How to paint outlet covers

If you need to know how to paint outlet covers, there are right and wrong ways to do it.

Many years ago, I was helping to renovate a soup kitchen in Belle Glade, Florida. One of the things I did was paint it. I’ve never been a great painter, but I took pains to stay away from the outlet covers so the room would look neat.

“David!” the leader, a guy named John, barked. I looked up.

“Paint that cover plate.”

He was in charge, so I did what I was told. I slapped a thick coat of latex paint onto that cover plate to blend it into the wall. I’m sure John thought it looked spectacular. But I guarantee you, by the end of the summer, it looked terrible.

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Reflections on 10+ years of blogging

Om Malik shared yesterday what he’s learned in 10 years of blogging.

1. Blogging is communal.
2. Be authentic.
3. When wrong, admit it and listen to those who were right.
4. Be regular.
5. Treat others as you expect yourself to be treated.
6. Respect your readers’ time.
7. Wait 15 minutes before publishing.
8. Write everything as if your mom is reading.
9. It’s not opinion–it’s viewing the world a certain way and sharing that view.
10. A little snark goes a long way.
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How to decide if a computer upgrade will pay for itself in power savings

I occasionally read an offhand comment where someone says he or she just bought a new computer, and the new computer is so much more power efficient than the old one, it’s going to pay for itself.

I wonder if they did the math, or if that’s what the salesperson told them. Because while I can see circumstances where that assertion would be true, but it typically would involve extremes, like replacing an aged Pentium 4 computer with, well, a netbook. They probably didn’t do that.

Part of the reason I got into computers professionally was because I was tired of hearing lies from salespeople and technicians. So let’s just take a look at this claim.
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Farquhar discovers power-sipping AMD Fusion motherboards

AMD just announced its next-generation Fusion CPU/GPU combo. I’m not quite comfortable with AMD’s APU (Accelerated Processing Unit) moniker, because CPU-GPU integration isn’t about speed so much as it’s about reducing price and power consumption. This version of Fusion is intended to compete with mainstream Intel CPUs. Pricing isn’t available yet.

And that reminded me to go look and see what’s going on with first-generation AMD Fusion motherboards. I’m not so much interested in Fusion as a netbook/low-end notebook solution as I am for a power-sipping PC. Looking at the reviews online, it looks like I’m not alone in that. I don’t think I can afford to run multiple 750-watt fire-breathing dragons at home, and I don’t think I’m the only one. Give me a cool, quiet PC that doesn’t get bogged down in Visio, and I’m happy.
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Roll your own Retro-64

So an upstart company has licensed the Commodore name and unveiled an updated C-64, which is essentially a nettop in a 64-alike case with a 64-like keyboard. Reactions are extreme. People either love it or hate it.

I’d like to have one, but I’m not paying $595 for a nettop. But it should be possible to roll your own.

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What the 2011 CES may mean

This week was CES, where companies make a big splash and try to show what’s going to happen in the consumer electronics space in the coming year.

In the coverage of CES, I saw three things that seem interesting, but only one of those three was a surprise.
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How to fix modern plastic toys

How to fix modern plastic toys

Yesterday my son handed me a piece of broken toy train track. Last night I fixed it. At first I figured it would be easy–wood’s just a matter of gluing and clamping. But this one had a funky plastic connector. I got a lesson in how to fix modern plastic toys.

The plastics used in today’s toys are less brittle and arguably stronger than the polystyrene they used when I was a kid. The downside is that when they do break, it’s a lot harder to glue them. Normal super glues won’t work well, and the plastic cements for gluing model kits together–my old secret weapon–won’t work at all.

Another hobbyist clued me in on Surehold Plastic Surgery. It works. I’ve used it before, because my son’s given me plenty of opportunity to test it. It’s my new secret weapon. Read more

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