Disable the obnoxious beeping on a Mr. Coffee, Model JWX27

My girlfriend and I recently purchased an inexpensive Mr. Coffee coffee maker (Model JWX27-A), which has a majority of the features we wanted, including one that we did not want. This was the loud beeping/notification that occurred after a pot of coffee had finished brewing. Since we sometimes get up at different times and due to the ridiculous volume of this thing, I decided to see if I could disable it. I did a fair amount of research hoping the manufacturer included some sort of secret button-combination to disable it, but they didn’t.  Our previous Mr. Coffee maker actually had a switch to accomplish this, but I’m sure some jackass executive decided to remove the switch and therefore lower their manufacturing costs. Seriously, do companies consult with end-users anymore?  Anyway, I decided to take the next step and physically modify the pot to meet my needs. Below are the general steps you can take to do the same (sorry for not including photos, but I didn’t think about it during its disassembly):

**DISCLAIMER:  These steps could possibly render your coffee maker useless and most certainly void any sort of manufacturer warranty.  Swim at your own risk. Don’t pick up wooden nickels. Wear eye protection. You get the idea. **

In short, the annoying beeper/speaker lives behind the front control panel.  These steps will help you remove the control panel and access the speaker for its ultimate removal.

  1. Unplug the coffee maker (if you did not think to do this, you should probably not proceed any further).
  2. Empty the pot of any water (if you did not think to do this, you should probably not proceed any further).
  3. Remove the carafe.
  4. Remove the filter basket.
  5. Remove the water sprayer swing arm.  This is attached by one small screw and simply pops off the plastic stem/tube after the screw is removed.
  6. Flip the entire unit upside-down and remove the 5 recessed screws that surround the opening (by “opening” I mean the hole where magical coffee typically exits the basket and enters the carafe).  It may look like there are only 4 screws at first glance, but there is a 5th towards the base.
  7. Flip the unit upright again.  (This is the part that stumped me for a few minutes.) There are 2 “hidden” screws that hold down the entire upper portion of the machine. The parts that we’re wanting to remove are essentially the doors + the molded bucket that hold the filter cup/basket.  You’ll remove this as a single “piece” (don’t try to pry off the 2 flip doors).  The screws are covered by 2, black plastic “plugs” which cover the screws (probably to keep them from getting wet and rusty); one plug per screw. I used the awl on my pocket knife to dig into the center of the plugs just a little bit and then they popped right out.  Once you remove the plugs, you can then remove the screws.  You can now remove the upper plastic piece.  If you were able to salvage the plugs, you’ll want to pop those back in place during reassembly.
  8. You should now have access to the control panel.  Remove the 2 screws that hold the panel to the coffee maker.
  9. You’ll now see 4 small screws that hold the PCB (printed circuit board) to the panel. Remove those, but be aware of the fact that the buttons on the panel are loose and can fall out.  It’s easy to put them back if they do, but just keep your eye on them. You don’t want to put this thing back together and then realize you’re missing buttons.
  10. Once you expose the PCB, you’ll see the bane of your existence, the speaker.  It is a black, circular piece of plastic that looks like a thick washer.  If you simply want to reduce the volume, I suppose you can probably just wrap this part in electrical tape (assuming you don’t use so much that you can’t reassemble the panel).  I chose to eliminate it altogether, so using a small pair of pliers, I gently torqued the component in a clockwise / counter-clockwise direction until it broke free from the board.  It was still attached to a single wire, so I snipped it with some wire cutters.  (Honestly, at that moment, I felt my odds were about 50-50 that I was still going to have a working coffee pot.)
  11. Reverse all of these steps to get it back together and you’ll have a quietly brewed pot of coffee the next morning.

Sending email via Gmail using PHP & Postfix

So I’ve started trying to teach myself PHP and MySQL.  I’ve built a CentOS 5.5 server and have installed a LAMP environment to play around with.  While stepping through the exercises and playing with the mail() function in PHP, I realized that my test messages weren’t being delivered.  A friend pointed out that I didn’t install the Sendmail package, which typically installs w/ CentOS, but he suggested I install Postfix instead as it’s easier to manage and not quite as temperamental as Sendmail.  After installing Postfix, the PHP script would work, but it took about 10-15 minutes to send the message and even then, it would get routed to my Gmail SPAM folder.  After a considerable amount of digging I finally fixed it.

I’ve attached a link below to the original article I referenced to fix my problem (originally written by Jeremy Bouse), but have also snipped/edited the specific steps I used, just in case the original article disappears in the future.

(snipped and modified)

The first step is to create the file containing your authentication credentials. For this I used /etc/postfix/sasl_passwd to which I added this line:

smtp.gmail.com:587    myusername@gmail.com:mygmailpassword

You’ll want to be sure this file is protected so I recommend root:root ownership and 0600 permissions be set on it. You’ll then want to run the following to create the hash mapped version as root.

postmap hash:/etc/postfix/sasl_passwd

Below is a copy of the lines I added to the bottom of my main.cf file:

/etc/postfix/main.cf

myhostname = localhost.localdomain
mydestination = localhost.localdomain
smtp_sasl_auth_enable = yes
smtp_sasl_password_maps = hash:/etc/postfix/sasl_password
smtp_sasl_security_options =
smtp_tls_security_level = may
relayhost = smtp.gmail.com:587

After making these changes to the main.cf config file, I reloaded Postfix so it would pick up the changes, reran my PHP script containing the mail() function and it worked like a champ.

http://serverfault.com/questions/119278/configure-postfix-to-send-relay-emails-gmail-smtp-gmail-com-via-port-587

Moving the \users directory in Windows 7

In previous versions of Windows, I was always disappointed about the inability to relocate the \users directory.  I typically partition my drives so that Windows is installed on its own partition and then use a separate partition for installing applications and documents.  Over time, however, the \users directory would eventually become bloated as a result of varying application installations and since I was installing the OS on a brand new 64Gb SDD this time, I wanted to keep the footprint as small as possible (don’t get me started on the gluttonous \Winsxs folder).

After spending some time searching for a way to move the \users folder, I tripped across this posting which detailed a way to do it without having to hack the registry to pieces.  It sounded fairly straight forward and since I was doing a fresh installation of Windows 7, I wasn’t concerned about the outcome.

http://lifehacker.com/5467758/move-the-users-directory-in-windows-7

Needless to say, this method has worked just fine for me.  Other than having to remember that the c:\users folder actually resides on the d:\ drive (even when it appears in Windows Explorer to live in c:\), I haven’t had any problems.

(tap tap) Is this thing on?

My very first blog post.  How exciting.

Actually, I’m about as leery of this as I was my first haircut, but I’m going to give it a try anyway.  My main purpose for starting this blog is to force me to learn a lot of the technology that I feel I’ve let pass me by: Networks, PHP, HTML, CSS, Apache, MySQL, Linux, Java, Virtualization, Samba….the list goes on.

I’m a fairly technical guy, but I need to dig a little deeper into the details and I think this will be a good way to get started.  My intent is to provide a little chronology to where I started and where I end up going, as well as document all of the hiccups I fully expect to encounter along the way.  Knowing the way I tear into things, there is no doubt that I am going to totally crater a server.  I’m hoping that by taking notes of my mistakes, I can not only refer to them later, but possibly prevent somebody else from making the same ones.  I’m also hoping to get some valuable advice from those who’ve been doing this much longer than I.

And since it’s my blog and I can do whatever I want to with it, I’ll probably share some random thoughts or funny stories along the way.

Onward through the spam….

Spam

I’m pink, therefore I’m SPAM.