By aaron.axvig, 5 September, 2008

As I had feared would happen for a long time, my kick pedal (well actually my cousin's kick pedal) broke.  So I made a new pedal out of 1/2" plywood.

First step was disassemble the broken unit, trace the foot part, and cut it out:


Then I drilled holes for the hinges (which were essentially the only deviation from the design of the original), holes for the orange piece, and a hole for the magnet.  It was accurate enough to just eye-ball all the locations from various angles instead of measuring things. Which got me to this stage:


And the final assembled product (which works just as well as the original):

By aaron.axvig, 13 September, 2007

Here at NDSU we use the content portal known as Blackboard.  A few years back I was on my slow internet connection at home and noticed a URL full of POSTDATA in the address bar that would appear momentarily each time I logged in.  The connection was slow enough that I was able to copy and paste it into a bookmark.  Seeing as it contains fields like "&encoded_pw=XXXXXXXXX" and "&user_id=XXXXXXX" it was only natural I would try it as something to keep me from having to login manually every time.  And it works still, 2 years later.

Here's how you can hack your own Blackboard login so that you never have to type in your username and password:

  1. Download Paessler URL Recorder.
  2. It will start automatically after installation, so just put your school's Blackboard address in the address box of the program.
  3. You will see the webpage that you normally get in your browser, and just login normally.  Several links will appear in the bottom pane of URL Recorder.
  4. One of them will contain a query string that stores your login information (you have to scroll to see the entire thing).  Don't let this fall into the wrong hands because anyone who has this text can login to Blackboard as you.
  5. Right-click anywhere in that lower pane and do the "Copy All to Clipboard" option.  Open Notepad and paste it in there.  One of the lines will be something like this: https://bb.ndsu.nodak.edu/webapps/login/ action=login&remote-user=&new_loc=&auth_type=&one_time_token=&encoded_pw=XXXXXX&encoded_pw_unicode=XXXXXXXXX&user_id=XXXXXXXXX&password=&Login.x=37&Login.y=9
  6. Your link will have random letters and numbers instead of the XXXXXXX that I replaced mine with.  Also notice how there is some space between "webapps/login/" and "action=login".  Replace that space with a question mark so that it is more like this (attention to the bolded area): https://bb.ndsu.nodak.edu/webapps/login/?action=login&remote-user=&new_loc=&auth_type=&one_time_token=&encoded_pw=XXXXXX&encoded_pw_unicode=XXXXXXXXXX&user_id=XXXXXXXXX&password=&Login.x=37&Login.y=9
  7. Copy and paste that into your favorite browser and see if it logs you in automatically.  If it does, make a new bookmark and copy the long link we just made into the destination of it.
  8. Now clicking that bookmark will log you in to Blackboard from any computer.  Once again, be very careful with it, because you don't want other people logging in as you.

This is very handy for a tablet PC where you would have to key in the username and password using an onscreen keyboard.  I'm sure you can find other sites out there that this would work for too.


By aaron.axvig, 29 August, 2007

So I was annoyed by the blinking light that my desktop has when it's sleeping, and decided to put it into hibernation.  I was then further annoyed by the lack of a hibernation option in the Vista shutdown menu, and even more annoyed when I couldn't find a way to re-enable hibernation.  Via Google I then found several sites confirming that there is no way to enable or disable hibernation in Vista using the GUI (I think I disabled it by removing the hibernation file in Disk Cleanup).  However, it is possible to enable or disable it via the command line, and you can read about it at those sites I linked to above.

Instead of doing this though, I have found it just as convenient to use the command shutdown -h.  Just type that in the search box in the start menu and hit enter, and the computer will drop into hibernation, whether the menu option is there or not.


By aaron.axvig, 27 August, 2007

I had been using https://example.com/exchange to login to Outlook Web Access, but starting with Exchange 2007 this added numerous steps.  I had to accept an unsigned security certificate, fill out a pop-up login box, accept another certificate (because it transferred me to https://servername.example.com/owa), and then login to the actual application.  If you're like me and looking for a shortcut, just use https://example.com/owa.  Only one sign-in.