hardware

Fixing the blurry focus on some Raspberry Pi Camera v2 models

The original Raspberry Pi Camera model v1.3 came from the factory set to ∞ (infinity) focus, so when you used it out of the box for something like a landscape timelapse rig, or for security or monitoring purposes (where the Pi is at least 5 meters away from the subjects it's recording), everything would look crisp and sharp.

For many fixed-focus cameras and lower-end camera sensors, it makes sense to set them to infinity focus; closer objects are still recognizable, but slightly blurry. Most of these cameras don't need to focus on a person a meter away for a portrait, and they're also rarely used for FaceTime-like video chat.

How to Build a Simple $50 Standing Desk

Detail of standing desk surface

I'm no stranger to experimenting with my workspace; since I work from a computer for at least 8 hours a day, I try to find ways to prevent RSI and joint pain. I've tried most everything—from über-expensive fancy mesh desk chairs to ergonomic keyboards and vertical mice. But nothing has made as large (and quick) a difference as working from a standing desk.

Removing a Stuck Disc (CD/DVD) from a Mac - EVERY Way Possible

CDMost of the time, I'm extremely happy with Apple's decision to make all their physical media (CD/DVD) drives slot-loading, as it means there's one less part to accidentally break off my Mac, and it just looks so darn pretty! But every now and then, I have a hellish experience with the drive. This usually happens when:

  • A CD/DVD disc is warped or really thick (like most discs with homemade labels)
  • I'm given a mini CD (business card size) or DVD (this rarely happens anymore)
  • A CD/DVD is way out of balance... usually it's just slightly warped

That's the hardware side. Sometimes, I just want to get a dratted disc out of the computer, but dragging it to the trash, or pressing the 'Eject' key won't work. Often a dialog pops up and says "the disc is in use" (but it doesn't specify what application is using it!), or worse, there is no error—the disc just won't come out.

Here are the steps I usually take in trying to eject a CD or DVD—in order from least likely to damage the disc and/or my Mac, to most likely... always try the steps in order!

Intel iMac Teardown and Hard Drive Replacement - DIY/How-to Guide

FSCK -y didn't help.
Yeah... that was a no-go.

My iMac's hard drive was recently borked (I was getting node errors and i/o errors when I ran fsck in single-user mode, and I couldn't format and reinstall OS X), so I had to replace it. Rather than spend a few hundred dollars to get the drive replaced, or using an external FireWire drive to boot the iMac, I decided to replace the drive with a larger/faster model myself.

iMac - Guts Exposed
The 24" iMac is large. VERY large. I can't imagine repairing the 27"!!

I used the instructions found on the Amfiteatar website to compile my more condensed instructions here. I won't go into any gory details of hard drive types, speeds, recommendations, etc. I'll simply inform you of my decision to use a 1 TB WD Caviar Black drive (7200 rpm, 32 MB cache). I don't need a ton of storage space on the internal drive, as I have multiple externals for different uses.

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