Earlier this month Joy and I decided to try and replace the screen on a 3rd Generation iPad. We sourced an iOpener iFixit Kit from iFixit which included tools, and a screen / digitize assembly. The iPad patient had a completely shattered front screen with two dented corners. Following instructions found online we attempted to lift the screen with the tools provided.

An iPad’s screen is adhered with very strong glue. iFixit provides a closed tube/sack of fluid that is microwaved and then palced on the iPad to melt the glue. It didnt work at all. The glue remained strong and sticky. Instead of trying to remove the entire front screen, we decided to chip away at the glass trim with a razor blade. This proved marginally sucessful (and painful). After about an hour and a half of chipping, we decided to invest in a heat gun.

$22.00 and a day later, we applied 1000 degrees of pure thermal radiation to the glue, which promptly melted. The iFixit guitar picks were somewhat useful for lifting the glass as we melted the glue. We slid the guitar picks in under the glass and moved them down the side to prevent the glue from re-sticking.

Some parts of the side required more razor blade scraping, but the heatgun dramatically accelerated the process.

Once we removed the trim around the screen, we were able to lift the whole panel off, despite the shattered surface. We speculate that the digitizer managed to hold the pieces together.

From there, we removed the LCD panel and set it aside in a safe place. Under the LCD are the three ribbon connectors for the digitizer, LCD and logic board. We disconnected the LCD and digitizer and proceeded to clean the metal trim to allow for the next glass panel. Once clean of glass shards and glue (we used rubbing alcohol to remove the glue), we plugged in the new digitizer/screen and the LCD. Screwed down the LCD and set the digitizer/screen over top.

Unfortunately, the dents in the corners prevented the glass from sitting properly and was lifting off the chassis. We attempted to push out the metal frame dents but were only slightly successful.

We let the new adhesive sit with pressure and attempted to turn on the device and it came back to life!

After testing, the digitizer was functioning perfectly with no glitches or dead spots. However, because of the dented corners, the glass is still lifting off of the chassis.

If you want to perform this same procedure here are some tips:

1. Use a heat gun.

2. Use a straight edge razor

3. Take your time and be careful of glass shards

4. Work on covered surface (for easy cleanup)

5. Try and use a file to remove, or push out dented corners

6. Be very careful not to scratch the LCD- they are far more expensive than your digitizer.

7. Pick up a broken iPad off of ebay to try this on first. Make sure that you get a similar model to the one you own!

 

The most common complaint of any computer user is that their system is “too slow!” We, at netEffx, would like to provide some suggestions to speed up your older computers.

First of all, any utility on the web that purports to “Speed up your PC” is lying and will likely give you a virus. Almost all the tools you need to speed up your computer are already on it.

  • Startup Items
    • Problem: When you start up your computer, Windows will look at the list of “startup items” and attempt to launch them all before letting you do anything. This could cause extremely long boot up times and can bog down a system for as few as 30 seconds to as long as 30 minutes.
    • Solution: Simultaneously press the Windows Key + R to bring up the “Run Window” Then type in msconfig and click ‘run’. Next, go to the Startup tab. Go through the list of items and place a check in the box next to the items you do not wish to start up with your computer. This comes with a great deal of discretion on your part. By disabling on startup, you are not removing the software, you can start it whenvever you want. It will simply not be automatically started for you. NOTE: some of these items are very important for proper functionality of Windows. Do not disable any items that are published by Intel, Microsoft, Synaptic, Realtek, or your Antivirus provider. 
  • Disk Space
    • Problem: Windows uses your free disk space as a ‘speed booster’ when that space is used up, Windows will have less to work with and as such, your computer’s responsiveness will suffer.
    • Solution: Open My Computer (Windows 7) / Explorer (Windows 7&8) and right click on your primary drive–usually the C: Drive. Then click “Properties”. You will see a lot of technical information and a pie chart. Next to that Pie Chart will be a button that says Disk Cleanup. Click on that. You can safely check all the boxes and then click Ok. This will delete the temporary information that Windows has held on to and empty the Recycle Bin.
    • Additionally, its a good idea to go through your computer and clear it out from time to time. Empty out your Downloads Folder; delete unnecessary files and folders; uninstall programs that you no longer need or use.
  • Registry
    • Problem: Windows keeps track of all of its programs, functions, settings and features in its Registry. Imagine it to be a big instruction book. When you get your computer for the first time, that instruction book may only be 10 pages long. After 4-5 years, that instruction book will be the size of an ancient tome. Forcing Windows to look through such a big ‘book’ is going to slow it down.
    • Solution: Go online and download the utility CCleaner. *I know I already told you not to use the internet but CCleaner is one of the most useful utilities available and is worth having on your computer.* Once it downloads, run the installer and start up the program. The free version has slightly less features but will serve the required purpose. On the left side you will see options for Cleaner and Registry. Cleaner will do essentially what Disk Cleanup did. Click on Registry then click “Scan for Issues” and let it Scan. Once finished, click “Fix selected issues…” It will prompt you to Backup Changes to the registry, click YES and save to desktop. Once it finishes clearing, scan again and fix again. You don’t have to back up your registry again. Repeat until no issues are found.
  • Malware
    • Problem: Malware can do terrible things to your machine if left unchecked.
    • Solution: Go online (again) and download the free version of MalwareBytes. When you install, uncheck “Free Trial of Malwarebytes Premium”. (If you leave it checked, it will relentlessly remind you to purchase the upgrade.) Once it installs, run a Custom Scan on your hard drive. Be sure to check “Scan for Rootkits” on the left side. This is a lengthy process and can be left alone while it runs. You can continue work as usual. Once it finishes, click “Apply Actions” and reboot once it finishes cleaning. It never hurts to run a second scan after rebooting!
  • Antivirus
    • Problem: Antivirus can (ironically enough) be extremely invasive and slow down your computer more than malware!
    • Solution:  If you have, Norton Antivirus, AVG Antivirus, Kaspersky Antivirus or McAfee Antivirus, uninstall them and replace with a light weight alternative. These include Webroot, Malwarebytes or Avast*. Make sure that you cancel whatever subscription you may be paying for so that you don’t get billed. *Note Avast can be light weight and was the best in the recent past but has lately gotten more cumbersome.

Be advised that there is an inherit risk in modifying/deleting system files. Please use caution when performing any of these maintenance procedures. The information contained in this post is for general information purposes only. We make no representations or warranties of any kind, express or implied, about the completeness, accuracy, reliability, suitability or availability with respect to the content on this website.

 

Introspection: What type of computer user are you? Are you a creator or are you a consumer? Creators of content are going to require very different hardware than a consumer of content.

If you are a consumer of content  you aren’t going to need the fastest or most powerful laptop. Your needs are going to be fulfilled by a high-quality screen and easy usability.

Consumers:

If you are in this category, you might be best suited for a tablet/laptop hybrid. Most manufacturers have at least one 2-in-1 option available and reputable manufacturers like Dell, HP, ASUS or Lenovo are the best places to look for purchasing such a device.

Amazon and other online retailers are excellent sources for user reviews of products. Research each option thoroughly to find which one is most highly rated by users.

Specifications to look out for include: high-resolution screen (1080p or better), hybrid design (detachable keyboard for example), touch based interface, Solid-State-Drive (SSD).

*NOTE: Most laptops/netbooks/2-in-1 devices do not have an optical drive anymore. If you plan on watching DVDs or installing software from a disk, make sure to purchase a laptop with an optical drive or plan on purchasing an external optical drive.

Creators:

‘Creator’ is a broad category with a variety of different types of needs but as a baseline: people in this category should look at ultrabooks and laptops. As of February 2015, you should look for machines that have a minimum of 8GB of RAM (16 is better), a SSD, and at least a 2.4 Ghz i5 CPU with an i7 being a better long term investment.

Depending on the content you intend to create, you might have more specific needs. Graphics intensive work will necessitate a dedicated Graphics Card (GPU) with at least 2GB of VRAM. Graphics work also tends to require more disk space, which would mean a larger SSD. Alternatively, you could get an external drive*.

Peripherals:

Useful additions to any laptop include:

Mini-Display Port, Thunderbolt Port, HDMI Port, USB 3.0 Support, SD Card reader.

 

Decision time:

An Average Consumer laptop should look something like this:

  • Intel i3 2.0Ghz CPU
  • 128 GB SSD
  • 8GB 1600 Mhz DDR3 SDRAM
  • 13-15.6″ 1080P Screen

An Average Creator laptop should look something like this:

  • Intel i5 2.6Ghz CPU
  • Nvidia 730M w/ 2GBs VRAM
  • Intel 256 GB SSD
  • 8GB 1600Mhz DDR3 SDRAM
  • 15.6″ 1080p Screen

A Powerful Creator laptop should look something like this:

  • Intel i7 3.4Ghz CPU
  • Nvidia 760M w/ 2Gbs VRAM
  • Intel 512GB SSD
  • 16GB 1600Mhz DDR3 SDRAM
  • 17.1″ 1080P Screen.

 

Of course it goes without saying that netEffx technicians would be happy to answer any of your questions (no question is a bad question) and are ready and able to build your specific computer.

 

*If you purchase a laptop with a small SSD and have a Thunderbolt or USB 3.0 port, you can effectively use an external drive to increase your computer’s storage capacity.