Geek, Stuff

Laptop Refurb Time

Screen Shot 2013-09-13 at 22.59.03

My poor old laptop is 5.5 years old, but thanks to some clever upgrades it’s still going strong. Over the last couple of years I’ve upgraded the RAM and the hard drive as well as the operating system.

Well today was time to do some long-awaited cosmetic upgrades. The black and white skin is one I put on within a week of purchasing the laptop itself and while the lid has looked fabulous, the edges of the keyboard rest were starting to get slightly tatty, plus I’m kinda over the black and white. DecalGirl was having a sale so I took the opportunity to purchase a custom designed skin based on a fabulous photograph of my tatting that Lily took.

Also up for a change was the keyboard. The old one, as you can see from the picture above, was wearing in spots and the backlight had gone. I found someone on eBay who was selling the right piece and put in my order.

2013-09-26 12.30.18-1

The keyboard was sorted first using a great guide from and my collection of iphone screwdrivers (2 screws needed a star shaped one, all the others a philips head)

2013-09-27 12.40.01

This is my big tip whenever you’re doing laptop repairs, even if you do them regularly – labels the screws for each step! It’s simple to do but makes sure you put the right screws back in the right spots – a screw that’s too long by just a millimetre can damage components. Christian thinks I’m more German than he is when it comes to this, but so far every time I’ve opened up a machine I’ve got it back together correctly, something he can’t say!

2013-09-27 14.03.36 2013-09-27 14.06.45

So keyboard sorted (took three goes to get all the cables seated properly) I started removing the old decal. Not easy! The lid alone took 10 minutes.

2013-09-27 14.19.45

2013-09-27 14.22.27

The results are, I think, fabulous. I just love my new custom skin and the keyboard looks new so makes the entire unit feel brand new. And much cheaper than buying a whole machine!


Finally Sorting the Email Deluge

For a number of years now I’ve been using gmail to access my email. I started because it was one of the few mail services at the time that offered and effectively unlimited quota, and since I grabbed a great username being one of the first in, I’ve just continued. It’s easy to access anywhere and is quite quick to load, plus the search function makes finding that email that I know I got about 3 years ago much easier than it otherwise would be. Plus there’s the added advantage that the ending is recognised and less likely to be screwed up when admin people re-enter it from an in-store form into their spamlist mailing list.

I’ve always had this general thought in the back of my head that I would also be able to separate commercial stuff from personal stuff by only using my personal email address for certain things, but well it just hasn’t worked out like that. Commercial becomes personal at some point and vice versa. As I was forgetting to look at the personal email I ended up just popping it via gmail anyway, so all of my mail goes into the one place and with a clever use of filters the theory is that I can organise it and respond quickly when needed.

But, it never works out like that. I get around 300 emails a day into this account and I never end up doing the right thing, so it quickly becomes thousands of unread or must get to emails.

In Ireland I used O2 to alert me to the really important emails – if something came in from say Mum, it would be forwarded to the O2 account which was set up to send me a txt message whenever anything arrived. That worked reasonably well until I left Ireland and the UK O2 system doesn’t work that way.

Another annoying aspect to my current mail system has been using it on my iPhone. It’s constantly pinging whenever any email is received, which is downright annoying – especially when it’s one of my pet hate emotional suffering idiot emails. And the emails I want to have there seem to disappear into the abyss so quickly that really email on iPhone is useless to me.

So today I finally set up a new email account (no, I’m not telling you what it is) and I’ve set up some filters on the gmail so that if an email comes in from a select group of people (or alternatively if I forward an email to it) then, and only then, will it be picked up by the iPhone. (I still have the gmail app as well should I need to see the rest of the stuff)

I’ve been meaning to do this forever, let’s see how effective it is at reducing the interruptions and getting me the email that I really want to see.

Geek, Memory Monday

Memory Monday – My First Mobile Phone

I was going to buy myself a shiny new iPhone 4S last year. When they came out I had only just moved to the UK (wasn’t even aware that I was pregnant at that stage) and on a pay-as-you-go type of thing with O2. Apparently this means that with O2’s infinite wisdom, I am not a good enough customer (despite 6 years of being on O2 in Ireland) to be able to get a new phone. I have to wait until they’ve exhausted the market that is their contract base and allowed the riff-raff in. This was estimated to take 4-6 weeks. I’m still waiting. In fact, I’ve given up entirely and decided that I’m going to skip this round of iPhones all together.

But this has me thinking about mobile phones in general, so in a fit of nostalgia I had a search around to see if I could find any details of my very first mobile. It was about 1994 and they had only just come out. I bought mine at Myer, through their catalogue and paid outright for it. It was the NEC P100 shown here and it was the most amazingly tiny thing you could imagine. A friend of my father’s just a couple of years before had walked in with his portable car-phone, complete with separate battery pack, compared to that, this was incredible.

The specs were state of the art –

– LCD Screen including a 2 line back-lit Information Display
– Phone directory memory storing up to 24 numbers
– Signal strength indicator
– Battery level indicator
– Any key answer
– Last Number Re-dial
– DTMF dialling tones
– Adjustable ringing volume
– Noise-cancelling microphone
– Included NiCad battery gives 22 hours standby or 120 minutes talk time
– Complete with battery Desktop Charger

Can you imagine that, 22 hours of standby – we didn’t know ourselves! There was no such thing as SMS on this, well if there was I didn’t know any other person with a mobile so it would have been useless.

Do you remember your first phone?

Funnies, Geek, Shopping

Giant Cardboard Robot Arms

Would you like to have giant robot arms with which to crush your enemies? Okay, that’s a dumb question. Of course you would! Etsy seller giantcardboardrobots makes them:

Each arm is approximately 5′ 6″ in length (about 3 feet longer from where your hands will grab), 9″ x 9″ in width. The arms allow for both 90° bending motion in the elbows as well as 360° rotation of the wrist. The arms break down into easily assembled component parts. Disassembled, both arms fit into a 30″ x 18″ x 6″ box.

Funnies, Geek

A joke for math geeks

This is a bit of an in-joke for the geek mathematicians out there:

Einmal besuchte der britische Mathematiker Godfrey Harold Hardy seinen indischen Kollegen Srinivasa Ramanujan im Krankenhaus. Kaum hatte er das Zimmer seines Freundes betreten, teilte Hardy diesem mit, er sei mit dem Taxi Nummer 58008 gekommen, was ja wohl »eine nichtssagende Zahl« sei. »Nein, Hardy«, erwiderte Ramanujan, »es ist eine sehr interessante Zahl. Wenn man sie nämlich in einen Taschenrechner eintippt und diesen dann umdreht, erscheint das Wort ›Boobs‹.«
Darüber lachten die beiden Herren noch eine schöne Weile.

For those who aren’t so familiar with the Hardy-Ramanujan Number, read the first quote on this page.