Monday, November 21, 2011

I'm Screwed

     I'm sure everyone has taken apart a broken or otherwise useless electronic gadget. You can get some great knowledge (and sometimes some nice components) by tearing something apart. Something that I've been doing for years is keeping the screws when taking these things apart. I've went into my screw collection countless times over the years. Often, I manage to lose a screw while working with something I want to keep, and having such a varied collection of screws nearly always has something close enough to work. I've used screws that I've had for mounting a power strip / USB extender onto the back of my monitor using the VESA mount screw holes. I've used some of them for my MiniPOV3 project and my power supply. Start a collection and you'll be surprised how many times you'll have exactly what you need.

The dividers should not imply organization

Easy Documentation Organization

     I keep a three ring binder around full of Avery Clear Sheet Protectors to fill with all of my important documents having to do with my tinkering hobby. I store my pages having to do with projects I want to complete, invoices when I order parts, software documentation, datasheets from chips I often work with, and cheat sheets for coding. I usually staple each one together and then put each packet into its own protector. It's a great organization tool whenever I need to reference any documents that I've used before. I hope this tip helps some of you out.

Perfect reference

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Beautiful iPhone Protection (for Cheap!)

     I've been through a few different methods of protection for my Verizon iPhone 4 and I finally found the one I'm sticking with. Originally I bought a ZAGG invisibleSHIELD because I had one for my 2nd generation iPod Touch and loved it. Unfortunately, the iPhone model was not of the same quality as the old protectors. As my phone became hot from being in my pocket next to my body, the screen protector would lose its grip and slide off the phone and become covered in pocket fuzz. Essentially this product was trash. Afterwards, I bought a Wrangler Case by IvySkin and, despite its large size, it really impressed me. It has a built-in piece of glass that covers the screen. At first I really liked liked the design and supreme protection. Over time, the glass insert became loose and would slide around within the case. Also, the bulkiness of the case would prevent finger taps on the bottom and sides of the screen. After a while, I became fed up with it and wanted something new.

     My girlfriend had told me about the elago S4 Slim Fit Case for iPhone 4 (Glossy, Piano Black) and I was impressed. I really liked how its near impossible to tell that there's even a case on the phone. It looks like it was designed by Apple and is very simple to put on and take off. Plus it's only $10! The only thing I'm put off by is that my particular model is the high gloss coating model so that it's very fingerprint prone and very slippery on all materials. I plan on buying one of the matte models soon to see if I like it any better (like this model for instance: elago S4 Slim Fit Case for iPhone 4 (Matte, SF Gray)).

     Keep in mind that the elago cases do not include screen protectors (although they do include a protector for the Apple logo on the back of the phone because it is open to the environment). I would definitely recommend the splash Masque Clear Screen Protector for iPhone 4 to buy with it. It is a very smooth material so it doesn't feel any different than the glass alone. A three pack of cases isn't bad for $11. I did have trouble installing mine the first time so here's a fantastic tip to flawlessly apply the screen protector -- apply it in a humid bathroom. That's right, go into your bathroom and turn the hot water on until the mirrors fog up. Why you ask? Well, when the air is humid there is very little dust floating around. Clean the screen very well with the included cleaning cloth and apply the screen protector (it's just like a sticker) without worries of dust getting between the screen and protector. I was amazed by how well this worked. I had never imagined to do this before but it's simple and effective.

Simple, yet sexy

Leave a comment if you've had any experience with the above cases or have your own personal favorite.

I'm Back!

     Thanks to Thanksgiving break, I finally have time to update my blog with the projects that I've worked on but haven't had any time to write proper posts about. I've assembled a MiniPOV3 from Adafruit and a Bus Pirate v3.5 from Dangerous Prototypes. I've also built a variable power supply that wasn't entirely successful. Along with those projects, I want to explain how I keep all of my electronics documents organized and my current favorite way of protecting my iPhone (on the cheap). Stay tuned for all these blog posts (and hopefully more) before Thanksgiving break ends this upcoming weekend.

Power Supply, Bus Pirate v3.5, and MiniPOV3