Pages with tag Computer Hardware

A DIY iPhone storage upgrade - the upgrade Apple hates the most

Price any Apple hardware and you'll find they charge a pretty penny for larger memory capacity. In Apple's latest design iterations it is getting harder and harder to make upgrades, and upgrading iPhone memory or storage capacity has never been possible. You could say Apple's whole business model is predicated on charging a premium for memory and storage.

Does a larger SSD drive have longer lifetime expectancy?

While SSD drives are awesome and give excellent performance, we all have a fear of the "Sudden SSD Death Syndrome" or that sudden "hey why did my computer just die" moment. While spinning-platter drives also wear out and die, the risk of SSD drive failure weighs in the back of our collective mind. A truism going around is that "overprovisioning" your SSD drive will ensure a longer lifespan for the drive.

How to build a large capacity, fast, portable SSD drive SSD drives are fast, light weight, very reliable, and require very little power. That makes them very attractive as portable drives when away from home. We might need more data storage than is in our laptop making an external portable drive a necessity. While we can buy a manufactured external SSD drive, it's also very easy to build our own.
How to buy a refurbished computer The system of selling us gadgets is geared to foist brand new gadgets on us. It can be expensive racing to keep up with the treadmill of upgrading to the latest thing every year, plus the environmental cost of throwing away perfectly good gadgets is enormous. Buying refurbished computers, cell phones or other gadgets, can save you a lot of money. It is much better for your budget and for the planet around us to ensure each gadget serves a long and useful life, rather than getting tossed away once a prettier gadget comes along. Since the game is designed with forced obsolescence in mind, those of us taking a different route have to tread carefully and decisively. This article is a guide to buying refurbished computers and other gear.
In China you can build your own iPhone from spare parts This American entrepreneur goes to Shenzen China frequently. As he observed the scene over several months, it came to mind the electronics shops carry enough spare parts one could assemble their own iPhone. From spare parts, plus specific shop workers with the specialized skills for correct assembly. The big time-saver is to buy a working logic board, rather than soldering components onto an unpopulated logic board. But, with perseverance, and the willingness to traverse chaotic crowded markets, the parts are not only available, but it's possible to find iPhone-compatible backs with designs Apple never thought of. The video takes us on the journey, showing us the insides of not only the Shenzen markets but some snippets of electronics disassembly/recycling operations.
Intel NUC's perfectly supplant Apple's Mac Mini as a lightweight desktop computer

Many years ago Apple introduced the Mac Mini, a lightweight desktop computer where you brought your own keyboard and display. Unlike other Mac's, it was a simple box containing a logic board, memory, disk, DVD drive, USB, FireWire, and DisplayPort interfaces. Speaking for myself, the Mac Mini is attractive because its power requirements are miniscule (30 Watts or so), the box is small meaning it doesn't dominate our desk space, and you can choose your preferred keyboard, mouse and display. Unfortunately the current Mac Mini is suboptimal, since it's suffering from Apple's policy of non-repairable computers, and the design hasn't been updated in years.

The Mac Mini concept as a small box, low energy requirements, fitting into any desktop situation, is attractive, even if the current implementation is not attractive. Other computer companies have not been sitting still, and several have implemented similar computer designs. In particular the Intel NUC's are almost directly equivalent, and do not come with the hindrance of being Windows computers.

Making a light frame from a broken MacBook Pro display

The backlight in laptop LCD displays produces a lot of light. Just turn out the lights and see how well the laptop lights the room. That's with a LCD in front of the backlight, blocking most of the light produced by the backlight. Suppose the LCD on your laptop dies? You can, in most cases, replace the LCD and keep using the laptop. But what do you do with the old LCD? Maybe the backlight is perfectly fine and can be used for something.

For this project, I have an LCD display from a MacBook Pro 2009. I botched replacing the display glass and ruined the LCD panel. The LED backlight is perfectly fine, and the intention is to power the LCD, mount it in the LCD display, ending up with a light panel. The project was inspired by How to make a relaxing "false window" light panel (using old laptop screens)

Monitoring SSD drive health

SSD drives are awesome, they're fast, they consume little power, they're light weight, and so on. But we all worry about whether the drive will unexpectedly die, since a truism going around is that SSD drives will just up-and-quit taking your whole computer with it. It's useful, therefore, to have fore-warning by monitoring the health of your SSD drive. A key is to ensure your drive has the S.M.A.R.T. feature (Self-Monitoring, Analysis and Reporting Technology). The next key is getting software that can query S.M.A.R.T. data, presenting it in a way that makes sense to you.

SSD drive lifetime expectancy explained SSD drives are awesome, they're extremely faster than spinning drives, lower weight, lower power consumption, no noise, and are a direct plug-in replacement for spinning drives. Thanks to technology advances the price is falling rapidly making them more feasible every day. The problem is they're known to suddenly die giving us a fear of losing our data and suddenly having to replace the drive. This video does an excellent job of explaining the reality, and tells us to not panic but instead to make sure to leave lots of free space on the drive.
SSD drive technology, MLC, TLC, SLC SSD drives are awesome, they're extremely faster than spinning drives, lower weight, lower power consumption, no noise, and are a direct plug-in replacement for spinning drives. Making the best choice between the available SSD's means understanding what MLC, TLC and SLC means. These acronyms cover different types of SSD drive, and tradeoff's between speed, performance, data storage and reliability. The 'C' in each acronym means 'Cell', and each refers to a different architecture.
Scotty, a.k.a. The iPhone Guy, has made awesome videos on iPhone technical innards -- who is he?

Over the past few months a pair of mind-blowing videos have been made based in the parts markets in China. Scotty, the iPhone Guy, started with the question -- these markets have all kinds of spare parts for iPhones, but can you assemble enough of those parts to build your own iPhone. It took him a few weeks to accomplish the task, but he did so, and that phone works. For the second video, he wanted to add a headphone jack to the iPhone 7, which ended up as a grindingly difficult project that took 17 weeks to finish. But, it works. The question is whether Scotty will only do iPhone projects, what's his motivation, is he going to do more work like this, and so on.

He has a broader plan in mind, to explore other technology hubs, to explore the technology supply chain, and so on. We can expect his work to have great technical depth, going into literal nuts and bolts.

This video is an interview with Scotty as they walk through the building housing those electronics markets.

Steve Wozniak Debunks One of Apple's Biggest Myths Steve Wozniak takes us on a walk down history lane, retelling how much he loves designing computer hardware, and that he designed the Apple 1 for fun. Then Steve Jobs came along, and turned that hobby into a big business, making several people into multijillionaires. Wozniak says he just wanted to be an engineer at the bottom of the Org Chart, and left Apple in 1987.
The DIY upgrade of 2017 iMac that's faster than the 5K iMac

Supposedly the 5K iMac was the primo iMac, until the iMac Pro came along, but it was awfully darned expensive. This fellow worked out a method to buy a regular 2017 iMac, with a Core i5 CPU, and upgrade it with the same i7 CPU used by Apple, and other parts. Not only did he construct the equivalent of the 5K iMac, he did it for $1500 less cost, and the machine performed a lot better.

The cheapest iPhone is a refurbished phone, rather than building one yourself, says Scotty, the DIY iPhone Guy

A couple months ago an amazing video popped up on YouTube, a guy had built his own iPhone from spare parts. He followed that up with another video about hacking an iPhone 7 to have a headphone jack. As a result, Scotty (his name) has been getting lots of questions about whether building your own iPhone is the cheapest way to get a new iPhone. His answer, "No", falls in line with my observation on the cheapest way to get an iPhone X, Apple's newest iPhone that goes on sale today for over $1000 apiece.

Apple is playing a game on us all. They've learned how to make us lust after the latest gizmo, and how to make us think a 2-3 year old phone is worthless. Apple has one of the largest Market Cap's in history by playing that game. However, we can play that game a different way and save ourselves a ton of money.

Upgrading or replacing battery pack, SSD and other parts on Acer C720 Chromebook's How many of us, if the trackpad on our laptop stops working, get frustrated, set the computer aside, and buy a new one? That costs money to replace the computer, more 'stuff' piles up, it disrupts our lives, but somehow it's easier to just replace than figure out how to fix it. Turns out this specific issue, the trackpad puzzlingly not working, could be easily fixed. In my case the battery pack had swollen pushing against the trackpad making it not work correctly. The swollen battery pack itself is very dangerous and I wouldn't have known of it otherwise. Further, the replacement was next to trivial and a lot cheaper and less disruptive than replacing the whole computer.