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Part 3--Continuing series of Man vs. Machine

I have often extolled the pleasures of using our ham radio skills to fix stuff! It was in this spirit that I decided I would attempt to crack open my iPod Nano and replace the battery. First, I found the replacement battery from a zillion online services that specialize in these things. In fact, that was no simple task. But I ordered a battery from a vendor that cost me almost as much to buy as to ship! The normal price from, say Apple, and would have been 5 times that price. The company did explain that changing this particular battery would be difficult, by their own rating system, and for an additional $50, they could do the job. Still, I felt confident. The battery arrived with a great set of instructions and an online link that walked your through every step of the process. It was insanely maddening to remove screws that were the size of dust particles, fortunately, I have powerful magnifying glasses. Anyway, after removing the very well hidden screws, I was able to remove the guts of the device and pull the battery. In this case, it required soldering the replacement…which I handily did. I completed the job and slid the pc board and the battery gently back into the casing. Amazingly, the device fired up and it looked like I was all set! I completed the project and declared it a success! The next day, I tried my little iPod and found that one channel of the audio was missing. No problem, I’d just dig back in and see what the problem could be. Well, I was not as successful on this attempt. There is a tiny ribbon cable that connects the ear plug to the control slider on the face of the iPod. Tiny is not tiny enough…it is like thread! If you breathe on it, it would break!! Somehow I had severed one small part of it! Now, I know when I am beat. Sure, I could have purchased another controller and a new audio cable, but I figured it was time to declare it a loss. I did solve the power problem! So, I was half successful. I went out and bought a new iPod Nano the other day. You have to know when to count your victories.

Meanwhile, continuing this “maddeningly small world” theme. I purchased some kind of Japanese cartoon superhero for my grandson to build as a Sunday afternoon project. He is 8 and the Japanese instructions seemed to indicate that this was for folks 14+ years. It had about 275 of the smallest snap together parts I have ever seen or have held! Turns out, though, the pictured instructions and the layout of the parts were extremely clear. If you moved one frame at a time and carefully checked your work, you would be rewarded. This was perfect for a young man with ADHD…who wants to eagerly skip along to the final stages. My job was to snap the plastic parts out of the holding frame and keep him riveted to the instructions. This crazy little samurai whatever? Transformer? I don’t know…took us almost 4 hours and he was with me the entire time. It was a great bonding moment and turned out to be one of the more rewarding things we had done together…all for $20

Public Service

We are beginning our public service season…the Shamrock Shuffle is coming up in April and the Tour de Cure is looking for hams radio support for their event in June. If you have an interest in either of these events, drop me a note. They both have online registration links.

73, Rob K9RST