Weekend Project – Check Your Check Engine Light For $20

Modern cars offer a ton of on board self diagnostic  equipment to help point us in the right direction when things begin to fail. However it seems that most auto manufactures would prefer the diagnosis of the dreaded “check engine” light left to the professionals. I don’t believe this should be the case. If you own the car you should be able to diagnose issues and make decisions on how and where to have them repaired.

ODB2 PORT

Fix your check engine light with a $20 ODB2 scanner

Continue reading “Weekend Project – Check Your Check Engine Light For $20”

Build Your Own Police Scanner for $20

During my college days I worked in Radio Shack part time to help pay the bills. Its unfortunate Radio Shack has gone extinct, however when you are unable to adapt to the changes in the market only the strong will survive.  During my career at The Shack one of the products that fascinated me was the police scanner. I spent hours behind the counter dialing up different frequencies and listing to calls all over New York City.

It was the dawn of the digital tuner age where a listener could punch up a frequency for police or fire and be right in the action.  476.3875 – BOOM.. you’re listening to NYPD! 482.04375 – Fire dispatch on the air! A few more clicks of the keypad and 482.2437 EMS is coming in loud and clear

Can you still buy a scanner?

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Remote Fix Your Parents Computer (from the comfort of your own home)

If your parents are like mine they are tech savvy enough to get by. What I mean by that is they know how to launch Fire Fox and surf the web, maybe play checkers or chess and print a few documents when necessary. The problem arises when something goes wrong with their computer. Maybe they click on something they shouldn’t and get a virus or malware infection. Then again a Microsoft update could change some setting they are not familiar with and causes stress and a phone call to you. These days you have your own family and live an hour away from your parents and really can’t make the trip back home right now. This is where a remote solution comes into play!

Remote Solutions

Next time you are at your parents house, install one of these remote solutions and be prepared for the dreaded “my computer is broken” phone call.

Skype

Microsoft’s free video-calling software doubles as a very decent screen sharing program. Although you can’t directly interact with your friend’s desktop or take control of their computer yourself, you can view their screen as you both continue speaking, which makes the troubleshooting process more straightforward. And with the recent revamp of its appearance, Skype is easier to use than ever.
SKYPE.COM

Chrome Remote Desktop

This extension for Google Chrome can go beyond the web browser to share anything on a computer screen with someone else. Chrome Remote Desktop gives one user full control over the other computer for an experience almost like sitting in front of your mom’s  machine.
CHROME REMOTE DESKTOP

TeamViewer

Businesses use the professional TeamViewer tool, but it’s simple enough for anyone to use. And for personal,  use—like helping out Dad with computer problems, it’s also free. It allows full control of the remote system
TEAMVIEWER.US

 

Remember when installing any remote viewing tools to keep passwords safe and out of prying eyes. Other than its nice to visit Mom and Dad for a few hours and fix their computer, a remote solution can come in handy when time is short or distance is long.

Thank you for reading my blog,
Joe

 

Make a Sony E-Reader Picture Frame

The technology world is continuously changing. Today’s awesome technology is tomorrows trash, its just a simple fact of life. I truly believe we should do what we can to reduce, reuse and recycle our old tech.  Today while rummaging through the archive of stuff I came across an old Sony PRS-600.

The Sony PRS-600 was released in 2009 and by all standards ready for the trash heap. Before sending this device off to its finial resting place I decided to make a cute black and white picture frame.

Step 1 – Prepare the PRS-600

Using an old  2GB SD card, I loaded up around 300 of my favorite photos, inserted it into the unit. On the settings menu I configured the PRS-600 to never shut off, and run a perpetual slide show with a 60 second delay between images. Continue reading “Make a Sony E-Reader Picture Frame”

Add extra SATA power to the Optiplex 9020

The Optiplex 9020 is quite a number of years old now, and many are beginning to come out of mainstream service. As with many of my projects, I like to re-purpose older hardware for new tasks.

In this case I want to add an SSD drive along with a standard spinning disk. I will be using a smaller 400gb SSD for the boot drive, and a larger 2tb HDD for my storage. The only problem is the Optiplex 9020 only has one SATA power connector in the small form factor.

Adding SATA power to Optiplex 9020

Before we begin I want to define the pin out of the SATA connector so you understand what’s going on. Also understand you can get the same result with a $7 splitter from amazon

SATA connectors are made up of 4 colorshttp://www.playtool.com/pages/psuconnectors/sataindex.jpg Continue reading “Add extra SATA power to the Optiplex 9020”

Elf On The Shelf Photo Contest

It’s that time of year again when all the Elves are endlessly sitting on shelves. This year my office is having a contest for best Elf on the shelf photo.

Since I work in IT, I figured my photo entry must be IT related.

Destroying Laptops Is Fun!

I found an old HP i3 laptop that was broken sitting around the house and decided to have some fun. In my head I pictured the Elf going through the screen (in one side and out the other) looking as happy as can be!

The first step was to remove any useful components still inside the laptop. I was able to recycle the hard drive, memory and processor. I also removed the mother board,  DVD writer and battery and properly disposed of them.

Cutting the hole.

Dremel

First I dew an outline of the hole on the display using a sharpie, then using my Dremel MM45-06 Oscillating tool  I cut the hole all the way through the laptop. WARNING! Laptop screens contain glass, use work gloves and eye protection while cutting.

 

Stage The Elf.

 

I tried the Elf in a few positions to test how we would look.

Continue reading “Elf On The Shelf Photo Contest”

Apple buys Shazam for $300 Million!

Just like that, Shazam is now part of the Apple family! Rumors were churning yesterday that the deal was going down, and now it has been confirmed.  Apple released a statement saying they’ve acquired the music detection service.

I wish Shazam was still a super hero!
Umm.. wrong Shazam!

According to sources close to  the purchase Shazam was acquired for $300 million, a far cry from the $1 billion valuation obtained in 2015. It is unknown why Shazam decided to sell to Apply, however Apple has a huge hunger for any company with AI expertise. Continue reading “Apple buys Shazam for $300 Million!”

Is Etsy just another Ebay?

I have been working with Etsy for 12 years and at the beginning there was a basic understanding that this was a marketplace for handcrafted goods. Maybe you’re a woodworker, or artist of some type. Some people worked wonders with their sewing machines or showed off their painting skills. Others were like me that were able to up-cycle and mashup old discarded junk into new amazing items that were one of a kind unique pieces of art.

hand·made – han(d)ˈmād/ made by hand, not by machine, and typically therefore of superior quality.

As time went on the word “handmade” started to be stretched and lines blurred. For example, some sellers cast their own jewellery while others took wire wrapping to  a new level. In my opinion this is truly a handmade item. Other sellers began buying charms and simply put them on a chain and sold them as handmade. Their hand did make it, but was the item really “handmade” Etsy allowed this to take place, and soon two new categories  popped up Vintage and Supplies. I was fine with this strategy since items on the site were still primarily hand crafted Continue reading “Is Etsy just another Ebay?”

6 Gag Gifts They Will All Enjoy This Holiday Season

Another holiday season is upon us and like every year we will spend countless hours picking out gifts for loved ones, friends and coworkers. This year in addition to all the traditional gifts why not pick out a gag gift they will enjoy. Maybe even liven up the banter around the water cooler in the office.

I searched high and low on amazon and picked a few great gag gift ideas that wont break the bank and will be perfect for that secret Santa too.

Pull My Finger Farting Santa – $13.95

Not much of an explanation necessary. 

  • PRESS/PULL MY FINGER: Press my finger and hear me talk and fart and vibrate around..
  • BATTERIES INCLUDED: I come with batteries and the batteries can be replaced easily.
  • HEIGHT: 8 Inches Tall-6 Inches Wide
  • SAYINGS/FARTS: 7 Sayings and Farts when you press my finger
  • WHAT DO I SAY?- I usually FART FIRST and the say the following: 1. “Cmon sit on my lap”. 2. ” Theres a gift for ya”. 3. Ho ho ho -Faaart”. 4. Up the chimney I goooooooo..fart”. 5. ” That’s all your getting for Christmas”. 6. ” Was that on your list?”. 7. Ahhhh The Holiday Smells”.

Farting Santa is $13.95
Continue reading “6 Gag Gifts They Will All Enjoy This Holiday Season”

How to repair Guitar Hero guitar Wii edition

Guitar Hero is over a dozen years old, and though not so popular as it was in 2005 it still captures the hearts of original Wii fans. Guitar Hero was introduced when video game motion control was in its hay day. Nintendo had a revolutionary idea with the original Wii and video game companies far and wide wrote tons of software to capitalize on the new systems.

My kids loved, and still enjoy Guitar Hero to this day, and enjoy firing up the old Wii or Wii U to get their guitar on. However like many teenagers they are not gentle with their equipment and managed to break our Guitar Hero guitar. I was looking to source on on Ebay or Amazon, but then thought to myself maybe it could be repaired.

Repairing The Guitar Hero Guitar

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