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What with the winter holidays and some time off, I’ve tried to make a few hacks that I thought I’d share. The first is a case for my iPad I made using 3M’s Carbon Fiber DI-NOC film sheet. I was too cheap to want to buy some more Gelaskins (I have one for my Mac), and I knew my local hardware store had some material for cheap (you can find some online here). It’s not really carbon fiber, but it’s a lot thinner than my rigid case, making it easy for me to both keep a sensible scratch protector as well as slide it into my Logitech Ultrathin Keyboard cover, which has a groove that allows very little more than a naked iPad. The same material can also be cut to fit the keyboard case, which is nice because the keyboard will likely get more scratched than anything.
The second hack is a power supply. If you look on Amazon or ThinkGeek there are several kinds of multiport USB chargers available, but they usually are limited to 2A (amps) total, which doesn’t help charging an iPad because it means nothing else can charge at the same time since the iPad draws 2.1A. I learned this the hard way, though, after buying one myself. Furthermore, you can’t just simply connect a multi-USB squid to a single charger, because most of the multi-USB hubs limit current draw (your laptop, for example, will limit the amount of current drawn by a single USB port, and many systems have current limits in place).
There are also 4A USB chargers, but the cheapest one I could find is Skiva’s $29.99 one, and the one sold in Japan is just really ugly, with USB ports jutting out in two directions.
My goal? To find a way to charge electronics discreetly, so that all I would need to do is unwind a cord from my backpack into a wall socket, without taking out any electronics. So I tried solving the problem the other way around – by using a small 1m extension cord for 100 yen, then tacking on the small USB chargers I had. A more elegant solution would have been to use two Amazon chargers (because they’re smaller), but this works for now. The electrical tape is to prevent dust and cotton from causing flames! One USB port for charging a backup battery, another for the iPhone or something similar, and another for the iPad.