All the geeky stuff that gets me hot.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Fixing a Powerbook G4 hinge

We have an old Powerbook G4 at work that has a broken hinge that I am attempting to repair. Why bother repairing such an easily replaced part? When the replacement part costs more than the value of the laptop, that's why bother. I'm serious, a pair of these hinges run over a hundred dollars on eBay, and several hundred dollars direct from Apple. This for a part that was poorly designed and has a history of breaking. The actual hinge part is so hard to twist I can't move it with my fingers, I have to use a pliers. All that torque is transferred through a tiny little arm.

If you notice where the break was, it's in pretty much the worst place possible. An important part of the repair is loosening the tension on the hinge because it's pretty much impossible to repair this well enough to withstand the original forces. By loosening the hinge our repair only has to hold the screen in the right place and doesn't have to deal with all that torque, so it will last a lot longer. The other hinge supplies enough force to keep the display from flopping around.

To try and give the hinge a fighting chance I bent a small piece of metal around the joint. This wraps the joint in a sort of splint and gives the epoxy a lot more to hold on to. This is also a very important piece, it would be worthless without it. The best glue for this job is probably J-B Weld, a two part epoxy designed to join metal together. I didn't have any of that available so I used some gas tank repair epoxy instead. It's pretty similar to J-B Weld except that it is designed to fix gas tank leaks.

Here it is after mixing the epoxy and squishing everything together. It seems fairly rigid but I'll have to wait until tomorrow to test it. If this doesn't work I'll get some actual J-B Weld and try the same thing using that. If the J-B Weld doesn't work then I'm pretty much screwed unless I happen to find the best welder in the world and he wants to do me a favor because that's the only other option I can think of to try and fix this hinge.

So much for quality Apple hardware.

Update: Well I didn't even get to see how well the repair would stand up, I managed to break the hinge into three pieces before I could get it into the laptop. Turns out there is a channel in the hinge that is there to allow room for the power wires on the display. The little sleeve I made covered over part of that groove so I was trying to cut a little piece of it out. My hand slipped and busted the top of the hinge right on the hole that attaches it to the display. Good news is that it broke in a different spot so at least the repair was somewhat successful. Bad news is we'll have to come up with another use for the laptop without the screen.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

New Car Designs

Last week on my way to work some loser pulled out in front of me and I ended up scraping the whole left side of my car against his bumper. This of course is not good and I had to get a rental car for a couple of weeks while they fixed it. The car I got was a 2006 Ford 500 in a mid level trim package. Keyless entry and power windows but not the 6 CD changer or the wood trim or anything. It's a decent car, the window sticker says the MSRP was around 22k or so.

I've never been a Ford guy and after driving this car around for a couple weeks I doubt I ever will be. It's easy to tell what kind of demographic they were aiming for, the middle aged person that is afraid of too much technology. They are still using the old old style of locks, with the little knob that you pull up on to unlock and push down to lock. They've been using that style forever, but its a bit that an older person can identify with.

I'm not very fond of the new "euro" style dash layout either, everything is smooth. It's functional I guess, but it's just boring. I don't like how there is no cubby in front of the shifter, the only place to put things is in the arm rest which isn't very convenient or in the dash cubby which only accepts items under 1-2 inches thin. They do have trim levels that include a lot more features and would be pretty nice but I still would be unimpressed with the 500. Of course that's probably fine with Ford, I'm obviously not the demographic they were aiming for.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Woot! New Layout!

Actually the layouts the same but the color scheme is what I'll be using on my new site I'm going to do network and database consulting as well as develop websites using Ruby On Rails.

Friday, April 07, 2006

MySpace hurts my eyes

Okay so I've been messing around with MySpace latley because, you know, everyone is doing it, and it's just terrible. I thought we were past the days of flashing animated GIF's and scrolling marquee's but apparently not. I have no idea why MySpace fosters such terrible web pages but it's just a magnet for them.

On top of that it has ads all over the place. When "Ice age: the meltdown" came out there were no less than three huge ads on one page letting me know. Thank god for Firefox and adblock, otherwise it would be completly unusable.

With all the buzz about Web 2.0, MySpace is like Web 0.01 beta. Kids these days just have no style.