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!

 

“I want to text my toaster!”

Unfortunately, despite rapid and progressive advances in technology we are still unable to create a textable toaster. We can, however, change lighting and temperature in a room; we can play music and stream content to any part of a house; we can even lock our doors and windows with a push of a button 10,000 miles away on our smartdevice.

As wireless technology develops it will be come easier to manage one’s home remotely. This development is not without its risks or shortcomings.

Security:

Cyber-security is fundamental to the equation of the SmartHome; storing information as benign as lighting or as severe as locking mechanisms can have far reaching consequences in the event of a data breach.

Imagine for a moment that a SmartHome service offered to keep your door lock codes on the cloud for ‘convenience’. That service is attacked and breached by hackers who distribute lock codes, home addresses, lighting information (schedules) to the highest bidder.

No doubt most SmartHome service providers will be more security conscious than that, but the scenario is still a valid one. Be cautious and thoughtful when considering a SmartHome security solution.

Financial:

Expensive!

Benefits:

The biggest benefit (and most obvious) is convenience. From the comfort of your couch, you can remotely turn on/off any light in your house and even dim them to a specific level! When you are driving across the country, or around the corner, you can simply tap your phone to lock your door.

In the opinion of these lowly technicians, SmartHome tech does not have a favorable cost/value ratio. Sure you can dim the lights from your couch, but is that worth $300?

Unless you are Bill Gates and have eleven figures in your bank account, SmartHome tech is more of a novelty than a necessity (like the clapper).

When Apple released the iPad in 2010, they were ridiculed. No one expected there to be any need for a giant iPhone without any calling ability. Since then, the tablet market has exploded. Every major tech manufacturer from ASUS to Dell are manufacturing tablets modeled after the iPad.

Rewind 5-10 years and you will see a market of mobile computing that is emerging called ‘netbooks’. Designed to be low profile, lightweight laptops for highly mobile individuals (not unlike tablets). These devices were, and to some extent, still are, extremely low power, tiny form-form factor computers. The netbook market struggled for traction 5 years ago, and it continues to struggle today.

netbook

Tablets overtook the netbook world due to their attractive, simple design, touch screen interface and portability.
If you ask anyone in the mobile tech industry what their thoughts on tablets are, they will likely give you one of two responses; enthusiastically negative or enthusiastically positive. There is a pretty big gap between these two camps. Some see tablets as simple, powerful computers that fulfill their (minimal) computing needs. Others see them as redundant, larger versions of their phones that lack the functionality of a full computer.

As an owner of an Apple iPad and a previous owner of a Google Nexus 7 I find myself in the latter camp. I use my iPad for less and less every day. It simply doesn’t have the customizability or functionality of a computer; nor does it have the convenience of a phone. It sits awkwardly between the two, unsure of what its role should be.
That said, I don’t think this is a problem with tablets as a class; I think that this entire problem revolves around our mentality that a tablet should have a mobile OS, like iOS. In keeping with the Apple ‘ecosystem’, one cannot install OSX apps on an iPad. You can’t save documents to your desktop, there are no folders. You are locked into this ethereal state of app-jumping.

If only there was a middle ground. Something that took the small form factor, touch screen and low profile of a tablet, but the power and functionality of a mobile computer.

Enter the Microsoft Surface Pro 2 and 3.

Surface Pro 3

The Surface is incredible. It is a lightweight, touchscreen device in the shape of a tablet but it packs the hardware of a midrange desktop computer AND has a fully featured Windows 8.1 (soon to be Windows 10) installation on it.
Not only do you have a full Windows OS loaded where you can install any Windows program, you get to use Windows 8.1 as it was meant to be used—with your hands. If that wasn’t enough for you, it also comes with a USB port, a MicroSD expansion port and a connector to hook up a very well designed and fully qualified keyboard.
I firmly believe that the Surface is the future of mobile computing. Computing power is going to always be increasing, we have to match that power with user ability. That cannot be achieved through a mobile OS. A simplified OS has its place in small devices like phones or media players. But a mobile computing device like a tablet, deserves a qualified OS like Windows 8.1(10).

We at netEffx will be acquiring a Surface Pro 3 to conduct more extensive trials in the coming week. Stay tuned for more information on them and other new Microsoft Tech!