Reality hacking

One of the things that absolutely relax me from the stress of Gentoo and software development in general, is do-it-yourself works… I’m a bricolage lover, and I like spending a day or two working on something with wood, drill and glue during the summer, even if that has totally no use for me. I’d like to do more electronic work, but PCBs around here cost too much, and up to now I never had a decent work that allowed me more than a few occasional crazy expenses.

What set me off today was reading Michael’s blog about reusing old floppies like only a Trekkie would .. it’s probably just a geeky thing, but it’s quite nice way to reuse stuff that you’d otherwise just trash down.

I tried looking around on that site, but didn’t really find something to do with very old and crappy ISA cards that are now broken and just take up space in the cardboard boxes that are in my room. If someone has any suggestion, it’s very welcome, maybe I can make something useful out of that electronic trash I have. I do have already enough CDs to use as coasters, so I need something more creative than that 🙂

Now changing topic slightly, and moving to input devices, I’m considering to buy a bluetooth mouse for Intrepid (the MacBook Pro, for who has trouble to follow my hostnames), as it has on-board bluetooth support, so getting a bluetooth mouse wouldn’t require me to waste a USB port; I was thinking of waiting a bit still and then buy an Apple Mighty Mouse (that I remember being quite cool on both OSX and Linux for the corded version — a friend of mine has it); bluetooth mice should work well, at least according to Andrew Pollock’s blog I read also today on Planet Debian, but I want to be extra-cautious before buying it anyway. (Note: when I’ll be back – because I’ll probably be back at this point – I want to either take care of bluez packages myself, or find someone to handle them, Alastair is missing for quite a while and didn’t answer my mail yet, and the packages in the tree are way outdated compared with his overlay; yes they are not all good for everything, for instance kdebluetooth won’t work easily with these versions because of the new D-BUS based PIN helper, but at least having them masked would probably help testing and getting rid of the problems).

And staying on mice topic, and returning to DIY topic too, how many of you having a rechargeable Logitech mouse had problems with the original batteries starting to running off quickly? Mine started last week, it’s about an year and ¾ that I bought it so it makes sense that it starts running off, this is the average time NiMh batteries started running off for almost everything I bought with a battery in it, the cordless phones, my older cellphones, and so on. I tried replacing the original batteries (standard AA sized, but connected through a rigid plastic piece and glued together, 1.2V as usual for rechargeable battries, 1800mAh) with other NiMh batteries I had at home, 2500mAh but for the rest the same thing.. and it didn’t recharge the mouse when put on the receiver/recharger. If you ever had this problem, the solution is quite trivial: under the batteries in the compartment there’s a little switch, it’s not electronic in my case, just a little lever that needs to be pressed down for the recharging to happen (the rigid plastic part did the trick for the original batteries). I suppose this is both a method for Logitech to sell more batteries, and a precaution to avoid users to recharge alkaline batteries… if you know that your batteries are NiMh, though, you can just use some adhesive tape to push the lever down (I used the one usually used by electricians – not sure of its name in Englsh – that usually is steady and can be removed without the glue attached forever).