Phone’s cracked screen, replaced.

I usually am quite careful when it comes to my phone: use phone case, apply the screen protector, things like that. But I suppose accident happens regardless. So, during the first week of August, I accidentally dropped a big screwdriver on the phone (don’t ask why) and heard a “crack” sound. Uugghh… my heart dropped when I saw the crack. Really bad.

Phone with cracked screen
The phone with the cracked screen. Looks scary.

Hoping the screen protector was strong enough to protect the touchscreen (after all, I used tempered glass screen protector), I turned it on and, bummer, the touch screen is completely borked. Fortunately, the hard drive was not affected so software worked fine. However, I could not interact with the apps, even when I tried to shutdown the phone. So, the only thing I could do was to let the phone run until it was running out of the battery and shutdown by default.

Phone's touch display looks really bad
The software works just fine, but since the touch display is damaged, I cannot interact with it at all.

I checked the company’s website and their user forum, and found out one could send the phone back to the company in China and get charged for $150 (apparently this kind of physical damage doesn’t get covered by the warranty) or spend about $50 for the screen/touch display and replace it oneself. Being a tinkerer I am and always want to see the guts of any electronic devices, I decided to risk it and do the screen replacement myself. The downside: opening up the phone means I will void the warranty. But, at this point, warranty means little to me if I have to spend big bucks anyway to have the phone fixed. Besides, I am going to learn something new here. Worst case scenario: I failed. But then I can always sell the phone as parts on eBay. So, nothing really to loose here. Besides, I still have my Moto X phone as a backup phone.

YouTube provides various instructions on DIY phone screen replacement. I found two videos that really helped me to understand the ins and outs of replacing the screen.

The first video below nicely showed how to remove the damaged screen and put the replacement back. He showed which areas we need to pay attention to so we won’t damage the component.

The second video was created by a professional technician, so his method is very structured. The tools he used helped me to figure out the tools I need.

I basically watched those two videos probably a dozen times or so to make sure I didn’t miss anything (and, yes, I donated to their Paypal account as my thanks.)

It took me a while to finally finished the screen replacement work. I removed the cracked screen first, and then had to wait for about 3 weeks to receive the screen replacement. I just used whatever online store they recommended to get the parts that I need.

Below is a set of thumbnails with captions explaining my work. Each thumbnail is clickable to its original image.

1.

phone's cracked screen
Phone with its cracked screen. Ready to be worked on for screen replacement.
2.

The back of the phone
The back of the phone. The SIM card is removed and the back cover is ready to be opened.
3.

phone with back cover removed
The phone with back cover removed. The battery occupies most of the section. There’s a white dot sticker on the top right corner covering one of the screws. Removing that screw will void the warranty.
4.

Back of the phone with top part that covers the hard disk removed
The top part of the phone that covers the hard disk, camera lens, and SIM car reader is removed. There’s a white, square sticker on the top left corner. It will turn pink if the phone is exposed to moisture (dropped into a puddle of water, etc.)
5.

Back of the phone with top and bottom part removed
Bottom part of the phone is removed. It houses the USB port, the touch capacity, and the antenna.
6.

phone with the battery removed
The battery is removed. It took me quite a while to work on this because the glue was so strong and I was so worried I might bend the battery too much and damage it.
7.

The phone with components removed
All the components that would need to be removed had been removed. The hard disk, the main cable, the touch capacity/USB port/antenna part. Looking good.
8.

cracked screen, guitar pick, and a blow dryer
The video instruction from ModzLink suggested to use a heat to loosen up the glue. Good thing I have a blow dryer with a nozzle that allows me to focus the hot air on certain section of the screen. The guitar pick was used to tease out the glass part once the surface is hot enough.
9.

Heating the screen surface with blow dryer
It took me about 20 minutes to finally get the screen hot enough and the glue loosen up. By the way, I vacuumed the screen first to remove glass debris so the blow drier won’t blow them all over the place.
1o.

working on cleaning up the glue from the casing
I used the magnifying glass from my soldering station to make sure all glue and loose debris were gone.
11.

screen replacement and the old screen
The screen replacement, on the left, finally arrived. Even though they said it’s an original screen, I’m not really sure, considering the original one has extra copper lines on the sides.
12.

new screen with the casing, fine point tweezers, and adhesive
The casing is clean so all I need to do is inserting the screen replacement in it.
13.

putting the adhesive on the casing
Carefully putting the adhesive strips on the sides of the casing.
14.

new screen in place
New screen in place. I had to redo it because I forgot to put the speaker grill on the top at the first time.
15.

back of the casing
Added new adhesive strips so the battery will stick on it. Put the rest of the components back.
16.

turn on the phone
Added a new tempered glass screen protector, put the SIM card back in, and turned on the phone.

Finally:

working phone
Success. I got my favorite phone back.

It was scary the first time I worked on the phone, mostly because I don’t want to break things. But I eventually felt comfortable dealing with the components and, should similar thing happened again (knocks on the wood it won’t), I at least know what to do now.

 

The awesome things @ Michigan State University

Sometime ago I read about going out and learning about your own surroundings. Sorry, I’m completely blank on the actual resource and whether I read from one of those motivational emails or tweets or websites or image meme. The point is, we should not stay inside our own bubble.

How much do we actually know the kind of awesome services or initiatives available in our own library or within other units on campus? I only know a little, to be honest. Many times I found out a cool set of collection in the library because somebody mentioned it, a local newspaper wrote about it, or from the newsletter sent to the library supporters. Kinda embarrassing, but, hey, better late than never. Same thing with many initiatives happening around campus. With so many units established on campus, I am sure I miss many of them. But I would like to highlight several of them:

First, MSU Libraries is gathering text and data aimed for digital humanities (DH) projects either through our own digital collection or collaborate with vendors. It’s all started with a request from a research faculty wanting to work on a topic that would require Congressional data. This collaboration with the faculty prompted our Digital Humanities librarians to pursue other text or data collections that we could offer to our users (and, in some cases, to the public).

MSU Libraries Digital Humanities text collections
MSU Libraries Digital Humanities text and data collections

Another one that I’d like to highlight is Enviro-weather, a weather-based tools for Michigan Agriculture’s pest, natural resources, and production management decisions. This is a collaborative project between the Michigan Climatological Resources Program and the MSU Integrated Pest Management Program. Each yellow dot on the map represents an Agriculture Station. If you highlight the dot with your cursor, you’ll see the latest weather data pulled from the weather station positioned around the state. Click on the dot and you’ll see a more complete information on the area. You could, of course, go further and get the raw data itself by going to their Enviro-Weather Automated Weather Station Network site.

Michigan State University Enviro-Weather tool
Michigan State University Enviro-Weather tool

The Geographic Information System (GIS) unit on campus created cool and useful GIS-based applications that they developed to showcase the MSU campus. My favorite applications are these two below:

The Historical Imagery provides aerial photography of the MSU campus from 1938 to 2010 (I hope they’d add more for the later years.) While interacting with application, I, of course, couldn’t resist checking the area where the current MSU Libraries is located. By moving the slider slowly, I could see the changes happened from an empty slot to its current structure. Not all images are available; sometimes you get an empty section due to image unavailability. Still, it’s really cool to see the changes happened during the last 60 years or so.

Michigan State University GIS Historical Imagery
Michigan State University GIS Historical Imagery. The round construction in middle is the Spartan Stadium.

The Environmental Stewardship (requires Adobe Flash Player 11 or higher, unfortunately) allows one to check the energy consumption and/or waste reduction effort around campus. You can pick a building and generate the report based on the data for current or past fiscal year. One can see that they made the information available for the public to see and download due to MSU’s status as a public and land grant university; the application allows the public to inspect and interact with the information themselves.

Michigan State University Environmental Stewardship map
Michigan State University Environmental Stewardship map

There are more great projects and initiatives around campus like the ones that I highlighted above. It would be nice if I could do a “cool stuff on campus” search on the university website instead of relying on the serendipity. But, hey, I probably should go around and ask instead. :-)

The sound version of a Google (old) reCAPTCHA

Last month, Google announced the new no-captcha reCAPTCHA that is supposedly more accurate and better at preventing spams. We’ll see how this goes.

In the mean time, plenty of websites that employ Google’s reCAPTCHA still use the old version like this:

Google old recaptcha

The problem with this reCAPTCHA is that it fundamentally doesn’t work with screen readers (among other things, like forcing you crossed your eyes trying to figure out each character in the string.) Some people pointed out that reCAPTCHA offers the sound version (see that little red speaker?) that should mitigate the problem.

Here’s the link to sound version of a Google reCAPTCHA: https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/9074989/google-recaptcha-audio.mp3

This example was taken from the PubMed website and happened to be set as a string of numbers.

Enjoy!

p.s. what is this a about PubMed using inaccessible reCAPTCHA? There are other ways to employ non-captcha security techniques without using that kind solution. :-/

p.p.s. In case you’re curious, I could not decipher two out of the eleven (if I counted it correctly) numbers said in that recording.

Web Services related terms

(just pulling out stuff from what my brain can come up with at the moment)

API – CSS – DTD – EDI – ElasticSearch – HTML – JSON – Linked Data – Mashup – Metadata – Microformats – OAI – OASIS – openURL – OSS – PURL – REST – SaaS – Semantic Web – SOAP – Solr – SRU – SRW – URN – W3C – WAI – WSDL – XML – XPath – XQuery – XSLT – YAZ

 

URL shorterner’s life

I was perusing some emails that came from a mailing list, old blog posts that I bookmarked, and old tweets that I favorited. Many of them contains somekind of link shorterners like tinyurl, bitly, and t.co.

While the URL shorterners are still functioning just fine, the actual URL themselves are not always so and sometimes I get a 404 error message from the target website. I know link rot happens, but somehow this irked me.