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Archive for the 'Neat!' Category

Insert Witty Title of New Desk Post

Tuesday, December 21st, 2010

Alan wanted pictures of my monitor setup. Here you go. Keep in mind that everything is still dusty and dirty from construction.

When we bought the house, we had a living room that had absolutely silly proportions. Way too long and skinny, and no real way to use all the space. We walled off about a third of it, replaced the carpet with tile in the dining room, kitchen, laundry room, and newly-made room, and moved our office in there.

I’d had a wooden platform in my old office on which I mounted my monitors. This worked great there but wouldn’t work in the new room, where my desk had me sitting with my back in a corner. Monoprice to the rescue! Their single-mount and dual-mount monitor stands are inexpensive, sturdy, and attractive. They also have pretty nice HDMI matrix switches and of course inexpensive cables. Don’t ever, ever pay what Wal-mart is asking for a cable without checking at Monoprice first.

I had two other problems: The tangle of cords needed to support a computer with four monitors was easy to hide under a three-foot-deep corner desk, but here it ended up in a giant mess. Also, the computer itself, with three case fans, a power supply fan, a CPU fan, and two GPU fans, was way too loud. I went to Office Max and bought a double lateral file that matched the rest of our office set. I assembled it normally except that I left the bottom out of the top shelf and reinforced the bottom of the bottom drawer, making essentially a cabinet with one giant drawer. I then cut matching holes on the drawer and the outside of the cabinet, added fan covers to the outside of the cabinet, attached cheap “silent” 120mm fans to the inside of the drawers, and connected those fans via a long cable to the motherboard, allowing me to control the speed (and thus noise level) of the fans via software.

The result is a neat cabinet that reduces the roar of the computer to a quiet hum while containing all the mess, including the network switch and power strip. If you do this, take care to match your intake and exhaust fans to cooperate with those of your PC case instead of working against them. All the sensors in the computer are reporting comfortable temperatures, and the air temperature hovers somewhere in the 80 F to 90 F range, uncomfortable for us but just fine for electronics.

Notice the paper already coming off the front of one of the legs. I would have returned it, but it was the only one they had and I couldn’t be bothered. You get what you pay for, I suppose.

Bredacat does not seem to mind.

Program your own replacement remote key fobs

Wednesday, September 22nd, 2010

In college, I briefly drove a 2001 Ford Taurus, until I decided that I was working to pay for the car to go to work, so my parents gave the car to my sister.

Sometime during her ownership of the car, her keyfob died. She told me that it wasn’t just the battery in the remote, but the receiver on the car as well. She’d been told by a mechanic to give up on the whole idea and tossed the fob.

When the car was deemed to old to do anything with but scrap, my parents gave it back to me. I put $500 in repairs into it and it became the newest car we owned. My wife drives it but wished she had a remote unlock like a car she had once upon a time.

One day I came across a link on Hack a Day detailing how to program your own key fob. For the Ford, it was “Turn the key from [Off] to [Run] without starting it eight times in ten seconds. Then press any button on the fob you wish to activate. Turn the ignition to [Off] and you’re done.”

I ordered a remote off eBay for $8 and followed the instructions above. I got it right the first time.

I had always figured programming such devices required specialized software and/or hardware. I guess the folks charging $60 per fob are running a racket.

Bunker for Sale

Sunday, August 22nd, 2010

Commander Zero links a great youtube tour of a bunker originally built to protect telecom equipment during the cold war.

At $440,000, it could make a darn tempting group buy. I would be very interested in knowing if it was located in California or in one of the neighboring states. The description says five hours out of LA.

Plano Boxes at Sams

Monday, March 23rd, 2009

Sams recently started carrying Plano cases with wheels that are about the size of a footlocker. Price: $14.67 plus tax.



It fits suspiciously well into the trunk of my car, and fits all the crap I always have in there (trunk bag, blanket, toolbox, air compressor, socket set, crowbar). It is also not lost on me that an AR-length rifle would sit neatly inside.

They have two buckles on the front and one on each size. Everything is overbuilt and sturdy except the hinges. When the box is closed I’m pretty sure I could throw it down a flight of stairs full of rocks and it would survive. It has rollers on one side, but with no extending handle they aren’t practical to use unless the contents are heavy enough to merit crouching to pull the thing, or you are short enough that the side handle is at a natural position while walking.

And they have notches to stay lined up while stacked. I think I’m going to have to pick up half a dozen of these. They beat the ever-loving snot out of rubbermaids.

My Desk

Monday, March 9th, 2009

Flickr gallery here.

Again, thanks to xyankeeworkshop for the plans. I’m enjoying the setup immensely.


Concealable Folding Submachine Gun

Monday, March 2nd, 2009

Found via Snowflakes in Hell and the Firearm Blog:


Chambered in 9mm and taking the inexpensive and plentiful 32-round Uzi magazines. Price from Full Auto Classics: $12,500. Those familiar with the sale of NFA items will understand that this is actually rather inexpensive for a transferable fully-automatic weapon.

I would really like to see newly-manufactured semi-automatic SBRs (Short-Barreled Rifles) of this sort of design. The process for acquiring an SBR in semi-auto is much less maddening, and there are myriad civilian and police applications for a short pistol-caliber carbine that you can store in a messenger bag.

Cars Ticketed by Model

Friday, January 30th, 2009

MSN reports on a study that ranked popular car models by number of tickets given.


Found via Lifehacker.

For the ninja in your home.

Sunday, January 25th, 2009

From Gizmodo: