How to make a cool keychain

Recently I bought some Super Mario keychains to my sons.

They loved them, but didn’t understand that stupid keychain thing. And removed it so they could play with the figures.

Leaving me with all these:

To make a long story short: I had a small bag of keys from an old Grass Valley image switcher lying in my drawer. And got an idea. Dremel-time:

And ta-daaa:

Of course the keys regarding chroma keying are extra cool as keychains:

…and if you don’t have such keys you can use keys from another keyboard or something else entirely:

So there you are. Trendy and environmentally friendly use of old junk.

How to make a cool keychain

Remove annoying audio from toys and appliances

Recently we bought a new bread baking machine. The kind of device that you program in the evening so that it makes your bread during the night while you sleep.

IMG_0021

But our new Wilfa BM-25s had one huge design flaw. To indicate the point where you can add extra ingredients in the baking cycle the Wilfa engineers found it appropriate to use a screaming loud beeper. Beeping 20 times or something. Even when placing the machine far away from where we sleep it woke us up during the night. And, it’s not possible to turn it off.

So I decided the Wilfa needed some circuit bending. Yeah, voiding the warranty.

Fortunately it was very easy to open. And I could see the beeper right away. I did some tests and ended up using a 1.8 kohm resistor to decrease the audio level. Making the machine going from screaming loud to a subtle beep.

IMG_0019

The only thing you have to do is to locate the beeper, use a soldering iron to remove it and place the resistor on one of the pins.

IMG_0003

And here’s the result.

http://vimeo.com/moogaloop.swf?clip_id=6341104&server=vimeo.com&show_title=1&show_byline=1&show_portrait=0&color=01AAEA&fullscreen=1

Using a resistance to lower audio from Eirik Solheim on Vimeo.

The video simply shows the result. I short cut the resistor with a pair of pliers to show the original audio and remove it to show the very subtle and low audio after the resistor was added.

You can use the same method on most annoying toys and devices.

Warning:
Messing with high voltage equipment can be dangerous. And messing with equipment in general will void the warranty and you can end up destroying it. I take no responsibility if you destroy your equipment or yourself…

Remove annoying audio from toys and appliances

How to remove scratches from your iPod

Or at least: how to remove some scratches from your iPod.

I have never bothered to protect my iPod with loads of covers and stuff. I have the device because I want to use it and it is just too much of a hassle if I have to remove covers and stuff from the iPod every time I want to dock it in the car or at home.

So it ends up with a lot of scratches. No big deal. They’re very visible in certain kinds of light but not really a problem when using the iPod. Still, when I found a product called Displex Display Polish in my local gadget store I just had to try it out on my seriously damaged iPod.

The process is simple. Cover the parts that you don’t want to polish. Add some white polishing paste and start polishing.

<img src="http://www.eirikso.com/wp-content/uploads/2007/02/img-0543-tm.jpg"

Start with an old iPod. Add tape to the part that you don’t want to polish.

<img src="http://www.eirikso.com/wp-content/uploads/2007/02/img-0544-tm.jpg"

Mark the tape with the details.

<img src="http://www.eirikso.com/wp-content/uploads/2007/02/img-0550-tm.jpg"

Remove the tape and trim it.

<img src="http://www.eirikso.com/wp-content/uploads/2007/02/img-0552-tm.jpg" <img src="http://www.eirikso.com/wp-content/uploads/2007/02/img-0554-tm.jpg"

Add the tape in the right place.

<img src="http://www.eirikso.com/wp-content/uploads/2007/02/img-0563-tm.jpg"

Now add some polish and start the hard work. You actually need to do some work here. Polish, add more, polish some more etc.. I guess the end result is pretty dependent on the work you do here.

<img src="http://www.eirikso.com/wp-content/uploads/2007/02/img-0574-tm.jpg" <img src="http://www.eirikso.com/wp-content/uploads/2007/02/img-0628-tm.jpg"

After finishing you clean the surface with a soft cloth and enjoy the result.

<img src="http://www.eirikso.com/wp-content/uploads/2007/02/img-0561-tm.jpg"
Before

<img src="http://www.eirikso.com/wp-content/uploads/2007/02/img-0611-tm.jpg"
After

As you can see. The stuff did not remove all scratches, but my iPod is absolutely better! If I spent the evening polishing I guess I would get an even better result. You can get the display polish on Amazon, or if you happen to live in Norway your best friend would (as always) be Clas Ohlson.

How to remove scratches from your iPod

How to roast your own coffee

Lady in market at Sumbawa
Years ago while travelling the island of Sumbawa in Indonesia I found a lady selling green coffee beans in a market. As you can see from the picture she was also selling wonderful spices, but it was the raw coffee beans I was interested in.
Green beans
I instantly decided that this is something I have to try. Roasting my own coffee. I bought one kilo. The lady did not speak any english and kept repeating “goreng, goreng!” At that point I didn’t understand what she was trying to communicate, but later on I learned that “goreng” means roast or braise. Like in “Nasi Goreng” wich means fried rice, or “Flied Lies” as they pronounce it in southeast asia. She was obviously not confident that this blond backpacker with the red beard knew what he was doing.

Beans in oven
This time I did. After carrying this coffee in my backpack around Kommodo, Lombok and Bali we travelled home and I could start experimenting.

Because you are intelligent enough to read this blog you will not have to experiment when you get hold of some green beans. Recently my good colleague Astrid returned from Cuba with some very good green beans. She was kind enough to give some of it to me! When roasting them today I took some nice pictures and made these simple guidelines:

1. Turn off your fire alarm / smoke detector
2. Preheat your electric oven to 250 degrees celcius (482 F)
3. Spread the beans in an even layer on a plate only one bean deep
4. Roast the coffee for 15 – 25 minutes

250 degrees 15 minutes

The beans will start turning golden and swell, after about 10 minutes they will start making a popping sound as the inner part of the bean transform during roasting. When you open the oven after about 15 minutes to check on the beans it will smoke heavily. Turning off the smoke detector is no joke!

Smoke
During the last minutes you have to check on the beans regularly. Use a flashlight if necessary. Depending on your taste, you can roast the beans all the way to the darkest italian roast. At this stage the beans turn slightly glossy because some of the essential oils in the bean leaks out to the surface.

Italian roasted beans
When finished take the beans out and cool them as fast as possible. If I do this during winter I put them outside. Transfering them to a cool plate is also good.

Chaff Chaff
When they have cooled down you can remove as much of the chaff as possible. The chaff is parts of the inner skin on the bean. You don’t have to remove all of it, but by tossing the beans around in a colander you will get rid of most of it.

Store the beans in an air tight container. Grind only minutes before you are going to brew your coffee. Now you can enjoy the freshest coffee you have ever tasted. If you decide to make espresso you will experiense an insane amount of crema.

And yes, something like Pantone Colour 470M or 730M on the crema is an indication of a good espresso.

Espresso

If you want to take it a step further these are some resources: Sweetmarias, Ongebrand, Coffeegeek

And you can support eirikso.com if you decide to buy the same book that I am using as my detailed guide through this link: Home Coffee Roasting

How to roast your own coffee

Perfect adjustment of your LCD

Pixels on an LCD

When connecting my QPVision 37″ LCD to my media center through DVI I had no problems running the native resolution of 1366×768 on the screen. This gave me one-to-one pixel mapping and a completely sharp picture.

However, my friend Staale ran into some problems that seem to be quite common. He did some tests and created a simple and very effective test pattern that can help you find the right resolution.

It seems like quite a bit of LCD screens that has a resolution of 1366×768 report to the screen cards that the correct resolution is 1360×768. Seems like a small difference, but when you run 1360×768 on a screen that actually is 1366×768 the screen sometimes does a bit of scaling that makes parts of the picture slightly unfocused.

Here is an example. The first picture is taken as a super close up of the screen in 1360×768. The next one is the same area on the same screen forced to 1366×768 through the advanced settings in the screen card driver:

Screenshot of resolution 1360x768 Screenshot of resolution 1366x768

And here is a detail of those images:

Detail of 1360x768 Detail of 1366x768

The difference seems big here, but it can be difficult to detect and that is where Staale’s brilliant test pattern comes in. It is a simple grid of black and white pixels that will clearly reveal a screen that is not mapped one-to-one. You can download the image here:

GIF (3 k)
PNG (4 k)
BMP (1,2 MB)

It should never be converted to a JPG. Any lossy compression will destroy the file.

Download it and insert it as your desktop pattern. Centered and not streched.

If your screen looks like this:

Screenshot of a perfect resolution

…then you have a perfect one-to-one pixel mapping.

If it looks like this:

Screenshot of problem with the pixel mapping

…then you have a problem with your pixel mapping.

Unfortunately it can be difficult to solve the problem. It depends on the screen, your screen card, the firmware in the screen, your screen card drivers, the software you use etc… It involves advanced tools and might even put you into serious trouble with your screen and the image from your computer.

For relatively new Nvidia screen cards and drivers you have options to take complete control of the refresh rates and resolution to the screen. You can also try playing around with PowerStrip. Or, use AVS Forum. An excellent source of information on advanced use of media equipment.

Digg this story here.

And please feel free to comment if you have solutions to this problem for specific setups.

Perfect adjustment of your LCD

How to make a cool chair for your kids

Kids Chair Kids in chair

I made one of these two years ago, and as the picture indicates. I need one more. Of course I didn’t find my original drawing and had to use the old one as a basis for my measures. Now I am posting this here for future reference.

The tools

Tools

What you need

Wooden Plates Angle Brackets

2 wooden plates of 40 x 40 cm
2 wooden plates of 60 x 40 cm
8 angle backets

I used two plates of 120 x 40 cm. One cut in two parts and one cut in three parts.
Continue reading “How to make a cool chair for your kids”

How to make a cool chair for your kids

Cool statistics for your site: Have a mint!

Mint

Thanks to Oyvind I have just installed Mint on my server. This gives me very nice statistics from my site. It runs locally and stores the data in a mySQL database on my server. It works in realtime and shows statistics as people browse your site.

One very nice feature is that Mint supports Peppers. Peppers are plugins made by all kinds of very cool people.

Some good peppers:
Referrer Rollup
Gives you a very nice and tidy list of all your referrers

xxx Strong Mint
Show the IP of your visitors

Sparks!
Sparks! visualizes your visitor data.

Adsense Click Pepper
Get valuable info on how people click on your adsense ads

Foreign Pepper
Show where your visitors are coming from

Feedburner Stats Pepper
Show stats and circulation from your Feedburner RSS-feed

Fresh View Pepper
Fresh View uses XML-based SVG to visualize your Mint visitor data.

Google Images Pepper
Tracks hits from Google Images and let you know about the most popular images on your site. This one is supposed to be replaced by the Referrer Filter pepper, but that one did not work on my first install – so I kept the Google Images pepper.

Trends
Trends analyzes your website’s usage over a set period of time.

Cool statistics for your site: Have a mint!