Monday, August 9, 2010

Almost there

(originally posted on MacTalk 9th August 2010)

Here's some images of the almost final product.

The rear DVI port. Will also extend the audio port but I need to go to Jaycar or somewhere and buy a couple of parts.

The four USB ports on the left hand side. I have to do some testing as this hub hangs off one of the keyboard USB ports which I recall is outside USB spec. If it operates normally (i.e. USB2 speed albeit unpowered) then I may leave it as is. If I plug the hub into the Air directly then I'll need to sacrifice one of the four ports and hotwire the keyboard to the hub. No big deal but it does mean cutting up a keyboard cord and I want to prevent as much of that as I can.

An internal view with all the components in their final resting place, ready for marking out locations for cutting and screwing. The speaker, antenna, IR and power LED run along the front. Mobo and hard drive at the back, bluetooth/wireless daughterboard in the middle. In the left portion you can see the keyboard cord coiled up, the naked $5 usb hub (not plugged in at that point) and DVI connector taped in place. The rear hole that I was going to use to locate the ports now serves as ventilation and I may still hack apart an old graphics card for its heatsink and fan and use this as exhaust.

Everything in place. If I had all the port holes cut already this would be a working system (It currently works but with no holes there's no way to plug anything in)

I am hoping to make this an all-in-one unit with a slim keyboard and magic trackpad on the right hand side. For that I need either a wired keyboard sans numberpad or a bluetooth keyboard and bluetooth magic pad. Would be really nice if Apple made the magic pad in a wired model (bonus if they made it do it snapped on to the side of the wired keyboard via one of the side USB ports).

Anyway, I can't buy the trackpad because no-one in Canberra has one. Testing the profile with my bluetooth keyboard shows that I would have to cut into the rear to allow for the battery compartment but it would make it all nice and neat. So for the meantime I'm using a spare wired keyboard (hence my reluctance to cut the cord) and an old dell mouse.

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