Saturday, May 06, 2006

re the Colbert incident

Recently watched the video of Steven Colbert's presentation at the White House Correspondent's Dinner. Funny and sad at the same time. The John McCain "salad fork" bit was cold, cold, cold. And priceless. Unfortunately, only our comedians have the balls to "undress" Emperor Bush and his

The transcript, for your enjoyment :

Other links :

Monday, April 10, 2006

Froshmauskrieg - the battle between the frogs and the mice

German for "battle between the frogs and the mice". Used by Albert Einstein's secretary on a file folder tab.

Said folder contained information that " (described) the long and bitter dispute between the School of Math and the School of Social Science at the Institute for Advanced Study." Also useful for describing discussions involving email and calendar systems.

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Here comes the judge...

After initially thinking I would be chief election judge in my precinct this year, I was told that the Democratic Judge would become the chief judje, as my affiliation is currently listed as "unaffiliated".

Got a call this morning that the Democratic judge had resigned, and I'm the chief judge again.

Training starts tomorrow and I get to see the new election equipment on the 17th.

GMail whoops

Two nights ago, I completed the moving of all my GMail to my iBook G4, where it will be sorted and a subset will be moved to my account. It had gotten quite slow and kind of unreliable. This morning, I couldn't get access.

I currently have the GMail account forwarding to my account, but not deleting mail so I can catch the few straggler accounts where the gmail address is my preference/id.

So I will be primarily be using my GMail address as a forwarding service. GMail likely does not mind much, it still provides visibility for their service while not having to keep my stuff.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Microsoft as earnest contractor? It depends...

Ross Rubin in his Switched On column, feels that Microsoft is being quite earnest in trying to please its' customers.

I would contend, that this earnestness exends only so far as determining which version of Windows the customer should be running. Sometimes, especially in the area of mobile devices, the devices should not be running Windows at all. But with Gates and Co., that is never an option, no matter how much sense it makes.

Early versions of Windows Mobile were nearly unusable, as they forced the user into the Windows "Start" menu paradigm, rather than Palm (who currently has its' own assortment of problems, like relevancy) who created a simple interface that was best adapted for how a mobile user interacts with a PDA. I still remember having to ask someone how to enter a URL into mobile Internet Explorer.

I see Microsoft repeating their mistakes again in the form of the UMPC (Ultra Mobile PC). Rather than design a interface which is available in seconds, and mostly concentrates on staying out of the way, we will end up with Windows XP Tablet Edition with the edges sawed off. By the time it is done booting, your opportunity for using that spare moment in time will have passed, and soon, it just gets left at home.

In this arena, I think Nokia has the right idea with the 770 tablet. It runs a version of Linux and has no hard drive. It is optimized for casual use. Turn it on, use it, put it away. It fits in a coat pocket and weights about half a pound. And sells for $350.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Super Nintendo (SNES) repair

If your Super Nintendo is dead, it is probably easily repaired. This posting has been sitting in my Blogger queue for 3 months. I'm planning to add pictures, but for now, I want to get at least something up.

Disclaimer : You do this at your own risk. If your house burns down as a result of these attempted repairs, it's not my fault.

One has to admire the engineering that goes into these consoles. They are built like tanks. I recently reassembled a Nintendo 64 from parts. Works like a champ.

On to the repairs...

Problem 1 : Broken power jack
Soultion 1 : First, make sure that the conductors in the broken jack are not shorted together. Remove the circuit board. Solder wires to the circuit board at the location where the power jack connects to the board. Purchase a replacement jack from Radio Shack. If you use part number xxx-xxxx, you will be able to use a -9v Sony power brick. Mount the new jack on the corner of the case nearest the power jack.

Problem 2 : Lost/broken power supply. Can't find a -10 volt power supply
Solution 2 : If the plug is ok, cut the cable off the power supply, and patch on a new one. Any 9 volt supply of at least 500 ma will work. It turns out that the -10v input is regulated down to 5 volts anyway, so 9 works as well as 10. Be sure to wire the polarity correctly.

On future repairs, I'm planning to install a bridge rectifier between the power jack and circuit board. Then the polarity is irrelevant.

Problem 3 : Power light does not come on (probably related to problems 1 and/or 2)
Solution 3 : The internal fuse is probably blown. The fuse is soldered to the circuit board. Remove and replace with a fuseholder and fuse. Or use a fuse with pigtail and solder it in directly.

If the cart slot is damaged, I don't know what to tell you. Cleverly, the connector can be unplugged from the main circuit board, making connector replacement easy. Assuming you can find one.