Geek, Stuff

Laptop Refurb Time

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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.

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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)

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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!

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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.

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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.

News & Updates, Stuff

Down the Loo

As I heard the tell tale splud noise my breath and my heart stopped. I looked down and sure enough there it was – panic ensued and my dripping iPhone was out of the loo, rather soggy. Thankfully it had falled out of my pocket as I’d turned to close the door and the loo itself was clean (that could have been bad – but let’s not dwell there).

With my fingers trembling and remembering the fate of my beloved iPod touch I tore the protective cover off and run it under the tap for a few seconds (toilets – ewww). I then patted it dry and watched water pour from it’s insides, soaking the paper towel.

When it seemed dry I turned it on – screen was very very dark but I could see that she was running. Phew. Over the next few hours I used the hand dryer in the bathroom to heat it a little – holding it a good 12 inches from the nozzle so that it wouldn’t get too hot. I would also pull out the sim card, which was invariably wet and dry that off.

When I finally got home I plunged it into a box of dried rice. By the time I went to bed the screen was bright and visible, with some strange moist halo over the top section and the lens for the camera showed droplets of water. I slept with it under my pillow.

Morning came and the screen was totally clear \o/ But the lens was still foggy so I put it into a plastic zip lock bag filled with rice and took her to work. At work I left her plugged in while still in the bag. By plugging her in she’ll heat just slightly as she charges. At 5pm I took her out of the bag for a peek – camera lens totally clear!

So, that’s my tale of a dropped iphone with a happy outcome. Just thought I’d share it with you in case you should ever suffer the same fate.


Moving the blog

I finally had the chance to sit down and organise moving my blog. I’ve moved from typepad to wordpress, primarily because typepad nolonger has a free option (although I was paying for premium) and because my new hosting provider makes having wordpress an option.

Setting up wordpress was more difficult than it should have been – mainly because of lack of support from the hosting provider who failed to do simple things such as let me know what my ftp details were and also because their simple install system wasn’t working and I couldn’t be bothered sorting it all out.

Well, today that’s all sorted so I thought I’d get going on the transfer. Naturally I’ve spent most of the day looking at templates and playing around with pretty pictures. Not very productive, but enjoyable and once again I envy all the graphic desgners I know who could have done what I want so much easier and faster.

Anyway, a quick look around to see if there’s a simple way to export my typepad blog to wordpress and sure enough there seems to be. Problem arises when I realise that my account has expired and although my blog is still up and running, I have no real access to it! Looks like this might be a painful process afterall.

So, after paying for a month of Typepad (must remember to cancel that shortly) I was able to export my posts, back over to wordpress and I imported them all successfully – albeit minus the images.

After tinkering a little I discovered that my installation of wordpress was very out of date, so I resolved to install a new version. No hosting provider fancy thing, I was on my own. Luckily wordpress is extremely easy to install. I ended up removing everything I had and installing from scratch, a quick import of the posts and I was back to a nice clean install. About a half hour once I’d done everything I needed to do.

Now… to make it look pretty!