My car's old, and I like that. However I've never had any problem with the modernising of old things, as long as it's done subtly, so when I realised I couldn't hear my rear speakers at 70mph, and that the original single central speaker just wasn't going to cut it (even if I got it working) it was time to get chopping:

  1. Before I started:
  2. Spray the new speaker covers (but not the cones of course). Two coats should do it:
  3. Chop the requisite holes in the side panels as shown. Make sure the drivers side hole is far enough forward that the large bundle of wires that side doesn't get in the way of the back of the cone:
  4. Assemble it all:
  5. Finished!:

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I love my little digital camera (a two year old Casio Exilim) - it's tiny, yet with enough exploring of the menus it can be set to behave just how I like... Except in one regard: The flash. It's not adjustable and always seems to be too bright when used indoors, so here's some hacks I've adopted to get round this.

  1. I keep half a train ticket in my wallet to put over the flash for close ups, it lets just enough light through. And of course if you need it, using thinner paper means more light.
  2. I've bought a really cool, very cheap, bendy pocket tripod (search ebay for bendy tripod to see what I mean) to use (without the flash, and with a 2 second delay) on static subjects.
  3. Zooming in and standing further away is an old favourite of course, but is still usually a bit stark for my tastes.
  4. If it's a party you can get quite a good effect by putting on the flash alongside the "fair weather" setting (indicated with a sun icon). That means the flash goes, capturing the subject where you want, but the shutter stays open for a bit, making light sources brighten and generally fuzzing the edges and dropping the brightly exposed initial shot back into the mix. That's not the best explaination, so here's an example of the fair weather mode in action. You can also have some fun moving the camera around a bit too. :-)
  5. Finally, I could always buy another camera: Anti-shake mode, low-light mode and adjustable flash power are all common options nowadays. Something to consider when debating the next purchase anyway...
As an aside: In theory pushing the ISO up and suppressing the flash might buy you some leeway, but my Exilim only goes to 400 & I've never managed to get a noticable improvement in the results, but it may work for you...

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There's certain dates I used to find myself putting into my electronic calendar every year, but set up a few rules and use a few hacks and you won't need to:

  1. UK Bank holidays can be added manually from the bank holiday page of the DTI site. For the days off work the following rules can be set up:

    • New year - first weekday in January
    • Easter - based around the lunar calendar, so you'll have to look this up each year
    • May day - first Monday in May
    • Spring (Whitsun) - Last Monday in May
    • Summer - Last Monday in August
    • Christmas and Boxing day - first two weekdays on or after the 25th December

    Additionally there's an Outlook shortcut which automatically populates these dates and more: Tools > Options > Calendar > Add holidays > select your country (and religion if so desired).

    Note also that there are Scottish, Welsh, Irish and Cornish holidays that I haven't included, because I don't get to have them. :-(

  2. Clock changes in the UK occur on the last Sundays in March (forward) and October (back).
  3. Mother's day - 4th sunday of lent (so no repeating rule for that either), father's day is the third sunday in June.
  4. Random days you might want to note: Pancake day (AKA Shrove Tuesday), fireworks night (5th November) & International Talk Like a Pirate Day (19th September). NB: National days (George, Patrick) are included by the Outlook tool above.
  5. Lastly, birthdays: Put them in (as recurrances) whenever you find them out, and set reminders depending on how much warning you need (e.g. 4 days if you'll be sending them a card, or just one for an email or text). I'd also make sure you put at least a surname initial in: "Paul" might not be enough in a few years. While you're there, mine's the 14th December. Cheers, mine's a pint.

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