Thursday, March 30, 2006

New life for old VHS tapes


I nabbed a few (dozen) used S-VHS (Fujifilm ST-30 H471S) tapes from the college library, mostly I wanted some blank media to use to record stuff from my PC. One of them was busted (the magnetic tape was cut :\) So I deicded to ressurect it from it's early grave.

On the left you'll see it in it's case, it's disguised as a horrible D-List Cult Classic. It's labeled so professionally isn't it.

Anyway, thats the case, it's whatever came with the tape when it was new (the school buys them in bulk and tapes PBS shows on them, at a capacity of 30 minutes I don't blame them for not re-using them, the tape I happened to defile was World Buissness review, a good vintage, January 2006.



So now that you've seen the case, i'll tell you how to do this at home (kids, get your parents permission before doing this to thier wedding tape or anything in thier underwear drawer, oh, and X-acto knives are sharp, so you might not want to stab yourself with them).

What you'll need:
Old VHS tape (as opposed to new DVD's, I find that DVD's do not work the same way as VHS tapes did, you're suprised i'm sure.) The longer the better, I manged to get about 50 feet into my tape @ 30min, but all VHS tapes are not created equally, nor are all wire, but a longer movie/tape means a smaller spool, meaning you can cram more wire into the case. Oh, and make sure you rewind/fast forward it, it's easier when one spool is empty.

Small Phillips Head Screwdriver (#0 or #1 should do the trick)

X-acto Knife (or razor blade if your too poor, this may be optional, but I needed to knotch out some of the original case just to get the wire to run the route the tape did.

Ok, flip your tape over (so you have nothing to read) there should be 5 screws showing (again, differnt models will have differnt screw setups) unscrew them and place the screws to the side. now flip the tape over (read the label if you are so inclined) and gently (from the left and right sides) pull the top portion of the case from the bottom. If there is any label on the side (bottom) of the tape you'll need to cut that, you should be able to find the groove with your knife, just cut along it.

Next you'll need to dispose of the magnetic tape, this can take a long time (it took me a good fifteen minutes just to do mine) so be patient. There is typicly a small plastic clip holding the tape down on each spool. If you flip the spool over there is a very small hole, poke around in it with your knife and the clip should slide out enough to then be pulled out by hand. Repeat on the other spool. Then just have fun pulling all that tape out, just like a cassette there is no real easy way to do this, but if you start by looping it around your finger and then wrapping it around it like a ball (after it's off your finger) it should stay pretty neat and not come un done.

Once the spools are empty you can wrap whatever wire you want on the spools, I chose speaker wire (since I had alot of it) I wrapped it around both spools and looped them like the tape. If your wire is thick you will need to both knotch the case (where the wire comes out) and remove any plastic or metal bearings around the plastic posts where the wire will come out. Be creative, you can put differnt wire on each spool, one wire on each, or do what I did and connect them (so you can cut them later -_-).

Thats about it, just put it all back and make sure it tracks nicely, there is a mechanism that locks movement that might be an issue for the reciving spool so if that is the case take care of that before you close the case. it'll give you a nice clicking sound too, and if that isn't soothing, I don't know what is.

Oh, and about those clips, you can re-use them, but you'll most likely have to strip your wire, and then you'll have to open it back up to remove the wire, so i would just wrap it without those clips bieng used.

Oh, and Also: remember not to ever put this tape in your VCR, Beta Machine, or whatever the thing is supposed to go into, that would most likely totally jam the machine up. Allthough that means you get to fool around with a VCR, so you might want to do it for fun.

Anyways, thats all I have to write, it's a nifty way to store your wire and defile your old VHS tapes, and thats a good thing.


Monday, February 06, 2006

Oh no not you again, blog open, also the ZFPC too

Heh, yeah, i'm back, with a vengence too, i managed to break the hell out of my laptop, so what to do? Make it a Zero Footprint PC (the name is so misleading, i know, so let me help you define it: http://www.cybernetman.com/default.cfm?DocId=602 that would be cybernet's ZFPC, it's a PC thats reallly flippin small, so much so that it isn't a box at all, it's in the keyboard, not to be confused with an all in once computer where the monitor is the computer.)

So anyways, my laptop was broken (yours may be too, or you may think this is cool and decided to do this for yourself to save money or whatever) to be specific the screen was dead. Now when an $800 screen on a $400 laptop goes bad, your prettymuch forced to chuck it, or raze it for parts, but I had better ideas, why not use it as a desktop?

Practicality factor is low, since mobile computers are generally weak in the power department, but when you think about it, it could end up bieng much cheaper then a entry level computer (and quite possibly much more powerfull).


Now that, that is your screen, it's pretty icky (but definitly not the worst i've ever seen) it borders on usable, but really once cracks like that spider it just grows and grows, this crack was caused by the computer itself (it was allready in disrepair, eventaully it caused too much stress on the screen and it cracked)

Luckily, my notebook (Presario 700US) has a VGA port, so it can use an external monitor (this is the key, without this your limited to svideo, witch might be better for you, but most likely you don't have an s-video port if you don't have a VGA or DVI port, for clarification, a VGA port looks like this)

The first real step:
Crack your case open (this varies from manufacturer to manufacturer, but it usually means taking a T-8 or T-9 to the bottom of the unit, most manufactureres will supply you with instructions on dissasembly) and unplug the LCD screen, this is usually two plugs next to each other, usually 8 pin and 20 pin (again, varies), the smaller one will lead to the inverter, the other directly to the screen.

Bringing it on home:
Next you simply need to remove the broken parts. The hinges should be easy to get to now since most of the front is allready off. Generally they will have two screws (again, TORX) on each. Just unscrew them and the whole top assembly will come off (Note: if you have an internal wireless antenna, it may be in the top clamshell, take extra care if you have internal wireless, if you can, take the faceplate to the screen off first and remove the antenna before taking the top totally off.


So, this is what your left with, a nice messy desk with half a laptop and a CRT monitor (hey, a nice 17" is better then a cracked 14")

Now, this laptop has a few quirks, the first is that it only looks for an external monitor if the last time it booted there was an external monitor bieng used, so if you boot without the VGA cable plugged in you need to press Fn+F3 (that just happens to be the button on my computer that switches from Onboard Screen, to VGA, to S-Video). It also sometimes bugs out and the screen will flicker on startup, but usually that isn't the case.

So really, what have we got? We have a decent compuer (900mhz Duron, 384mb of RAM, 7200RPM 20gb Hard drive, 8x DVD drive) for a decent price ($480, $400 for the laptop inc. shipping, $80 for a replacement AC adapter that i needed anyway) Thats just my case, i bought a perfectly fine laptop, if you went and got a broken screen special you could walk away with this for under $300. Ultra portable, ultra economical, just lacks on the practicality of this.

Friday, May 20, 2005

Lectures, Tutorials, and General Propillness

6:00PM EST, irc.rizon.net #propill..... be there... lecture about internet graphics and the like, no exuses!

A few tutorials up on Propill.net, so check them, the current one is about mirrors.

I might actually update within a month *gasp*!

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

(v)4:20 and Poorly Drawn Diagrams

(v)4:20
At the current moment, i am sitting here staring at the mockup to v4... and I'll be the first to admit it.... it is kinda cool... There is going to be a news ticker, a really bad navigation system, and tons of erros i promise to fix in v5.... yeah....

But things are looking up, v4 might acctually come public... witch would be great... expect to to hit the net... when i'm done... no ETA yet.. shooting for the summer.

Poorly Drawn Diagrams
Some of you may remember the plans for a flash entitled "Poorly Drawn Guy". Well, if you dont, let me refresh your memory. PDG is a little thing i decided to draw one day in school. It's not quite a doodle, but it is in no way art. Anyways, as i was saying, i was going to turn it into a flash movie, however i never got around to it (go figure). But now i have decided to make it a web-comic instead. Not just any web-comic, but 'Quite Possibly The Worst Webcomic In Existance', as they say, if you cant be the best, be the worst... and i am going to be proud with that title... expect the first issue to be up with the site... whenever that is.

Saturday, April 09, 2005

Reality Redux, System Crash, and A Guy Named Jake

Reality Redux
Fused Reality changed hands from Chris to Nate (after nate and chris decided to stop being friends [tsk tsk tsk]). Nate has bought the rights to the domain and is now paying for the hosting. Project Shadow is still up in the air, but I told Nate that if he did jumpstart the project back up that I'm onboard and he can still use the wallpaper. Check out the site. It officially opens up on April 15th.
System Crash
My system decided to crash on me, leaving me without my files (that I was about to back-up too, honest). Most notably would be the templates for the blog and the site v2 (v1 was scrapped before it was hosted :X). Not to mention most of my programs need to be re-installed... it might be a while before some new content pops up on here, but there is some good news, I added some really bad abstract art to my deviantart page. That should suffice for a while.

A Guy Named Jake
Word on the street: There might be a little web design gig opening up for me for a guy named Jake, the details are sketchy, and I don't want to say anything more then what I have already said. Expect major pimpage.

Friday, March 25, 2005

PaneWb Beta Release!

PaneWb, my whiteboard program for windows, has finally been hosted and is availible for download. Some background info: it's coded in XHTML, it's open source, and it is easy a hell to alter to suite your needs.

Download [zip format]

I hope you enjoy, and please post any comments or suggestions you have.

Thursday, March 17, 2005

Fused Reality

www.fusedreality.com is making a Half-Life2 Mod entitled 'Project Shadow', and when I asked if i could help, they gladly said yes. I will be doing graphical work not directly related to the game (with the exception of possibly textures). Here is the first item of mine to come from this project.




This is the 1280x1024 version of the promo wallpaper. The other versions (later availible on fused reality's site) will be 800x600, 1024x768, 1280x1024, and 1600x1200.