Unwinding pickups

A few weeks ago the bridge pickup in my Tele failed at a gig. I’ve heard this can happen, but I’ve never seen or experienced it first hand. After exploring several options for replacement/repair, I decided to snag another Dimarzio Twang King on ebay. It’s a great pickup and I got this one new for $50. I never did any shielding on this guitar so I took this opportunity to fix that. I opted to go the conductive paint route, instead of using copper foil. The paint is actually really expensive, about $15 for 1oz. Luckily, that amount was enough for two guitars. Anyway, I decided to salvage the magnets in the original pickup and I was amazed at how much wire is used. Here’s a picture in case anyone is curious about what the inside looks like.

I love my EVO

Once the #4 button broke on my old Razr, it became clear that I was going to need to get a “real” phone. I decided to either get the hip, ever popular, iPhone or an Android device. After reading up on the subject, it became quite clear that Android was the right platform for me. I wouldn’t say it’s better that iOS, in fact its lacking in several ways, but it was definitely the right choice for me. I decided to go with the HTC EVO because Sprint had the cheapest plans and it was the newest Android phone and has incredible specs. I’ve had the phone for eight months now, and I’m writing this because I just upgraded to the latest Cyanogenmod 7 nightly build of Gingerbread and I’ve completely fallen in love with this phone all over again. Right now it’s absolutely perfect. Continue reading “I love my EVO”

Strat Project

Lately I’ve really had an itch for another strat. Since my last two Warmoth projects have turned out so well, I decided to go this route again. This time around I don’t have the time or the patience for the finishing process so I’m going to have Warmoth take care of that for me. I saw this Mary-Kay white, chambered swamp ash body and pulled the trigger. I’m going to go with the six screw Gotoh 510 solid steel bridge (pictured below). Right now the body is being routed for the bridge and H-S-S pickup configuration. I can’t wait for it to ship.




Bust-a-Cap in yo TV?

One of my reps at work was complaining about Samsung refusing to repair his TV even though there was known problem with defective capacitors for this model. Their response was that his serial number was not an effected unit. I told him I thought we could fix it, but he seemed like he was looking for an excuse to get a new TV. This was a 46″ 720p LCD that was about three years old. These are still priced at $1,900 on amazon, even though you can buy a much better one for less. I offered him $50 for it and he accepted. :) Sure enough after opening it up I could immediately see the problem. I’ve probably repaired this same problem on 50+ Dell gx2{6,7,8}0 motherboards; I recognized it right away. I went to Tanner Electronics for the replacement caps which cost a whopping $2.55. It took me about an hour and a half to replace them. Continue reading “Bust-a-Cap in yo TV?”

system-config??? More like sissy-config!

Sissy is a pejorative for a boy or man to indicate that he fails to behave according to the traditional male gender role. Generally, it implies a lack of the courage and stoicism which are thought important to the male role.

wikipedia

We all love the ease of a nice graphical interface. Often times GUIs (and TUIs) are great because they lower the barriers of technology, but sometimes this ease of use has a price. In the Linux world my gripes with GUIs are that sometimes they:

  1. lack features of their command line counter parts
  2. are cumbersome
  3. difficult/impossible to script.

RHEL & Fedora ship with a nice set of system tools that begin with the name system-config-*. Sometimes these tools really come in handy, but most of the time I use them I’m really just being lazy. In fact, I often feel a little guilty for “cheating” with these tools. I decided that I could do something about it. I wrote a little script today to help encourage myself and others to limit their use of these utils. It’s not that there’s anything wrong with using them, but that there’s often more efficient methods of accomplishing the end results. Like so many things in life I decided to address this head-on using mockery and sarcasm. This little script will create a symbolic link to a more appropriate command name, and if you chicken out, it will mock you. :)

#!/bin/bash
cmds=(`ls /usr/bin/system-config-*`)
num=${#cmds[*]}
i=0
echo -e "There are $num potential \e[01;35m sissy-config\e[00m commands on this system."
echo "Do you wish to convirt them?"
select yn in "Yes" "No"; do
  case $yn in
    Yes)
       while [ $i -lt $num ]; do
       c=$(echo ${cmds[$i]} | sed "s/system-config/sissy-config/g")
       ln -s ${cmds[$1]} $c
       let i++
done; exit;;
    No) echo "OMFG! You are a sissy!!"; exit;;
   esac
done

You can download the script here. Don’t forget to run it as root or use sudo.

Cheers.

***Update***

While the script functions perfectly, the links do not execute properly. I’ve tried substituting cp & mv and I get the same result. I don’t understand what I’m missing. I hope someone can comment and shed some light on this for me.

***Update 2***

The problem with this script is that for some it creates a symlink to a symlink for some of these utilities. For this to work properly the script would need to search for the actual binaries. Maybe one day I’ll have time to fix this.

Apple Hardware

I really like Apple hardware. ….most of the time. I have an Apple keyboard and it’s amazing. I also have two mighty mouse and they’re pretty good (until the scroll ball gets dirty and stops working). Anyway, I’ve been annoyed by mice in general lately and figured I’d give the new Apple Magic Trackpad a shot. Apart from the incredibly stupid name, I really like the form factor.  Right now I have two main grips with it:

  1. I wish there was a wired, USB version. I don’t like messing with batteries.
  2. No Linux support. I know they’re never really “support” Linux, but it would be nice if they would throw us a bone every once in a while. Especially considering how much they “borrow” from the open-source community, they need to give back a little more.

So after screwing with this for three hours it only sort-of works in Fedora 13. Basic mouse functionality worked out of the box, but I need things like scrolling and tap-to-click. Things that are typical for touchpads. I’m a bit disappointed at this point.

Re-finishing the Tele


I got an itch around Easter to refinish my Tele. It’s going well, but taking a lot longer than I originally anticipated. I have approx. 3 more coats to go; after it cures in couple weeks I can start to rub out the finish. It going to look good, but now I’m wishing I painted it a trans-white. Oh well, maybe next time.

The BS line-up

I’ve completed six pedals now. Here’s a shot:

2x Tube Screamers, a chorus, 2x blues breakers, & a micro amp booster.

I may need to re-think my crappy P-Touch labels. Some of them are starting to peel.

Myth .22 upgrade

I couldn’t be happier w/ the new MythTV setup here at the house. The new version is a major improvement over the last release. I’m also really enjoying the mythbuntu theme.

Video Game Music

My brother-in-law is a very talented C++ programmer who is writing a 2D side-scroller video game. Over the holidays he asked me if I could write some music for the game. I slapped together some scratch tracks, and I think it came out OK. I wasn’t sure how well it would translate to background music for a game so I added some of my favourite classic game sounds on top to see if it would hold water. I think it’s pretty funny. Enjoy!

KDE Rocks

Over the past four years I’ve used both KDE & Gnome, but I’ve typically gravitated towards Gnome. ……that is until I played w/ the controversial Gnome Shell. Get me out of here! Watch the screencasts

Of course I didn’t really like KDE 4 when it first came out either. ….maybe it’s my “inner old-man” coming through that makes me resistant to change. I’ll admit that it’s entirely possible that I’ll warm up to the concept, but right now Gnome Shell looks and feels pretty awkward. I really hope they make it an option that can be disabled.

Enter KDE:

Anyway, I’ve been curious about giving KDE another shot recently so after my Karmic upgrade was running terrible, I decided to give Kubuntu a shot. It is AWESOME. What a beautiful desktop; I was really blown away.

Here are the issues I have w/ the current state of KDE:

  • Network Manager sucks – I couldn’t connect to my hidden WPA2 wireless network @ home. Also the openvpn component had problems w/ Kwallet. I ended up running gnome’s network manager.
  • No native SOCKs proxy – I believe this was included w/ KDE 3.X (not 100%) hopefully this will be added sooner than later.
  • Odd keyboard shortcuts – I qualify this by saying odd= I’m not used to it. Luckily everything is tweakable (which is often one of the main criticisms of KDE) so I was able to set it back to a Gnome-ish feel.
  • Korganize lacks simple Google Calendar setup. :(

At any rate, I have moved almost all of my boxes to Fedora 12 now, and one of the things I really like about their KDE distro is it defaults to gnome’s network manager. I’m going to stick w/ Gnome on my laptop for now because of the SOCKs issue, but for the time being I consider my self a KDE man and I’m loving my office PC.

Blues Breaker becomes Bread Breaker

I built this pedal because I needed something I can leave up at the church. After consulting a friend who went to seminary, we concluded that it would not be sacrilegious to give this a “church” theme. I was originally going to build another Tube Screamer and call it the Jesus Screamer, but I think 3x Tube Screamers is enough. I debated calling the MBB kit Jesus Screamer, Hey Zeus Screamer, or G-sus  Screamer, but it’s not a Tube Screamer it’s a Blues Breaker. Anyway, Bread Breaker 5000 was the most appropriate name I could come up w/. The pedal features a white case, white knobs, a blinding white LED, and cheap white P-Touch labels. The color of course represents the “holiest of tones” that this pedal produces.