What Do You Do With Old Computer Manuals ?

So I finally given in and decided to give away my old computer manuals and there are literally 30 to 40 manuals. I know that I got some of them in America and I know that some were very expensive. They cover subjects from computer graphics to the design of the UNIX operated system, to manuals on Internet security.

Even though I haven’t used them in many years and have still kept as many as I have given away, I feel sad and I think its because I’m recognising the passage of time and that a period of my life has now drawn to a close.

I know that they have served me well and I thank them for their service.

WhereThingsAreBorn ๐Ÿ™‚



When 3 Monitors Is Not Enough (FSX)

So now that I have 3 24 inch monitors to handle FSX scenery, I still need to see my instruments ๐Ÿ™‚

My solution was to use another PC and a piece of software called Air Manager. Its talks to the the FSX PC over the network and takes all of the flight instrument data and displays it on an R44 instrument panel. It has hundreds of instrument panels available and its very cheap at around 30 euros.

Get It Here



WhereThingsAreBorn ๐Ÿ™‚

Jackson Browne At The Royal Albert Hall

I got to see Jackson Browne at the Royal Albert Hall the other night (row 7 from the front no less) and These Days he sounds just as good as he did 30 years ago when my partner saw him at the ย Lisdoonvarna folk festival.

His songs sound effortless and I think he exudes a distinct california sound and I recall a comment from Bruce Springsteen when he inducted Jackson ย Browne into the Rock & Roll hall of fame in 2004, where he said, Jackson Browne played me a few lines from a new song and I saw him a year later and he played another line from that song…….and the song eventually appeared 2 albums later ๐Ÿ™‚

His sometimes fractious relationship with Warren Zevon shone through and I dont think I have ever heard a better version of Lawyers Guns and Money.ย 

The band were tight and the audience knew that they were part of something special and he played for over 2 hours and 40 minutes – responding to the love from the audience.

The Barricades Of Heaven has been one of the songs on the soundtrack of my life and for that I thank you Jackson Browne – Take It Easy


WhereThingsAreBorn ๐Ÿ™‚

Building an Robinson R44 instrument Display For FSX (part 1)

I have always been impressed with the amount of detail, people put into activities and I never thought of myself as being in that category, but I have decided to give it a go with building a Robinson R44 helicopter instrument display. My interest was triggered by picking up 2 of these


which are replicas of R44 cockpit instrument gauge housings.

The following poster shows what an R44 cockpit should look like


so the first thing for me was to get the amber lights installed. I found some 12v led lights on ebay. I was attracted to them because they have the correct dome amber covers as the original but the originals have a black surround. I also want them to be 5V to connect to an Arduino (although Im not sure yet how I will get them so work), so time for some DIY light hacking.

First get the maps as shown


then take them apart completely, so they look as follows


Now we want to remove the 12v led from the white capsule housing. It is possible to remove it without destroying the led (its only the white capsule housing we need for this) but otherwise use a very small screwdriver to winkle out the led and then pull with a pliers so it looks as follows:


Finally, repeat for all 8 lights (in my case Im using a mixture of red and orangle lights as they did not have enough yellow lights in stock but I will probably go with all yellow. The following picture shows the lights with my prototype finished led)


Note that the prototype has a black top not chrome – so time to start sanding and painting.

Now, sand the tops of the chrome housing (so the paint has something to stick to). I used P150 sandpaper. Make sure should sand the edges as this is typically where paint starts to peel.

After sanding the the tops of the lights, apply some masking tape and fill in where the light will go with some damp paper towel.


I though the chrome effect was actually plastic but I think its actually some kind of metal but I had already purchased paint for plastic so will have to make do. The next stage is to spray the tops and edges and leave to dry.

Before spraying (as you can see Im no paint expert and its all rough and ready) ๐Ÿ™‚


and after 1st coat


Now while these are drying its time to get back to the actual lights.

I purchased some bright components 5mm led’s 5-7v prewired off ebay. These are really handy as they already include the resistor.


we are going to use these to replace the 12v led’s that we removed from the white capsules.


but before we put them into the capsules, wrap some electrical tape around then so that they stand proud of the capsule by about 1 inch when inserted. This is about the width of the electrical tape 15mm approx


then put the back in the capsules


Im still waiting for the paint to dry so here is a picture of the prototype. The pain looks a bit rough at the side but its only the head on view you will see



and now ย we have 5v led Arduino ready Robinson 44 warning lights ready for installation in the instrument housing


The next post will see if we can control them with an arduino before later connection to FSX.

WhereThingsAreBorn ๐Ÿ™‚

When 1 Monitor Is Not Enough (FSX)

So diving in before I can swim (is there any better way), I grabbed a triple monitor stand and 3 Dell P2414H monitors (they were cheap at the time but have gone up by 50% now so cant recommend the supplier).

Originally I connected them to 3 ports of my graphics card but now am using a matrix triplehead2o which allows me to free up 2 ports on the graphics card for other uses (more later).

The picture is for illustration only. I did not purchase a 3 monitor stand from alsortsoutlet ย and I wish I did as the one I did purchase, I would not purchase again as it was tough to align the monitors at equal height.

My screen resolution is now 5760 by 1080 whiich is great for FSX


WhereThingsAreBorn ๐Ÿ™‚

Come Fly The Friendly Skies

Over Xmas, I was lucky enough to ย get 12 hours instruction in a Robinson R44 helicopter. It was incredible and I realised that as I had a copy of Microsoft Flight Simulator at home, wondered if I could build something that approximated a robinson R44.

In summary, you can expect to see a a few FSX posts.

So grab a copy of FSX (I recommend the Gold edition) off ebay or Gumtree (Gumtree seems cheaper at the moment)


I purchased the thrustmaster off Amazon for ยฃ37.99 at time of writing (and here is my standard affiliate link)


and come fly the friendly skies.

WhereThingsAreBorn ๐Ÿ™‚

Alexa Make My Breakfast – And Where’s The Bloody Toast ?

Food is never far from my mind and in my previous blog, I mentioned how I found an egg cooker to make my morning eggs. I also have kettle for my tea and a toaster for my toast – So how do I get Alexa do make my breakfast ๐Ÿ™‚

Firstly, see if you can see whats wrong with the following picture. You have 10 seconds so no cheating ๐Ÿ™‚



Well did you guess. The answer is:

(a) Each wall socket has a zwave smart outlet connected.

(b) The egg cooker has a 2 pin power connecttor so I had to use an adapter

(c) There are 2 cat5 outlets on the wall – what was I thinking !

(d) There is no coffee in the coffee canister ๐Ÿ™‚

So, for Alexa to make my breakfast, I used the smarthings app to add 3 more smart outlets called Kettle, Toaster and egg cooker respectively. I then used the Alexa app to scan for new devices and add a group called breakfast – brilliant thinking eh ๐Ÿ™‚

So, now I load up the egg cooker with water, add water to the kettle and leave the switch on, the night before and then the next morning while Im getting dressed I can say:

“Alexa turn on the kettle”

“Alexa turn on the toaster”

“Alexa turn on the egg cooker”

“Alexa turn on breakfast”

BUT there is a problem with the Toaster. The toaster leaver will not stay down until power is applied so I cant do it the night before. Toast will have to be manually made for now but Toaster – you are on my hotlist !

WhereThingsAreBorn ๐Ÿ™‚