Oldster's View

Fight Against Maturity

Turns out that DIY barcodes are frowned on

A Palm Bay (Florida) man was rolling back his own prices at a Walmart in Fort Pierce after he used pre-made bar code stickers to purchase DVDs and some Lego sets for a discounted rate, police said.

via WPBF West Palm Beach.

March 24, 2011 Posted by | Crime, DIY | Comments Off on Turns out that DIY barcodes are frowned on

Can You Go To Hell For Committing Sacrilege On A MacBook?

There’s a possibility that I have committed sacrilege. I have an Apple thirteen inch MacBook that is about two or three years old. When I bought it and opened the box it was a thing of beauty—even the packaging was “real purty.” Colorful and bright, shiny screen. The speakers were a little on the wimpy side but earphones fixed that.

After I had been using it about a month a small piece of the case broke off, just cracked and fell off. Hmmm. After about six months I noticed that the beautiful white case was looking a little yellow and it is now a pale cream color. And it was running a little slow but it was probably always that way. After all it is sort of underpowered but what can you expect for $1200?  Well, not to worry. Leopard was due out and when I upgraded to Leopard from Tiger all would be well, right? Right??

So I plunked down the price of Leopard and installed it. Ah. A fresh breeze blew through the room. The speed improved and the screen looked a little brighter, but that was probably just my imagination, sort of like how a freshly washed car always seems to run better.

Then one day I noticed that it got uncomfortably hot to hold on your lap. No problem. I started using a laptop desk. Bit awkward to carry around but doable and it didn’t roast my legs. Wait a second. Is that a slight bulge in the battery?

Next the screen looked a little dark. Oh, well, I must have accidentally turned the brightness down but no, it was almost all the way up. I would have turned it all the way up but that’s when that little flicker started. So I adjusted my attitude instead. Steve Jobs would be proud.

Then the Snow Leopard OS came out, the price was right and I bought a copy and installed it. Whoops! There must be something wrong with my HP printers. They don’tt work anymore. But no again. Apple in their wisdom decided to omit a bunch of drivers and my printers were among the casualties. Their solution (and HP’s as well)? Buy a new printer. After a month of howls of righteous indignation from all quarters, especially businesses,  Apple and HP, working together,  put rewritten drivers back in. Now all was golden in the world of Apple…right?

No. Now the Mickey Mouse designed touch pad switch was sticking. The “fix” was to turn the MacBook off, turn it upside down, remove the battery  and tap on a small round rubbery plug under the battery. That worked a couple of times and then nothing would budge it. So I added a mouse. Good thing Steve saw fit to still include three USB ports. (See? Apple does still love you. Now be Quiet.)

And that, dear friends, was the end and here is the sacrilege part. My MacBook now has a shiny new OS…PCLinuxOS…and it runs beautifully, better than it ever has. The touch pad switch still doesn’t work, of course, but the screen is once again bright, is easy to read, and doesn’t flicker, battery life is improved by about 10% and the little cream colored computer is noticeably faster. It’s also been replaced for daily use by an HP laptop, running Windows 7, that cost half as much as the MacBook, has a twice as fast processor, five times as big a hard drive,three times as much RAM,  a bigger screen and, wonder of wonders, a two button touchpad and it will take my camera’s SD card directly.

So why didn’t I take it to an Apple Store? Because the nearest one is 200 miles away and I didn’t fancy a 400 mile trip to get it fixed or replaced.

Maybe I should write a letter to Steve and tell him how I solved the case of the overrated and overpriced MacBook.

Nah. I don’t think so.

March 27, 2010 Posted by | computer, DIY | , | 1 Comment

One of the benefits of socialized medicine…DIY dentistry

A British Gulf War veteran pulled out 13 of his teeth with pliers when he could not find an NHS dentist. TA soldier Ian Boynton could not afford to go private for treatment after suffering with excruciating toothache since 2006.

So instead he took drastic action and removed them himself.

The 42-year-old, from Beverley, East Yorks, had not had his teeth looked at since seeing the army dentist in 2003. And he has not registered with a dentist of his own since 2001.

He said: “I’ve tried to get in at 30 dentists over the last eight years but have never been able to find one to take on NHS patients.

via  The Sun |News.

February 5, 2009 Posted by | DIY, Medical | Comments Off on One of the benefits of socialized medicine…DIY dentistry

Remember the man who drove off a 100 foot cliff? Just an amateur.



A Croatian man escaped almost unhurt after crashing 700ft down the side of a canyon in his car and landing in a tree. Cedo Jerbic was left with only a few bruised ribs after losing control of his Skoda Octavia on the Velebit mountain, driving off the road into a canyon. His car hit the rock wall of the deep gully twice before getting caught in the branches of a tree on the canyon floor 700ft below.

Jerbic used his mobile phone to call rescue services who pulled him out of the car. Doctors who examined him said that apart from bruising to his chest he was unhurt.

Jerbic told them that he had been wearing his seatbelt and during the fall the car’s airbags had inflated, protecting him from serious injury.

November 29, 2006 Posted by | DIY, Uncategorized | Comments Off on Remember the man who drove off a 100 foot cliff? Just an amateur.

Okay all you house boat fans: Here’s another

From an old Modern Mechanics magazine, via Makezine


August 1, 2006 Posted by | DIY, Uncategorized | Comments Off on Okay all you house boat fans: Here’s another

Webcam mod to IR cam

Did you ever wonder what it is that goes BUMP in the night around your house? Maybe you can find out, even take a picture of it with this webcam mod that turns a webcam into an infrared camera.


June 7, 2006 Posted by | DIY, technology | Comments Off on Webcam mod to IR cam