Posts Tagged ‘hardware’

My kingdom for a VGA cable

2010.11.26 22:44 by Leo Antunes - 1 Comment

So you have two geeks in a university room after a relatively late and (at least for one of them) unproductive learning session. It’s just natural that they decide to kick back and watch some mind-numbingly stupid geek series, which in this case happened to be Stargate SG-1 (so absurdly shitty its actually very entertaining).
The first lazy geek instinct is to just watch it on the laptop that has the file, which – with its 11″ display and shitty speakers – doesn’t turn out to be a great idea. The next try involves the other laptop, but a 13″ screen isn’t that big of an improvement.
Since the room our intrepid heroes are in happens to have a pretty decent built-in projector and a couple of small – but still a lot better than a laptop’s – Bose speakers, the obvious next step would be using it. The only problem is the lack of a VGA cable.

Inspired by the brief sight of MacGyver on the 11″ screen, one particularly enterprising geek comes up with the challenge of making a VGA cable out of the only material available at the time: one horribly yellow cat5 ethernet cable.
Being the helpful little extra-dimensional entity that it is, the internet happily provided all the needed information and after some slight problems trying to appropriately deprive the cat5 of its connectors (no scissors and no blades of any kind in sight) and some annoying and manual sticking-cable-to-socket action…

what did you mother tell you about sticking things in sockets?

our reluctant hackers get it right:


The final solution looked like this:

nothing like cable salad for dinner

And if you’re wondering where those white wires came from, one final touch of ├╝ber-hackerdom:

notepads have never been more useful

This might seem like overkill, but after a nice nice 4 hour movies and series marathon, we can safely say it was totally worth it (but no, we didn’t stand 4 hours of Stargate; even geeks have their limits).


Just in case the Instructables page gets hosed at some point, here’s the invaluable connection diagram, originally scraped off of a since dead Geocities page.

A “D’OH” to make Homer Simpson proud

2009.03.11 03:20 by Leo Antunes - 0 Comment

This is the moment you realize you just did something supremely stupid:


Trying to salvage my trusty iBrick I decided to buy a new bigger hard disk to breathe some life into the poor thing.
I felt quite smart for finding a good price on a 60G disk, but the satisfaction didn’t last long. When I popped open the iRiver I noticed what I should have thought about a long time ago: the old disk has an IDE connector, the new one a ZIF.

So yeah… I just bought a useless 1.8″ 60G disk and still haven’t solved my original problem.

The cable that attaches the main board to the disk has what seems to be a ZIF connector, but the cable’s soldered to the main board in 3 (!) places, so I don’t think I have a good chance of messing around with it and achieving something useful.

I think I give up. That’s enough trouble for a 6 years old gadget. I’d say it’s well beyond its life expectancy.
Since there aren’t any other good options around for big players, it looks like I might end up buying my first Apple product ever. I just hope I don’t get infected by the “apple simplex” virus…