Archive for the ‘Complaining to Engineers’ Category

There is only the Force.

Monday, August 10th, 2009

The iPod touch is a descendant of the iPod Classic with a anodized aluminum frame surrounding the plastic touch screen and polished steel back cabinet. The attachment system is the same. Inaccessible little bastard aluminum clips. Same idea as opening a Classic; the back cabinet comes off, exposing the goodies underneath.

The iPod touch 2G is a whole new ball game. Departing completely from the Classic and nano framework. It resembles an anorexic iPhone.

The front is now completely plastic. The back is familiar stainless steel, only now, instead of meeting the front panel neatly, it is contoured and curved to fit over the plastic’s thin delicate rubber border. Think of it like holding a softball in one hand as opposed to a baseball. In one, the fingers bend up to the curve of the ball and point in parallel lines. In the other, the fingers point in paths that cross, much how the forces of Apple will move to encircle the globe to hunt down the last of the Resistance while Steve Jobs smirks serenely in his giant white polycarbonate castle which will be shortly upgraded to an anodized aluminum castle for security reasons.

If you want to open your $200-$400 iPod (which you may want to if yours is among the 3-5% that fail), you’ll need the following tools.

  • Exacto knife
  • Bench grinder
  • non-conducive Lubricant
  • small Phillip’s head screwdriver
  • Plastic spudger

ipod tools

The bench grinder is used to grind the edge off of the Exacto knife till it is sort of shaped like the end of a falchion. The point is sharp enough to cut paper, but the rest of the edge has between a 300 and 500 µm thickness.

The first step is to lube the crack with some specialized lubricant. Next, the tool tip is gently inserted into the crack and worked back and forth without breaking the rubber liner. The intention here is to separate the rubber from the steel casing. Next the plastic front is slowly worked up one corner at a time, by attacking the seam at the places where the clips lay. The greatest threat comes from the metal blade itself on the soft rubber. Pinching of the softer-as-silicone rubber is usually not an issue with sufficient lubricant.

Ultimately, this ends with the top left corner where the flex cable for the touch data resides and allows for a half inch of travel before it must be levered out with the spudger. Now we can unscrew things.

What I’ve learned from all this is that.

I’d make a terrible surgeon.

Maybe it’s the caffeine or lack of sleep. But I seem to lack dopamine in the morning. Maneuvering a millimeter-wide screw into a similarly-sized hole seems to be much harder the first or second thousandth time. If I miss, I’m at risk of scratching the LCD or ripping wire traces in the PCB boards. (Yes, there is more than one.)

I’d make a terrible Jedi.

Much anger I possess.

Apple engineers are bastards.

angry asian ipod


Sunday, August 10th, 2008

Something you’ll quickly learn, if you are indeed a new reader, is that I take my school supplies very seriously.

Patchy was unofficially retired as early as May when its condition became extreme. The bottom being unlikely to survive contact with anything sharper than a boiled egg, it now calls the living room closet home. It sees occasional use for high volume, low density cargo, such as the mint leaves my grandma grows in our backyard for profit or several cubic feet of packing peanuts.

I’ve wanted to replace my backpack, Columbia, since at least mid-semester. It has several problems which a hardcore Asian like myself could no longer ignore. In addition to the relatively small volume, there was the paucity of accessories compartments and supplies pockets. The main compartments are excessively divided in a manner that limits books beyond a certain width and the main zipper being set too far forward, it is a hassle to remove a laptop. Indicated in red is a better position for zipper placement.

columbia diagram There is also a glaring issue that I’ve noticed common to all other laptop-sleeve bearing backpacks. The laptop sleeve [indicated by the white outline] is attached to the pack’s inner wall, offering illusory protection by placing it as close to the wearer as possible. While my other cargo may protect it from small-caliber projectiles, what if I tie my shoes?

That is to say, the act of bending over places stress on the laptop. The yellow line indicates the curvature of my back as it puts pressure on the center of the laptop. While this effect on ultrasleek models like the Air are unknown, it has proved itself a hazard to my LCD screen.

The result of repeated bicycle commutes has flexed the tough magnesium alloy screen bezel inward enough that the bottom row of the keyboard and the slightly raised mouse button have indented their shapes into the screen. The extent of this effect is unknown with newer, lighter, plastic machines, (You tell me, Neal.) but they probably have lower profile keyboards and mouse buttons anyway. I much would have preferred a sleeve design that shelters my machine between two rigid textbooks rather than one textbook and the uneven landscape of my back.

My new Adidas has the same laptop sleeve placement so I’m stuck using an un-bicyclable Targus messenger bag. At least it can hold laptop accessories and is compatible with a backpack. (I can wear both at the same time.)

Next time: A comprehensive review of the Adidas.