All blog posts by James A. Chambers — focused on technology, hardware, SBC / Microboards, programming, scripting, gaming, and others!

Using Multiple M.2 NGFF 2280 SATA Drives Simultaneously

IOCREST NGFF 2230/2242/2260/2280/22110 SATA PCIe Enclosure

I’ve been running for several years now so I’ve held on to any spare storage devices I can get my hands on for benchmarking/testing/cataloging purposes. This led to a big surplus of drives and no easy way to utilize them. That was before getting some new tools to be able to utilize lots of drives at once.

Last time I covered a monster 16 bay hot swappable 2.5″ SATA cage (as well as a more reasonable 8 bay option) in this “extreme storage” series of articles and in this article we’re going to cover M.2 SATA NGFF / M.2 NVMe drives. It’s also possible to do RAID!

Minecraft 1.17 Caves and Cliffs Paper Server Update Available

Minecraft 1.17 - Caves and Cliffs Update

The 1.17 Caves and Cliffs Part 1 version of Minecraft came out for vanilla very recently but until now the Paper Minecraft server was not available for it. This means that my Raspberry Pi Minecraft script was unable to run this version until now.

Today I checked and sure enough 1.17 was finally in the version list so I updated the Raspberry Pi Minecraft server scripts and they are now available! Raspberry Pi not required, the script will work on most versions of Linux that have apt available.

Monster 16 Bay Hot-Swappable 2.5″ SATA Cage – ICY DOCK

ICY DOCK 16 Bay SAS/SATA Backplane Cage

I have a *lot* of 2.5″ SATA drives around the house that have collected from over the years from various devices. Often these drives have useful data on them or aren’t big enough to justify using on their own. The absolutely monstrous ICY DOCK 16 bay 2.5″ SAS/SATA backplane cage solves all of these problems and lets you hot swap (change out the drives while the OS is running) drives live in your OS!

In this guide I’ll cover how what I needed to actually set up something like this and my advice for people who are interested in these same type of hot swappable / RAID capabilities. I’ll also share the “sweet spot” recommendation to get the most bays for the least money if you’re on a tight budget. Let’s get started!

Ubertooth One Kali Linux Latest Tools / Firmware Setup Guide

Kismet Ubertooth One BTLE Capture

The world is full of devices communicating with Bluetooth even if (or maybe especially if) you don’t realize it. Most “smart” devices are advertising some Bluetooth services (some of them even publicly writable without a password!). Even my treadmill is advertising writeable Bluetooth endpoints!

The Ubertooth One is a bluetooth and bluetooth low-energy (BTLE) capture device intended for developers and security researchers/auditors. It has an external antenna and is able to communicate at much further distances than most BTLE devices by both transmitting more powerfully and having a more sensitive antenna to listen to the response. To find out what is nearby and happening over the air this is the device you want to have.

In this guide I’ll show you how to get the latest Ubertooth tools on Kali Linux as well as update the firmware for the Ubertooth device and actually use the device!

Revisiting Fixing Valheim Lag – Modifying Send/Receive Limits

My Valheim Dedicated Server Castle

I’ve previously covered fixing Valheim’s dedicated server lag by modifying the dedicated server’s send receive limits. Since I wrote that article not long after launch though the game has been updated that the old method no longer applies. I had theorized in the comments of that article how to address this and today Sam R. confirmed that this method did indeed alleviate most congestion on the server in the places that the send/receive limits are known to bottleneck.

This updated guide will show some updated methods you can use to help reduce lag on your Valheim dedicated server!

Bunnies, Pepes, Apes, Oh My? NFTs on Binance Smart Chain

Non-Fungible Ape #0406 - Beautiful Ape

You’ve likely heard in the news of someone paying a ridiculously large amount of money for something called a NFT (non-fungible token) such as $387,000 for a LeBron James NBA Top Shot moment, artwork from the hottest artists in the world who have been adopting NFT technology on a massive scale, and many more uses/offerings popping up every day. It’s definitely going to continue to be a huge driving force in the cryptocurrency market and there’s no way to put the genie back in the bottle.

You don’t have to have 400 grand to start playing with non-fungible tokens and learning more about them though. Today I’ll cover where to find (relatively) cheap NFTs on the Binance Smart Chain that I have picked up to learn more about them and exactly what they do!

Upgrade Java Past apt’s OpenJDK 11 on Raspberry Pi OS

OpenJDK 16 on Raspberry Pi OS

The OpenJDK 11 version that comes in Raspberry Pi OS’s apt repositories is ancient. It’s so old that recently people using my Minecraft Java Server for Raspberry Pi script have started getting a warning that Minecraft 1.17 will *not* support anything below OpenJDK 16.

In this article I’m going to share a sneaky trick to update your Java to a newer version than is available in apt using snapd. Let’s begin!

Hardware Technician Tool Gems: Precision Electric Screwdriver

wowStick w/ included accessories

This is the second in a series of articles about tools I’ve found during my IT hardware technician career that made my life much easier. These are all tools I have used for years that a lot of people have likely never seen or been exposed to before. Last time we covered a replacement for canned air / duster and this time we’re going to cover the wowStick fully electric precision screwdriver!

If you’ve ever opened a laptop or cell phone you know there are dozens of screws you have to remove. One of the best purchases I’ve ever made was an electric screwdriver. Let’s take a look at why!

My 2021 Aircooled Open Frame AMD Ryzen Threadripper Build

P5 Open Frame Threadripper Build

This year I’ve been doing more with technology than ever and I wanted to build a workstation. As most of you probably know building a computer is an absolute nightmare right now. After navigating the process I figured I would share what I ended up building as it may give some people some ideas on how to complete their build. I also think the open frame builds turn out really cool and have some benefits I wanted to talk about as well.

This is a workstation grade build so it is not going to be cheap. Everything in the build (except for the GPU and you probably won’t want to pick that one anyway, but more on that later) is generally attainable at reasonable prices. Here’s what I ended up going with!

UPS Backup Battery for Raspberry Pi? PiSugar Solderless Setup

PiSugar - Top with LED Battery Indicator

I’ve had the original 900 mAh PiSugar UPS backup battery for the Raspberry Pi Zero for several years now and it’s an absolute game changer. With the wireless capabilities of the Raspberry Pi you have a completely portable and networked computer available that is extremely tiny. It’s much more capable than hooking it up to a power brick and is actually designed for the Raspberry Pi!

In this article I’ll cover how to set up a full UPS battery backup with several hours of available power using the the PiSugar as well as the PiSugar 2 and some of the shortcomings in the first version the 2nd revision fixes. Let’s get started!

A Good Alternative to Canned Air / Duster for Electronics

OPOLAR Air Duster for Electronics / Computers

As a computer technician / technology enthusiast I have a lot of electronics that need to be kept clean. I used to use canned air / duster for this task but it’s pretty nasty stuff to work with. It is extremely cold, you don’t want to contact any coolant with any components, the bottles run out at the most inconvenient times and generate a bunch of waste, etc.

For this article I just wanted to share a tool I found a couple of years ago that made my life a lot easier. It is also cheaper over time and much more environmentally friendly!

Modding IT Racks for Sound / Noise Reduction w/ Acoustic Foam

TUFFIOM 15U Full Side View w/ Hanging Foam

Extremely powerful hardware tends to be very loud. Enterprise servers, networking equipment, cryptocurrency miners are three major offenders. This type of equipment tends to have very small fans that rotate extremely fast and emit a high pitched “whine”. This is fine if you are stuffing all of your equipment in a closet somewhere but for some deployments and situations this isn’t always possible

There are extremely expensive racks that have sound dampening foam and other materials preinstalled for situations like this but they are extremely expensive (thousands vs . what we will be doing which only costs hundreds). In this article I’ll show you how I modified some (relatively) cheap racks available from Amazon with acoustic foam to reduce noise from ASIC cryptocurrency miners as well as other loud equipment

Review: ApeSwap Exchange / DeFi on Binance Smart Chain


The Binance Smart Chain can be a dangerous place. It offers a reprieve from Ethereum’s fees with transactions costing mere pennies but despite it’s centralized nature it has struggled with new platforms getting hacked, rugpulling, scamming, and many other pitfalls.

In order to continue the journey of learning everything I can about cryptocurrency I have decided to wade through the filth and blog about my journey and which services ended up being legit and having value and which ones were a total sham. Today let’s talk about ApeSwap!

Where to get the 64 bit Raspberry Pi OS image for Pi 4 / 400

Pi 64bit OS - Forum Post

Last year a official 64 bit version of Raspberry Pi OS was released. There have been 3 versions of the image released with the latest one just having came out April 9th 2021.

It can be a little tricky to find and I’ve been asked in the comments here before on the site where to find it so I figured it was time to write a quick guide!

Life as a “Ledger” Wallet Data Breach Victim

Ledger Security Notice #3 - December 23rd 2020

I have had two Ledger Nano X cryptocurrency wallets for a couple of years now. One of them died during a firmware update which they offered to replace but I didn’t print the label and send it in time. That’s on me and if that was the only problem I had I could have lived with it.

Unfortunately Ledger collects a lot of personal information about you such as your email address, phone number and even your home address! They failed to protect this information and got hacked and all of this data was exposed. Funds were not stolen because of the way hardware wallets work (your private key never leaves the device and is generated by the end user) but apparently everything else except the money was (all your personal data, how much you have, etc)!

I was a confirmed “victim” of this hack and I wanted to write this article to explain what (if anything) has happened since. Spoiler alert: plenty!