solution came from this forum.

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Cantonese IME for Windows 10

There are not many decent Cantonese IME around. The best option for Windows 7 and before are CPIME. It borderline worked for Windows 8/10 (desktop mode only), but I heard recently Windows 10 broke it in its 1903 update.

Dr. Choi kindly wrote another Cantonese IME called CAP, which I came across while looking for Cantonese IME for Linux. This is the only option that works with Windows 10 natively (apps and desktop).

Unfortunately the installer failed on a fresh Windows 10, saying that “CAP.dll” cannot be registered. I looked at the error code and it usually suggest a missing dependency for the DLL. I used Dependency Walker to look at what’s broken and noticed those are Visual C++ 2015 DEBUG runtime DLLs. Since debug builds aren’t suppose to have a redistributable runtime (it’s actually called NonRedist), the only solution is to install the community edition of Visual C++ 2015 to obtain these DLLs.

Note that “Common Tools for Visual C++ 2015must be included (installed) so the IME won’t be broken (grayed):

The cause is the missing UCRTBASED.DLL. The files are located at:

C:\Program Files (x86)\Windows Kits\10\bin

It’s under the (x86) variant of Program Files regardless of whether it’s 32-bit or 64-bit.

The missing link to API-MS-WIN-CORE-PATH-L1-1-0.DLL is not important.

After you installed the IME after installing Visual C++ 2015 (any flavor, minimal is OK), you can remove Visual C++ 2015 without breaking the IME, EXCEPT you need to back up the UCRTBASED.DLL first and put it next to the core CAP.DLL file for the IME:

C:\Program Files\Sixth Happiness\CAP\x64



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Locale Emulator replaced pAppLocale / AppLocale

I have an ancient SONY NW-507 MP3 player (I still love it because of the 60hrs battery life) that the MP3 Manager software just interpret ANSI names encoded in the ID3 tag based on whatever system language the program started on.

I used to use AppLocale for that. There was a better variant called pAppLocale (or paip Applocale) but it’s no longer maintained anymore. Today I discovered a modern, much more powerful equivalent called Locale Emulator.

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Windows 10 setup notes

  • Microsoft Edge does default search provider is set using opensearch: you need to go to first before the Google option is available in the “Change Search Provider” lists. Otherwise all you’ll see is a disabled option
  • EasyBCD messes up the boot menu under UEFI. VisualBCD Editor is too low level. Use BootICE instead: it’s simple and free. It was designed for up to Windows 8.1, but it works for Windows 10.

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Linux Mint Setup Notes

Open Keyboard settings and add application/custom shortcuts:

Thunar file manager has the location/address shown as buttons. Use shortcut Ctrl+L to enable typing.

To move along GUI tabs, use Ctrl+PageUp/Down in Linux instead of Ctrl+(Shift)+Tab in Windows.

To expand/contract GUI trees, use Shift+Left/Right instead of simply Left/Right in Windows


Most Linux come with Samba Client (smbclient) installed that allows you to access Windows shares, the Samba Server is typically not installed by default, therefore you will need to do more work to share Linux folders with Windows. Here are the tools for a more complete experience:

  • Smb4k for viewing network shares (or use smbtree)
  • Nemo-share enables right-click to share in Cinnamon’s default file manager (nemo)

For some reason, after installing and uninstalling samba and smbclient a few times, Linux Mint stopped connecting to Windows computer (yet other SMB running MX linux can be accessed fine), despite this worked fine out of the box.

Turns out it’s this flaw (not in MX linux) that it cannot negotiate with newer SMB versions that might have been addressed but it can stuck being unable to negotiate with Windows 7 (it has SMB1 and SMB2 enabled) under certain conditions. After placing “client max protocol = NT1” in smb.conf and reboot, it worked, then I removed the line and reboot and it still worked afterwards. Weird!

Linux Mint 19 also does not resolve local hostnames from DNS right out of the box (also the live CD boot) because it came with systemd-resolve which does not handle local hostnames resolution right away.

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Windows 10 computers accessing file shares from Windows 2008 / Windows 7 Negotiations between different versions of SMB that came with different Windows

Windows 10 cannot access network file shares of older Windows (7 and before) out of the box, and I’m not impressed that Microsoft let millions of users waste their productivity to figure it out.

The issue is caused by SMB negotiatons. Basically at the time of writing, there are 3 major versions of SMB:

Windows 2000 / XP / 2003 Windows 7 / 2008 Windows 8 / 10
SMB v1 (No encryption) Default Default (for backward compatibility) Need to turn on SMB 1.0/CIFS File Sharing Support
SMB v2 X Enable SMB2 in registry (for 2008) Default (for backward compatibility)
SMB v3 X X Default

More accurately, this blog post provides the negotiation chart for up to Windows 8 (think of Windows 10 is the same for now).

Turn on SMB 1.0 in newer Windows (8, 10 and above):

The SMB v1 does not have encryption, therefore a security risk. Makes sense to disable it unless there’s a compelling reason (like obsolete industrial computer under tightly controlled network).

SMB v2 might need to be enabled by registry in Windows 2008 if not already done so:

SMB2 (DWORD): 1 for enable, 0 for disable

This web page tells you how to turn on/off each SMB version individually.


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Data Precision 8200 Repair Service

I just bought a big lot of Data Precision 8200 and some Analogic AN3200 DC Voltage/Current Calibrators with a bunch of hard to find (unobtainium) genuine parts (relays, switches, hardware, regulator and amp ICs, whole modules, transformers) that that I believe it’s the leftovers of a closed down repair shop.

That means I’ll have all the materials needed to service and upgrade Analogic / Data Precision 8200 that you are unlikely to be able to find elsewhere.

Data Precision 8200 is the official unit to field adjust TDS 500~800 series oscilloscopes as the automation software (GPIB) was hard-coded to this model. Nonetheless, I find it a reliable reference for verifying oscilloscope performance and adjusting my multimeters as well.

Call me at 949-682-8145 for a repair quote or if you are interested in buying a unit. GPIB and 1kV option can be ordered for extra, either with the unit or service upgrade.



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Tek Evil: Repairing MDO4000C Series MDO4014C stuck at splash screen on start

I recently got a repair evaluation order that took me two intense weeks to nail the problem. It’s a MDO4104C that does not get past splash screen.

Worst of all, the unit failed right within 3 months right after the warranty expired. The unit didn’t show signs of heavy use. In fact, I nailed the problem so I can tell for sure the unit DIED OF NATURAL CAUSES. It’s not the first time I (and other people on forums like EEVblog) bitch about Tek designed their unit to last beyond the support/warranty period. This one takes the cake.

Basically everything in MDO4000C series happens in the main acq board. Anything that goes wrong there you might as well just buy another unit.

It runs embedded linux (uboot) and it’s slow to boot as I always expected from Tek (Keysight/Agilent use VxWorks for their modern embedded scopes and they boot fast).

There are no UART debug consoles anywhere and the only two test points with digital signals that idles high at 3.3V. The data pulses are quite long for the frame, and one of them looked more like clock bus in either SPI or I2C. So no UART. The firmware file mentioned BDI3000, which is a JTAG, which I suspect there’s a 10 pin IDC (ribbon) port on the right hand side of the main acq board, but this is as much as what I can get getting debug info.

There’s a RS-232 driver chip on the peripheral board, but it goes to the ID pin of the VGA port. I didn’t see any data traffic on it on boot.

Getting stuck at the splash screen practically tells you nothing about what’s wrong. The only thing you can infer from it is that the unit powers on and the display/keyboard is good. This is pure evil. HP/Agilent/Keysight designed their products to make it easy to service, and Tek has always a pain to service, and the new ones are no exception.

They don’t even mark the grounds in test hook points. It’s just a bunch of TPXXXX numbers. Apparently they are there for testing the design, not repairing it.

It’s obvious from the way they designed their product to the service manual, Tektronix definitely don’t want any people to do board level repairs: ultimately they want you to blindly send it in for factory repair within the first 5 yr of production, and make you buy a new one if the model is discontinued.

Despite I hated it, Tek has a valid strategy. If a product is cheaply made, even at the cost that it only last long enough through their warranty period, the manufacturer doesn’t even need to bother with board level repairs because it’s cheap for them to just give you a new part instead of figuring out what’s wrong with it.

Putting the frustrating to use UI designs aside, Tek works if you are a company buying the scope for a short 3 yr project. I wouldn’t recommend Tek at all if you plan to buy it for a long haul (because they are not designed to last given ones I’ve serviced), or plan to use it as a daily troubleshooting scope (because their user interface is slow and clumsy).

Tek has a huge following from the analog days when they did things right. Ever since the digital age, the learning curve for Tek’s UI was so steep that inevitably it turned into a customer lock-in where Stockholm syndrome kicks in.

Nonetheless, Tek was a little ahead of Agilent in terms of the MDO concept that correlates time domain measurement with the built-in spectrum analyzer. If that’s a feature that is important to you to the extent that you are willing to live with Tek’s clumsy UI and it might break down right after the warranty expires and it’s nearly impossible repair it yourself, it’s reasonable to go with Tektronix for this one given the lack of functional alternatives. Do NOT get MDO3000 series for this reason though, since the spectrum analyzer and oscilloscope are not time-correlated there’s no material innovation out there. MDO4000 series and up are time-correlated with the spectrum analyzer.

Again, I’m not saying Tek is bad. Tek is just mean towards their customers from a product design’s point of view, when you contrast them with how considerate (nicely thought-out) HP/Agilent/Keysight products are designed. Tek is still much better than the RCCC (Random Cheap Chinese Crap) in every way.

EDIT (2017-07-02): I just got a call this morning from somebody who bought a TDS 220 from me years ago. The BNC connectors broke off and he’s found somebody selling a kit specifically to fix the problems in TDS 200 series. That’s pathetic. I knew the design was obviously flimsy back in the days, but I trusted the Tek engineers knew what they are doing given their brand reputation. Turns out common sense is right. A bad design cannot last even if they had solid parts/manufacturing.

From my experience opening up many Tek and  HP/Agilent/Keysight units so I can compare their mindfulness, I can see that Tek is one of those high pressure companies that cut corners to get stuff out fast with low manufacturing costs. It’s not necessarily a bad thing from a business standpoint, it’s just Tek and HP/Agilent/Keysight operate with very different set trade-offs (or say, philosophy). Apparently Tek’s kind of trade-offs makes their used equipment a terrible choice unless it’s covered by their extra warranty.

Since I deal with old gears, I’m not impressed with the outcomes of used Tek products that I have/had. If I were to buy from Tek, I’d rather lease it since I do expect their product to last beyond their warranty period without multiple breakdowns that are costly to fix. My experience with used HP/Agilent/Keysight gears is that the problems are more predictable, limited to a small area and easy to reach and fix. For example, the caps in power section and CRT driver of TDS 500~700 series starts to fail, and the flyback transformer dies year after recapping the SMDs, and the units were just sitting there, not actively used. On the other hand, early 54600 series are almost always problem free other than an occasional cheap capacitor in the CRT driver drying up. This gave me a very bad impression about how Tek’s made their stuff.

Even if I could lease Tek products on other people’s budget, I still won’t consider until they radically changed their clumsy user interface and autoscale algoritm.

So far I haven’t see the kind of extra attention to detail in Tek products when I put it side by side with HP/Agilent/Keysight. This is how corporate culture reflects in their products: if you treat people well and trust them, they’ll get to all the nooks that managers and processes can’t reach and do it right. Tek just did enough that it will work as marketed, but whatever that’s cannot be objectively claimed in the advertisements, you are on your own.

I have spare parts to repair MDO4104C, MDO4054C, MDO4034C, MDO4024C

If you have an oscilloscope that you’d like to send it to me for repair evaluation (no fix, no fee), please call me at 949-682-8415 or email

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Keysight Calibration (Performance Validation) for Probes Specifically 1152A

I recently sent a 1152A probe for calibration and was surprised to find out the data on the calibration report tells little about how the tests are done and under what settings. I searched the throughly and called tech support and they confirmed my observation the performance validation procedures are not mentioned anywhere in the published documents.

I called Keysight cal department and was able to reach a super-helpful tech, Markis, who did the calibration for my 1152A probe and he explained to me how the calibration process is done when I called.

HP/Agilent/Keysight probes using AutoProbe interfaces are powered by 1143A (that was intended for 54701A probes) through a N1022A adapter (the one used in 81600 Infiniium DCA) for Keysight’s calibration process, which measures uncompensated probe-only performance. I saw the calibration reports from 3rd party-labs, and probes are are calibrated inside the oscilloscope they are used in, and therefore it’s measuring a compensated system (scope+probe) performance.

There is a 30 minute warm up period.

The procedures resembles to what’s detailed in the old 1144A probe user/service manual, (page 10-14) with the exception that the ‘Gain Accuracy’ done there is ‘AC gain accuracy’ (at 1kHz, 1Vrms) instead of ‘DC Gain Accuracy’ claimed on the report. In fact, given that it’s simply measuring relative error (multimeter reading of the probe BNC output divided by the 5V Fluke Calibrator reference) at one voltage setting, I believe it should be called ‘DC measurement accuracy’. The number on the calibration report was divided by 10 times since 1152A is a 10:1 probe.

The bandwidth test for 1152A is simply looking at attenuation at the advertised bandwidth (2.5Ghz for 1152A) relative to 50Mhz (low frequency reference set at 0dBm).



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