Jerry rigged IT and network bodging

As all IT systems admin people know, all policies, procedures should be documented, and correct stocks of tools, software, spare parts and test equipment should always be on hand.

Some call it bodging, kludging or jerry rigging, I sometimes call it redneck IT.  Just like every other trade, often you find you have to make temporary fixes or make do with some crude repairs to make some workable to get the job done, until budgets and resources allow for a better method.

Actually me and the rest of the team have done a lot of work to avoid spaghetti cabling, PCs that were falling apart and introduce safer and better methods but every now and then, you can may have to use some eccentric ways of working..


1. Power supply kludge. This USB external hard disk had its power supply lost.  I looked everyone to find it, I needed to get some work done in a hurry, so you can reuse a normal ATX PC power supply as a power supply to run anything that needs 5 or 12 volts.  To do this I used a piece of cable with barrel connector off another adapter which was not compatible.  The wires are pushed into these 4 pin disk drive connector.   Next the block connector that normally connects to a motherboard has the black and green pins shorted together with a small piece of wire to act as an on switch.   At the moment I am not using this external drive for anything important, just for backing up the contents of the below Toshiba laptop that belongs to a friend.

2. Tuna fish projector stand. (No picture) Once a month, in our foodbank we have some teaching, music and worship with all the staff and volunteers.   To make the projector display at the right angle, I normally have to grab several tins of tuna underneath to get the projector to display at the correct angle.

3. Reusing Windows licence key. This is my favourite IT bodge of late.  Sawing bits of plastic out of dead computers to reuse Windows licence keys.  This Toshiba laptop belongs to another volunteer and is running Vista, and is doing some odd things which Vista PCs often do and its horribly slow.   I used a recycled Windows XP licence key from another wrecked Toshiba laptop I fished out of a garbage bin last year, this just means a square piece of plastic has to be sawn out of the bottom of the scrap system.   I then tape this onto a CD case and install a genuine copy of Windows XP Pro from the CD in my collection and restore a back up of my friend’s files, along with Open Office and Firefox and some other useful apps.   Everything is much much faster and smoother now.   The recycled licence key works perfect and so does the online genuine advantage checks.   This build took a long time as Toshiba don’t offer XP drivers for this computer and took hours of Google searching to get all the right ones.

The unusual red symbols on the keyboard is because this as a Canadian keyboard and has some French specific keys.   Yes this violates the Windows licence agreement, but you can’t easily buy a new copy of Windows XP anyway.

Bye bye Compaq laptop, you served me nearly 3 years (after being retired from me previous employer) until the video card fried itself.  I have a kind person who is giving me a replacement laptop which needs some minor fixing when I get back to the UK, and most of the remains of my Compaq went to Russia, Greece, Ukraine and Czech Republic via ebay. 🙂

Of course if you have old broken laptops or PCs (in the UK or Israel) which are not worth fixing or going to get thrown out or are just sitting in a cupboard, I can make use of the parts and raise some support for my charity work in the Middle east.   Please message me if you want to help this way.  I can also rescue files off systems that won’t start in most cases and make sure all data is securely wiped.

I saw this picture on a humour site today, which made me laugh.   Reason being we actually we have a server room which is also a converted from a toilet.   It doesn’t have the pan still there, but there are still the tiles though.

What do you do when a once hugely expensive Macintosh G5 tower system at work breaks and a new motherboard costs a bazillion shekels and has to be imported from somewhere?

Well, after reusing the memory, hard disk and other pieces I was wondering what to do with it.   You can be completely heretical and build a new PC into the chassis of the Mac like here, but this takes a lot of craftsmanship skill to cut and file the insides to fit.   The shiny, precision made aluminum case is too pretty to throw in a bin, but my boss says it most go.   I decided to put in out on the street with a piece of paper, with ‘Free – please take!’ in the end.  When I went home from work it was gone…..

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