Thursday, October 27, 2005

apple power supply repair

My power adapter for my little bitty powerbook decided to attempt a slow suicide. The wire that goes from the brick to the computer had become weak and seemed to have broken in the casing. If I wiggled it carefully, it caused pretty sparks.

So I decided to attempt bypass surgery, or at least crack the sucker open and see what was wrong. Surfing the web, I found one site where some dude had fixed a similar problem in his. His instructions called for a hammer and screwdriver.

I pried at the seams with a very small screwdriver, but couldn't get the sucker to budge, so I took a hammer to it and made a hole in the side big enough to insert a large screwdriver. With the big poppa in there, I twisted and cracked it open along the seams. This took quite a bit of time, but eventually I got the case to come apart.

Once I had the case apart, I plugged it back in to see where the wire was shorting. It was easy to spot, since when I flexed the wire it glowed and sizzled in a specific spot. After identifying it, I cut out a one-inch segment of the wire and proceeded with figuring out how to put it back together.

I noticed that there was a small wire that was encased and essentially shielded with stranded wire. The shielding and the smaller lead split off inside the case and are actually separate wires. Because of this, I stripped the wire all the way to separate the two for repair.

I also stripped the other newly-cut end of the wire after realizing there was just two wires (and not three like the end of the plug suggests). The internal one was pretty small, and I had to look at it through a magnifier to separate the wire strands from the kevlar or whatever the strengthening cord inside was. To avoid polluting my solder (and smelling bad), I removed the non-metal cord from the exposed parts of the wire.

All that taken care of, I twisted together the internal wire ends (grey), put a clip around it, crimped it, soldered the end, then sealed it shut with stretched electrical tape. Then I twisted and soldered the other pair, and taped it then taped the whole bundle together as best insulated as I could. Fitting that sucker back into the case was a trip (as you can see it's large) but I was able to weasel it back in and almost re-winch the wire in the round grommet thingy that holds the wire tight in the case. That stupid grommet thing caused the wire to weaken, but at least the wire didn't pull out of the circuit board.

Finally, I took a deep breath and plugged 'er in! No smoke, no strange noises. I wiggled the wire, no short, no sparks. Plugged it into the laptop and the power light turned orange! Yay for charging my battery. It charged my battery all night and didn't explode -- in fact, the power brick didn't even get as hot as it used to. Perhaps that weak wire was causing it to heat up in the past. After all, it is just a 45W supply (Apple currently sells a 65W supply that works on all of their laptops).

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

cingular cucks

Cingular has this online tech support chat thingy where you can ask techs chat in realtime. I thought, hey lets give this a shot and see if the wait time is less. They do in fact have a holding queue for their techies.

The thing they do not tell you is that the service is useless unless you call about how to operate your phone. EVERY phone comes with a very detailed user manual. RTFM. There is no other purpose for the online chat: they know nothing about service plans or deals. I logged on to ask if I could use my formerly-at&t phone with Cingular customers, and get their free "mobile-to-mobile" stuff. I'd love to talk to RAM for free before 9pm now that she's got a Cingular phone. Click here to see what resulted of my online chat session.

After being frustrated, I called their number and they surprisingly picked up the phone almost immediately. Some guy who sounded twelve helped me out and had to get his supervisor to hold his had during the conversation, because he "didn't want to give me wrong information." The answer was no.

So I asked another question; could I cancel my phone and then re-activate it in six months with the same number? Apparently (according to the kid's supervisor) not. He says they used to have a plan suspension option (where you could pause your service for a while), but that's been discontinued. He recommended buying the cheapest plan and just not using my phone. How much is the cheapest plan? $19.99. Eat me Cingular. You've forced me into losing my number while I'm studying in Oz.

On the light side, I won't be paying the $35 set-up fee to switch from an at&t contract to a Cingular one: I will be paying it to activate a new account. Bastards. And I refuse to go back to Verizon.

Monday, October 17, 2005


It appears I will be spending some time studying in Australia. Not sure how long, but at least a semester starting in February...

tally (update)

Paper reviewers: 3
Sid: 0

(See April post for context)

Friday, October 14, 2005

facebook is a drug

overheard in dormitory elevator

girl1: "I don't use facebook."
boy: "It's so awesome. I waste all my time there."
girl1: "Yeah, that's why I'm scared of it."
girl2: "Facebook is a DIRTY DRUG! I love it."

later, outside I heard:

girl1: "Did you see? She friended [guy] on facebook."
girl2: "Aaah! What a bitch! She keeps stealing all my cute friends."
girl1: "How well do you know him?"
girl2: "Oh, he just messaged me once yesterday."

Notice, the college student vernacular has been amended recently with terms such as "friending" (a verb that means listing as a friend in one's social network). And people are oh-so-posessive about their friend lists!

Thursday, October 13, 2005


Media coverage on cnn is funny.

Of all places, CNN has an interesting video on their front page. I'm not going to watch it because I don't want to see more than a minute eleven of "horses shot to death." The video is probably just reporting the incident (not showing it) but I really don't want to risk watching that.

Jim Bob! This guy's name is actually Jim Bob! He has a last name too, but this is too much. Not only that, but he's from Arkansas and has 16 kids. WOW.

Update: CNN is now rotating this "free video" too... I hope to god that the vikings in question are football players and not Norse warriors! (though it would fit their M.O.)

samurai suit

Ceremonial or not, artist or not, there is something wrong with this samurai suit. (Link to artist info and more pics)

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

the power

On a urinal mat: "You are holding in your hand the power to stop sexual abuse."

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

clever card

Someone sent me an e-birthday card and the notification email was neat: the sender's address was set to a clever value so that when gmail displayed it, I laughed.

Subtle cleverness always makes me grin.