Trackpoint Scrolling on a Lenovo R61i in Ubuntu 10.04

2011-08-21 2 comments

Big thanks to Warwick Chapman for his solution.

Create the file /usr/lib/X11/xorg.conf.d/20-thinkpad.conf as root with the following content:

Section "InputClass"
Identifier "Trackpoint Wheel Emulation"
MatchProduct "TPPS/2 IBM TrackPoint|DualPoint Stick|Synaptics Inc. Composite TouchPad / TrackPoint|ThinkPad USB Keyboard with TrackPoint"
MatchDevicePath "/dev/input/event*"
Option "EmulateWheel" "true"
Option "EmulateWheelButton" "2"
Option "Emulate3Buttons" "false"
Option "XAxisMapping" "6 7"
Option "YAxisMapping" "4 5"
EndSection

Restart X/Ubuntu

Categories: Technology Tags: , , ,

Show File Extensions in Windows 7

2011-01-23 Leave a comment

I find it strange and somewhat annoying that Windows 7 hides file extensions by default.

To show file extensions in Windows 7:

  • Click the Windows Start button Windows Start Button and select Control Panel
  • Click Appearance and Customization and then Folder Options. You can also get Folder Options to appear by simply typing it into the search box in the upper-right corner
  • Select the View tab
  • Uncheck the box under Advanced settings that says Hide extensions for known file types and press OK

For instructions including screenshots:  Maximum PC Guides – Show File Extensions in Windows 7

Praise for The Natural Heritage of Indiana Project

2011-01-20 Leave a comment

The Natural Heritage of Indiana Project “consists of a four-part documentary series, educational materials, a public conference, book republication, podcasts, lesson plans, and more” – inspired by the 1997 publication, The Natural Heritage of Indiana, by Marion T. Jackson.

Natural Heritage of Indiana - The Indiana That Was

Episode 1: The Indiana That Was

I was privileged to see the first episode of the documentary this evening on WFYI, and it was remarkable. The scenery and content are top-tier. You don’t have to be from Indiana to enjoy it, and I cannot recommend it enough. In regards to the project, the author of “The Natural Heritage of Indiana” issued the following challenge:  “if you feel moved to help protect what remains of Indiana’s natural heritage, our objective will have been fulfilled.”

Mr. Jackson, consider your objective fulfilled.

Some notables from episode 1:
  • 20,000 years ago, “Indiana was inhabited by more large animals than exist today in all of Africa”.
  • In recent past, 80% of Indiana was covered by trees, with many exceeding 200 feet in height.
  • Below are a handful of animals that used to be common in the state:
    • Carolina parakeet  (now extinct)
    • Passenger pigeon  (now extinct)
    • Elk and bison
    • Mountain lions
    • Wolves

Watch: Check WFYI for showtimes.
Read: The book that inspired it all:  The Natural Heritage of Indiana – Indiana University Press

The Natural Heritage of Indiana Project

Build a Folding Workbench

2009-12-29 9 comments
Folding Workbench

Build a folding workbench that folds up against a wall

OK, it’s really a table.  Nonetheless I use mine often for various projects around the house and yard.

Do you need a workbench but don’t have room in the garage or basement?  With an inexpensive folding table you can make a workbench that takes up very little room and folds out of the way when you’re finished working.  I bought my table several years ago at Sam’s Club, but I’m sure you can get these tables other places as well.

I chose to install my table on a side wall in my garage – parallel to my car.  This gives me a large workspace when I need it and folds up when I have my car in the garage.

Very little hardware is required to attach the table to the wall.  Here are the essential items:

  • Lag screws – to attach hinges to studs.  These should be heavy duty, because they will hold the table to the wall.
  • Bolts, washers, and nuts – to attach hinges to table.  Don’t use screws here, because the table is particle board and the screws will eventually come loose.
  • Hinges – I used very large hinges.  You could probably get away with smaller hinges, but why risk it.
  • Hasp – The hasp is what is used to secure the top of the table once you’ve folded it up against the wall.
  • Machine screws and nuts – to attach hasp to table.  I used some Loctite on the machine screws to make sure that the nuts don’t come loose.  Again – don’t use wood screws with particle board.

Folding Workbench - Hardware

The first step is to figure out where you want the table.  You’ll want to line it up on the wall so that the hinges line up evenly on the table and match up with studs in the wall.  Once everything is lined up, trace the hinges and hinge holes on the table so you know where to drill the holes.

Folding Workbench - Drilling the Holes

Make sure that you line up the holes carefully outside the frame of the table.

Folding Workbench - Attaching the Hinges

Once the hinges are attached to the table, the next step is to attach the hinges and table to the wall.  It is crucial that the hinges line up with the studs, otherwise the lag screws won’t hit the studs and the table won’t be adequately supported.

Folding Workbench - Attaching Hinges and Table to the Wall

I used 5/16″ lag screws that were 3″ long to attach the hinges and table to the wall.

Folding Workbench - Attaching Hinges and Table to the Wall

Once the hinges and table are attached to the wall, it is time to install the hasp.  The hasp will secure the table at the top when it is folded against the wall.   Take care when attaching the hasp.  It involves two pieces – one on the table and one on the wall.  These must line up for the hasp to work.  I used a small section of a 2×4 to provide spacing and attach the wall part of the hasp.  Use a long lag screw to attach the 2×4 section to the wall.

Folding Workbench - Hasp

Folding Workbench - Hasp

Attach the other part of the hasp to the underside of the table – flush with the front of the table.  You will likely have to move the hasp around until it lines up properly.

Folding Workbench - Hasp

Once the hasp is installed, it should look similar to the photo below.

Folding Workbench - Completed Hasp Installation

Once the hasp is complete, your folding workbench is ready to use.  If you’re worried about the hasp failing, you can put a carabiner or padlock though it.  This will ensure that the table doesn’t fall unexpectedly.

To fold up the table:

  1. Fold the table up to the wall.
  2. Fasten the hasp.
  3. Fold the legs in for compact storage.

To fold the table down:

  1. Open the legs of the table.
  2. Undo the hasp.
  3. Carefully lower the table to the floor.

Folding Workbench - Complete

Folding Workbench - Complete

Folding Workbench - Complete

If you have any questions or suggestions, please send me an email via my contact page.  I fully trust that my folding table will not fall unexpectedly.  If yours falls, you likely used inadequate hardware or did not hit the studs in the wall.

Categories: Home Improvement Tags: ,

Bat House at McFarland Park, Story County, Iowa

2009-12-24 1 comment

Bat House at McFarland Park, Story County, Iowa. Click on the image to see more photos.

My Eagle Scout project consisted of building a large bat house at McFarland Park near Ames, Iowa. The structure is made to accommodate hundreds of bats, although I don’t know if it has ever been occupied. It was built and installed around 1995/1996, and much has been learned about how to make bat houses since then. In 2006 my father and I added a vertical landing platform under the roosting areas. After looking at modern bat house designs it seemed that a landing platform was the most important feature that was missing. The landing platform was heavily scored with a table saw to give the bats something to grab onto and climb. The roosting partitions were also scored with a rotary tool.

After 10 years the structure still looks fantastic and is holding up remarkably well. The hope is that the vertical landing platform and scoring of the roosting partitions will make the structure more attractive to bats.

If you’re wondering why anyone would want to build a bat house, I recommend going to Bat Conservation International – Install a Bat House FAQ

Categories: Environment Tags: ,

Indianapolis Recycling Google Map

2008-02-04 2 comments

UPDATE 2014.08.13:  Keep Indianapolis Beautiful no longer offers a recycling guide. The Indianapolis Recycling Guide is now being provided by the Indiana Recycling Coalition.

UPDATE:  Keep Indianapolis Beautiful has developed an Indianapolis recycle and reuse guide that now includes a map.  It is far more comprehensive than mine, so I am redirecting visitors to my map to theirs.

I’ve created a Google Maps application that shows recycling locations in Indianapolis for various categories of recyclable material.  The map currently contains locations for city drop-off bins, cardboard, and computer and lab equipment.  I plan to add more categories in the future.  Click the image to go to the map.

Indianapolis Recycling Map

Donate Your Old Cell Phone and Help Soldiers Call Home

2008-01-12 Leave a comment

Cell Phones for Soldiers sells donated cell phones and uses the money to buy calling cards for troops overseas.  This is what you need to do to recycle your old cell phone:

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