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Pinkie Pie Laptop Back Light Mod

I once had an HP Compaq 6710b. A typical 15 inch business laptop from 2014: A Core2 Duo, 4 GB, thick and reliable. Thin laptops are nice. But I like about thick, older laptops how well they took a fall on a hard object or a hit with a hard object. There used to be a thick plastic cover followed by an even thicker layer of space before the backlight and the actual LCD panel start. Enough room to make all sorts of fun case mods easy.

Those were the laptop screen covers.

So, what I wanted to do is put a piece of transparent plastic in there, engrave something onto it and light is with colouful LEDs from the side to make the engraved lines light up.

This is the type of look that I initially had in mind. The light from the LEDs enters the sheet from the side and becomes visible to somebody viewing from the front, in places where it is refracted by a rough spot.

I removed the cover and used a Dremel-like tool with a thin burr to cut along a line that I had drown on with a felt pen. But before I continued I learned that the way the LCD backlight apparently works is that it not only lights through a diffusor sheet to cover the whole LCD evenly, but also towards the back, where the light gets reflected by a sheet of aluminium back towards the front. So, in order to make the whole light up pink, as I intended, I had to cover the backlight first so the white light from the backlight wouldn't drown out my pink LEDs. I decided to go the easier way and use the white light and forget about my pink LEDs.

The piece that I cut out. (The scrap.)

After I had cut out the hole in the back cover in the shape that I wanted, I put the cover back on the screen to see how the image looks with a whole in the back cover. I couldn't notice any spots or any difference to before whatsoever. So instead of thinking of a way to mount the LEDs and bring a wire up to them, I found a pink piece of transparent plastic (a slim CD case), cut out a piece a bit larger than the hole that I made in the cover, and engraved my picture into that.

White shines the light of the back. Of the light shines back the white shine. Shine of white light shines back the shine. Shine, shine, white light; back of the shine, the shine. Shine shine the shine shine of the back light white shine.

I don't remember exactly why. But additionally to the pink plastic with Pinkie Pie engraved into, I put in a piece of linen-ish cloth. That's where the line structure comes from.

This is how it looks like after glueing both pieces onto the inside of the screen cover and putting the cover back on.

And this is how it looks like turned in, from the view of someboding sitting across of the opened laptop, looking at the back cover of the screen.

I used this laptop for some more time, then gave it away when I got a new one. (I think it was because the keyboard started to fail and I felt it was time for a new one.)

That was the first anything that I engraved into a plastic sheet with the intention to light it. Next in the evolution of me engraving things into sheets of plastic with the intention of lighting them are these LED pictures of My Little Ponies

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I went for a walk through fields and woods this January. It was cold. Almost as cold as it gets these winters around here. And it was white. Far whiter than it usually gets around here these winters. It wasn't snowing. But there were icicles on cars and roof edges, fences and branches were covered in ice and everything except the main street was white. The air was misty and where the view allowed to see into distant trees or villages, a fine fog created harmonious images in any direction.

I was less than 100 m away from my house when I thought "I should have brought a camera." for the first time that day. During the following hours I noticed many details with interesting looks due to the snow and ice cover or surrounding. I had many ideas for photos that I wanted to take. I never before realised how many photogenic things winter weather creates. But to be fair: I also usually don't get to see that landscape for days. And then I usually don't take an hours long calm walk through it.

After a while I really regretted not bringing, or going back for, a camera. My phone's camera is dirty and damaged, has a delicate auto focus problem and creates disenchanting pictures most of the time that lack contrast. When I came back home the sun came out and started to delete the white scene so that I could not take the pictures tomorrow that I wanted to take today. And that was the end of winter 2024.

I used my last battery percentage point to take these pictures after the sun came out and most of the fog had gone.

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WAMP 2023 - Close-Up Shots Of Things Lying Around And Stuff But Not People

I brought a camera to WAMP last year. The resulting pictures are very underwhelming. But because I was there and my brain has experiences and memories connected to them, I deem them worthy of being here. These are close-up shots of things lying around and stuff but not people. There is a separate entry with macro shots of things lying around and stuff but not people.

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WAMP 2023 - Macro Shots Of Things Lying Around And Stuff But Not People

I brought a camera to WAMP last year. The resulting pictures are very underwhelming. But because I was there and my brain has experiences and memories connected to them, I deem them worthy of being here. These are macro shots of things lying around and stuff but not people. There is a separate entry with close-up shots of things lying around and stuff but not people.

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Distinguishing Line Separation in Texts

When reading an article or a book I often accidently read a line several times because I slip at the moment where my eyes run back to the beginning of a line. I thought maybe there could be a solution to this. My need for a solution for this problem may be unique. Probably almost everybody knows from expereince what I mean by slipping into the wrong line on a line break. But it sometimes really prevents fluid reading for me. So I thought of a few ways of formatting or presenting a text in a way that prevents this slipping.

The basic idea is to separate every other line visually so that it is intuitively obvious which line comes next when jumping to the beginning of the next line after a line break. An interlacing pattern that does not disturb the reading but just slightly guides the reader into automatically falling into the correct line after a line break. This may be an alternating pattern, marking every second line, or a more elaborate one that repeats overy three or more lines. In theory any such method should be possible to implement in a e-book reader. Maybe that would get me to switch from paper books to a tablet-like device.

One already commonly used mothod to achieve the same is alternating white and gray backgrounds. For some reason this is only commonly used with tables. Any colour combination could be used.

Another idea is to mark the line beginnings and endings in the free space left and right of the text. I like the idea of different shapes, e.g. a filled circle, a cross and a square outline; three symbolds that aren't easily confused on first sight.

The following I like best, visually, but it interferes with existing common formatting. The end of every second line becomes bolder at the end; the beginning of every other line starts out bold and becomes less so towards the middle of the lin, creating alternating lines of bold at the beginning and bold at the end. This way when you reach a line break on a thick line, you should continue on the next thick line after the line break. You may keep any typos that you may find in the following example.

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Crackout (NES Game)

One of my favourite NES games is Crackout, a Konami game (disgtributes by Palcom) that I used to play and be bad at as a child. It's a relatively simple Breakout style game (relatively simple compared to what crazy creativity got hold of game programmers since then when reinventing video game classics). Sometimes you have to destroy non-blick objects, like glass boxes or monsters. Often there are creatures that produce a variety of bonus objects that can help not at all or very very much when you collect them (depending on the situation you're in and what bonus it randomly produced).

One thing that I like a lot about it is that it has an interesting way built in to save games. There's no RAM on the cartridge. Nintendo games didn't usually do that in the early 1990s. Of course no flash storage, either. Rather it generated a string of characters every time you lose your last ball. This generated "Password" contains the level you were in as well as any other relevant statuses. When you start a new game you can choose to start from the beginning or to enter a password. Either way you always start with 6 balls. This means as long as you write down the password after a Game Over, or not turn off the console, you can always continue by starting again at the last level you were at.

I'm still bad at this game. But it still is fun. The levels get pretty challenging early on, which makes the priciple that you can only fall back to the beginning of the current level a welcome design choice. And because of the password system I can continue my recent appempt at advancing to higher levels than I've reached as a child on any console and cartridge I like, including emulated ones.

Edit: As I learned today, this method of letting the player continue at the beginning of the level at which the game ended, is actually pretty common for games from that area. Bomberman 2, for example, is even a game that I played a lot myself in my childhood, but didn't remember the codes about.

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My Personal Rules For Undertaking An Attempt To Repair A Piece of Tech Without Expertise

Sometimes it feels worth making an attempt to repair some piece of technology even if I don't know anything (or not much) about how exactly it works or what's broken. Either something that used to work until I broke it or something that I picked up from the street because I didn't think it should be thrown on a pile of scrap and dismantled. A vintage kitchen helper found on the street, an expensive looking radio from the 1980s a friend wanted to throw away, an electric saw that worked for two weeks before breaking (which is when I understood why it was so cheap), a remote control that was powered while wet for a while, an annoying printer that tasted my boots to give it a reason not to work properly; You know, some thing that you don't know anything about, but since it's already broke, you may as well ruin it completely by taking it apart and not remembering which part goes where. I like taking that stuff apart (if I have the time) right after deciding to throw it out. That way it doesn't feel like I'm loosing anything except time, but I may gain knowledge of how it used to work and experience in taking apart devices.

Over time I gathered rules that I give myself when doing this, to minimise the possibility of wasting time and an easily repairible device. I ususally ignore at least some of those rules. But I believe that they are good and make sense. They are no special insight and nothing you couldn't come up with yourself. But I needed to think of them consiouly before I was able to take advantage of them. So I recommend adapting them when doing similar repair attemps that are above ones experience level.

1 - Wait until you have the (right) time.

If you're stressed, don't have a few hours to waste, can't stop thinking of something else, etc. then it's not the right time to make an attempt to repair a device that you don't know. Without taking my time, I tend to ignore the rest of the rules and end up with a pile of frustration and 20 pieces of an even more broken device than before.

2 - Clean your workbench before starting.

Whether you have an actual workbench or use a table or the floor, make sure you have the necessary space to line up different pieces, modules, boards, plates, springs, cables, etc. in an orderly fashion, the extra room you may need for a soldering iron and other large tools as well as a collection of smaller tools and then have enough space left to comfortably work on the device from all angles.

3 - Prepare a container for screws and other small parts.

It doesn't have to be one of these magnetic dishes. Sometimes it shouldn't be one, because cetain parts shouldn't be magnetised. But it should be capable of keeping at least 5 or 6 groups of parts separate. A medizine magazine works. Don't forget to label which screws are for what. That container should be out of reach of your elbow, tool's cables, etc. For large enough screws you can stick them in a piece of blank cartboard and scribble any sort of description, grouping information or remarks on it.

4 - Take pictures. Take more pictures. Take better pictures.

You may be able to remember how any part was positioned before you started working on it. But you may not remember all of them after an hour or two of tinkering with and looking at a completely different part. Also it's not uncommon to overlook a possible ambiguity in how parts go together. When you notice during re-assembly that you aren't sure which way an almost symmetrical piece of metal goes into another piece of mechanics, then you'll be happy to have good pictures.

5 - Make sure there is good lighting onto the work area.

This means more light than you would be comfortable with/need for watching something on a screen or navigating the room as well as light from the right angles (and not only from one angle). This helps with seeing small details better (or at all), increasing contrast between different parts, seeing e.g. markings and labels more easily. Thereby it prolongs the time it takes for you to become frustrated. If there isn't good lighting at your work area, best fix something up before you start so you don't have to fiddle with torches and phones jammed between books and a water botter or something while trying to do the actual work on the broken device.

6 - Stop before you're frustrated.

If it turns out to not be simple and quick to fix something (as it usually does) then it can be helpful to recognise the moment in which motivation starts for fall beneath the threshold that you require to continue working on the device properly. If you're getting sloppy it may be better to stop for now before you bend something out of shape, loose a tiny screw, fry some electronics or something like that. Especially if you're working on something that isn't completley broken, it's important to spot your frustration in time so you can still put it back together without breaking more than you were able to rapair.

7 - Do research before you start.

Even if you can't find any information at all about the specific device you have, there might good guides on how to do something on similar devices or you can look at people repairing the general kind of device that you want to work on, or read about common causes for your issue or similar issues. There usually are some tips to be learned from other people's experiences; Even if they were as inexperienced as you before they made a repar attemps. Nowadays most of those experiences are found on YouTube. For some areas it makes sense to search web forums or Reddit as well. Sadly, information on personal web sites are rearely presented by search engines.

An Example

I picked up a car radio with tape drive and 5x CD changer from a curve. After drying it (it was filled with rain) it worked, but the magnetic head sounded dirty and CDs weren't always recognised. After being annoyed by not being able to listen to CDs for the enoughth time, I opened up the device, cleaned the laser's lens, and it worked. That was lucky and I was glad that I ignored the advice from a more experienced person who said: "If you don't know exactly what you're doing, don't try to repair a CD player. You'll brek it even more." Then I started putting it back together because I had to remove some metal pieces to get to the laser lens. The phone that I used for lighting fell from the bottle I balanged it on and tipped a glass of water with the intention of destroying my laptop. Because I had put all the metal pieces onto one pile (onto other things on the desk), I wasn't sure which one I had to put on first. Since I hadn't taken any pictures I just tried it the wrong way first. Then I had to take two pieces off again because the order was wrong, during which I lost a spring of uncertain importance. When I wanted to put the last piece back on I noticed that I didn't have enough screws of the right size. Neither in the pile on the desk nor on the floor. After replacing some of the screws and distributing them in a way that made the whole thing look sturdy enough I put the lid back on, turned the device on again and was thanked by a crying DC motor that tried to rotate a long chain of gears, of which one seemed to be stuck. I tried to find which part blocked what by touching the gears in question while it was trying to move. There would have been safer ways to find the cause of the new problem. But I didn't have the patience. I touched the caseing with a PCB, the device went off and never back on again.

I think I don't have to list or point out how abiding to the above rules would have helped in this example.

I hope that you find joy in learning something from failed repair attempts wether you abide any of these rules or not.

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"Children absorb knowledge like a sponge." — Umm, a sponge doesn't absorb knowledge at all. You can't teach it fucking anything by talking to it or giving it a book. That's why children are stupid. Grown-ups assume absorbing skills where there are none.

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