Friday, February 20, 2015

How to Cool an Apple AirPort Time Capsule

Apple's AirPort Time Capsule is a truly wonderful device. If all works as intended it is a connect-configure-forget kind of device. The frustrating thing is that the long term reliability of older models is not great due to heat dispensing. Two of my previous Time Capsules died on me due to this problem.

The first "death by heath" was covered by Apple warranty, the second was not. I have therefore picked up a new power supply from eBay and replaced it manually. The Time Capsule was resurrected but it kept overheating and it was just a matter of time before it was going to give up again. Someone actually made a business out of fixing Time Capsules :) A wonderful wealth of info can be found on this site:

I almost gave up on Time Capsules but I could not find an alternative that I liked apart from the new model so I looked into a way to better cool it. There are many way to do this, but all required me to drill, cut and solder.

Being the creative (read lazy and with a limited tool set) person I am, I found this USB LED Cooling Pad on eBay for next to nothing! :)

The cooling pad is perfect. It looks great and delivers exactly what the doctor prescribed, a steady flow of air to keep the Time Capsule alive. Here it how it looks like action now.

The fan is not completely silent, but it is not loud enough to be a nuance. It cools the Time Capsule really well. The bottom of the Time Capsule used to be very hot and that's even after removing the plastic bottom cover from it and adding little rubber legs to keep a gap for heat dispersing. The nice thing is that the fan is USB covered and can be plugged into the back of the Time Capsule.

I have been using the USB at the back of the Time Capsule to power Google Chromecast and since I have run out of all available power outlets in the area and wanted to avoid running more extension cords, I have picked up this Cute USB Mini 2-Port USB 2.0 Hub Splitter. It is reliable and fits perfectly.

I hope this post will help someone time and money! :)

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

A Beautiful Stand Up Desk

I have been experimenting with stand-up desks for a while, but most were just simple stand up desk laptop risers built out anything I could find.

For example I have "borrowed" a piano chair.

This sort of technique can transform almost any desk into a reasonably good stand up desk as long as the piano chair owner does not complain too much ;)

This worked for me for quite a while, but lately I have been experiencing discomfort as looking down onto the small laptop screen for extended periods of time is no fun. I have looked at many alternatives, some of which were:
None quite resonated with me. I wanted:
  • reasonably cheap solution
  • easily being able to switch from standing to sitting and vice versa
  • accommodate an external screen
What I came up with is a neat solution that can work with almost any desk and is reasonably affordable. Here is the desk in the sitting down position.

Moving the desk into a standing position takes only about 30 seconds.

Being in a small San Francisco apartment every inch counts :) Here is a list of components used to build this beauty:
The keyboard and mouse desk raiser were simply built with 1x EKBY HEMNES shelf and 4x SULTAN legs. Since these legs were a bit wiggly I used electric tape to get a tight fit around the diameter of the inside leg. This is not necessary, but it will make the raiser table more sturdy.

Note that the LCD Arm can be attached to the desk by drilling, that's what I did, or by mounting it on the edge of a desk. The page below from the manual shows these two options. Be careful when drilling, measuring twice and drilling once is highly advised! I ended up drilling 3 holes and than having to use wooden pegs to fill the other two holes to keep the integrity of the table :)

The other shelf was used to extend the table by placing it on top of the drawer. I have added little metal washers on each side of the shelf to stop if from sliding off the drawer.

 Other tips:
  • if you get a wired mouse get one with a very long cord, I use Mad Catz R.A.T. 7;
  • same for the headset, long cord is important; I use Sennheiser PC141;
  • when standing up, having the keyboard and touch pad flat helps a lot; Apple keyboard and touch pad hang over the edge nicely. 

Monday, February 2, 2015

Google Calendaring

Select calendars to sync to iPhone/iPad/iCal*

Often I find myself wanting to add or remove calendars from my iPhone. Google does a great job allowing you to pick and choose which calendar you want synced to your phone but I keep spending far too much time on looking for the right page to do it on.

Since I am on the subject here are couple of tips...

Add Facebook Evens to Google calendar. 

Go to your profile > Home > Events and on the right hand side look for:

Hoover over the Upcoming Events or Birthdays links, you will see a link 


Copy the link and add it to your Google Calendar 

Happy Calendaring... :)