Fixing iPod 4th Generation Headphone Jack (one-ear working)

I balled a tiny piece of tin foil up and shoved it in there. It’s working for now but once I’m feeling looser with money I’ll buy this replacement piece from Ebay which I can install myself easily. You know it’s an authentic chinese reverse engineer when it looks like it was photographed on the set of a horror movie. I just hope the part works better than the vendor’s camera.

The iPod was my graduation present in 2005 and has been fixed many times already. It’s lasted so long because everything in these 2004-era pods is replaceable. The battery, hard drive, and headphone jack all plug into the board with a click.

ipod-4th-generation

It’s getting harder to find parts for these, maybe I better stock up…

Replacing the Wireless Internet Chip in a Laptop/Notebook

Usually the problem isn’t the chip, in fact I’ve only seen it once in years of internet connectivity problems. You should replace the wireless chip only after you’ve exhausted all your other options. Those include and are not limited to:

  • Rebooting your computer
  • Rebooting your router
  • Rebooting your modem
  • Rebooting your wireless device in your control panel
  • Doing that ipconfig /renew and /release thing
  • Calling your ISP if the internet on all your computers is broken
  • Uninstalling Hamachi, which for some reason screws internet up. If you don’t know what it is, don’t worry about it.
  • Reinstalling your wireless device drivers (often called WLAN) from your computer manufacturer
  • Asking someone who knows more about technology than you, but bake them cookies or buy them beers first.

Tried everything in the list above? Ok good. Time to replace your wireless chip. It’s about one square inch and looks exactly like this:

wifi-chip

The above chip is faulty. The only thing useful it’s done in the last 2 months is pose for this picture.

I replaced it with one that Brittany has spilled coffee all over yet works great. Here it is nestled in its new home.

wifi-chip-computerWireless chips are really easy to replace. It’s getting to them that proves the challenge. On this computer I had to take the entire bottom off. To find out how I just looked for my approximate model number on youtube. Approximate because this laptop has a thousand iterations, all identical under the hood.

I recall having an old Inspiron 1000 which had an easy access compartment for the wireless chip, much like how most laptops manufactured today have holes which let you get your fingerprints all over their ram and hard drives. But most modern laptops need to be taken apart to replace this component.

Observe 2 things about the above picture.

1. Notice it’s held in with a screw. To remove the old card, remove the screw and both leads. The entire unit will pop up from a flat 0 degree angle to a grippable 30 degree angle. Installing the new card is a matter of slotting it in, pushing it flush with the board, and reinstalling the screw.

2. See those grey and black wires coming from the chip? They have the worst name in all consumer electronics. U.FL Mini PCIBe very careful with them! Most U.FL plugs are only designed to handle 1 or 2 installs in their lifetime and due to their tiny size they can break very easily, especially when being reinstalled on a wireless card. I’ve broken one already by forcing it to hard and was thankfully was able to fix it again with a tiny sewing needle. But you might not be so lucky. Make sure you don’t get the order of them mixed up, although this is likely to be impossible as one is shorter.

Where to Find The Wireless Card

Well it’ll be in your computer, we know that much. Probably on your motherboard. My desktop computer actually has a slot for one of these wireless cards which is why I happened to have one lying around. Why it had coffee is another story. An expensive mistake kind of story.

Circled in orangered is where I found this card on this laptop. Visit my Sony PCG series post to see these computer guts in ultra high resolution.

sony-vaio-PCG-series-motherboardWhich Replacement Wireless Chip Should I Buy?

I don’t think it matters as long as it’s more-or-less as old as your laptop. In the above computer I replaced a non-bluetooth chip with a combination wifi/bluetooth one and it worked fine.

The newest generation of wifi technology is the N standard which is about 6 years old so everything during that time frame should play nicely together.

Although our faulty chip was an Intel, the good chip that survived the coffee was also Intel so I’m going to recommend Intel. I’d go with this one because it’s cheap, rated nearly 5 stars, and is the best selling wifi chip on Amazon.

Where did the ad backgrounds go Google?

Now this is quite interesting. Notice anything missing?where did the ad background goThe background behind the ads, formerly a pale gold, is completely gone. Interesting that this coincides with the biggest shopping holiday of the year.

It seems like they have been lightening the background for a while. Lately I’ve been squinting at the adblock section at an extreme angle to see it. I tried it today and saw only white.

Why is Google doing this? Well like any for-profit blogger or website owner already knows, blending the Google ads in with the content by coloring the background white and removing the border increases click-through rates and therefore ad revenue. I assume they are lightening the color gradually in hopes it won’t get noticed by the majority of internet users.

Update: I double-checked in photoshop just to be sure and found that the background behind the ads is in fact still there! However it doesn’t seem to be perceptible to the human eye.

color-google ads

 

Update 2: It looks like these changes might be a result of a new “AD” label in searches. The “AD” label might not show up for canadians yet. Source: http://searchenginewatch.com/article/2309456/Googles-Yellow-Ads-Label-Now-Showing-on-Desktop-Searches

SONY VAIO PCG Series

This is a high resolution picture of the laptop insides of a Sony Vaio PCG-61313L. As far as I can tell it looks exactly the same for all Sony Vaio models beginning with the letters “PCG”. I’ll list Sony Vaio PCG model numbers below and you can CTRL+F your model number to see if it’s in the list. Mine is actually not in the list, maybe because it’s a canadian model.

(Click for full resolution file)

sony-vaio-PCG-series-motherboard-open

(Click for full resolution file)

I opened this machine up to replace the wifi card, so click the link if you’re interested in reading about that.

Opening the Sony PCG Series

This was an easy laptop computer to open. First make sure the laptop is unplugged and the battery removed. Unscrew both expansion slots – one holds the ram and the other held the hard drive. You can leave the RAM in but take the hard drive out.

Once all screws are removed the bottom cover will come off easily. If you struggle to take it off you probably missed a screw. In my model I took out a total of exactly 19 screws of various sizes. The hard drive was only using 2 out of a total 4 screws.

PCG Series Model Numbers

This is a partial list of Sony Vaio PCG Series laptops. If your PCG series motherboard looks significantly different from the one pictured, leave a comment!

  • PCG-505F, PCG-505G, PCG-505GX
  • PCG-505FX
  • PCG-505TS, PCG-505TX, PCG-505TR
  • PCG-705C, PCG-707C
  • PCG -717C, -719C, -729C, -731, -735, -737
  • PCG-745, PCG-747
  • PCG-748
  • PCG-808, 812, 818, 838
  • PCG-C1VN Picturebook
  • PCG-C1X PictureBook
  • PCG-C1XS Picturebook
  • PCG-F150, F160, F180, F190
  • PCG-F250, F270, F280, F290
  • PCG-F340, PCG-F350, PCG-F360
  • PCG-F370, PCG-F390
  • PCG-F420, PCG-F430, PCG-F450
  • PCG-F480, PCG-F480K, PCG-F490, PCG-F490K
  • PCG-F520, F540, F540K, F560, F560K, F570
  • PCG-F580, PCG-F580K, PCG-F590, PCG-F590K
  • PCG-F610, PCG-F630
  • PCG-F640, F650, F650K, F680, F680K
  • PCG-F690, PCG-F690K
  • PCG-F801, PCG-F801A
  • PCG-FR102, FR130, FR700
  • PCG-FRV25, FRV26, FRV27, FRV28
  • PCG-FX104K, FX105K, FX108K, FX109K
  • PCG- FX120, FX140, FX150, FX170, FX190 Series
  • PCG-FX200, FX200K Series
  • PCG- FX210, FX215, FX220, FX240, FX250, FX270 Series
  • PCG-FX290/290k PIII SpeedStep
  • PCG-FX300, PCG-FX310 Series
  • PCG- FX340, FX340K, FX340P Series
  • PCG-FX370, FX390 Series
  • PCG-FX800
  • PCG-FX801, FX802, FX804, FX805
  • PCG-FX880K, FX900, FX950, FX990
  • PCG-FXA10
  • PCG-FXA32, FXA33, FXA35/D, FXA36 Series
  • PCG-FXA47, FXA48
  • PCG-FXA49
  • PCG-FXA53, FXA59, FXA63
  • PCG- GR Series
  • PCG-GRS Series
  • PCG-GRT25
  • PCG-GRT100 Series
  • PCG-GRT170 2.8GHz P4
  • PCG-GRV550
  • PCG-GRV670 & GRV680 Series
  • PCG-GRX Series 500 Models
  • PCG-GRX Series 600 & 700 Models
  • PCG-GRZ530
  • PCG-GRZ 600 Series
  • PCG K12, K13, K14, K15, K17Series
  • PCG K20, K22, K23, K24, K25, K27, K29 Series
  • PCG K33, K34, K35, K37 Series
  • PCG-K43, K44, K45, K47 Series
  • PCG-N505VE, PCG-N505VX
  • PCG-NV100, NV170, NV170P, NV190, NV190P, NV200
  • PCG-NVR23
  • PCG-R505D Series
  • PCG-R505E Series
  • PCG-R505G Series
  • PCG-R505J and PCG-R505T Series
  • PCG SR Series
  • PCG-SRX77/C
  • PCG-SRX77P/C
  • PCG-SRX 87
  • PCG-SRX87P
  • PCG-SRX99
  • PCG-TR1 Series
  • PCG-TR2 Series
  • PCG-TR3 Series
  • PCG-TR5 Series
  • PCG-V505 Series
  • PCG-VX88 Series, PCG-VX89 Series
  • PCG- XG18, XG19
  • PCG-XG28, PCG-XG28K, PCG-XG29, PCG-XG29K
  • PCG-XG38, PCG-XG39, PCG-XG39K
  • PCG-XG 500, XG500K, XG700, XG700K, XG9
  • PCG-Z1 Series
  • PCG-Z505HE, PCG-Z505HS , PCG-Z505HSK
  • PCG-Z505JE, PCG-Z505JEK
  • PCG-Z505JS, PCG-Z505JSK
  • PCG-Z505LE, PCG-Z505LEK
  • PCG-Z505LS, PCG-Z505LSK
  • PCG-Z505R, Z505RX, Z505S, Z505SX
  • PCG-Z600NE, PCG-Z600TEK

Basing Every Goal on the Survival Number

Last month earnings blasted through my “survival number” of 30$/day like a freight train. Consequently, I’ve found my motivation for working hard melt away, leaving only existential bliss behind.

But the taste of independence is too sweet to risk to days filled with nothing but naps, snacks and video games. Now that my most important milestone seems firmly in the rear-view mirror, I must plot a course to the next.

The most dependable source of traffic for me is search engine traffic. Many internet marketers, veterans of the Penguin and Panda massacres, would disagree and claim from their own experience that search traffic is the most fickle. But my tail is long and fat. Take away any one keyword and the effect on the whole would look like normal fluctuation.

In the week of June 3, 2012 – a month after I launched my site – it attracted a total of 172 visitors from searches. Over the next 63 days, this figure doubled. 147 days more and it doubled again. Search traffic doubled a total of 5 times between June 3, 2012 and today – November 11 2013.

Don’t worry, I’m going somewhere with this.

My next goal is to meet my survival number with search traffic alone. Based on some numbers and graphs which I will not share here, I’m only 1/4 of the way there. In other words, this goal will require 2 more doublings which based on past history take ~100 days each.

Of course doublings should start to slow down dramatically at some point as the internet reaches its saturation point for information about buckets.

I like this new goal because it looks so similar to the last. Maybe I will base all future earnings goal on that same 30$/day number. It’s a “mind-sized” goal that keeps every number in sharp perspective.