Category Archives: Tech

Uhuru UCM 11PL Shotgun Microphone Kit

This is the second Microphone we have made a video on from Uhuru, another reasonably priced Microphone on Amazon. The Uhuru UMC 11PL is a kit of quite a few tools, in fact, most of the things you need to get started as a Youtuber or Vlogger. It hosts:

  • Shotgun Microphone
  • LED Light
  • Phone Holder
  • Tripod/Gimbal

The shotgun microphone is impressive, especially when using something decent to record with, in the video I made sure not to do any post-processing to the audio recorded on my phone to give you the out of the box sound, but in dubbing, you can really hear this can be an excellent microphone with a little tweaking If you want to know what settings I used for this its the same as I used in the UM910 video.

LED Light is bright, to say the least! You would never need this at 100% for face shots but it may be very useful if you’re trying to picture or video objects to flood the area with light. requires 2x AA batteries.

The phone holder is nothing special, but it serves the purpose. It opens to about 10cm I can’t think of a phone that’s bigger than that.

Tripod/Gimbal is made of plastic but is actually very robust as an engineer I can see they have added strengthening bars in the legs to make it stronger. Gimbal has a lot of motion and all can be locked in place with thumbscrews.

Probably the best part is that it all uses standard fixings, so as you upgrade you can swap out the phone bracket for your camera. As you can see the microphone plugs in via standard means for most cameras (check yours has an input!), the H mounts for the Light and mic are standard for cameras and so is the tripod mount!

Netgear GS110TP Hidden CLI

This was a quick video, I just really wanted to show everyone what i had learned about the Netgear GS110TP and how you could get to the command-line interface (CLI) even though its an unadvertised or hidden feature. As I say in the video I stumbled upon the port while conducting a routine port scan of my network and wanted to learn more. I found a blog post that gave me all the info I needed to access the CLI so I decided to make this quick video to show the steps involved. Enjoy!

Uhuru UM910 microphone review – unbox, setup and demo

The Uhuru UM-910 is another reasonably priced microphone like the Tonor video we did recently, however, this one is USB. The benefits of USB vs XLR is that you don’t need to worry about fancy audio set up to power it, it just runs straight out of the box.

The mic has a decent build quality, its heavy which is always a good sign. It has a nice matt black exterior and all the parts seem to be strong and robust. The base plate is particularly heavy, you’re unlikely to knock this over by accident. The Upright has 2 threads so will fit most standard microphone holders:

The sound of the microphone is very good for the price, it captures a lot of the bass in my voice that most microphones miss. I did have to put the volume up quite high to get a good sound but that’s common for USB condenser mics and I still had room to put it higher to past the cutting point. All in all a great mic for the money!

If you have any question, would like to see more tests or perhaps a comparison to other microphones please leave a comment.

Tonor BM-700 microphone review – unbox, setup and demo

It’s become apparent in our video’s that the sound quality wasn’t great, definitely the lowest point of our productions to date, and here’s why:

Makeshift Microphone

Up until recently, this was my microphone! My VR headset mounted atop a camera to get it closer to my mouth, this was the best I had. Definitely wasn’t giving the professional sound we wanted for the YouTube Channel.

So, I began to look around online and also began to educate myself on the best type of microphone to go for. My spec for a microphone was something that sounds good out of the box but at a later date, I can possibly upgrade or improve. So I started looking at USB Mic’s and soon found although they are ok out of the box your very limited, and I felt that one day I will want to upgrade from that to a condenser microphone and full setup I thought why not skip the USB step and did straight in for a condenser.

So I found this very entry-level microphone, the Tonor BM-700 and although the documentation states you need a Phantom 48V to run it I had read elsewhere you could get away without one if you have a decent onboard sound card in your motherboard. This seemed perfect for me, if I could get the microphone running out the box with my motherboard, later I could upgrade it by adding a Phantom 48V and perhaps get a bit more out of it, or maybe even something with adjustable levels like this.

So I ordered the Mic and the next day it came, it came with everything you could need for a beginners setup and I was even surprised it came with a USB sound card but ill talk about that more later. Build quality is OK, very good for the price. I’d be surprised if you didn’t get a few years out of the arm and the microphone and holder feel very well made, so if later I upgrade the arm I’m happy the holder and mic will withstand it.

First things first I tested the Mic direct to the USB sound card, I’ll remind you again I’m not using a Phantom 48V (as recommended) so the results were unsurprising, I ramped all the gains to 100% and as you will see in the video you can bearly hear me. Now I could improve this in post by adding more gain again but this will affect the sound quality a bit and plus if I decide to do any live streaming i’m stuck sounding like I’m whispering! If I had a Phantom im sure this card would work fine.

Next, I plugged into my motherboard. Once again put all the gains to 100% and was pleasantly surprised, I even dropped it down a little to stop it cutting. Sound quality is great much better than my VR headset and I believe better than a lot of the USB mic’s I’d seen people using! It’s defiantly not perfect, I really do need a Phantom 48V to bring up the sound and I still need to really play with the EQ to fine-tune it but I’m more than happy with what I’ve got straight out the box, this shall me for a while and help me learn how to best use the equipment.

In the video I go into some of the extra little tweaks I’ve added to improve the sound quality but I will be continuing to work on this and may do additional videos on my tweakings and findings if you’d be interested in that let me know in the comments.

Creating a Ubuntu 20.04 Virtual Machine in Windows

This guide comes off the back of the Xiaomi OpenWrt Guide, a few people asked me to create a Windows version of that guide and I tried, I tried for about 4 hours to get the exploit to work on windows and when I finally managed to get it to work I had no idea how many steps would be needed to reproduce what I’d done, either way, it’s still a lot simpler to do on Linux (Ubuntu in this case). So I decided instead of dragging people through a 4-hour video that I’m not confident in, why not make a quick simple guide to setting up a VM (Virtual Machine) in Windows to give users all the advantages of Linux without having to deal with dual booting and the slightly more complicated side of Linux (By the way, all these things have got a lot easier in the last few years!)

I wrote the Guide for the latest LTS (Long term support) of Ubuntu 20.04, however, you could follow this guide for almost any Linux flavour (except Arch, but if you were using Arch you would have told us already!)

Sorry I can’t resist an Arch Meme

I use Virtual box in this example, works perfectly well for what most people need and best of all it’s free! All we need then is a Ubuntu image which is also free to download. A lot of different Linux flavours provide VM images that you can just import into Virtual Box, however, I looked quickly and couldn’t find one for Ubuntu, and even if I did I normally install for myself in the process outlined, that way you have all your own usernames and passwords out of the box, the main disadvantage is they sometimes come with additional software installed that allows for a little bit more compatibility, for instance being able to share a clipboard between Windows and Linux. To overcome this you simply need to click the Devices tab > Insert Guest Additions CD Image… > And follow the instructions to install the additional software.

If you find after the initial install and reboot you find yourself back in the Ubuntu installer you may need to remove the virtual disc by right-clicking the CD icon in the lower corner and deselecting Ubuntu.iso.

In most of our other guides, you will see us use the terminal, you can search for this using the boxes icon in the lower-left corner and then type “terminal” or a quicker way is to press Ctrl + Alt + T. Some other beginner tips, If you need to run a command as Administrator you start the command with sudo, (short for superuser do) you will need to type your password to do this and it catches a lot of people out but your password isn’t displayed when typed in the terminal (for obvious reasons!).

Some simple commands to get you started on linux are:

sudo apt update

sudo apt upgrade

These two commands will install the latest updates for your OS.

Although I’ve mentioned the terminal, most people could use Ubuntu without ever needing to open the terminal, my wife for instance has been using it for 10 years and never needed it once!

Installing OpenWrt on the Xiaomi 4A, 4C, 3Gv2, 4Q, miWifi 3C and debrick method

I bought the Xiaomi 4A router a while back because it’s quite cheap when considering the specifications of the router, it really is good value for money. Though the performance of the stock firmware was ok, I personally had a few concerns about how it runs, for instance checking my PiHole you could see the 4A polls home to a Xiaomi address every few seconds, in fact, it was one of the highest traffic devices on my network with this polling alone. Also, although having an App that I could change setting from anywhere is good but triggers my internal security worries, if I can access this and make changes anywhere so could someone else if hacked or leaked, I prefer something I can fully trust and fully configure… Enter OpenWrt, open-source firmware for any router that will take it.

I had originally ordered a CH341A to install OpenWrt but found that while waiting for it to be delivered another method had been found named “OpenWrtInvasion” a clever little exploit that works by uploading a backup file that can be tricked to be placed in any directory, with that it changes a speed test script with its own that removes the root password and starts a telnet server allowing us to login and upload our own firmware and flash it. OpenWrtInvasion doesn’t only work for the 4A, it also works for the 4C, 3Gv2, 4Q, miWifi 3C and no doubt other Xiaomi routers.

In the video, I run the exploit from a Ubuntu VM, personally I find Linux more stable for these of things but I will do a Win version eventually. It’s important to note the STOK code is generated for whatever machine is connected, so for me, if I was to login to the router with my windows PC (running the VM) take the code and try to run the exploit in the Ubuntu VM it wouldn’t work, I have to login via Ubuntu and have it generate its own code for this to work. I noticed this when people were SSH’ing to RPI’s remotely and failing to run the exploit, also if you reboot the router a new STOK will need to be generated.

Some firmware images are better than others, unfortunately at the time of writing the most current version of OpenWrt isn’t working but if you search the OpenWrt forum there are plenty of builds that are working well, currently, I’m using is version by byte that works perfectly as far as I can tell, some tweaking of the WiFi settings can be needed to make it as almost as good the stock firmware these are my current settings for both 2.4 and 5GHz:

As part of the guide we also added a quick and easy way to debrick the router, with testing of lots of new firmware images, comes the risk of bricking the router, thankfully its trivial (TFTP pun!) to repair the router. If the router is booted with the reset button pushed it starts in safe mode which looks for a firmware image named “test.bin”, if it finds it it will install it and overwrite any other firmware on the device, unfortunately, we can’t use this to install OpenWrt (because the header of the file is checked) but we can reinstall the stock firmware and then reattempt the OpenWrt install. We have made a download page for debrick tools that you can find here, it’s a preconfigured TFTP server and DHCP server and has the 4A Gigabyte firmware (and other routers) already in the file (named test.bin) if you are using one of the other routers supported by this method make sure you have the correct stock firmware image, other images can be found here (google translate is your friend!) and have put it in the folder and renamed it to test.bin before attempting to repair the router.

Assuming you’ve managed to install OpenWrt, It’s best to update it after a fresh install. To do so you can login via SSH:

ssh [email protected]

#Change the IP if you’ve changed it from the default

Now we need to get the latest infomation on our installed software:

opkg update

If you have any issues with the previous step ensure you have an internet connection and that it’s not being firewalled. Next, we issue the upgrade command to install the newer versions:

opkg upgrade

This may take a few minutes to complete, once done it’s not completely necessary but its good practice to reboot:

reboot

Your router is now up to date!

The opkg tool used above and be really useful, although you can achieve this in luci from the software tab, you can use opkg to install software as well, it’s very much like apt for ubuntu. To install a software package:

opkg install package-name

#Where package name is the name of the software you wish to install, don’t forget pressing tab can help to auto-complete the name if you don’t know the full name of the package.

Let me know how you get on in the comments here or on youtube!

Setting up DHCP to debrick the Xiaomi 4A router (OpenWrt)

I’ve left this guide here but it is outdated, for a much easier guide check out this video and debrick tools available here.

This guide shows how to quickly set up a DHCP server and TFTP server to allow us to upload the stock firmware to the Xiaomi 4A router and debrick it. I made the guide quickly due to a request on the OpenWrt forums, someone had asked how I had set up the server, essentially we use the DHCP and TFTP server found here and the 4A firmware found here to repair the 4A router.

This guide inspired our next video, a much larger how-to on the installation of OpenWrt and a much easier method for unbricking the router, you can find that here.