As you can see from the other posts in this section, I love customizing everything. And being a techie, my smartphone is no exception. Part of the reason I like the Android OS is the freedom and ability to tweak and change everything. Even when I used to have a blackberry, I had it customized with themes. Its pretty crazy how creative people have gotten with their cell phone customization. If you’re going to be using something a lot, you might as well set it up in a way that looks appealing to you, right? There are forums and website full of people showing their different wallpapers, icons, and widgets combining to form some very unique setups. I myself have gone through a few different setups over the past couple of years, and I thought I’d share them here. I won’t be explaining how I made my homescreens look like this here, but if anyone is interested in “pimping” their android phone, feel free to leave a comment below and I’ll guide you through it!
These days iPads and other tablets are commonly used to display shabads during kirtan. Some places a monitor is used so that the kirtani can see the shabad. Tablets screens can be hard to see at an angle and sometimes they are an awkward size to put on a vaja. If the device is placed higher and at more of an angle, the rest of the sangat on stage can see the shabad as well. For these reasons I was requested to help make a stand that could securely hold a tablet at an angle and high enough so that it would be visible. Fortunately I was given a monitor stand to use as a base, since building a complete stand from scratch is difficult. I was also given some cut up pieces of wood. I used wood glue and really small nails to put the pieces of wood together to form a platform with edges so nothing would slide off. Then I painted the back silver and added a soft black felt to the front so the devices wouldn’t get scratched or slide around. I added a small piece in the front so the tablet would not fall forward and finally mounted the whole thing onto the monitor stand.
The actual construction of it:
Here is the finished product:
After the cheap suction cup mounted phone stand in my car broke, I started looking at alternative ways to hold up my phone while driving,so I could use it for navigation and other purposes. I often prefer to build something myself rather than buying it, because I can customize it to my liking and have a unique and functional product. I recently bought a wireless qi charger for my phone, and I thought it would be most convenient for using in the car – instead of looking for the usb cable and plugging it in, I could just put my phone over the charger and it would start charging, wirelessly. I needed some way to keep the phone against the charger, and I wanted a holder for navigation, so I decided to combine the two together and make a charger/holder. For this I rummaged through my box of random parts and supplies until I found a piece of metal that I had taken out of some old electronics. I rounded the corners, removing all sharp edges, and bent it to form an arm, which I attached around the charger. I also lined the inside of the arm with some pieces of felt so it wouldn’t scratch the phone while holding it. Because the metal is bendable, I could adjust the arm to hold a wider or thinner phone. I didn’t want to do any permanent damage to my car so I used some adhesive velcro to attach the holder to the dash in front of the steering wheel. It held up great for a few days but eventually fell of from heat and weight. So I cut and painted a popsicle stick and attached it as a leg of sorts, to hold up the weight of the charger and phone. Now I just keep my car charger cable into the wireless charger, and my phone automatically starts charging as soon as I slide it into the holder. I also added an NFC chip ( just like on my other dock) which lets the phone detect it is in the holder and change settings automatically. Even when I don’t use the NFC or wireless charging, I do use the holder while driving every day.
Pictures of the process:
I know many viewers prefer looking at pictures over reading paragraphs, so I’ll try to keep this brief. When travelling for magic shows I usually keep my equipment and props in a briefcase. Unfortunately after a few years of travelling and lugging around my stuff, my briefcase broke apart. I found an older Briefcase we had lying around which was in great condition from the inside, but didn’t look so great from the outside. So instead of spending $100 on a new one, I thought I would try to “renovate” the one we already had. Since it would be difficult to paint over the glossy surface, I decided to use my new favorite material – Carbon Fiber vinyl. I’m quite happy with the final product! In addition to looking and feeling like a brand new briefcase, its totally unique!