Network wiring is expensive.

I’m looking around for places that can do a very simple network run – I need to connect two rooms of the house with Ethernet, in order to get rid of a wired/wireless bridge setup that I’m using now. The cheapest I can find so far is $100/jack.

Any recommendations for places that do ethernet network wiring in Houston?

Finally put up the Obama sign

I put my Obama ’08 sign up in the front window of the house (facing the street) today. We’d spotted some McCain/Palin signs a couple of streets over and I figured it was time to finally haul it out. It’s just one of the cardboard “rally signs” and not suitable for putting out as a yard sign; the advantage of this is that it’s hard for someone to steal a sign taped to the inside of a window.

Edit: I’ve now got a yard sign too, and nobody’s messed with it yet.

Yes, I know Obama’s past record on gun control, and I have my own reasons to not worry about the tinfoil hat brigades running around screaming that the Democrats are going to take our guns away.

Oh, and I voted early.

2008 Election Ballot

A decision..

Warning: Political opinions ahead.

I had $29 bouncing around in PayPal, and for a week or so had been debating what to buy.. Gun stuff, books, etc. – but hadn’t been able to decide on what to spend it on. Last night I finally spent it on stuff from store.barackobama.com.

This year is the first time that I’ve ever donated money or contributed to a political party, because this is the first year that I’ve seen a candidate that actually offers hope for the future. I’d previously donated $10.01 to his campaign back in February, and will be donating more before November.

In 2004, I switched parties and voted for Kerry simply because he was running against Bush. In 2008, I’m voting for the candidate that can pull us out of this mess.

I need a jeweler/watch repair recommendation in Houston

I’m having a heck of a time finding a jeweler or watch repair place to do a simple bezel insert replacement on a pair of Invicta 8926 watches (Rolex Submariner clones). I’ve got the replacement parts, I just need someone with steadier hands to do the actual work of popping off the old insert and gluing the new one in.

When the inserts arrived in the mail last weekend, I took everything to my normal jeweler, the Jared location at Gessner and I-10. Their watch repair person said “Sorry, we’re not an Invicta dealer, I won’t work on them.” I’ve done thousands of dollars of business with them at that location, but their refusal to do a 5-minute job on a $100 watch (when they know I’ve been considering the eventual purchase of a $6K watch from them) made me REALLY frustrated.

I then headed home, and realized that Houston Jewelry was in a strip mall a couple of blocks from the house. I stopped in, explained the situation, and that I just needed a simple part replacement done. The lady I spoke to said “Sure, we’ll work on anything – leave it with us and we’ll call you on Monday with an estimate, this shouldnt take them long at all.” I just got off the phone after they called (note that it’s now Tuesday) and they said “Sorry, we don’t work on Invicta watches.”

Why is it so hard to find someone in west Houston that’s willing to take my money and do this simple 5-minutes-per-watch part replacement?

Heck, I’ll even provide illustrated instructions!

August 2008 Update: Although I ended up fixing one of the watches myself, Rex Solomon (owner of Houston Jewelry) has contacted me and offered to have his watchmaker do a bezel swap if I still need it.

Your Grandfather’s MAKE Magazine

I recently came across a 4-volume set of the Popular Mechanics Illustrated Home Handyman Encyclopedia & Guide (from 1961) in the bargain bin at a local used book store. Of course, I grabbed them – for less than $5 total!

The ~4000 pages of projects are amazing – it’s basically your grandparents’ equivalent of today’s MAKE Magazine; with a lot of projects that wouldn’t be printed today due to liability concerns.

They’ve got everything from planning/building/remodeling a house, woodworking, metalworking, making your own boat/go-cart/children’s playground equipment, indoor shooting ranges, to radio repair, electronics, photography, gardening, farming, and equipment to make handling your farm animals easier.

Over the past four days I’ve taken pictures of the title pages and illustrations for the most interesting articles, and put them up on Flickr. I’ve also contacted Popular Mechanics to see about getting permission to break out the scanner and make proper PDFs of the best stuff.

The Flickr collections page, with one set for each volume, is here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/mrbill/collections/72157603639900790/

JANUARY 14th UPDATE: I’ve received permission from Popular Mechanics to make PDFs of the articles and put them online! That’s coming soon.

Now I really feel like an idiot.

I went to install the replacement Amiga 2000 power supply, and discovered that I’d plugged the original power supply into the motherboard incorrectly, with the connector off-by-one. d’oh!

The original works fine:
Kickstart 2.0 Boot Screen

At least now I have a spare, and it only cost me $12.