Dead Monitors and Old iPods

Dead Monitors

It was a sad day last Tuesday. I went to turn my monitor on when I got home from work and it flashed at me then died, a few seconds later it flashed at me again and died ad nauseum. The monitor in question was an old Samsung SyncMaster 206BW which I have been constantly using for what must be close to 8 years now. (Much better than the 2 years I got out the previous BenQ).

The only spare monitor I had on hand was an old 19″ CRT from the garage which I dusted off and dragged into the house and considering the size and weight of the thing, dragging is not far from the truth. Once it was in the house I realised it was going to need more, alot more, desk room than the old LCD so I pushed everything on the desk out of the way, placed it on the desk, stood back and was amazed at the size of the damn thing. Not being exposed all that much to CRT’s, you forget how damn big they are and it also reminded me one of the reasons, besides price, why the biggest one I ever bought in the past was a 17″.

The CRT beast in all its glory

The CRT beast in all its glory

Once setup, I pulled apart the LCD that died but couldn’t make out any bad smells or see any burning/damage to any of the components so went and ordered a new monitor. This time a Samsung SyncMaster S22B420. The next day I picked it up and with help from the cat, setup the new monitor and reclaimed vast realms of desk space.

Gabby comes to help with the new monitor setup

Gabby comes to help with the new monitor setup

The new monitor, wow look at all the space I get back

The new monitor, wow look at all the space I get back

During this time, I stumbled across a web site on my long lost monitor and found some information on the problem I was experiencing. Long story short, I went off and bought three capacitors from Jaycar for the sum total of $3.43, replaced the equivalent 3 capacitors in the old LCD and low and behold, just like Lazarus, it was alive again. While I am bummed at the fact I spent money on the new monitor, I have to admit, the LED has a much better picture over the old LCD.

Onto Old iPods

At this point I was forced to admit to myself that my computer work area could do with a bit of a clean up. Whilst doing so, I came across my old 80Gb iPod. I had been meaning to install iPodLinux on it for some time so thought why not, just like with the old monitor a bit of tinkering would be fine since I don’t really use it anymore. Turns out iPodLinux is pretty much dead, so I looked at RockBox and installed that instead.

The hardest part of installing RockBox under Linux was working out which model of iPod I had. Turns out it is a 5th Gen. Once done, I just downloaded the RockBox installer, ran it, told it to autodetect which it did successfully and install. That was all there was to it.

Scarily enough, RockBox has actually made the iPod useful again. Besides supporting a whole bunch of additional audio and video codecs compared to what the iPod did, it has added a bunch of extra games, utilities etc. A nice little surprise I stumbled upon was when I plugged it into my Linux box, it automatically configured itself as a media device which allowed me to control the volume, pause/play/skip ahead tracks etc.

Eye candy wise it also supports theming and if it is not your cup of tea, it lets you fall back to the original iPod OS, but after playing with it for a bit, why you would want to do that, I have no idea.