Baking an iMac’s graphics card.

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Ok, full confession, I did this about a year ago. A client called me up and told me their iMac wasn’t booting. I went over, took a look and noticed the symptoms of a bad graphics card. Uh oh. I told them the diagnosis and explained that there was a possibility that it could be fixed, but it would be risky and costly (my services).

    Fortunately, they are the type of people who buy a new car when the time comes to change the oil, so they set the iMac aside and got a new 27 inch iMac ‘knife’. I came back later to do a check up on their current iMac, and noticed the old one in the corner. I asked if they were going to sell it, but they actually said I could have it.

    I brought it home and began disassembling. I followed this excellent iFixit guide and got the graphics card out of the machine. Next I did some research, and learned that reflowing a card is a good way to get it working. The ‘sweet spot’ for my card was 400F for about ten minutes. I then let it rest for another ten, and then back in at 400F for another ten. I reassembled the machine, taking care to put everything back. I fired it up and lo and behold, it worked. I gave it to my sister, who in the beginning swore she would never use it and it was a piece of junk, now uses it everyday and cannot live without it.

Warning: if you do this, I’m not responsible for your computer breaking. Also, its not generally wise to use the oven as a reflow oven, get a cheap toaster oven. That is all.

Quick tip to make AutoLayout not a pain.

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When I was developing PayUp, I started using AutoLayout, and I deemed it a huge pain, like ‘why the heck is it over here!?!?!’ and other phrases I shouldn’t mention. Anyway, on my new project, I discovered a little tip, build your views with the smallest size, and AutoLayout will handle the scaling up properly, unlike scaling down. Happy Coding!

My ‘SpareBook’ Pro.

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Well, this isn’t the first time I’ve written about this beat-to-hell 15″ Late ’08 MacBook Pro, and it certainly isn’t the last. I’d like to begin saying that I didn’t cause damage to this machine. I’d also like to say that almost everything that could go wrong with this machine, did. It started out as some simple repairs for a friend, who did beat the hell out of this MacBook. At first, only the wifi needed replacement, then the left hinge broke, and the LCD started ‘lightly flickering’. He kinda said “screw it, you keep it” and thus it became mine. Some JB-Weld fixed the hinge, a $10 dongle replaced the wifi, and the flickering kinda goes away. The way I look at it is its kinda like the beater Chevy that gets you to work and back, and thats it. Unfortunately, this Chevy has a V8 with dual-barrel carbs. It has the 2.66 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo and the NVIDIA GeForce 9400M 256 MB under the hood, making this 15″ purr quite nicely.

A quick update, of sorts.

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Hello, its me, Keaton. Been a bit, eh? I’m back, now, and working on some new projects that I am very excited about. First off, I am working closely with the founder of DepthChartz.com making a mobile iOS ‘companion’ app for his service. Secondly, I plan to ‘re-tech’ my house and home with multiple Raspberry Pis, like a garage door opener. Third, I need to do some vital upgrades to my Mac Pro, poor guy. I will post a detailed page of whats planned soon. Fourth, I am starting to get the word out about a class I am teaching this summer, ‘An intro to Arduino’. Thats about it, if I can get my Mac Pro working, we should be good to go.

Dell Venue 7 Pro: A Review.

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As per my previous post, I have received a Dell Venue 7 Pro, an Android tablet.

 

Hardware:

At first glance, the tablet looks thin and light, and it truly is. The tablet itself has three physical buttons, volume up, volume down, and lock/power. All of the other necessary buttons are strictly software. It has a front facing camera accompanied with a back. Both are horrible, even in well lit situations. The tablet has an Intel processor and 2GB of RAM, making the tablet fairly snappy and responsive. The battery lasted five hours with heavy usage (Netflix, Web browsing, Games). My least favorite is the touch screen, it attracts fingerprints and smudges extremely easily. Lastly, the speakers are surprisingly okay, great for Netflix, not for music.

 

Software:

Thankfully, this tablet runs stock Android 4.3 and can be upgraded to 4.4 (and hopefully Lollipop). As for rooting, its a bit trickier than other devices, but a guide was posted here earlier. No custom ROMS can be found/used as the custom recovery isn’t applied on boot, you need to tether your tablet to get back to  CWM.

 

Overall, this tablet fares well for its uses, and I’m glad to own one.