How many times must I start running all over again?

My relationship with running is a very strained one.  It is very on-and-off and more off than on.  I have started back running many times only to falter a month or two later.

Here I am starting all over again.  I managed to run/walk 4 days last week, 2 miles each day, but someone this time feels different.

To help me stay motivated, I decided to get a new running watch.  I’ve been using a Garmin Forerunner 610 for a couple years now, but it has been very finicky.  Some of the problems include:

  • The watch will decide to power off in the middle of a run even though the battery indicate says it has half the battery remaining
  • It gives trouble to charge
  • Many times, it’ll take minutes to get a GPS lock

I’ve been a long-time Garmin user, but I have decided to switch to Suunto.  I’m getting the Ambit2 S which should arrive in the next couple days.  I’m looking forward to a bug-free watch and one that supposedly gets GPS signal within seconds


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Homemade Kindle Case

I recently got a Kindle and while I like to hold and use it without any kind of case, I wanted something to use while transporting it. For example, I didn’t like the idea of sticking it in my hand luggage unprotected as it would be easy for something to press against he screen and either scratch or break it.

There are many options out there, but I figured I would try and make my own. Here are two views of it showing the exterior and interior



The remainder of the article will explain how it was made.

The only money I spent on this was $5.00 for the notebook.  All the other materials were found around my home.  Here is a list of what was used to make the case:

  • Notebook (5 3/4″  x  8 1/4″ and about 5/8″ thick)
  • Scraps of wood
  • Wood glue
  • Self-adhesive felt
  • Hair band

The first task was to find the shell. I was browsing in a book store and saw the notebook I would eventually use. The cover had a photo of some old books which seemed very appropriate and the size was perfect. Not only the height and width, but also the thickness.




The next step was to remove the paper. All I wanted was the cover itself. The paper was easy to remove with an exacto knife, cutting along the edge at the front and back. The whole book then easily separated:

Notebook with Paper Removed

Since I don’t plan to use read the Kindle while in the case, I didn’t need to worry about trying to secure it while open. It would be sufficient to have it simply rest within the case. I also wanted it to be easy to remove the kindle when I did want to read. I decided to use 2 C-shaped pieces of wood, one at the top and one at the bottom.  Rather than join three pieces for each section, the whole piece was cut out of a single piece of wood.

The top and bottom

Glued in place

These were then glued in placed with wood glue and clamped. I then added a thin strip on the left side to help with spacing.

Thin strip on left

Here is the Kindle dry-fitted.  Note the small hole drilled on the right which will be used for the band to keep the book closed later on:


An elastic will be used to keep the book closed.  For this, I used an extra hair band that my daughter had.

Elastic for the band to hold the book closed

The next step was to felt-line the inside. For this, I used some self-adhesive red felt that was left over from a previous project.  The band was threaded through the hole and sewn together to form a loop.

Completed Case

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Homemade Leather/Kydex Tuckable IWB Holster

I have what appears to be an unusual gun, or at least one that isn’t very popular.  It is an Uzi Eagle 9mm compact polymer handgun.  This was bought several years ago, but it is the same as the Jericho 941 Baby Eagle compact polymer or the Magnum Research Baby Eagle compact polymer.

Because it’s not a popular handgun, it has been very hard to find a holster for it.  I wanted an IWB holster.  I contacted 2 companies that seems to be recommended a lot but neither of them have a holster for my gun.  I did find 2 other companies that can custom make it, but their lead times were 5 weeks and 18 weeks respectively.

In doing some research, I found that there are actually a lot of people that make their own holsters, either out of leather, Kydex, or a combination of both.  After reading how they do it, I figured the process seemed simple enough and I could definitely make one…with some help from my wife!

Continue reading this post…


Repairing a SVA HD4208TIII-PDP Plasma TV

UPDATE: It turns out that the fix I describe here wasn’t permanent and the TV stopped working again.  I thought it would still be useful to show what I’ve done:

I have a SVA HD4208TIII-PDP plasma TV that was bought about 4 years ago.  All of sudden last week it refuses to switch on.  When you try to turn it on with the remote, the red power light would go off, as normal, and then you would hear a bunch of clicking sounds, but nothing after that.  To try again, I would have to switch off the TV using the power button on the right side of the TV, but regardless of the number of times I try, I just wouldn’t come on.

After some research, this seems to be a common problem with this model.  Some people claim to be able to get it to work after several attempts, but the next time they switch off it wouldn’t come on again.  Some also claim to get it work if they unplug the TV for several hours or days, but I tried that it still wouldn’t work.

I did some more research and found it that it is a problem with the power board.  You can buy a replacement for $350, but seeing that a new plasma TV can be had for about $700, it doesn’t seem worth it.  Also, I would hate to buy a new power borad and find that the problem is something else.  I saw one post where some did buy the power borad and the TV worked for a few months and then stopped working again.  If anyone is interested, you can buy the power boards here:

I found a post where some identified three components that can be replaced to solve the issue:

  • 2 Relays
  • 1 Transistor

I figured that this would be a cheap way to try and fix the TV and if it doesn’t work, I wouldn’t have wasted too much money.  The rest of the article describes the process of replacing these components.

Please note that this involves desoldering and resolding the components.  If you attempt this, you do so at your own risk!!!

My first task was to open up the TV and get the part numbers.  Be careful when you do this as the screws that are on the back actually hold the front screen in place.  I laid the TV flat on a bed with the face down.  After opening up the back and removing the brace that holds the stand, you need to identify the power board.  Here is a picture showing the power board:

When you remove the board, take note of all connectors.  I used the above picture to help me reattache the cables.  Here is a view of the borad showing the location of the relays and the transistor.  The transistor is attached to a heatsink so that is all you can actually see in this view:

Here is a closer view of the components and you can actually see the tarnsistor:

The part numbers are as follows:

- Relays: JW1AFSN-DC5V
- Transistor: TOP224Y

The next challenge was to find the parts to buy. A lot of places wanted you to buy them in quantities of 100. I eventually managed to find the relays from a company called DigiKey.  Each relay was $2.11.  If you need it, their part number is 255-1725-ND.  Here is a direct link to the part

The transistor was harder to find, but I managed to find a seller on Ebay selling 4 for $10.75 including shipping.

The relays came first so I decided to try them and see if that solved the problem. I unsoldered the original relays and soldered in the new ones.  I then tried the TV and lo and behond, it started to work again.

The transistors will come later this week, but I wouldn’t bother to replace it unless the TV stops working again.  I also plan to buy a few spare relays so I can do the same repair in the future if necessary.

I hope this information is useful to others in the same situation.  It feels great fxing a 42″ plasma TV for just $5.00 is parts, especially when you consider the alternative was to buy a whole new poer board for $350.00

I actually did buy a replacement 42″ plasma for the family room, but now that this one is repaired, my wife and I now and a plasma in our bedroom :-)


Photo showing capacitors C8007, C8008, C8016, and C8017



I’ve Been Hacked!!

A user recently brought to my attention that Google was reporting my site as a malware site.  I found that hard to believe, but I went and checked and he was right.  Based on the report I see from Google, my site was acting as an intermediary for installing malware on people’s desktop.  This was very distressing for me to find this out.  Here is what Google displays:

I then went and checked some of my other sites and lo and behold, they were also tagged as malware sites.

It took some effort, but I eventually found the cause of the problem.  I host all my domains at Dreamhost and in the home directory of my account, someone had installed a .htaccess file.  It was actually a bit deceptive as they had about 80 blank lines and then the malware stuff so if you first bring it up in an editor, it looks empty.  I deleted the file and all seems well.  Before deleting it, I could see my browser grabbing “stuff” from some strange sites.  Also, when I clicked on various links, I got strange browser window popups asking to install a virus checker.  Once I remvoed the .htaccess file, that all went away.

Google has a process where I can submit my sites for review and I’ve done that so hopefully it’ll get cleared up in the next few days.

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