Category Archives: COMPONENTS AND TOOLS

Attach Sandpaper to a Dremel Tool

dremel-sandpaperIn preparation for a big project I’ll hopefully be able to post on later, I needed a way to deburr and take out a small amount of material from the inside of a wood hole.  My first idea was to use a Dremel Tool (around $50 on Amazon) with sandpaper loosely attached.

I needed to actually widen the hole, so it didn’t work that well for this purpose.  On the other hand, if one simply needed to deburr a hole, I think this could work quite well.

How to do this (and the results) are illustrated in the video after the “read more” link.  Basically, it was Read more »

$10 Smartphone Plan with Republic Wireless

Warning: Rambling, Ranting, and Affiliate Links to follow!

After having a “feature” phone for the last 6 years of so, I finally decided to take the plunge and upgrade to a smartphone with a company called Republic Wireless.  The insane thing is that the plan I got is only $10 a month with unlimited calling, texting, and data (sort of)!

This seemed too good to be true, so I was reassured by the fact that they have a 30 day money back guarantee on the phone.  It’s expensive compared to the “free” iPhone that Verizon would give me, however, considering that their plans are more like $50 bucks a line per month for data, the payback on actually buying the phone is pretty short.

My actual bill with my wife right now comes out to around $80 per month, so if we were to both buy phones for $150 each, the payback would be $300 / ($60 saved per month) =  5 months.  At this point we could go back if we wanted, be even on the charges, and own a phone that could be resold.

The way it works is that the handset acts like a VoIP receiver when in range of WiFi.  This saves a ton of money on data transmission.  It then uses Sprint’s network when out of WiFi range.  With the $10 plan, you only get data while able to hook into WiFi, but I could really care less.

This could actually be a benefit, as I’ve never wanted to be one of those people who uses their phone at all times, and it seems it would be slightly harder for corporations/government to track your exact position at all points during the day.  In some ways, I see this as an advantage.  If you really need data everywhere, there’s a $25 plan or $40 plan, but I’m not anticipating getting either of those.  You can actually change the plan twice a month anyway, so maybe if we’re on a trip or whatever it would be worth it.

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Not quite that old… Image

As for the phone, it’s a Motorola Moto G.  To me, it’s absolutely incredible, but then you have to understand where I’m coming from – a 5 year old “feature phone.”  It looks great, and it’s cool to be able to actually use aps on it.  I’ve enjoyed the Kindle app, which syncs up with our actual kindle, so you don’t have to find your place again.

The reception Read more »

How to (attempt) to fix a Broken iPod Nano Power Button

nano-power-button-internals

So these instructions, plus $149 paid to Apple will get you a perfectly functioning iPod Nano.  This video was of my attempt to fix my iPod Nano after the power button stopped working.  Unfortunately, after apparently successfully reassembling the unit, I realized that the touch function didn’t work, as I’d left out a metal “shield.”  Either this was just one too many manipulations, or I reassembled it incorrectly, but after I put it back in, the unit didn’t work whatsoever.

So be careful if you try this.  This repair was based somewhat on R. Barrios’ post about what seems to be the same problem, and iFixit’s guide to replacing the logic board (shows how to get the glass off).  I tried to reposition the shim per R. Barrios, but that didn’t work.  After going through all of this, I finally just chopped the external button off with a Dremel tool.  Crude, I know, but it did allow me to access the internal button with a screwdriver to turn it off and on.

last-resort-nano-power-button-fixUnfortunately, after the second disassembly, the Nano no longer worked.  I must have shorted something in the process.  I finally just bought a 7th Generation model which has a bigger screen and seems to be a little thinner.  A quick search of Amazon revealed these items for $14 cheaper (as of this writing) than I bought it for at the Apple store.

You can also order the 6th generation model for more money.  I guess people like the old sqare version.  The 7th generation seems to have it’s drawbacks – no built-in clip, longer, screen doesn’t rotate, but it does support bluetooth and video, so that seems to offset it.  Also, it uses the new power adapter which isn’t necessarily bad, but there may be some accessories that you have to buy an adapter for.

Finally, if you enjoyed these close-up macro shots, I used this macro lens adapter from Amazon with my Canon T2i to shoot them.  For the price, just under $12, it’s pretty incredible since you get a wide-angle lens too.