There is something mystical about aviation. I love the window seat and find myself staring at the landscape miles below on every trip. There is so much beauty to take in, and sometimes it’s just as awe-inspiring as being grounded but randomly spotting an old World War II-era bomber slowly making its way across the sky.

The last big trip allowed me to experience the sight of so, so much – things like the Olympic stadium and Big Ben clock tower in London, colorful French farms, icebergs, Canadian glaciers, and a giant fault line in California.

 

Aerial View of London - Big Ben and The Eye Ferris Wheel

Aerial View of Big Ben and the London Eye

 

While crossing the Atlantic, I eventually napped when there was nothing to see but “the pond.” When I woke, peered out and saw an iceberg field, I started snapping pictures. The passengers behind me must’ve liked all my scenic discoveries because, whenever I pointed my camera out the window, I would hear their window shade open and start to hear whispers.

 

glacier confluence / flow - aerial view

Glacial Confluence – Canada

 

Just like with music, the love for aviation is also in my DNA. Dad took me to airshows for probably 15 years straight, and he still goes when it doesn’t conflict with work and it’s not too blazingly hot and humid. Also, my brother flies and my uncle previously owned a plane. The same goes for some of my in-laws. Also, I can’t ignore that the Wright Brothers lived about 25 miles from where I grew up in Ohio – “the birthplace of aviation,” as the license plates say.

Back in Middletown, Ohio, I used to spend my college summers at hangar parties. “Don’t mind the airplane in there… the fridge is back there behind it. Feel free to grab a beer!” Some late-night chats were interrupted by the sound of a taxiing jet. A lot of us would go out and watch those take off and fly away until the flashing navigation lights disappeared into the darkness.

I actually worked at the Middletown airport – then known as Hook Field – over spring break in high school. I mowed grass and ran the weed-eater around all the lights down the 6,100′ runway. Some nights I got to hand-wash a corporate jet. It was a serene, yet kind of spooky experience, being alone in a giant, creaky, empty hangar. At the same time, the job was a soothing, therapeutic one, buffing dried raindrops off the plane from nose to tail and cleaning hydraulic fluid and dust off the landing gear.

For all these fond and endearing memories, I have been kicking around the idea of making an aviation documentary. I won’t get into details right now because, well, you know, it’s a proprietary-type thing. But I can see a community-based project like that as being a great asset for the historical record. That sort of goes back to my Long-term Data Storage post, about how it’s best to keep multiple copies of your documents stashed in various places so the information doesn’t eventually disappear forever. There’s no telling how many old photos are out there, tucked away in someone’s attic, that might not mean anything to some descendant who one day discovers them.

In the meantime, I will continue to plug away and see if the project is something that might have some interest other than my own. Fingers crossed!

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Before you begin, be sure to unplug all cables going to the hard drive and to discharge all potential static built up on you/your clothing by touching a grounded, metal object that is not the hard drive…. seems like simple stuff, but it’s really important.

The drive – this set of instructions applies to any of the LaCie Rugged series drive:

Disassembly of a LaCie Rugged External Hard Drive

 

Remove the rubber bumper.

Disassembly of a LaCie Rugged External Hard Drive

 

With care, pry the overlapping aluminum tabs on the side of the drive up to about a 45 degree angle. These tabs are fragile – four of them broke off in this disassembly process – so only pry them up far enough to clear the underlying tab. Warning! Warning! Warning! Breaking the sticker will void your warranty (if you still have one).

Disassembly of a LaCie Rugged External Hard Drive

 

Again, the tabs need not be pried as far apart as shown.

 

At this point, the top and bottom of the case will come right off.

Disassembly of a LaCie Rugged External Hard Drive

 

The plastic around the drive is very flexible, so pull the sides far enough apart and the drive will swing out.

Disassembly of a LaCie Rugged External Hard Drive

 

The small, black rubber bumpers that act as a shock mount for the drive may come off… if so, no big deal, as they slide right back on when you are ready to reassemble the drive in the case.

Disassembly of a LaCie Rugged External Hard Drive

 
This drive uses an IDE connection:

Lacie Rugged Hard Drive Teardown

 

Lacie Hard Drive Repair

 

The tabs broken off from prying them further than needed… If the same happens to you during disassembly, bend the rest of the tabs back into place when ready, and the outer bumper should hold everything in place just fine.

Disassembly of a LaCie Rugged External Hard Drive

If you enjoyed this article, please consider sharing it below!

Also, see my LaCie Porsche External Hard Drive Disassembly post here.

Tools needed:
-thin flat-head screwdriver
-Phillips screwdriver

Before you begin, be sure to unplug the external power going to the hard drive and to discharge all potential static built up on you/your clothing by touching a grounded, metal object that is not the hard drive…. seems like simple stuff, but it’s really important.

Steps:
1) Turn the hard drive over. Gently wedge the flat-head screwdriver between the hard drive enclosure’s base plate and the main body of the enclosure. Begin to slowly pry so that the side of the enclosure begins to bow outward. Continue until the base plate pops out. Keep the popped out side close to seam (so the still-attached side of the base plate doesn’t get bent). Perform the same pry technique on the other side of the base to fully remove the plate. [click on any of the photos to enlarge]

Disassembly of a LaCie Porsche External Hard Drive

 

2) Now that the hard drive is exposed, you will notice three, small aluminum brackets on both sides of the drive. Bend those upward – this can be done by hand.

Disassembly of a LaCie Porsche External Hard Drive

 

3) Use the Phillips screwdriver to remove the four screws binding the hard drive to the enclosure. Once removed, bend the aluminum screw brackets upward.

Disassembly of a LaCie Porsche External Hard Drive

 

4) With the exception of the power and data cables, the drive is free at this point. Carefully turn the enclosure over so that the drive slips out of the case. Gently pull the slack out the cables that are still plugged into the drive and begin wiggling the power cable out (the transparent connector with four wires).

Disassembly of a LaCie Porsche External Hard Drive

 

5) Once the power connector is unplugged, do the same for the data cable. Do not be forceful with the ribbon cable. Through trial and error, I have broken these cables before, and they aren’t fun to try to fix. Additionally, you don’t want to end up with bent pins on the hard drive itself. If the ribbon connector doesn’t come off easily, unplug the other end from the board attached to the enclosure. Since the drive will then be free, you will have plenty of leverage to remove the cable from the drive.

Disassembly of a LaCie Porsche External Hard Drive

 

At this point, the drive is completely free from the enclosure. Congratulations!

If you enjoyed this article, please consider leaving a comment or sharing below!

Also, see my LaCie Rugged Hard Drive Disassembly post here.

My Corvette Story

11/29/2011

Up until just a few years ago, I was the sometimes-proud owner of a shiny, silver, mid-80s Corvette. It was a big step up from my mid-80s Z28 Camaro, but where the Camaro showed its flaws on the outside, the Corvette was equally good at hiding them underneath its shell.

This Corvette had a beautiful paint job with custom pinstripes, shiny aftermarket rims, and a removable top. On the other hand, the previous owners of this mean machine had neglected to take care of the rest of it. The engine smoked and the exhaust manifold was caked in sludge, the carpet in the trunk area looked like glowing-hot metal had been set down on it, and the stock, Bose stereo hardly worked, among other issues.

One random, summer day in Ohio, inspiration struck and I wiggled under the car to see why the retractable radio antenna was permanently stuck in the “up” position. Someone had cut the wires going to the antenna motor and capped them, so I uncapped and reconnected them, only to discover that there was an electrical short – probably a grounding issue somewhere, anywhere – which caused the antenna motor to run continuously. This just made me wonder how many unseen problems I had yet to discover.

I should point out here that I don’t exactly consider myself to be a car guy. Sure, I can change brakes, oil, and spark plugs, and I once partially rebuilt a front-end after hitting a deer. But what I know about the subject is, by no means, expert level. A lot of it has come from trial and error, reading lots of manuals and message boards, and watching videos online.

The boiling point with this vehicle, both figuratively and literally, came when the Corvette overheated on the highway one Spring morning, on the way to work. The digital temperature gauge on the dash (pretty futuristic for that time) showed the heat going into the red, so I took the next exit, which was close, and I looked under the hood. The freakin’ coolant was boiling and steam was rolling out! I knew the car troubles were beyond my skill-set, so I limped the car to work after the car’s temperature and my blood pressure came down.

The Corvette stayed in the warehouse there for a couple weeks, until I had it hauled home and put it up for sale. I just wasn’t into the challenge and the money the car promised to require. I made a quick sale and left my job soon afterward to head to audio school. I am a pathetic consumer so, rather than buying a new, big TV or whatever, the money made from selling the car was used to invest in myself. Despite the many headaches, though, there wasn’t much cooler than cruising around, at 21 years old, in a Corvette.

The guy I sold it to was planning on fixing it up for drag racing. I hope it’s worked out as planned, although a small, small, very small part of me actually wishes I still had that danged thing.