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Podnutz Daily #491 – Zrinko Modrusan from Rent Z Geek

A Show for Computer Repair Techs by Computer Repair Techs

Jeff Halash from TechNutPC.com Talks to Computer Technicians

Google+ Jeffery Halash

Twitter: TechNutPC

Email: PodnutzDaily@Podnutz.com

Zrinko Modrusan from Rent Z Geek

Links:

Ultra Virus Killer

Tech Tool Store

D7

Veeam Endpoint Backup

Fabs AutoBackup

SolarwindsMPS

ActiveStudio (KillDisk) for secure data wiping with certificate:

San Diego IT Pros – folks should look for a group like this in their area

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This SNES Classic Edition Teardown Gave Us All the Nostalgia

This SNES Classic Edition Teardown Gave Us All the Nostalgia

It took us awhile, but we finally managed to get our hands on the crazy-popular, highly-coveted SNES Classic Edition. Out of the box, the mini-console—with its familiar external construction—is designed for nostalgia. Add to that two throwback-style plug-in controllers, and you’re set to re-experience your (wasted) youth with any of the 21 included classic Super NES games.

We’re not gonna lie. We played with our SNES Classic for a while. Then we remembered how bad we are at Super Mario World and moved on to a game that we’re actually good at—the teardown game.

Confession time: Taking apart the Super NES Classic Edition made us just as nostalgic as playing the games. It has got a retro, accessible construction that reminds us of the original 90s-era units. No glue. No proprietary screws. No anti-tampering stickers in sight. Just four standard Phillips screws under four easy-to-remove rubber feet, and you’re in.

Once inside, the construction continues with the classic theme. We removed a heat sink/EMI shield, freed a few connectors for the controllers, and pulled loose a ribbon cable for the power buttons—exposing the mini-board brains of the Super NES Classic Edition. Since the games are pre-loaded instead of on cartridges, the board features some new silicon:

With the console in pieces, we moved on to a game controller. Like the console, the controllers are held together with Phillips screws. All the mechanical plastic and rubber buttons are removable—which is good news if you’re an over-enthusiastic button masher. Those buttons will be easy to replace (if you can find the parts). Nintendo did cut a few corners on the controller’s board, though: everything there is soldered down.

Overall—the Super NES Classic Edition was just as fun to take apart as it was to play. This mini-console earned an 8/10 on our repairability scale. We knocked points off for the lack of a repair manual, and because the HDMI and USB ports are soldered to the mainboard. Still, the only tools we needed were our handy Phillips #00 screwdriver, a spudger, opening picks, and some tweezers. Plus, it went back together in a jiffy.

And thank Link for that—because we fully intend to spend the weekend playing Zelda until we can’t see straight.

Podnutz Daily #490 – Mike Wise from Clockwork Networks

A Show for Computer Repair Techs by Computer Repair Techs

Jeff Halash from TechNutPC.com Talks to Computer Technicians

Google+ Jeffery Halash

Twitter: TechNutPC

Email: PodnutzDaily@Podnutz.com

Mike Wise from Clockwork Networks

Links:

MVPS Hosts (Hosts file)

Automox (Windows Patch monitoring)

Windows Repair Toolbox

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Despite Lawsuits, Apple Can’t Break Up With Qualcomm

Despite Lawsuits, Apple Can’t Break Up With Qualcomm

It’s no secret that Qualcomm dominates the communication chip market. But, recently, their business practices have put them at major odds with both the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and with Apple—the latter of which is suing Qualcomm for a lot of money in no fewer than three countries. Still, despite the bad blood, Apple’s latest batch of watches shows the Cupertino company just can’t break up with Qualcomm.

But first, the backstory: Earlier this year, the FTC filed a complaint accusing Qualcomm of monopolistic behavior in the cellular communication market. As board game aficionados will tell you, mo’ Monopoly equals mo’ money. To that end, Qualcomm upped the royalty fees for use of its wireless chips and technology. As you might have guessed, Apple uses Qualcomm technology in their mobile devices. So, Apple sued Qualcomm claiming that they were using their market dominance to gouge on royalties. Over the past year, the two companies have continued to exchange barbs: Apple claimed that Qualcomm was benefiting off of Apple’s hard work; Qualcomm argued the iPhone would barely be a phone without its technology. In a playground-style back and forth, Apple and Qualcomm have counter-sued each other multiple times for various patent-related disagreements. (Now now, play nice children…)

Fast-forward to the present: Apple just released the Apple Watch Series 3. And the new Apple Watch isn’t just a watch—it’s a phone, too. Which got us wondering: If Qualcomm and Apple can’t play nice, where is Apple sourcing their wireless black magic? Just this week, we tore down the Apple Watch Series 3. Inside, we found a chip that was hard to identify. But surely it couldn’t be Qualcomm. Maybe Intel stepped in for this job?

We decided to phone our friend, TechInsights, to find out who helped Apple connect the watch. Drum roll please. Turns out, the company responsible for the LTE modem in the Apple Watch Series 3 is none other than…. Qualcomm!?

Looks like Apple’s attempts at matching Qualcomm’s connectivity prowess haven’t quite panned out. As rocky as things are right now, Apple can’t quit Qualcomm. Though the rift between the two companies grows, they still rely on each other.

What does this mean? If you ask us, the continuing relationship means a couple of key things: First, Apple doesn’t have access to Qualcomm’s technology outside of Qualcomm itself. In order to stay connected on the cutting edge, Apple needs Qualcomm. There might be wireless alternatives, but they don’t match the speeds of Qualcomm’s chips. Second, Qualcomm needs the Apple paycheck. Apple is a big account, and as the saying goes, money doesn’t stink.

So even as tensions mount, it appears these two companies will continue to play nice as long as the money is right.

iFixit Is Going to London’s Fixfest

iFixit Is Going to London’s Fixfest

Join iFixit in London for the first ever international Fixfest on Oct 6-8! Our co-founder Kyle Wiens will be on-hand to talk about tinkering, the right to repair, and the growing fixer movement.

Fixfest is hosted by one of our very favorite organizations, the London-based charity Restart Project. Like us, they’re committed to fighting waste by encouraging people to repair their stuff instead of replacing it. As part of their work, The Restart Project brings London communities together to fix broken products at events called Restart Parties. In the past five years, over 3,800 people have attended Restart Parties, saving 3.7 tonnes of electronics from the landfill.

For their fifth anniversary, the Restart Project is bringing together an even bigger community: the international repair community. As a keynote speaker at the event, Kyle will be joining UNEP Champion of the Earth Leyla Acaroglu, science writer Lewis Dartnell, Repair Café Founder Martine Postma, and others. The three-day event will feature lots of lightning talks and panel discussions on repair-related topics—including the need for policies that support longer product lifespans for electronics.

And since everyone’s already in the same place, Fixfest will also play host to a Restart Party at the Museum of London from 7pm on Saturday, October 7. Saturday night’s Restart Party at the Museum of London, of course, is free and open to the public—just let them know you’re coming.

The three-day Fixfest event is open to everybody, including allies of community repair groups, such as environmental activists, makers and tinkerers, government officials, NGOs, consumer advocates, companies, academics, and students. Tickets for the event are available here.

For more information about Fixfest, visit https://fixfest.therestartproject.org/

Header image cred: Heather Agyepong

Apple TV 4K Priority: Be Cool

Apple TV 4K Priority: Be Cool

It’s been two long years since the AppleTV got an update—which is an eternity in Apple’s fast-paced development cycle. But with 4K and HDR streaming capabilities, the new Apple TV 4K brings the heat.

An iPad Pro-worthy processor and 3 GB of RAM pushing all those pixels means the TV will get a lot hotter a lot faster. Heat wreaks some serious havoc on electronics—from cracked solder to fried chips—so Apple popped a fan assembly onto the heatsink of yore, and punched some ventilation into the case. Let’s hope the precautions are enough to avoid a Red Ring of Death situation.

Apple TV 4K Teardown Highlights

  • The bottom of the unit has been redesigned for some serious thermal venting. All told, we counted eight exhaust ports. Additionally, the replaceable fan is good news for owners. Otherwise, we’re guessing that a failed fan would quickly mean a failed device.
  • Apple continues to eschew internal wiring between the TV’s power supply and logic board. The use of conductive posts probably saves internal real estate, and it eliminates the possibility of pinched or bent wires during assembly.
  • All told, the Apple TV 4K earns an 8 out of 10 on the repairability scale for simple construction and standard screws.

Check out the full Apple TV 4K Teardown on iFixit.com.

Podnutz Daily #489 – Sean Scarfo from Creative Tech Solutions

A Show for Computer Repair Techs by Computer Repair Techs

Jeff Halash from TechNutPC.com Talks to Computer Technicians

Google+ Jeffery Halash

Twitter: TechNutPC

Email: PodnutzDaily@Podnutz.com

Sean Scarfo from Creative Tech Solutions

Links:

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Apple Watch Series 3 Teardown

Apple Watch Series 3 Teardown

Apple has done a lot to converge technologies, and this year they’ve finally brought LTE to your wrist with the Apple Watch Series 3. Usually when Apple drops a new feature into a device, the hardware is a little wonky at first (see: Touch ID, metal frames, and even wireless charging) but they smooth it out. In a weird twist of tech, this Apple Watch added features without really changing… at all. So much so that we’re tempted to speculate that the Watch hardware has been LTE-ready for a generation already. The antennas and display haven’t changed much, and there’s some new silicon, but that’s about it.

In another twist, this watch now comes with a barometric sensor. The thing is… the Series 2 had a barometer too. So this “brand new” hardware existed in the prior generation, albeit in a different location. Was the Series 2 almost an LTE watch? Or did Apple just want to sell a few more watches before Christmas? The world wonders.

Apple Watch Series 3 Teardown Highlights:

  • Apple touted a new barometric altimeter when it introduced the Series 3—much to our confusion, since we’d found a barometer in last year’s model. This time, the sensor seems to live in the watch case beside the microphone.
  • The Series 3 battery packs in 1.07 Whr (279 mAh at 3.82 V)—nearly a 4% increase from the 1.03 Whr battery we found in the Series 2, which itself was a whopping 32% increase over the original Apple Watch’s 0.78 Whr cell.
  • After an entirely Series 2-ish experience, we’re finally rewarded with something new—a whole new section of RF chips, surely responsible for handling the added LTE functionality.
  • Due to incredibly minute and fragile components, the Apple Watch inherits its predecessor’s 6-out-of-10 repairability score, earning points for feasible screen and battery replacements.

This is just our review of the teardown. Check out the full Apple Watch Series 3 teardown on iFixit.com.

iPhone 8 Plus Teardown: Just How Difficult Is That Glass Back Panel?

iPhone 8 Plus Teardown: Just How Difficult Is That Glass Back Panel?

With our iPhone 8 teardown out of the way, we turn our attention to its (larger) brother: The iPhone 8 Plus. As expected, the Plus has roughly the same architecture we found in our iPhone 8 teardown, with just a little more room to stretch your thumbs. For an authentic repair experience, we tried prying out a broken rear panel—nobody will be removing an intact panel. Our results were… not good. Replacing a broken back is going to be a very, very difficult (and expensive) job.

But that’s not all we tested! Being the curious cats that we are, we ran a series of compatibility tests across a variety of iPhones. Here’s what we found:

  • iPhone 8 and 8 Plus home buttons are the same Apple part number.
  • An iPhone 7 display assembly will partially work in an iPhone 8 (or 7 Plus in an 8 Plus)—the display works, but the digitizer doesn’t function.
  • Many of the upper components are compatible across generations. Earpiece speakers are cross-compatible 7 to 8 and 7 Plus to 8 Plus.

iPhone 8 Plus Teardown Highlights:

  • Replacing the iPhone 8’s back glass is going to cost you a pretty penny, and will probably leave you with some glass shards where you don’t want them.
  • The 8 Plus packs less of a punch (10.28 Wh) than its 7 Plus predecessor, which boasted 11.1 Wh. It’s also a lightweight stacked up against the Galaxy Note8, which sports a 12.71 Wh whopper.
  • Apple’s number one priority for this device—wireless charging—shows all the way down to the battery adhesive. The switch to four tabs from two probably prevents a sticky situation for that new wireless charging coil.
  • As with the iPhone 8, the 8 Plus features a sticky opening procedure and back glass that’s gonna be nightmarish to remove if it breaks—so the iPhone 8 Plus earns the same score as its smaller twin: a 6/10 for repairability.

PS, this is a teardown recap. To see the full iPhone 8 Plus teardown, head over to iFixit.com.

Teardown: Apple Says the iPhone 8 Isn’t an iPhone 7s—But Its Internals Say Otherwise

Teardown: Apple Says the iPhone 8 Isn’t an iPhone 7s—But Its Internals Say Otherwise

Every year, Apple releases a new phone like clockwork: tick—a new design, tock—a new feature. Until now. The iPhone 8 skips a tock, and when the clock strikes midnight (iPhone X release), this tick will turn into a pumpkin. Cinderella may have a new glass slipper, but let’s be honest—we like a phone with some personality, and this one is the ugly stepsister. While the rear glass seems to be quite a bit stronger than the glass we saw on the back of the Galaxy S8, we’re really not sure how Apple plans to replace it after the unintended parking lot drop test.

Aside from the glass, the iPhone 8 felt a lot more familiar than we expected for a phone that’s supposed to be a generation all in its own. Maybe Apple’s saving their best tricks for the iPhone X? But if a more inventive phone is just around the corner, why do we need this one?

iPhone 8 Teardown highlights:

  • Qualcomm MDM9655 Snapdragon X16 Gigabit LTE modem: ✓
    LTE futureproofing: ✓
  • The 8 has double the battery pull tabs for double the fun! Apple gave us four shorter adhesive pull strips instead of two full-length ones—we suspect it’s to avoid tugging on that slick, new charging coil.
  • Not everything saw a spec bump this time round—the iPhone 8 battery pumps out an underwhelming 6.96 Wh (1821 mAh at 3.82 V). That’s 7% less than the 7.45 Wh iPhone 7 battery, and a whopping 40% less than the Galaxy S8’s 11.55 Wh battery. That said, Apple claims battery life is comparable to the iPhone 7.
  • Waterproofing and that hard-to-remove, crackable back glass pushes the iPhone 8 below the historical iPhone score, earning the phone a 6/10 on our repairability scale.

This is our hot-take from the teardown. Visit the full iPhone 8 teardown on iFixit.com for more images and analysis.