Warning from Teacher

Its every Parent's dread when they receive a note from their child's Teacher. For our case, we won't know until we rifle through Kristine's school bag. She won't tell us if there is homework for the day or if there is a note from the school. But occasionally, she will tell.

To her, these are minor things which is of no importance at all. But for us, its an indication of how well she is intergrating in school. So, getting a note of such nature this time, is upsetting, for me, at least.

Me: Girls what happened?
Kristine: My friend was talking to me
Wife: Did you do your work in class?
Kristine: She kept talking to me
Wife: Did you tell teacher your friend was talking to you?
Kristine: Yeah.
Me: And?
Kristine: Teacher tell her not to talk to me
Me: So, you continue to do work, right?
Kristine: But I want to talk to my friend
Me: Sigh.

If there is no work, we are worried to the point
of being suspicious. If there are work, we are
worried that she might not cope. Soemtimes,
she does not even pass up her work at all. But
most of the time, its all good.

The Mysterious System Part II

And so, after bringing in the system back to the office, Boss and I gave it the once-over. It a very mysterious system indeed. Initially, I struck it off as just a system where the seller tried to pull a fast one and polished the casing and also removed the serial numbers, etc. But after looking at it thoroughly, I was really stumped.

OK, so I put the two cabinets side by side. Normally, they
look the same, which is rightly so as both base and the
expansion cabinets were designed to be stackable. But if
you look closely, there is a small difference.

In a normal Base cabinet, the connectors for the CPU
cards are designed to be placed slightly higher up
than the ones for the interface cards. Here, with the
normal Base cabinet, this is what it would look like.

But on the mysterious expansion cabinet, the design
was the same too. In fact, for a normal expansion
cabinet, the first two connectors would line up with
the rest. So, this is really different. I would have
thought the seller put in a Base motherboard into an
expansion cabinet. But who would want to do this?

Another point is that on the Base cabinet, you would
have connectors for the other expansion cabinets to
connect to. Only a Base cabinet would have these
connectors to communicate with the other cabinets.

And on a normal expansion cabinet, they would only
have these connectors. But how on earth can a Base
motherboard have expansion connectors?

Boss mentioned he did hear of such system, most
probably a demo unit, which, I assumed could be
a prototype or just a real demo unit to show some
Publish Post
customers how a Base or Expansion unit works.
With this, you can have either way. And we looked
at each other, like boys who have found a secret....

Where's the PC?

"OK. I'm here. So where is the PC you want me to install the software?"
"Its in there"
"OK, I'm now in HERE but I still can't find it"

"Its in there la. There. See?"
"OK. So where's the RAM?"
"RAM? What RAM?"

"OK, now we have the RAM, where's the HDD?"
"HDD? What HDD?"

"OK, now the PC can boot up with no beeps. Hey, where's the Keyboard and mouse?"
"Its there what."
"OK, I can take the keyboard from here......... and mouse from here........."
"No. NOOOOOOOOOOOOO. OK! OK! I give whatever you want! Just don't cannibalise.."
"..like what your staff did to this poor old PC, right?"

SOIC to DIL Adaptor Part II

Once the euphoria has died down, sanity came back through the back door and slapped me hard against the reality of it all. OK, one, so now I have the adaptor. And two, I do not have any SMT chips. And worse of all, three, the thick legs of the SOIC Adaptor cannot fit into the programmer's IC socket.

But on the bright side, I have found my 12 year old green ZIF (zero insertion force) IC socket which I have put off many times on soldering it to a circuit board as to me, it was too precious. So precious that I kept it away and have actually forgotten all about it. It was not until I decided to look for bits and pieces (I do this while thinking about solutions) did this dear socket presented itself to me.
I was still thinking about how to fit both the ZIF socket and the adaptor into the programmer when I realised that the answer was in front of me!

All I needed to do was to use some stripboard to create a medium to hold both the SOIC adaptor, the ZIF socket and the thin legs. Brilliant! And so, Lady Luck smiled on me and I was able to skip to Pasar Road for the ingredients.

OK, apart from buying the real stuff, I bought some
yellow SMT LEDs. And not only that, the small box
with spring-loaded cover. The white box is the latest
design, which is a bit bigger than the current but
cheaper black box.

Although the stacking lugs are compatible, its
still too big and no, I am not going to buy more
of the new boxes. I need them to store the SMT
LEDs and not start a collection.

And so, this is what I actually got from Pasar Road. Only
the green ZIF and stripboard are from my own. The ZIF
socket is very important as the programmer that I have
does not have one and so, when I insert and pull out the
chips again and again, I would either wear out the pins
(or legs) and also accidentally bent them. Because the
legs are so fragile, once you bend them back into shape
and do another boo-boo, they will snap off forever.

Soldering the fine legs to the stripboard is a challenge.
First, you have to solder one of the legs and also align
the pins so that they do not lean. The pins must also be
of the correct height as you need space for the melted
solder to flow into. Oh, and the most important part is
the orientation of the pins as one side is thinner and
also a bit longer. This is the side for inserting into the
programmer's IC socket.

So, tilt the board a bit to let the melted solder flow
into the small space. At this time, I would also like
to remind myself that I should have bought a new
soldering tip which has a sharper end.

There. All done. Since this was my first time and also
without any other alignment tools, the let the heat of
the iron melt the black plastic and so, as they melt,
the pins went out of alignment. You can see how
uneven they are.

Make sure you also cut the stripboard's tracks because
if you do not, you are effectively shorting all 20 pins.
Also here, I have soldered the other socket which can
take in the adaptor's thick legs.

And then, I went one step further. I created another
board for the green ZIF socket and also solder in
more of those thin pins. Now, I can place the left-
most board onto the programmer. This will be the
platform for the SOIC adaptor and the ZIF adaptor.

Don't understand? Let me start again.
This is a platform board. Me stiky de
platform board to programmer socket

This is ZIF Board. Me stiky it on top platform board

If want SOIC board, me pull out ZIF board and stiky
SOIC board
. Unnerstandt?

OK, so after checking for shorts, I decided to take
the test by programming a chip. Here, I am using
the ZIF board attached on top of the platform.


The Digital Meters

On the way to my regular shop, I stopped over one of their competitor's store and was amazed they do sell the same meters. What's more, they even display it in a way where you can test them! But at this moment in time, they were not switched on and so, I cannot tell if the LED displayed were Red, Green or Blue. Usually, they're Red. But the prices are very very cheap, unfortunately. So much so, I am not sure if my regular shop knows about this but buying from them, I get them at about RM7.00 more and with calibration.

Wow. You have both the voltage and current meters
working side by side here! Look at the black thing
connected across. Its a current shunt which must
be used when connected to a current meter. But
when I bought mine over the Internet, it was not
supplied. Maybe I shoudl get one from this shop.

The toughest Nokia in the World

Well, maybe its the longest lasting Nokia, then. I
hope its not falling apart and hope the rubber
bands are for decoration. Then again, when I see
my customer, she is always charging the phone....

The Mysterious System Part I

I was here to dismantle the customer's system and them replace it with our own. Then we're to take their original system and keep it in storage for a few days until their new office is ready. Nothing weird about that until my Boss pointed something out.....

This is their original system, still mounted on the wall.
What I am going to do is, to take it down, and put ours
onto the wall. And so, I have to do this in less than an
hour. Which is not a problem if I was ten years younger.
For those who know, look at the second cabinet.

Something funny, right? How can a Base cabinet
be used to replace an actual expansion cabinet?

Anyway, I did not think much about it since I have
less than an hour left to complete this. I have to work
fast as everyone would be back from their lunch hour.

While I was cleaning up, I did notice the second
cabinet's metal surface was polished. Hmm......

Junked PSU

We took back a customer's PC today after they complained that it was not working (for months!). The PC could not start at all. And not only that, when I opened the casing, the "standby" LED on the motheboard was not even lit. This is bad news. After much probing about, all it ever needed was new power supply unit (PSU).

Before junking it away, I decided to open up the
PSU. This is the part which failed.

And this is the effect of the failed part

I decided to keep the casing because one might never
know it might come in handy, just like the spare PSU I
kept (when we salvaged a few PCs last year.) for
emergencies like this. Yeah, my Boss did not nag me
about hoarding anymore. Ha ha ha ha.

Unfortunately, days later, after the cleaning lady took the trash, the customer wanted to have the faulty part or else no repair. Haiyo. Yeah, laugh's on me.

Kristine's Pyjamas Party

Today is a very special day for Kristine because its Pyjamas Day! Its the day where she has to wear her pyjamas and bring her favourite toy to school. I think a blanket and also a pillow was required but I am not so sure. Still, she was very excited about it. Until I realised that she can just wake up, go straight to school and probably sleep there......

And so, on a bright morning, this little girl
got up and yawned.

After putting her stuff into her bag, she is ready.

OK, almost ready, then. She still looked sleepy.

Working smart........

OK, so its still every early in the morning and
there is not much traffic in these area anyway.

My name is Bond....

While I was at a customer's place, my mind could not help but keep thinking about the children toys shop nearby. But because they're situated in a hazardous place, better for me to get the car parked as near as possible to the shop. And so, with luck, I completed the service call with minutes to spare and I literally rushed out of the customer's place and started my car.

And I did something which I have never done before: Double-parked in a corner and in front of a busy intersection.
After braving foreign coolies and transvestites, I managed to get my hands on the latest treasure! Wa hoo! Behold!

OK, so the Walther P99 in this case is silver.
But for RM8.00, I am not complaining much.

See? Real size! And nowhere else in KL that I know
of, sells them. Because all of a sudden, all shops that
did carry toy guns, regardless of size, dried up.

Kaelynn demonstrating how to load the gun.
I did not teach her anything but just handed
it to her and within minutes of looking it over,
she knows how to eject the ammo clip. Since I
did not put any BB bullets in it, I doubt she'll
know the significance of her actions.

Pew! Pew! Pew!

Later on, the kids lost the magazine clip. Sigh

Enjoying the Orange

Well, this is a priceless shot, I suppose. Both had their
own orange juice first while waiting for the food to
arrive. And Kristine as usual, was chattering away.

Making choices

Me: OK, girl. What do you want to do now?
Kristine: I want to take bath

Me: OK. Have you picked out your clothes?

Kristine: Not yet, Dad.
Me: Go and choose your clothes, then
Kristine: OK
Me: And place them on the ironing board so you can see the clothes you have chosen
Kristine: OK

She's going to be a big girl now, and once in a while, I let her make her own real decisions. I mean, I will let her decide her answer and not "lead" her to choices I have set. So, this way, she can start to think (I hope) properly before answering because once the decision is set, she will have to live with the consequences.

Eating spaghetti the Kaelynn way

Step 1: Dip the spaghetti into the chicken soup

Step two: Swing it about until Mommy starts to
complain or the table is full of soup.

Step three: Put the strand into the mouth and suck it