Project Cloverfield, aka Slusho, aka 1-18-08, J J Abrams Teaser… who knows!

That’s right. This is a big mystery.

I’ve been following the ‘Cloverfield’ thing since I first saw the teaser trailer at

Now, since then, I’ve found so much out about this project… and quite frankly, I am amazed at the way this viral marketing has gotten out.

Call it 1-18-08. 011808. Call it what you like.

I will add more here, but watch the trailer for starters.

Cleaning inside and dismantling the Apple Mighty Mouse

Well… I love my Apple Mighty Mouse, and have done for 6 months.
But, all of a sudden, I lost the ability to use the scroll ball to scroll upwards.

I trawled the web to find a solution, and although there are some useful answers, none of them sorted it.

I fear it fell victim to that horrible grey muddy stuff—you know, that horrible mix of hand oils and dirt which used to be the mouser’s bane in clogging up old mechanical mice.
I tried air dusters, I tried alcohol. Nothing fixed it. So, with trepidation, I decided to go ‘inside’ and clean it properly!

Just cleaning the ball from the outside isn’t any help at all, you’ll see why when you get inside… look at the pics below! You can’t de-gunk the rollers externally.

And here, I’ve recorded my efforts so you too can clean your mouse and get it functioning like new again!
First, you’ll need:
1. A small screwdriver, crosshead
2. A flat blade, like a butter knife
3. A large work area, with a sheet of white paper to catch the bits!
4. Some alcohol and a lint-free cloth
5. Some superglue (the best quality gel stuff is advisable!)
6. 10 minutes of total dedication, no disturbances!
7. A Sharpie marker or other fine tip permanent pen
8. Cotton wool buds/Qtips

First things first, unplug your mouse and print out this page. It’s far easier to work from the page if it’s printed cos you won’t be able to scroll without a mouse 😉

I’ve broken the whole process down with illustrations…

You need to open the mouse. Don’t panic, it is pretty easy. You DO have to break the glued seal, but it’s non-destructive and mine looks like it did from the factory now it’s back together.
In Fig 1, I’ve circled the start point. It’s near the cable end, and you need to be prising the ‘skirt’ off. Insert the blade here and you’ll hear a crack! Work the blade gently all around. The skirt should come off now. Put it safely to one side.

Near the cable end are two ‘tabs’ which hold the outer shell to the base. I found that by gently flexing the tab inwards towards the innards of the mouse, I was able to free them easily. (tab shown if Fig 2). The outer shell is now released at one end and pivots on two lugs at the opposite end (fig 3) and these lugs can be easily released by gently flexing the outer shell open at the pivot points. The two halves now come apart and are held only by two VERY delicate ribbon cables (fig 4). I didn’t find it necessary to remove the ribbon cables, as in past experience it’s tricky to put them back!

Inside, you’ll see the little black housing which holds the ball, secured by three small screws. Undo them, and put them safe. (fig 5).
In Fig 6, you can see the ball housing. I marked with little black dots the orientaton of the little magnetic rollers inside. This will help when putting it back together. Also, mark the white plastic retainer AND the black housing together (fig 7) so you know which way to put them back together!

Carefully remove the white retainer by lifting the end shown in Fig 7, nearst the ribbon cable. The white retainer comes free. With it should come the ball and four little white pins with black collars—these are the magnetic rollers which feed the data to the mouse as to which direction is being scrolled. They are also the dirty bits! (fig 8).

Dismantle the little unit, remembering the orientation of the little rollers (the diagram should help!). Fig 9 shows a really dirty roller! Now clean the ball using alcohol and the lint rag.
Carefully clean the little rollers with cotton buds.

Once the ball and rollers are nice and clean I blew all crud out of the inside of the mouse with an air duster (a compressed air tin) and used a small pointed tool to take all the muck out of the white retainer (fig 10).

Re-assembly is fiddly… first put the ball back in the retainer.Hold the retainer as in Fig 8 and re-insert the rollers. You can’t put the assembly down flat from now on, as it will fall apart. See in the photo fig 8 that the black marked part of the white retainer (you did mark it with a pen, didn’t you??? ;)) is facing outward. (i’ve circled it on the picture).
Next, keeping the white retainer assembly upright, bring over the black part and offer it down over the white retainer assembly, with the black mark you made nearest the ribbon cable.
The whole thing goes together with a simple click of pressure. Turn it over and make sure it all looks OK, and that all the little black wheels are the same orientation as Fig 6.
Being careful to make sure the ribbon cable isn’t twisted, screw the ball assembly back into the upper shell.

Keeping an eye on the ribbon cables, bring the outer and lower shell back together, starting with the pivot lugs. They snap back in really easily.
Once they are in, click the upper tabs back in, making sure the USB cable retainer is oriented back in it’s hole.

Nearly there… place the mouse facing upward and get the skirt ready by placing it face down (with the little tabs facing up) in a clear area.
You now need to dab VERY SMALL dots of superglue on it. I’ve circled the dots I did in Fig 11… they are basically in the same place as the original glue.

Bring the mouse body over and lower it onto the skirt, making sure the USB cable is at the right end.
Press down a few seconds and let the glue take, then lift it all up and rubber band it tightly and leave for a while.

VOILA! It’s done!

Hope it works for you…
(*** DISCLAIMER: I did this quite competently with simple tools. If you break it, then that’s your fault, not mine!***)

Making your TV a multimedia treasure trove!

How many people have a wireless home network running? Lots.

How many people have their music collections and photos archived on their computers? Lots.

How many people have multimedia files on their computers, such as home movies or downloads? Lots.

And how many of those people have a TV screen, which they WISH could be linked-in to this multimedia library?

Well, I tick all of the above boxes. My computer IS my photo album. Digital pics of my wedding, nephews growing up, family holidays and more. Plus, all my music—CDs ripped to MP3 files for my iPod, songs downloaded from iTunes. Oh, and not to mention movies which I’ve ripped to the computer to put on my iPod (yes, I have an iPod video).

So… the big question… is it possible to access all of these items from the comfort of my living room?

The answer of ‘yes’ presented itself to me in the format of a Philips Streamium SL400i.
A rather innocent vertical standing box which has nothing more in terms of stature than a bit more than a VHS video cassette.

The Streamium is a Wireless Media Server. It connects via 802.11g wireless to my home network (PC, Mac and Wireless Modem) and looks for media. Whether it be stored on the computer hard drives, or off the internet in the form of video, music and pictures.

The Streamium plugs into the TV via a scart socket (plus there’s sockets to go to your Hi-Fi too, in case you want to stream music to there…). A remote control for the unit lets you fire it up and almost straight away watch your digital photos on-screen, or listen to your music library.

In my case, our computers are dotted around upstairs, and the Streamium sees them from the living room. And access to all the media on them is almost instant.

The principle is quite simple… the Streamium looks for ‘uPnP servers’ (a ‘Universal Plug n Play server). These are programs which run on your computer which detect media and ‘stream’ it over the network.

My setup is as follows:

Apple Mac + Twonkyvison uPnP server + Airport
PC + Twonkyvision uPnP server + Wireless card
Netgear wireless broadband modem + router
Streamium SL400i

This allows us to access our entire music collection, photo library, and video files, all from the comfort of the living room TV.


Nuisance phone calls, ways to stop them

Evenings are the working person’s quality time. You’ve had a hard day at your job, and you’re just about to tuck into your meal and enjoy Eastenders or the Big Match.

The phone rings… and if it were friends or family, you’d ask them to call back… but when you answer the call, the phone goes dead. “Hello? HELLO!??!?!?”. Nothing. And you sit back down to your meal feeling slightly less relaxed.

The nuisance call No.1 of 2005 must be the ‘International’ calls (if you’re lucky enough to sport Caller ID on your telephone). It’s a horrible pre-recorded message along the lines of “Hi! You’ve won a luxury widget for four in the beautiful moonlit islands of Pago-Pago… etc.”. I’ve nothing against our Friends Across The Ocean, but even Uncle Sam would be horrified if he realised how much misery these calls are causing.

Your telephone has become a marketing tool, intent on home invasion. But it doesn’t stop there. I am sitting in our pastoral office surroundings and this week alone to our work number… (it’s only Tuesday lunchtime)

  • 3 calls from International numbers, competitions
  • Numerous calls from companies wishing to speak to the MD about our company mobiles
  • A couple of calls regarding our phone system
  • A call regarding debt collection

Annoying phone calls… the tip of the iceberg
The law against these unsolicited is sketchy, but unethical tele-marketing campaigners faces fines of up to ¨£5000. The Direct Marketing Associated is employed by Ofcom to operate opt-out services for email, mail, phone and fax, but it is seemingly growing beyond control.

Included on the unsolicited lists are emails, postal mail and faxes tooǃÓalthough the unsolicited telephone calls are by far the most annoying.

So how to get rid of them?
Luckily, help is at hand, although it’s not 100% guaranteed, but it IS free.

The Telephone Preference Service is a very simple to use ‘take me off the list’ registry. Also see the website for links to the Fax Preference Service and the Mail and Email preference services.

OptOutUK is another service offering a slightly different approach.

As an unbiased individual opinion, I will let you make your own mind up about them, but I will suggest that you at least give one of them a go if you are pestered with unsolicited calls.

Please feel free to add your comments on this subject below. I will also be periodically adding a ‘rogues gallery’ of telephone numbers which call during the day and leave no message.

Saw II

SAW 2 – Certificate 18, directed by Darren Lynn Bousman, Horror

The movie
Well, it’s not too often that I see a movie which is totally unique and off the spectrum in terms of bold and braveǃÓbut last year’s shocker ‘Saw’ was one such film.
Based loosely on the movements of a serial killer, The Jigsaw Killer, the first and second films are chronicles of a dark and twisted series of ‘Games’ which challenge their unfortunate victims into solving rather nasty puzzles in trade for their lives.
Sounds horrific? Yes. It is. And gory. In fact, this isn’t a film for the faint hearted or tickle stomached.
Saw 2 basically continues where the first film left off. In the first movie, the Jigsaw Killer triumphed, in a very good twist in the tail.
And following closely in it’s footsteps, the second movie picks up the killer’s trail.
The plot is based on a group of people who suddenly wake up in a large houseǃÓsealed at all the windows and doorsǃÓand are told that they have 2 hours to live whilst a deadly nerve toxin is being gradually inhaled by the occupants.
The clues to their survival and escape are all in the house, and as the killer gives them their grim synopsis via dictaphone cassettes, we soon realise that perhaps their escape may not be his only motive.
A parallel story unfurls as the killer confronts a detective (played by Donnie Wahlberg of New Kids on the Block fame) and explains his grim intentions. All characters become engulfed in a game which tests each of them to the end of their wits.
I won’t divulge any further, but if you like being scared by a genuine, honest and original horror, then this is for you.
The whole audience at Cineworld Shrewsbury were cringing throughout the movie, and goodness only knows how most of us kept our stomachs. It’s a brutal movie, but there IS a moral to it (oddly enough).
With plot twists, shocks, thrills, scares, gross-outs and more, this film is certainly one which you will remember for a long time to come.

I would give it a rating of 8/10, dropping a couple of points for it’s sheer boldness and gorynessǃÓwhich I feel may put a few viewers off.