Repair of Cracked Plastic Clip

A crack developed in a plastic clip holding a window shade.  The rest of the clip flexed so that the entire shade tended to fall to the ground when we tried to raise or lower it.  To hold the crack tight I drilled a couple of holes for four-penny nails and tensioned across with safety wire, avoiding areas where screws pass through to hold the clip to the house and where the clip fastens around the shade.

clip repair

Sorting out non-responsive home button on iPhone

This morning the home button on my two year old iPhone 4 stopped working.  I tried the rebooting and the software “recalibration” fix involving going to the “slide to power off screen,” but it didn’t do anything.

Some people reported that a bit of isopropyl alcohol on the button would do the trick so I put a drop or two of 91% isopropanol on the iPhone button and pressed it a bunch of times and it was fixed right away.  I wouldn’t mind an excuse to open the phone, again but there was need to replace hardware this time.

UPDATE: The fix was short-lived.  Blowing vigorously into the dock connector seems to help, possibly clearing dust out of the button.

UPDATE 2: Still kind of flaky.  I ordered a replacement button.

UPDATE 3: Replacement button installed and working, what a difference!

Blocking Ads under iOS

I always aim to jailbreak any iOS device I have (iPhone, iPad, iPod, etc.). Primarily I do this because I believe consumers should have full control of the hardware they own, without having to operate under the constraints of the Apple nanny. Also, jailbreaking is the only way to effectively block distracting advertisements that eat mobile bandwidth. The AdBlock app on Cydia (the “app store” for jailbroken devices) only seems to work on the native browser Safari which I don’t use anyway. A repository once existed at with an app with nice ad-blocking ability, but the modyouri repo has been down for several months.

I was pleased to recently discover the Untrusted Hosts Blocker which works neatly by modifying the /etc/hosts file to block not just connections to ad servers, but also to other servers that might undesirably collect private information. It has been working well for me so far.

Philips LED light bulb

Always keen on being on the bleeding edge of technology, I bought an LED light bulb despite the relatively high cost.  Namely, it’s Philips Dimmable AmbientLED 12.5-Watt A19 Light Bulb (model # 409904 / 423343).

First impression: as Public Enemy once said “my Uzi weighs a ton.”

Actually it has a weight of 6.2 ounces (mass of 176 grams) – much heavier than an incandescent or fluorescent bulb, but probably not excessive for most applications.  At 12.5 Watts for the brightness of a 60 Watt incandescent, it’s very efficient.

It’s difficult to tell from the image below, but the color of the illumination is nice and warm.

Another nice thing compared to fluorescent lights is that it reaches full brightness immmediately.  I will probably get some LED bulbs as the price drops.

Recovering lost photos from an iTunes backup

So I carelessly wiped clean my old iPad before copying all the photos from it.  A lot of them did not exist elsewhere (transferred from a digital camera and then cleared the memory card), so I wanted to recover them.  There was an iTunes backup of the iPad still on my Windows 7 computer, in a folder under c:\Users\<UserName>\AppData\Roaming\Apple Computer\MobileSync\Backup

Some paid software offered to make it easy on me, but to try and save about $25 I figured I would try another route.  Searching on the net revealed that Apples stores the photos as individual files, but with different file extensions, which makes things easier.  I mass renamed all of them in an old school DOS prompt command window with “REN *.* *.JPG”.  Thumbnail view in Windows file explorer, sorted by size to try and get the photos generally grouped together, let me pick out what I wanted.  Happy day!  This ought to work on an iPhone as well.