May 22, 2008

iBook CD Drive Upgrade

WIth all the ibooks I bought off surplus this year I had a good pile of parts. My sisters iBook, one of the few I was able to fix off surplus, apparently only had a cd drive, but luckily for her I had a combo drive sitting in my pile. However I had forgot how annoying replacing the cd is. Anyone that has taken an iBook apart will tell you of how hard the process is, it still takes me an hour from start to finish, and I have been taking them apart off and on for over 5 years! Oh and I still do not think it is possible to take apart an iBook with out ether loosing or gaining a screw...

I had read online oh how, minus taking the case off, removing the cd drive was easy,type-6.htm, however apparently this model is different from the 900mHz iBook my sister has. There is a top bracket that holds the drive in place as well. The only way to get around this is to...
1) Remove the plastic cover and slide it into the case (too hard in my opinion)
2) Remove the awkwardly placed mounting bracket on the side facing the LCD (which requires a but of flexibility but is doable)

Sadly this is the easy part, getting the replacement drive back in is the hard part. It is way to difficult to screw the mounting bracket back on after the drive is in, so I just put that on first, then carefully jammed it back into the slot in the frame, bending the metal tab a little to make it fit, but it was fine.

Well this is what makes me love iBooks so much, they are so secured and covered that they can survive a lot of abuse and keep going, but that still make it a pain to do any maintenance on them.

May 19, 2008

DDR Pad Controller

Well after about 4 years the pad controller board died. I should have expected this, because I am forcing the circuit to run under much higher resistance then the 2 inches of wire it was designed for, but still 4 years of heavy ues is pretty good. So it was off to staples to grab a new USB key pad. I personally like the Targus Keypads because they are simple and support more then one key press at a time, which is very important for the pad to work correctly.

After getting the keypad I brought it home and took a look at the circuit, it was quite a bit different from the version they had 4 years ago, mostly because it used small contact pad instead of the holes for leads like I was hoping. This was a small set back, however after ripping the contact holder off the board to get access to the solder points I realized that I was going about it wrong. There where some lead holes on the board, just not right there.

I got some very thin copper wire with the insulating coat, and soldered them onto the board. It took some careful placement to correctly solder the wires that where very close to either the contact on the top, or the other solder points on the bottom of the board. Still after an hour of work I had it working, and could test in StepMania that it was indeed working.

All that was left to do was correctly wire it back to the pad. Sadly this was a lot more complicated then I had hopped, because the way I had the old version was slightly different. But I quickly fix this problem and had a wiring diagram to use. All I needed was the up,right,down and left buttons so I have two main wires 4 and 5 that are contacted to the remaining wires to get the correct button press. I am not sure if did something wrong or just shorted something, because after I had it all working for some-reason when you press left and up or down both up and down are pressed. Luckily this does not interfere with game play, it is just a small anomaly.

There you have it, all the instruction you need to make your own pad controller, however I expect that Targus will change the board again before this one breaks, so I am sure I will have to go through this hassle again sometime in the distant future.

May 15, 2008

Black Light Fun

Well I am almost all packed and ready to leave school, after covering the live feeds at graduation. My roommate was also packing and found his black light bulb. After sticking it in his lamp he turned off the lights and we had a good laugh about how it changed the appearance of the room, and even better showed us how much we really needed to vacuum, because there was a good amount of sand scattered around the carpet. This intrigued me so I set off with an extension cord around the apartment to see if there where any interesting spots. We had not done anything to trash the apartment (we are good students), so anything I fond would probably be from the last people in the apartment. My results? Well the stove had a lot around it, but that was from grease splatter, which with all the cooking that goes on is not surprising. The bathroom was not too bad, just the toilet. The really gross finding was the couch, which had a single very defined stain, that in normal light was not there. All in all it was very cool, just if you are germ-a-phobic or very paranoid, I really suggest you do not do this! I can't wait to do this next year on the new apartment.

Oh, you know you want to check out where you live now to see what is really hiding, plus it looks very cool!

May 14, 2008

Java Simple Physics

Well with classes over, I wanted to at least do something with the year of University Physics torture I have endured. Thus I present Java Simple Physics. It is just a quick physics example that uses the kinetic and potential relationship to have balls with different gravity constants drop then bounce with no loss of energy. It took a few hours to get right, mostly because I either did not know what I was doing, or was over complicating things. I hope to slowly improve on this concept till I have a VERY simple physics engine. Hey, it can only help to have a physics engine laying around, one day I might actually need one.

import javax.swing.*;
import java.awt.*;

public class Physics extends Thread
private int worldx = 200, worldy = 900, worldtime = 15;
private JFrame frame = new JFrame();
private Ball ball,ball1;

public Physics()
// Set up frame
// Make new ball
ball = new Ball(400,450,9.8,worldx,worldy,worldtime);
ball1 = new Ball(400,450,3.8,worldx,worldy,worldtime);

public void run()
// Cover old draw with fresh screen

// Move and paint ball

catch(Exception e){System.out.print(e);}

public static void main(String args[])
Physics p = new Physics();

class Ball
private double gravity = 9.8, t;
private double x,y,v,a,m,dx,dy,dv,k,u;
private int worldx,worldy,dir=-1,width = 90;

public Ball(int xin, int yin, double g, int wx,int wy, int time)
// Set Constants
worldx = wx; worldy = wy-width; t = time;
// Reduce gravity to fit with drawing refresh rate
gravity = g * .02;

// Center ba;; on x axis
x = worldx/2 + width/2;

// Set varables
y = yin;
v = 0;
a = 0;

// Preset u and k values based on varables
k = (m * gravity * (worldy - width)) - (m * gravity * y);
if(k < 0){ k = 0; }
u = m * gravity * y;

// Catch and reverse
public void move()
// Calculate u and k
k += u - (m * gravity * y);
u = m * gravity * y;
//Find dv based on k = .5mv^2
dv = ((2 * k) / m) - v;

// Catch and reverse on k or u < 0
if(k <= 0 && dir == 1)
dir = -1;
v = v*(-1);
a = a*(-1);
k = 1;
u = m * gravity * worldy-width/10;
dv = -1;
else if(u <= 0 & dir == -1)
dir = 1;
v = v*(-1);
a = a*(-1);
u = 0;
k = m * gravity * worldy-width/10;
dv = ((2 * k) / m);

// Finalise new movement
y += ((1+dv)*dir)/t;

// Print out values when needed
//System.out.println("x:"+x+" y:"+y+" u:"+u+" k:"+k+" - dv"+dv*dir);

public void draw(Graphics g)
// Draw to screen
g.fillOval(worldx - (int)x, worldy - (int)y - width/3, width, width);


May 4, 2008

Student Senate Issues

I rarely get into politics, especial with the student government on campus, however this year the student senate has been quite poor in my opinion. Normally, student government is for the students in majors that are not quite as time consuming as the science majors or some of the arts majors, and do not have a decent job to keep them otherwise preoccupied during the semester. You can see why I generally ignore what they are up to, because I am usually far too busy with school and work, and at the same time nothing they do really has any effect on me. Other then somewhat interesting requests for equipment from the department I work for on campus.

What has greatly annoyed me this year is the utter lack of sense that the senate in general (not everyone) has displayed in their attempts to deal with some of the issues we have had on campus this year. One of the main things was a majority of the senate actually wanting to charge all the students (aka me who was sleeping at the time) for the student rioting earlier this year. Then they create "Task Forces" to deal with these issues, but to my knowledge nothing has come from these decisions. Non of this really surprises because I have actually been in classes with a few members of the current student senate and the dedication to their class work was just as lacking as the senates current abilities.

Interestingly, this is not just my single opinion. I know quite a few people in the senior and junior classes, and most of us do not have any great affinity for the student senate. More the one of us has actually witnesses a member of the senate displaying their opinion of how they apparently deserve a superior status then their follow students. Of course this is not going to go unnoticed, and one of the more entertaining results is an article in the clock stating on the status of the student senate this year. I think it sums them up perfectly in one sentence...

"I hope that this letter speaks to the more sensible members of Senate, and uses next year to rebuild the bridges that they have burned in their unethical reign as perceived supreme lords of the University."

Full article => Student org speak out about Student Senate behavior. Please note that I almost never read the clock, their opinions on things are generally very different from mine, however this was actually interesting enough for a friend to mention the article to me. Now I am sharing it as well, enjoy!