Monday, April 11, 2011

Make application installations a breeze.

While working on your own or others computers you may need to install additional programs, for commonly used programs, check out it has a selection of popular programs that you can choose from then it will create a small (~250KB) .exe file that you can toss onto a flash drive. running this program will begin a completely automated installation of ALL of the programs you previously selected. all that is required is internet access, and enough space for the file to be installed. The way it works is it downloads the setup files for each program you selected, and automatically selects all the right options for you. it opts out of any toolbar or ride-along applications that are generally crap, and installs all of your programs automatically. I like to keep individual installation files on my flash drive at all times, as you never know when someone may need a program, and this makes it simple to install whatever is needed.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Don't trash it, Fix it.

Learning to repair things is just that. Learning. You will never know if you are capable of opening a device, repairing it, and re-closing it without damaging it until you try. Such was the case with my first Nintendo DS. I had loaned it to my cousin so he could have something to play during the summer, and when i saw it, four months later, the hinge was broken. I've seen case replacements online, but this still worried me. which brings me to another point, if someone loans you something in good faith, and you damage it LET THEM KNOW! offer to do whatever you can to fix it, even if that means paying for a new one. Anyways, i went online to to purchase a new one, and found a nice all black case to replace it with. Three weeks after i ordered it, it was in my hands (you'd think we could ship things from china faster these days...). The plastic was of lesser quality than official Nintendo cases, but it was stiff good enough for my purposes. I set to carefully unscrewing all of the screws and replacing the case, bit by bit i got it apart, and then got all of the new pieces into place. It took me just under two and a half hours. Fast forward one year, and the case is holding up fine, i didn't have to buy a new DS, and I'm able to repeat the process for my friends in a little over half an hour. Just take your time, and keep track of where everything goes, and you should do just fine.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Don't let companies make you waste your money, fix it yourself!

So I received a hard drive dock that i had ordered online, and upon receiving it, I immediately knew something was wrong. I hesitantly shook the box only to discover the weight designed to keep the dock stationary had broken loose inside the dock. when I emailed the company inquiring about a replacement, they informed me they would be happy to mail a replacement as long as i paid to ship my defective unit back. now for a large, or pricey item, this may be understandable, but I paid 15 dollars for this, and wasn't about to spend 8 more for a chance at receiving another defective unit, I opened the enclosure to see what i could do about it, and noticed that not only had the weight broken free, but in transit, it had managed to break off the only component on the bottom side of the board. a single crystal oscillator. obviously i couldn't just reattach the weight and have everything work, so i pulled out my "Bucket 'O Parts" and set out to find a new one to replace the broken one with. five minutes later I had my oscillator, and was plugging in my soldering iron to prep for the transplant. a few quick maneuvers later, i had everything as it should be. i grabbed an old drive off of the shelf, plugged it in carefully, and flipped the switch, SUCCESS! another instance where voiding a warranty was both cheaper and easier to accomplish than trying to use the warranty to get a replacement. Now, obviously not everyone knows how to solder, but try it out, the tools are cheap (~$10US) and you can practice with wires and old circuit boards until you become used to it. Now go and void some more warranties!

Sunday, March 27, 2011

CHDK and you.

CHDK is a piece of software that resides on the memory card of your camera (mainly Canon point and shoots), that enables many features that canon did not put into the software of the camera. You can create scripts that make taking HDR photos a breeze, custom time lapse scripts, scripts for taking photos of lightning, and much much more. CHDK can also enable taking photos in RAW format, if you don't know what that is, you probably don't need that feature. and best of all, this amazing modification is one that doesn't even violate your warranty. You place the program on your memory card, and it stays there. it doesn't modify the camera at all. for more information, you can check it out at

Your brain is a tool too!

The correct tools can make the difference between voiding the warranty on your device, and voiding the functionality of your device. if you don't have the proper tools, don't take a pair of pliers to a screw thinking "oh it'll be fine" because no it won't. it's just a bad idea. Get the right tools. I cant tell you how many times my friends have destroyed their electronic devices because they were too impatient, the worst one being the guy that took a pair of pliers to the back of his iPod because he couldn't find a wedge or "spudger." He ended up not being able to use the device for 3 weeks as he waited for a new back plate from china. Just remember, think before you act. Have a nice well lit, clean work surface, and be prepared for the possibility you may not accomplish everything you want in one sitting.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Warranties? Who needs them!

Voiding warranties, some say its wrong, some worry about future support, but I am dedicated to using the hardware that i own to the fullest extent possible. If a router can be given a 200% boost in range through nothing more than a simple software update DO IT! If you can keep your video games safely stored away in their cases while you play from a backup copy, Why wouldn't you? Are you a huge anime fan but your dvd player won't play those import titles from japan? FIX IT! There is information readily available everywhere online that can help you on your way, most DVD players have a special code you can enter from your remote control to remove the region locks on your player, so why not take advantage of it?