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Bose Headphone Repair

I have a pair of Bose Reality-Cancelling Headphones – not too effective against human voices, but they do a good job of cancelling steady noises like air conditioners and computer fans. I like them well enough, but I wouldn’t recommend them anymore.  Maybe the Panasonic version?

The problem is that after five years or so, the pads that go over the outside of my ear have started to come apart at a seam, exposing the foam. The solution is simple, of course: sew them back together. The hard part is the lack of room to work. I cut off a sewing needle to roughly 3/8″ and ground it back to a point. Surgical forceps work well to hold the seam back together temporarily, then a pair of long-nose pliers is what it takes to jam the short little needle through. I ending up using a second pair of forceps as an anvil and as as extra set of fingernails to grab the needle when it comes through. I didn’t even attempt any kind of running stitch or fancy lacing/trussing/macrame, I just tied off each stitch as I completed it and moved on to the next one.

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Now, the failure is running around the inside of the cushion – when I repair one section, another one pops loose.  Pretty soon I will have sewn all the way around, and shortly after that I suspect the material will simply fail entirely.  At that point, I don’t know.  I’ve been known to limp stuff along just for fun.

Current score:  Patience vs Rampant Consumerism: 1-0.


The Knucklewarmer

You ever have this happen to you? There you are, working away in your secret underground laboratory, trying to be a good citizen of the earth. You have the heat turned down to an environmentally-responsible way chilly, and your hands are freezing. Happens to me every winter. It also happens to my colleague Dan Bedard, who thought “Gee, I should just make something to redirect all the warm air coming from my computer so it blows over the keyboard!”

Well, that’s a good idea, Dan. So good, in fact, I’m stealing it.

Behold the Knucklewarmer. Made from genuine earth-friendly recycled junk mail, it catches the warm air venting from the side of my rusty-but-trusty Thinkpad and directs it over the keyboard. 2.13 GHz of Pentium M goodness makes enough warmth to keep the knuckles working and to maintain feeling in my fingertips. Not bad for a laptop.


What about those newer laptops? What about even, God forbid, a netbook? No problem. Sure, an Atom N270 is something like a sub-5-watt part, but have no fear. The chipset uses another 9, and together they’ll keep ice crystals from forming. This baby works pretty well on a Dell Latitude 2100 netbook.

Construction is simplicity itself, as should be obvious from the pictures. It’s pretty much (1) locate some junk mail, (2) cut it to shape to form a little piece of ductwork, and (3) tape it up and slide it into position. More complicated versions are left as an exercise for the reader.


Downside? My next main machine was a MacBook Pro, and this didn’t work with the milled aluminum monoblock of desire. The heat comes out of that one from under the display hinge. No problem, though, because after that I switched back to a Thinkpad (both run Linux full time, by the way) and I’ll have heat to spare this winter.



I’ve made a few things and hacked a few things over the years, but my documentation was scattershot at best.  This blog should serve as a central place to record them, mostly for my own reference.  On the other hand, you’re reading it, so “Welcome”.  I hope something will be useful.


Now for a flurry of copying stuff over to here…