Refurbing my own PowerBook battery

When I inherited my PowerBook G3 Lombard, the battery I inherited yielded less than 1 hour of battery life. I didn’t mind this, because it still allowed me to be somewhat mobile and untethered from power. It didn’t take long, however, for the battery to fail entirely, leaving me with absolutely no battery life. Well, after running across http://www.wwc.edu/~frohro/Powerbook/Pismo/Battery/ recently for how to replace the cells inside the PowerBook battery pack myself, I decided to try it. I ordered 9 18650 Lithium Ion cells from http://www.batteryspace.com and walked through the instructions. It was a bit tedious, and I had to be careful, but it was fairly straightforward and now I have a battery that gives me nearly 5 hours of battery life on my overclocked (466Mhz) Lombard! I’m very excited about this as I intend to install this in my Jeep as some sort of voice-controlled car computer. Read More ›

Apple's Mighty Mouse

Well, I got a chance to test drive Apple’s new mouse recently. Like many people, I was excited about this mouse because it is the first time Apple has released a multi-button mouse. This in and of itself was pretty remarkable, but in true Apple fashion, they had to do something new and innovative with the way they put it together. The buttons were actually touch sensitive, like an iPod scrollpad or the Apple Cinema Display controls, perhaps. I think they wanted to maintain consistency with their previous mouse designs by allowing for transparent single-button mouse use, effectively hiding the extra buttons from novice users. So, after reading about it I was excited to try it out when I went to my local Apple store.

Alas, I was very disappointed. I don’t know, perhaps it was just worn out from all the testing this single display model must have gotten, but it just did not feel very good at all to me. The little scroll nob was pretty cool, but right-clicking seemed too difficult. I really had to work at it to get it to recognize my right-clicks. The left-clicking was fine, it just seemed like single-button pro mouse in that regard. The side buttons were very awkward and I couldn’t get them to register 100%, either. Maybe I was just doing something wrong, but I doubt it. Anyway, it really let me down. Maybe the bluetooth version will be improved. I’m not really interested, anyway. I love my Logitech MX900 bluetooth mouse. Read More ›

Too busy to write about it

It has really been a while since I posted something of real substance to the blog, and while that may seem to indicate that I haven’t been doing much lately, the truth is quite the contrary. I’ve been so busy with various projects that I haven’t had time to write about them. I feel really bad about it, too, because I have been wanting to share some of these cool projects with the world. So, rather than waiting for more time to write, I’m just going to go ahead and mention a couple of the projects here in brief and write more later.

First of all, my biggest accomplishment has probably been the modifications I’ve made to my Linksys WRT54G wireless router. I’m still running OpenWrt on the router, and the latest stable release is running better than ever. But the real improvement to the router came after I soldered an SD/MMC card into the unit. I actually used a miniSD card with an SD card adapter to come up with a pretty elegant solution. I soldered the SD card adapter directly to the motherboard in the various places specified by this documentation. By using the miniSD card I’m able to maintain ease of expansion while keeping the entire mod self-contained within the device with no externally visible modifications. The 128MB SD card allows me to run Asterisk on the device itself, along with IPv6 routing, QoS, SNMP, while still being able to host a myriad of additional tools and utilities. I’m very happy with this hack.

As I mentioned, I’ve been playing with Asterisk, and I’ve really enjoyed learning more about VoIP/SIP technology. It’s been fascinating and I look forward to learning more about it in the future.

Just last night I modified an old PS/2 KVM switch of mine to be a PS/2 / ADB KVM switch. I simply ordered 5 ADB (S-Video) panel mount jacks from Mouser and replaced 5 of the PS/2 ports with these, effectively providing a single PS/2 port, a single ADB port, and a VGA port for 4 computers. I was actually surprised how easy it was to do this mod. I’m absolutely thrilled to have this switch now because without it, my “Classic Mac Museum” was being held back. Now I can do much more with my old Macs, and it only cost me less than $10!

As a last item of interest, I’ve been playing with OmniWeb lately and I’m really enjoying it! I love Firefox, of course, but I just love everything Omni makes, so I had to try it. I plan to continue using it throughout the 30 day trial period, but my first impressions are very positive.

Well, there it is… the first post in a long time that explains some of my project work lately. I hope you find it useful.

Jon Read More ›

BibleReaderME Beta 1 Released!

I finally got around to releasing Beta 1 of my BibleReaderME application. BibleReaderME is a J2ME (Java) application for cell phones that brings access to the complete Bible. Check it out</a>. Read More ›

Backpacking with Ticks

Jolene and I went backpacking this past Memorial Day weekend in the South Cumberland State Park located between Nashville and Chattanooga. Specifically, we hiked through the Savage Gulf area of the SCSP. We started our hike from the Savage Gulf Ranger Station on the Savage Day Loop. We then met the North Rim trail and took it out to the Dinky Line campground, about a 4 mile hike in from the trailhead. We had the whole campground to ourselves and when the (diligent) rangers checked us in, they told us we could let the dogs run around since we were the only ones there. We were afraid that Sami would follow her nose too far away from us, but Tennyson enjoyed running about through the woods while I gathered wood for a fire. We had foil dinners with potatoes, carrots, onions, tomatoes, and fresh herbs from the garden. For dessert, we had freeze-dried ice cream. It really was quite a treat. The dogs slept well at the foot of our tent and we had a wonderful time. We stopped by the Savage Falls overlook on the way out. It was a great hike and a great campsite. I highly recommend it. Read More ›