Back to Jelly Bean

While attempting to reinstall an Android 7 ROM (KatKiss) on my tablet, something went kerflooey and the tablet got into a state where it would just stop at the ASUS splash screen during start up. I could get back into recovery mode (TWRP) no problem. Reflashing the KatKiss ROM and OpenGApps seemed to work without any errors, but the boot process just wouldn’t go past the ASUS splash screen.

Finally I decided to see if I could get the stock 4.1.1 ROM back on the tablet.

  • Grab the most recent stock firmware from the ASUS website and extract the blob file out of it.
  • Grab the Kang TWRP recovery image (look for a download link for 3.1.0-1 on page 12 of the thread).
  • Get the tablet into the bootloader (hold the Power+Vol Down down when turning the tablet on).
  • Get into fastboot mode. I had to use the Vol Down button to select the USB icon, then press Vol Up.
  • Confirm the tablet is connected to the computer with fastboot devices -l
  • Flash the stock firmware with fastboot flash system blob
  • Reboot back to the bootloader (fastboot reboot-bootloader) and get back to fastboot mode.
  • Flash the recovery image with fastboot flash recovery twrp-3.1.0-1-tf201t.img
  • Reboot with fastboot reboot

That got my tablet back up and running with Android 4.1.1 (Jelly Bean). However, attempts to get from there back to Android 7.1 (Nougat) with the KatKiss ROM still resulted in getting stuck at the ASUS splash screen.

I guess I’ll leave it with the stock ROM now. A working tablet is better than a non-working tablet. I just use the tablet for reading ebooks these days, and Android 4.1.1 still does that just fine.

Back to Android 4.1.1
Back to Android 4.1.1

More nativity visitors

The number of visitors at the nativity set this year has gone up.

In addition to the crew from a few years ago, now there’s Paddington Bear, a decrypted pink armored dwagon, Black Duck, Santa Claus mug, and Sock Monkey.

Nativity set visitors
Nativity set visitors

Vintage mammography phantom

Just about every medical physicist has a collection of old test gear, phantoms, test objects ,meters and the like.

A few years ago, while rummaging through the equipment cabinet in our store room/library/lab, I came across a variant of a mammography phantom that I hadn’t seen before. Instead of the normal pink wax insert, this one had 16 wax squares of different colours.

Old RMI mammography phantom SN 152-1015
Old RMI mammography phantom SN 152-1015

Aside from the curved bit of plastic at one end of the phantom (a test object, not a ghostly apparition), it’s the same size as the conventional ACR accreditation phantom. Reminds me of one of those sliding number/picture puzzles where you have to slide the squares around to reconstruct the image.

Old RMI mammography phantom SN 152-1015
Old RMI mammography phantom SN 152-1015 side view

I let it sit on my book shelf along with some of the other pieces in the collection. A few months ago, I decided it was time to have a look and see what the inside of the wax blocks looked like.

Old RMI mammography phantom SN 152-1015
Old RMI mammography phantom SN 152-1015

Looks like at some point in its history, the pieces got a little scrambled and reinserted a bit randomly. I was expecting that each colour block would represent a different density. Instead there are the usual fiber, speck, and mass groups, but not nearly as uniformly placed as in the accreditation phantom.

I don’t know how old this phantom is or what time frame it might have been used at work. The only mammography phantom I was familiar with before this one was the pink one, so possibly before 1996 at least. Definitely pre-1999.

If anybody out there happens to know anything about this style of mammography phantom, let me know.

Mammoths, alligators and butterflies. Oh my!

One of the stops we made on our trip last week was a stop in Gainesville, FL to meet up with one of our friends who just started a post-doc at the University of Florida. After having lunch together, we all headed off to the Florida Museum of Natural History on the University of Florida campus.


It’s a pretty nifty museum with a lot of neat interactive displays. Great place to take the kids.

One of these is not like the others
One of these is not like the others

Part of the museum is the Butterfly Rainforest, a really cool place to get up close with hundreds of butterflies. Watch them fluttering all around you, landing on flowers, and even you if you stand still long enough.

Then we went for a walk to the Lake Alice Conservation Area where we were treated to some very nice views of the lake, turtles and an alligator.

UF is a pretty big campus, and seems like a pretty nice place to walk around.

Back to Kennedy Space Center

The Kennedy Space Center Visitors Complex is one of those places I never get tired of visiting. We road-tripped back there over the weekend to get in one more visit before  the multi-day passes we purchased last year expired.

You'll need a pretty big tree for this ornament
You’ll need a pretty big tree for this ornament

On this visit, Connie noticed that the Welcome sign above the door to the Space Shop welcomed visitors in 9 languages, including Klingon.


We went there over two days, and spent the second day at the Saturn V exhibit building. The bus tour takes you past the gigantic Vehicle Assembly Building (VAB). Next to the VAB they’re working on building a new launch platform that will be used by NASA’s SLS rocket. It’s an impressively large structure and even larger than the launch platform used for the shuttle.

The bus then takes you past Launch Pad 39A. The last time I was on the bus tour, the pad was one of the stops and people were able to get off the bus and go onto the launch platform. 39A is being used by SpaceX now, so it’s not a stop on the tour anymore. I was on the wrong side of the bus and couldn’t get any decent photos when we went by.

The Apollo/Saturn V Center is always impressive, and it’s pretty easy to spend 2 or three hours exploring all the exhibits here. Next to the Atlantis exhibit, it’s my favourite exhibit at KSC.

Saturn V main engines
Saturn V main engines

A new exhibit (new since my last visit to the Saturn V building anyway) is a memorial to the Apollo I astronauts (Ed White, Virgil Grissom, and Roger Chaffee) who died when a fire started in the command module. It’s a nice exhibit featuring personal items belonging to each of the astronauts as well as the hatch from the command module.

Apollo I hatch
Apollo I hatch

Next time you go, make sure to reserve plenty of time for the Apollo/Saturn V Center.