Thursday, April 22, 2010

Weider Adjustable Dumbbells SpaceSaver 100

After some research I decided to get a set of adjustable dumbbells from Weider. Weight of each dumbbell can be selected in range from 10 to 50 lbs by 2.5 lbs step, the set comes with a convenient stand, customer reviews are very positive, price is reasonable - practically all I need from dumbbells is there.

My expectations about it were pretty much satisfied: hand grip is convenient; all critical parts in the dumbbell construction as weight alignment and weight selector are made of metal. Weight adjustment is easy and quick.

From my point of view there is a couple of insignificant disadvantages. One is that the base tray with alignment tabs is made of plastic and it's necessary to put dumbbells back in place accurately to avoid damaging of the tray or jamming. Another is that the weights are not absolutely identical in shape. If they are messed up the holes used for weight setting can get misaligned and make weight adjustment more difficult.

To avoid the problem I found the best aligned combination of weights and put color marks on them:

The marks allow easily to keep the weights in the best order.

The dumbbell set is a space saver indeed as its name suggests and I really like the stand. To reduce pressure on carpet and make it easier to move from place to place I put 4 large Moving Men 8-Piece Furniture Sliders under the stand feet:


Saturday, April 17, 2010

Mepis 8.5: ATI Driver on Dell Inspiron 4000 Laptop

I had a regular hang up problem with Mepis 8.0 on my old Dell laptop, so when the next version 8.5 got released I gave it a try. Installation went through smoothly and the previous hang up problem seemed to be resolved. The only inconvenience with the new Mepis was that the display GUI option to install an ATI driver was stripped out.

Mepis has a web-page describing how to Install ATI driver. Starting with Mepis 8.5, it's recommended to use the sgfxi script which I followed.

Just for the record here are some screen-shots from the installation:


Sunday, April 4, 2010

Dust Particles Inside LCD Screen - How To Fix

After moving my LCD monitor to a new place and turning it on I noticed some dark dots located closer to the lower edge of the screen. Because of the dot sizes and their sharpness my first thought was that they were dead pixels. However, simple dead pixel tests revealed the truth: they were some dust particles between LCD screen layers.

Figuring out that they were not dead pixels was pretty straight forward: these dots were visible on any desktop color as nontransparent obstacles on the way of back-light. Also with a closer look it was noticeable that they were of slightly different sizes:

I modified the original picture to eliminate Moire pattern and make it look as it's seen by an eye.

That monitor was in use for a while and it could have some dust collected from the environment.
Apparently, moving it to another place with some shakes and turns allowed these particles to get in between LCD layers. One way, I could see, to fix it was to disassemble the whole monitor, separate the screen layers and clean them up. It is feasible but it would be a lot of work with some risk to catch more dust on the internal screen layer than there was before if the working area is not clean enough.

Another possibility was based on a hope that if the particles got inside so easily they might be not stuck there, and they might need just a little more room and weak shake to fall down out of my sight. I used suction cups of different size to get necessary grip on the screen surface to pull it out near the dust particle:

While gently pulling the screen layer out I kept slightly knocking the screen with a fingernail until the dust particle fell down. I would not say that it is absolutely safe operation for the screen, so it's better to start with very light effort and increase strength of pulling and knocking only if it seems OK. In my case I was able to make them fall down very easily.

By the way, searching through the Internet for any info related LCD monitor construction and repairing I bumped on some interesting discussions about living bugs in between LCD layers:, for example, or All that seems very amusing unless it is in your monitor - then it depends. Just for the record some suggestions from the forums on how to deal with the problem:
  1. By no means, squash the bug, otherwise, it will turn into its permanent RIP mark on the screen of your monitor;

  2. These insects inside LCD screen really should feel themselves like on the heaven - very bright light and nice warm temperature, no deadly burns. Hence, the way to get rid of them is to shut down the "paradise" (no light, no warming), then lure them out with another "paradise" - an incandescent lamp aside the bugged monitor should work fine.