I know I said I'd start making a post every day. It didn't occur to me that sometimes, there isn't anything interesting enough to blog about every single day. So I'm editing my previous statement and going to try promising to update this thing at least twice a week minimum, but I digress.
I started an internship at a computer repair shop/retail store in Brockport today. I need it to satisfy one of the classes required for my major. I'm not thrilled with it. The college is in Batavia, the job market and economy is in the toilet, I'm already going broke paying for college, and to top it off, one of the classes required for my major is a co-op class where I have to find my own internship, but work a minimum of 150 hours unpaid/240 hours paid. Living in western NY, the only internships are going to be unpaid. To top it off, there are no computer internships in Batavia (the three locally owned computer stores that do worse work than Best Buy and overcharge do not count), but enough ranting about this class. Apparently, one of the upper level management people had come into the store earlier in the day and said all of the equipment and parts in one room needed to be moved to an entirely different room, and nothing else was to be done until then. So for 5 hours, I was hauling computers, monitors, laptop bags, and a plethora of other things. Did I mention I'm not getting paid for this? Anyway, the manager semmed happy with me. I think he expected me to leave after a few hours.
The next order of business is my laptop adapter. Ever since I had to solder a break in the wires up near the tip, the soldered wires have been consistently breaking after a few weeks from use and I'd just resolder the wires back together. Today, the wires broke again. The hard plastic and rubber around the tip has been completely removed so I have direct access to the pos/neg points on the tip (and because there isn't any original wire left). I was having problems getting my portable soldering iron to work, so I used the soldering station in my room. Started removing the old solder from the tip and put new solder on. Then I dropped the tip. Thankfully, it took about 10 seconds to find it. Then I ripped out my 63/37 solder instead of using this 96/4 silver bearing solder that I usually use. Lead solder is going to work better than lead-free solder in every occasion, and boy did it work. I got the wires soldered back in the tip nice and firm. I shut off the iron and go to plug my laptop back in... except the tip wouldn't fit. It took me a minute to realize that when I dropped the tip, I must have picked up a different one that was already on the floor. I spent about 15 minutes looking for the tip to my laptop with no luck. I didn't want to wait until morning to buy another tip at RadioShack nor do I have the money to spend on a new tip (yup, I'm that broke). I sat back down in my room trying to rack my brain for a solution. Then it came to me...
About two years ago, I happened upon a broken Toshiba laptop that I fixed up and got working. The last week of the semester, the power adapter that came with it (one of those universal Targus power supplies) started smoking at random and the plug near the adapter kept melting (and the adapter kept shorting out). I called Targus, unsure if it was under warranty still or not. The lady I talked to worked out a cross-exchange, where they sent me a new adapter and I sent them the broken one. The new adapter came with a full set of tips for a variety of laptops. Then about 4 months later, my now roommate (before we were roommates) absent-mindedly shut the adapter cord in my car door. I realized it after I had started driving and flipped out when I saw what he had done. I was having problems charging the laptop after this, so I called up Targus again and they sent me a replacement cable free of charge. In the time it took for the new cable to show up, the old one started magically working all on its own. Since I didn't need it, I just kept it with me. It's been sitting in a desk drawer since it came in the mail, until tonight.
The idea I had came to me when I saw the bag of adapter tips sitting in my room. I took the tips out and found one that fit my laptop. Then I started opening my desk drawers and found the cable that had been shipped to me years prior and cut it in two. Stripped off about an inch of rubber insulation and found myself looking at neatly weaved wire with three different insulated wires in the center. I grabbed my multimeter and started ohm testing the wires to figure out which was positive and negative. When I found out which wires I need, I stripped off some insulation and tinned the tips. Then I soldered the positive wire to the positive wire on my laptop adapter and vice versa with the negative lead. Took the finished result and plugged it into my laptop and... voila! It worked. I put some electrical tape around the half inch opening in the insulation the positive wire and I'm going to slip some heat shrink tubing over where I played doctor on the cable in the near future.. I'm expecting this to hold for awhile now.
The last thing I'm going to take a little time to talk about is GitHub. I'm not much of a programmer, but I'm familiar with CVS and Subversion. Tonight, I got a little taste of Git and GitHub. Suffice to say, I'm completely lost but the site looks interesting. I figure I'll be talking about this in the future.
That's pretty much it for now. Live long and prosper.