Open a Google Chrome Tab in Firefox, or a Firefox Tab in Chrome

I’ve put this application together to switch quickly between Chrome and Firefox as I often do. Simply put, this will allow you to open an active Google Chrome tab in Mozilla Firefox (and vice versa) using the shortcut Ctrl+Shift+F. The program itself is an executable that will run in the background and can be accessed from the system tray notification area (bottom right). It’s built with AutoHotKey.

Download
ChromeToFirefox.exe Standalone Executable Download

ChromeToFirefox.ahk Script (requires AHK) Download
AutoHotKey website Link

Note: If you want this to run every time you turn on your computer, place ChromeToFirefox.exe in the startup folder. The startup folder (for Windows 7) is located at C:\Users\YourUsername\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs\Startup

If there is a bug, it’s probably because Chrome recently updated and I haven’t had a chance to fix it yet. If it doesn’t work, let me know in the comments. Another possibility for error is that it is failing to locate firefox.exe or chrome.exe. It only works if the installation directory is the default location. I’ve included the script to edit, but you will need to download AutoHotKey to compile the exe.

I’ve used scripts from both here and here – wouldn’t have been possible if I didn’t have them to work off of.

2009 Corner Desk Build Update

Words to be ignored.
I made a post about the desk I built for myself with the ability to raise/lower my monitors. I think it was a pretty sweet idea, but I ended up hating it. The design wasn’t reliable, and most of all, it wasn’t portable. Also, painting the top of a desk, despite using the highest quality paint and putting on 5 layers of polyurethane, IS A TERRIBLE IDEA. Within a few months the top of my desk was – how should I put it – totally fucked. When I got home this spring, my first priority was to fix my desk and remove the monitor lift thingy-ma-jig entirely.

I ended up buying solid black laminate (who knew solid colors were almost twice as expensive as that pattern b.s.)

Well, here is the picture of my completed desk (click for much larger picture)!

2009 Corner Desk Build

I’ve made a new desk, and man was it a lot of work (2-3 weeks). I want to point out some things…

  1. The monitors raise and lower both manually and through a motorized system. My dad was a big help with the motor system.
  2. I wanted it to be easily portable, so everything is “pinned” together with 1/4″ stainless rods (including the compartments).
  3. The shelves are adjustable.
  4. Four 40mm fans run along the right compartment for cooling the electronics. Also, a 120mm fan cools the PS3 from the back.
  5. The keyboard tray can go up and down, swivel left and right, tilt up and down, and move in and out.
  6. The black paint finish isn’t quite complete. Eventually I will need to sand it, wax it, and buff it up to a mirror finish.
  7. Everything is made of 3/4″ and 1/2″ mdf, and the trim is solid oak. The front curve was a crap load of work for a noob like me (see worklog).

Continue reading 2009 Corner Desk Build

The Garage

[I wrote the following descriptive essay for English 199 and received a decent grade, so I’m going to share it with whoever (aka no one)  wants to read it. Please criticize it in the comments if you do read it!]

The Garage

It’s a regular occurrence; I’m sitting at my desk when an idea pops into my head.  It’s something I can make, I’m sure of it. The idea could be anything: a picture frame for a photo nestled under some loose papers, a TV wall-mount to free up some precious desk space, or perhaps just a larger desk. Once the idea comes, I must attempt to create it. Without a second thought I head outside towards the garage.

Made of white cinder block and protected with steel bars on all of the windows, from the outside peering in, some may think the garage is a small prison. Even with a key, getting inside isn’t entirely effortless. Considerable force must be applied to the key in a full rotation, almost requiring a full-body effort. Sometimes I contemplate whether the key will finally snap as I hear the pins inside the lock reluctantly screech into position.  Surprisingly, after being unlocked, the heavy steel door gracefully opens to reveal the treasures inside. Tools, lots of tools, running wall to wall and rising ten feet high. The inside is still a bit dark until I flip the fluorescent lights on; they flicker quickly for a few seconds before going fully bright to expose dust particles glistening down from the ceiling. Usually there are tools scattered across the workbench alongside a project waiting to be finished. On the floor, sawdust, a seemingly useless scrap that is now absorbing a spill from the last oil change. At the far end of the garage where the lighting is dim lies the excess wood and steel from past projects. They are more scraps which will be given a purpose, eventually.

With a blueprint in mind, I head towards the scrap materials. I can usually find something that fits the build when I quickly scan through the pile. The roughly cut mahogany contrasts sharply against the black, slender lengths of steel. Occasionally what I need from the pile is simple, like a small block of walnut I used to make a pen holder, or a piece of oak I found to make a cane for my grandfather. Eagerly, I push and pull the material around. The cold metal shrills loudly against the bare concrete; meanwhile, dreary thuds from the large pieces of wood echo throughout the rest of the garage. When I have the material I am looking for in my hand, I have my next project. After a quick sketch in a curled notepad on the workbench, and jotting down some rough measurements along the way, it’s time to start building.

While I am woodworking, sawdust may muster bitterly under my breath as I tear through a length of oak. At any rate, when the dust settles, the air is flooded with the scent of an entire forest. The atmosphere is quite different when working with steel. Racing through a piece of flat iron with the angle grinder can leave a magnificent waterfall of sparks scattering off nearby walls like schooling fish in the ocean. Unfortunately, after a few hours of metal fabrication, my throat is dry, as if sandpaper has been rubbed across my larynx. The choking smoke rising from the welding torch is nauseating at best, but propping the door open in the summer months helps. Any amount of construction in the garage will take its toll on me; cuts, scrapes, or burns are inevitable, and yet, I hardly notice them while I work. As I move back and forth between work areas, I fall into a trance. I can fondly remember one of my first experiences in the garage. My father, being the father he is, decided to show me how to weld. I was four years old. I slid  the thick leather gloves on which extended up to my shoulders, and my father placed the loose fitting welding helmet on my head. The next thing I knew, I was poking the rod into a chunk of iron under his guidance. Despite all precautions, a large spark managed to travel down one of the gloves and burned my fingertip. It didn’t hurt. I was fairly impressed with myself, but my mother didn’t share the same feelings.

My thoughts are usually quite clear while I am in the garage. For the most part I am not thinking about the actual project at hand, rather the reaction I will get when it is done. That is what keeps me going, and pushes me to make it just right. Sometimes the project is difficult to make, and if I struggle to figure out a way to do it, my thoughts about anything else collapse. Once I begin to think about the project and nothing else, I get tired and frustrated. It’s time to take a break. Sometimes a few weeks go by before I even want to look at what I was working on, but I eventually do. It needs to be finished. Eventually I figure out what to do. The finishing touches are what takes the longest. I circle the shop floor, staring from different angles, trying to catch a blunder someone else might see. Regularly,  I claim the project to be finished, but then a few hours later my dad will walk in to find me re-sanding down a corner.

After countless hours, I am satisfied with what I have created. I stare upon it for some time. I made it, and the feeling of accomplishment is overwhelming. At last, I flick the lights off and head back towards the house under the moonlight, creation at hand.

Grandma’s “Card”

Every year for the past couple of years I have made my Grandma a Christmas card. She always leaves the card on display pretty much all year round. It’s usually based around something she enjoys; birds, figure skating, or her dog. Every year it seems to get a little bigger and a little more non-cardlike. This year I just could not think of what to make. I wanted to make something special since she recently suffered from a stroke and has been experiencing a lot of anguish. I sat a brainstormed for a long time. At around 10 PM the night before I was to give it to her, I got an idea in my head. It was going to be a lot of work, and there was a pretty high chance it would just fail entirely. Four or five hours of speedy work later, this was the result:

To explain things a little, I made the frame and then tried to make a 3-dimensional scene inside of it (with lighting in the background). The frame is made out of oak, which I cut from a plank laying around the garage. I cut an eighth inch slit around the inside of the frame for the glass to sit in. I stole the glass from an old dollarstore document frame and cut it to fit inside the oak slit. I had no idea what would be going inside the frame yet; I would worry about it while that while the wood glue was drying. So I went onto the computer and started making something with vectors. I knew I wanted a mountain scene. After a while of playing around, I had something I was happy with. Silhouettes of all the stuff I know my Grandma enjoys, in a night scene which I tried to make look like the foothills of Alberta. I printed the foreground and background images I made, and cut them to shape with scissors. Now I was onto the final step, the lighting. All I had was green LED’s. I would have preferred a variety colors, but I had to make do with what I had. I didn’t even have resistors, but I believe the LED’s were each 3V, so I soldered two of them in parallel with two AA batteries. I found a little toggle switch and mounted it to the backing of the frame. I hot-glued everything down inside so nothing could jiggle around, and closed it all up. It was complete.

I don’t really like how it looks with the lights on, but whatever, at least it’s optional.

I’m not sure what’s up with my terrible pictures. It must’ve been the lack of sleep.

Video Equipment Stand

video equipment stand 9A few weeks ago my dad’s friend asked me if I could make him a small compact stand that could house his satellite video equipment for his semi-trailer truck. It sounded like a fairly intriguing little project to me. Here is some pics from the beginning to the final product:

The material I plan to work with in my messy garage.

An angle grinder with a zip disk is one of the most satisfying tools for me. It’s so versatile when working with metal.

By clamping a scrap piece of angle iron onto the side needing protection, I am able to cut a very straight line with the cutting disk on the angle grinder.

All the pieces for the two removable trays before I begin welding.

The trays above are made to the exact dimensions of the satellite equipment. I’m not a huge fan of doing it that way, (what if something is replaced?) but the main purpose of this rack was to be as compact and sturdy as possible, and this is what I was asked to do.

I cut the middle out to reduce the weight, and as a bonus the equipment will cool better.

A big jump ahead; here is the final stand. It might be hard to tell but there is two removable racks that are fastened by thumb screws on the right side. The top mesh tray is for random stuff like remote controls, cables and whatever. The left-most compartment is for DVD’s (see last picture).

It ended up being more work than I was expecting. One thing that took longer than anticipated was the top mesh tray. I just couldn’t think of how to make it sturdy and light at the same time. I pop-riveted most of the mesh onto the steel, except around the DVD compartment where I threaded small screws in. A lot of welding rods and burnt fingers went into this very little project.

56′ Ford F-100 Savage Body

Yesterday I bought a 1956 Ford F-100 body for my Savage RC truck. It came clear and uncut, so I had the task of painting, cutting the edges/holes, and applying a few stickers. Click more for pics. It looks pretty classy. I’m very pleased with how it turned out.

Painting was pretty easy, I just had to make sure I had the appropriate areas taped off. The paint is on the inside of the plastic, that way it wont scratch off.  Cutting it was a lot harder than I expected; I used a mixture of razor blades, heavy duty scissors, and a dremel tool to cut it. I think if I do another body ever, I will cut it before I apply the paint because I don’t want to risk scratching it.