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Category: Technical

Replacement fans on 2016 Razer Blade 14″ laptop

Replacement fans on 2016 Razer Blade 14″ laptop

I recently bought a used 2016 14″ Razer Blade M970 (RX09-01652E22) gaming laptop for about 20% the price of a new one (seems the only things that lose value faster than a Porsche driving off the lot are gaming laptops with last gen technology). I needed this one since it had a high-end GPU that allowed me to do modern DX12/Vulkan work, while being in a nice transportable 14″ slim form factor (it had a M970 graphics card).

While a screaming deal, there was one other noise problem: the fans. Gaming laptops are kind of notorious for needing powerful fans to cool their graphics cards. Both the fans in this laptop were starting to make bearing noises. The temps were fine and the fans worked ok – they were just a little noisier than they should have been. I took them out and cleaned them, but same result.

The originals are Cooler Master FB07006M05SPA312’s. DC 5v 0.5A, 4 pin connector.

Unfortunately, finding these guys turned up next to zero hits. Best options I could find were:

  1. Live with it – but know the fans might be dying/making more noise soon.
  2. Send it in to Razer and they’re replace them out of warranty. They charged a flat $100 rate + parts (they quoted me about $20) + shipping. About $150. Ouch.
  3. Buy used fan/heat-sink assembly off eBay. They were still charging around $40, and the fans were definitely all used. They could have the same noise issues as I was having – or have them soon.
  4. Dig deeper.


I opted for #4 and found a company on AliBaba that hit the spot. I found this vendor selling off-brand versions that looked and speced out right. I took the gamble since the price was $32 for 2 fans – a SCREAMING deal:

They arrived about 2+ weeks later as I opted for the free shipping. I popped out the old ones and can confirm these look and fit identically to the originals – sans the CoolerMaster stickers. They appeared to be brand new. Temps all appeared fine after gaming for well over an hour. They revved up to full power and then back down to idle perfectly. Best of all – they were nice and quiet. Success!


If you are looking for originals, I found these at $65/each, but that’s pretty steep to me:



1.7 days – on average

1.7 days – on average

Glad to know our doctors and academics are still producing lots of great papers. While some things like magnets are seriously dangerous if swallowed, the goal of this one was to get over-protective parents to calm down about the risk of many other commonly swallowed household items.

Six pediatric health‐care professionals were recruited to swallow the head of a Lego figurine. The professionals then examined their stool samples for the next few days to determine:

  1. If Lego pieces passed through their system or got stuck
  2. The time it took to pass the Lego piece.

Full paper here:

SMB1 is unsafe

SMB1 is unsafe

If you use samba and connect to it via Windows, you might get a message that says:

You can’t connect to the file share because it’s not secure. This share requires the obsolete SMB1 protocol, which is unsafe and could expose your system to attack.

The right solution is to update the Linux Samba share software/service. Unfortunately, that’s not always possible – especially if the server is not yours. The only recourse is to find another solution, contact the server owner to update it, or accept the risk.  Installing support for SMB1 opens you to the risk of various attacks – including a brutal man-in-the-middle that exposes everything. It’s a good idea to do whatever you need, then disable the protocol, because a compromised server/man-in-the-middle might block safer SMB2.x/3.x protocols which might make your system fall back to the unsafe v1.x without you knowing it.

At any rate, sometimes you have to accept the risk. Here’s how to install/enable smb1 on Windows if all else fails:

  1. Run Powershell command processor in elevated mode (run as admin)
  2. Type the following command:
    get-windowsoptionalfeature -online –featurename smb1protocol
  3. Once SMB has been installed please type the following command to activate it:
  4. enable-windowsoptionalfeature -online –featurename smb1protocol
  5. Once done, press Y and hit enter to restart your computer.
Garbage bag art

Garbage bag art

Two hundred and seventy white garbage bags hang like ghosts in the columned hall of Vienna, Austria’s Museum für agewandte Kunst (MAK) for the exhibition Sagmeister & Walsh: Beauty. The piece is by Nils Völker, and is titled after the number of bags present in the installation. Over 1000 precisely installed fans and 45 circuit boards keep their movement on track, helping to rhythmically inflate and deflate the hanging plastic objects.

Tiny spy chips were added to almost 30 companies products by Chinese supplier. Including Amazon and Apple.

Tiny spy chips were added to almost 30 companies products by Chinese supplier. Including Amazon and Apple.

Update: These facts are in dispute by many of the companies involved, but the accusations appear very specific and Bloomberg usually does a good job with verification. There’s also the possibility this is high-stakes cloak-and-dagger between the US/China, or nothing at all. File this one as plausible but needs more data category Jamie.

Excellent article and something with extraordinary repercussions.

The world’s largest supplier of mothersboards, Supermicro, was caught adding spy chips to silicon they fabed for such companies as Amazon and Apple. All these parts had one thing in common: a Chinese contractor. One of the first cases was caught at Portland’s own Elemental technologies. A 3 year investigation showed almost 30 companies had their hardware infiltrated.

What does the chip do? Basically – it opens everything.

This system could let the attackers alter how the device functioned, line by line, however they wanted, leaving no one the wiser. To understand the power that would give them, take this hypothetical example: Somewhere in the Linux operating system, which runs in many servers, is code that authorizes a user by verifying a typed password against a stored encrypted one. An implanted chip can alter part of that code so the server won’t check for a password—and presto! A secure machine is open to any and all users. A chip can also steal encryption keys for secure communications, block security updates that would neutralize the attack, and open up new pathways to the internet. Should some anomaly be noticed, it would likely be cast as an unexplained oddity.

World’s most powerful magnet

World’s most powerful magnet

The strength of the Earth’s magnetic field is about 30 microtesla. The magnets in an MRI machine clock in at about 3 tesla, and the approximate magnetic field of a white dwarf star is about 100 tesla.

So just think about how powerful this 1,200-tesla magnet created by Shojiro Takeyama and his colleagues at the Institute for Solid State Physics at the University of Tokyo.

To achieve that intensity, Takeyama and his team pump megajoules of energy into a small, precisely engineered electromagnetic coil, the inner lining of which then collapses on itself at Mach 15 — that’s more than 3 miles per second (5 kilometers per second). As it collapses, the magnetic field inside gets squeezed into a tighter and tighter space, until its force peaks at a tesla reading unimaginable in conventional magnets. Fragments of a second later, the coil collapses entirely, destroying itself.

The last time Takeyama switched on his super-strong magnet, it blew out the heavy door of the lab that contained the machinery. Check it out here:

Artistic style transfer for videos and spherical images

Artistic style transfer for videos and spherical images

Everyone has seen those phone apps that make your photos look like the style of a famous painting. It is often called transferring artistic style. Code is easily available for you to write one yourself. Freshman in Stanford CS 231n do this today using neural nets.


Researchers have now extended that technique to video using some interesting new optical flow techniques. Will we even need animators in the future?

Farming revolution is not being televised

Farming revolution is not being televised

Autonomous cars are getting all the press, but there is an even more disruptive side to self-driving vehicles that will almost certainly come first – autonomous farming.

Imagine running a farm completely from your study? Sending fleets of tractors and harvesters to work 24-7 without a single human setting foot in the field. They can be timed to plant, harvest, or plow when conditions are optimal. Be monitored remotely by camera and even be driven remotely.

They could be combined with small drones or robots that are able to do fine labor – like weeding without damaging the plants and using a minimal amount of chemicals:

This isn’t just about reducing labor efforts – it’s actually a potentially huge jump in productivity and capital outlay as well. Imagine fields that can be analyzed and automatically planted based on market conditions, soil conditions – all to maximize profit and production.

It could radically reduce costs and environmental impact of chemicals used to feed, weed, and protect by insecticides. Imagine a machine that could drive over a field – targetting weeds and plants and give it exactly the right amount of insecticides, feed, and weed killer on an individual level.

This technology is not science fiction – it’s here in prototypes now. It should become ubiquitous in the next decade or two. Here’s a good overview of what’s coming and already in development