Networking Fail

Sometimes even the most seasoned IT guy makes mistakes. Silly ones. I have been in IT since the year 1999. 18 years this year. My fist real calamity was Y2k, which turned out to be a non-issue… mostly. More hype and triple checking of systems that never had problems. But I never underestimate my ability to make simple mistakes.

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LED Flashlight Mod – Kitchen Table Hack


Super Bright LED’s in old flashlight.


I was cleaning up my workshop recently and came across a nifty little tool my dad had given me when I first moved out of the house.  A bit driver with a flashlight built in.  It had a lot of cool features, such as a revolving butt cap to make turning in your palm easier, an extending magnetic pickup in the bit end, bit storage, and lastly a light in the handle to illuminate the object being worked on.  Going completely A.D.D., I scooped it up and tried to turn it on.  Dead.  Or broken.  Which?  I had to find out…

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DIY Mini Macro Camera

Macro Image Example

This is an LCD inverter for a laptop that I had to repair.

Recently one of my favorite sites, had a sale on 3MP point and shoot cameras for kids.  At around $10 a piece, I figured what the hell.  I picked up 3 figgering they would get lost, or broken, but they would be good fun for my 3 year 0ld daughter who loves taking pictures with Daddy’s camera (and Daddy hyperventilates every time she touches his $700 DSLR).  In all honesty, she actually takes pretty good pictures. That aside, I figured her having her own camera would be nice.

Upon receipt I was surprised to find a decently solid little camera with a not too bad screen.  I popped in some batteries and snapped almost twenty pictures on the internal memory.  I plugged it into my PC and was VERY surprised to find some decent pictures peeking back at me.  I gave the camera the nod, and handed it over to my kid.  But the wheels of geekyness where already whirring around in my head.

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Remote Start using Cell Phone: Part 3

The Whole Shibang

Well, I got my perf board in from Parts-Express, and of course I had to start assembling the final version of my remote start cell phone trigger, so here we go.

First things first, I screw up ALL the way through this project.  From the first picture of the tools, to the final assembly where I have a loose wire, this whole thing was a cluster.  But what fun is it for you to read about something that went perfectly?  It’s not.  So I’ll take you through the ups and downs and ins and outs of what I did, and how I fixed it.  In the end, it all worked out.  (continue reading…)

Cheap Alligator Clips for your Multi-Meter

Rigidity is good.

A friend of mine a while back bought me a multi-meter (thanks T-Bone!).  It’s a pretty darn good one too, but just like everyone else who uses a multimeter often, I found myself wanting a way to attach my leads to wires and have them STAY there.  Before I knew about places like SparkFun and Parts-Express, my shopping experiences told me that new leads were going to be too expensive (continue reading…)

Modding a Mechanical Relay

Wired to the contact.

Why hack a Bosh Style automotive relay?  Because you went to the auto parts store, and bought a Normally Open (NO) relay thinking it was a Normally Closed (NC) relay, Radio Shack is too expensive far away, and you don’t feel like getting blank stares from all the rednecks at the nearby automotive stores when you ask if their poorly labeled products are NO or NC. (continue reading…)

Remote Start using Cell Phone: Part 2

With shutoff relay.

It works!  Not to spoil the punchline, but yeah, all the tests so far have worked out.

I received my breadboard from SparkFun and started assemblage.  I used one of the two optoisolators I found in an old board I scavenged from- something.  The optoisolator seems to be a good fit, at least for testing.  (continue reading…)

Remote Start using Cell Phone: Part 1

Headphone jack plugged in.

Recently I added a remote start to my car.  All is good in the world.  Unfortunately, I work at an airport and my car is about a 15 minute shuttle ride from my office.  There is not much opportunity to ‘stand at the door and wait for warm car’ there.

But cruising the web, I happened upon the Viper website, where I read about a new system where you can start your car via an iPhone from virtually anywhere.  After looking into the system, I soon stumbled onto the fact that the system is ridiculously expensive, as is everything that has to do with the Godforsaken iPhone newer technology.  Further research on the subject yielded little hope, as all other systems were out of my budget (cheap as heck).

My co-worker and I started daydreaming on the subject (what goes on at an airport that we would need to pay attention?) When I stumbled on an idea.  (continue reading…)

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