Tutorials

How to get Windows 10

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Get Windows 10

Windows 10, the latest version of Microsoft’s Windows operating system (OS) is available starting July 29, 2015. The update brings with an improved user interface, virtual assistant Cortana, and a new web browser called Edge. The new OS is available as a free upgrade for Windows 7, 8, and 8.1 users and is available as a 3GB download. In this video we’ll show you how to get it.

Smartphones

How to: Do-it-Yourself iPhone repair

Try at your own risk

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If you’re looking for a step-by-step tutorial on how to repair your iPhone by yourself, this isn’t iFixit nor JerryRigEverything. But if you came here out of curiosity (and for some tips), I’m here to share my first ever iPhone repair experience.

I’ve been dealing with tech mishaps over the years. From faulty PCs and laptops, all the way to a completely dead iPhone 3Gs and Samsung Galaxy Note5, it’s not something new to me. In fact, it was frustrating to deal with it as I’ve experienced having no computer when I was in high school — and even being phoneless for three months back in college.

If you’re too clumsy or you can’t see small parts clearly, your next best option is to:

  • Bring it to a repair shop
  • Find a friend (like me) who knows how to replace phone parts
  • Find a substitute phone instead

Disclaimer: Try at your own risk. Don’t do it if your device is still under warranty.

Check your phone’s defects

You can’t fix something if you don’t know what’s wrong with it. If you already know your phone’s situation, it’s easier to determine what parts you need to buy for the Do-it-yourself iPhone repair you’re planning to do.

In my case, I already knew that my iPhone’s battery is not in its ideal shape. Apple iOS’ Battery Health feature is actually helpful as it states whether your battery is still functional or needs to be replaced. Other than that, my phone’s display also suffered from “ghost touches” that I needed to replace it too right away.

DIY repair is the cheapest option

Phone repairs really aren’t cheap. If you take your iPhone to an Authorized Service Center, you’re not just paying for those parts that need to be replaced, you’re also paying a hefty amount of diagnostics fee and even the repairman’s labor.

As I checked on Apple’s website, an out-of-warranty screen repair for the iPhone 6 Plus will cost me a whopping US$ 149 (which is around PhP 7,360 when converted). Other than that, Apple’s US$ 29 battery replacement is long overdue. Now, it’s back to its original replacement cost of US$ 79 (around PhP 3,900).

I know what you’re thinking. Third-party repair shops have cheaper services. Still, you’re gonna pay for labor and diagnostics fees. It will also consume much of your time — and just the thought of going out amid the pandemic isn’t safe at all.

Be knowledgeable enough

 

DIY repair isn’t for everyone. As for myself, I’m confident enough to proceed as I’ve had numerous experiences repairing most laptops and CPUs. I was able to upgrade the RAM (memory) capacity as well as replacing old HDDs (hard disk drives) to a faster SSD (solid state drive).

Other than that, one should know how tools work. One mistake and you might damage the whole thing. Usual problems start when you don’t know what proper screw head to use — either between the common Phillips and flathead screw heads to a more complex Tri-wing and Pentalobe screws.

Not being vigilant and careful results to stripped screws, making future repairs harder. Other problems arise when you damage flex cables, IC chips, and other phone parts that are all vital in making the phone function — just like organs in the human body.

Finalize your decision

If you’re still holding onto your phone because you’re used to your phone’s ecosystem or you still need a lot of files with you and you don’t want to switch to a slower budget phone, this might be your final call.

But if you don’t actually care switching to a new phone without thinking of the hassle of moving files and several information, it’s not a bad decision. Just pick something that’s practical for you.

Choose the right parts and buy the exact tools needed

Now, it’s time to search for replacement parts. With the ongoing pandemic, it’s advisable to buy from reliable shopping apps. In the Philippines, you can find options on Shopee or Lazada. But if you still want to explore more, AliExpress offers parts for consumers and not just for wholesalers. The only downside is the pricey shipping fee compared to local operators.

As this is an old iPhone, buying third-party parts wasn’t a big deal as long as they’re functional. I was able to buy a replacement battery for just PhP 460 (US$ 9).

For the display replacement, I was able to purchase one for PhP 1086 (US$ 22). It even came with the right set of tools, from pliers, plastic spudger, suction cup, sim ejector tool, and a screwdriver with 4 detachable magnetic screw options that are commonly used for iPhone repairs.

Note: Most iPhones are assembled in China that’s why parts being sold online are sourced from them. If it looks sketchy to you, try checking customers’ feedback. It has always been my habit whenever I shop online. Luckily, I wasn’t scammed and received the items I ordered without damage.

Let’s get the work done

After receiving the replacement parts, I immediately went on with the repair. It’s common knowledge but just in case you forgot, you need to turn off your phone before repairing to avoid technical failures.

I started by plugging my hot blower into the socket and directly pointed it at my phone so it’s easier for me to separate the display from the aluminum unibody. Then, I started attaching the pentalobe attachment to the screwdriver and removed those two screws found between the Lightning (charging) port.

And with the help of the included suction cup, plastic spudger, and a little bit of my hand’s force, I was able to pry the phone’s display gently.

Not all iPhones are created equal

As my iPhone doesn’t have an IP rating, it doesn’t come with a waterproof gasket on its edges. For the iPhone 7 series and newer, prying the display will be more challenging because of the added adhesive for waterproofing.

Weird Flex but OK

At last! I was able to lift my phone’s display. But don’t get too excited. You should still be careful with those flex cables that are still connected to the phone’s logic board. If you forcefully pull it hard, the worst thing that could happen is you ripping the flex cables — which you don’t want to do with your original display especially if you did not buy a replacement.

Usually, you only need to use a Phillips screwdriver to unscrew certain parts in the phone. But if you’re gonna disassemble the whole phone, you also need to use flathead and tri-wing screwdrivers to remove everything.

As for this part, I only needed the Phillips head to remove the metal plate that protects the display’s flex cables. Removing it will help me unsnap those cables.

Label your screws accordingly

As mentioned earlier, you might encounter screws that are completely different from one another. This isn’t totally required but it’s a helpful way to distinguish which screw parts go to which hole since not all screws have the same length and type.

You can do this by placing a piece of tape with numbers/labels on top of your working space and place them in an order you will remember. Things are always better when they’re labeled. 😉

Don’t use metal pliers when unsnapping cables

Be cautious or you might snap

You can use pliers to remove metal parts that aren’t electrically-charged. Still, you should be cautious as you can’t use metal pliers when unsnapping cables inside or it might damage the IC chips found on the logic board and will badly affect the phone. Doing so might not only damage your phone, but it can also make you snap hard.

Best way is to use a plastic spudger to prevent metal contacts from sparking. As JerryRigEverything always says in his videos, unsnapping them is as easy as removing LEGO bricks stacked on top of one another.

Battery removal is tedious but satisfying

Usually, your iPhone’s battery has plenty of adhesive beneath it in order for it to stick even when you’re on the move. But before prying it up, you should remove the metal plate housing first on the lower right side. After doing so, unsnap the cables just like how you did with the display’s flex cables.

If you can’t find those black pull tabs that will easily help you remove the battery adhesive, you should grab your spudger and slowly lift the battery until you see the white adhesive and pull it as hard as you can. Once all the adhesive is pulled out, it’s safe to say you succeeded with the battery removal.

Start replacing those parts

Unlike replacing your ex, replacing your phone’s parts is just a backward process. After getting the replacement parts ready, you should store the old parts in a safe place since they are still products that are electrically-charged and include chemicals that might pose a risk of fire hazard when not handled and stored in a closed container.

Remember to dispose technological devices and parts properly. Keep it out of reach children and pets as well.

Putting back what’s left

Unlike putting your trust back in another person, putting all the cables, plates, and screws back in place is easier especially when you know how and where to place them — that’s why labeling them is more important than you thought.

Some iPhone parts are designed for a single device only

Display, backplate, battery, cameras, microphones, speakers, and vibration motor can all be replaced. But for parts that require biometrics, there’s a 1:1 equivalent for every iPhone. If you’re proceeding with the display replacement of your old iPhone, you need to remember that it doesn’t come with a TouchID replacement. That iPhone part is made for a single device only. You need to transfer that part from your original display to the replacement.

If you break your TouchID (or even FaceID in newer iPhones), you can’t have replacement parts for them. Breaking these precious parts will result into complete biometrics malfunction.

Fun fact: The best way to know whether an iPhone was repaired is by checking the True Tone Display setting. If it doesn’t show that setting, your iPhone’s display is most likely replaced. Even original iPhone display replacements are not exceptions to Apple’s repair mishap.

It wasn’t a perfect repair

When you’re not careful, you can immediately break something — whether it’s someone’s heart or just the flex cables in your display.

I overdid the unsnapping of the LCD backplate’s flex cable that connects the TouchID. Luckily, the fingerprint sensor is still in its original shape that I only needed to order a new LCD backplate for PhP 261 (US$ 5). It came two weeks after because it was directly sourced from China.

But it was still a successful repair

After waiting for weeks to get my LCD backplate replacement, I successfully repaired my old iPhone 6 Plus — all with working buttons, a better touch input, and of course, the TouchID works as well. With the faulty battery, it usually lasted for around two to three hours but now, it lasts for at least a day of moderate to heavy use.

The original cost of repair was around US$ 228 (or more than PhP 10,000) — where you can find and buy a brand new budget smartphone instead. Thinking about the money I saved actually motivated me to push this through. Combining the parts I paid for (including their shipping fees), that’s a total of just PhP 1807 (US$ 36) just in case you forgot to do the math.

BONUS: I also repaired my friend’s iPhone X

After sharing my story on how I successfully repaired my old iPhone 6 Plus to my friends, I was dared to repair an iPhone X. I took it as another iPhone repair challenge.

At first, I thought the logic board was dead. Not until I tried charging it wirelessly. Eventually, it powered on — which made me think that only the charging port was defective as it was submerged in water.

The repair process is completely different — from the placement of display flex cables, all the way to the complete removal of the battery, logic board, Taptic Engine, and the cameras as the charging port hides beneath those parts. The best thing is that, the Lightning port replacement plus waterproofing and battery adhesive only cost around PhP 916 (around US$ 19). It will cost more if it was brought to a service center considering they will run several diagnostic tests that add up to its total repair cost.

Making the long story short, it was another successful iPhone repair! With little background and experience to phone repairs, I was astounded that I can replace phone parts even without needing to go out and head to a service center.

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How to build and manage your WFH or online class setup

Manage your work and stress levels while indoors

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Photo by Luke Peters

On any other normal day, we would be preparing for several things. Some of us are off to work, dealing with the nine to five grind everyone talks about. The younger ones are off to school, with some even entering college for the first or last time. To prepare we’ll need to buy some stuff we need — from school supplies to devices that will aid in school or work.

Except well, we’re not living in a normal world — at least since 2020 started. My guess is that you’ve been stuck at home for a long time because of this pandemic. If you’ve already started working before this happened, you’re most likely still working — but, from home. If you’re supposed to be going to school, you won’t be seeing the campus for a while.

However, that shouldn’t stop you from preparing for that, as well. Of course, there will be less school supply-shopping than before. But, if you need a great setup for either work-from-home or online classes, here are some tips to keep in mind.

If you don’t have what you need yet, it’s best to plan ahead

Obviously, not all of you have a nice laptop for school yet or you prefer working from a desktop than a company laptop. In any case, it’s best to plan on what exactly kind of tech you will purchase to suit your needs. For students, you can still do this even if your school gave you a two-week notice on what kind of machine you need.

It will help to ask your family and friends, especially the tech-savvy ones on the hardware you need. It also helps to get quotations for these devices, especially if you want to build your PC but you’re running on a strict budget. However, keep in mind that shortage is a thing with some parts because of the pandemic.

This isn’t just limited to your devices, as you can also invest in other non-tech items for your setup. Things like a work table, chairs, and appliances are a few of the things you might want to look into. Remember, you’re going to be stuck indoors, possibly for a long time; might as well be comfortable in this space.

Don’t seek powerful hardware if you don’t need it

If you’re planning to buy the devices you need for your setup, I believe that you don’t need gaming PC-levels of power. There’s a reason why your school or workplace gave you a minimum PC spec sheet to begin with.

Consider this advice when you’re planning on what devices to buy. If you prefer to buy a laptop, you don’t have to go for the latest gaming laptops available. Something simple and powerful, with the latest Intel Core i5 inside and 8GB of RAM will do the trick. It’s important that your device can handle Office apps, a web browser, and video calls for 8 hours.

It’s an entirely different situation if your work actually demands a powerful machine, especially data-heavy or graphics work. But again, it’s important to plan ahead when it comes to these things because one, shortages are a thing; and two, consider your wallet’s feelings.

When you do have everything you need, make sure devices work and disinfect everything

Once you already have everything for your setup, do your due diligence and check everything. For your devices, it’s best to do a deep scan of your hard drives for any malware or irrelevant software. I also suggest doing the same on your smartphones, and even installing Office apps on it. It’s just to prepare you for the possibility of your laptop or desktop malfunctioning out of nowhere.

I also highly suggest that you put in more time into checking your peripherals, too. Do routine tests on your microphone, webcam, and headset (including their ports) and optimize according to your use case. These are important especially for those long video calls for class, or during online meetings for work.

Photo by Norbert Levajsics

Finally, disinfect everything properly and diligently. At the very least, try to clean up the parts that you touch more often, like your keyboard, mouse/trackpad, and the lid. Even if it’s brand new, you’re better off safe than sorry with a virus going around. This also goes for the entire space you will be in.

Make sure your internet connection, however you get it, is strong enough

This one is pretty obvious, but it deserves to be repeated over and over again. As much as possible, your WFH setup must access the internet at a stable rate. This even applies to those who simply live off using 4G/5G mobile data, but keep your data limits in mind.

If you don’t know how to make your internet faster, it’s best to call your provider to walk you through it. If your provider is of no help, or if you don’t have the patience to call, research about it. People all over the internet have found ways to access their routers and tick the proper settings to make it work. 

Now, if you’re feeling a bit more generous with your money, invest in another router or a WiFi Mesh system. Essentially, you’ll extend your existing WiFi coverage, and experience high speeds on your own. I do recommend routers that extend your 5Ghz WiFi connection to maximize your speed. 

Your TV can also be a second screen, if you need one

Most modern TVs nowadays come with this standard set of ports: HDMI, S-Video, and VGA. With desktop GPUs and laptops supporting such ports, it’s safe to say that even your TV can be used as its own display. Obviously, you will sacrifice refresh rates and some level of detail, but it’s still a good alternative.

This option is open for those who really need it and/or are not willing to spend for a dedicated PC monitor. If you can work without one, that’s great; save yourself the hassle of buying extra cables. But it’s something to think about if you want to be more productive.

Have a dedicated rest space

Listen, work from home fatigue is an actual thing. At some point, you will no longer be able to tell the difference between the place you sleep in and the place you work in. Because you’re going to be indoors for a long while, that line gets more blurry.

Make it a point to have a space in your room dedicated for leisure. If you need a quick break from work or school work, you have a part of your room for that. Strap up a console there, have an entertainment system, or just Bluetooth speakers will do. For you to function properly for work or school, you need to rest.

I hope these tips helped in preparing you for what’s to come. You will remain indoors for quite a while, so it’s best to prepare and enjoy your time. 

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Hands-On

How to maximize your Redmi 9

Smart tips for your budget smartphone

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Having a smartphone these days is akin to a necessity. However, times are especially hard and you may not have the means to splurge on the best ones. Here are tips on maximizing budget smartphones — specifically, the Xiaomi Redmi 9.

First of, let’s find out what we’re working with. Here’s a quick rundown of the device’s specs:

Redmi 9

Display 6.53” FHD+ Dot Drop Display, Corning Gorilla Glass 3
Processor MediaTek Helio G80 Processor
RAM + ROM 3GB+32GB and 4GB+64GB
Battery Capacity 5020mAh, support for 18W charging
Front Camera 8MP
Rear Cameras 13MP main wide-angle camera

8MP ultra-wide angle camera

5MP macro camera

2MP depth sensor

There’s not a lot you’re working with here. But that’s to be expected from a phone that starts at PhP 6,990 (US$ 141) for the 3GB+32GB variant which is what we have with us currently.

Quick note: That specific variant is currently on sale today on Xiaomi’s official flagship store on Lazada. On July 7, 2020 only, it’s up for grabs for PhP 500 less or at exactly PhP 6,490 (US$ 131).

If you want to snap this up, here’s what you’re getting.

It doesn’t look like a budget phone

Some budget smartphones tend to look very bland. That’s not the case with the Redmi 9.

The Ocean Green variant has this subtle radial pattern on its back. It’s very nice to hold and marginally adds to the grip. That’s a thoughtful choice considering how most budget smartphones come in plain backs in a slippery plastic build.

Another thoughtful design decision is the alignment of the power button and volume keys. For a phone with this big a display, having them all on the right side is an underrated design decision.

Unfortunately, that design decision is countered by the placement of the fingerprint sensor. It’s curiously connected to the camera module. During your first few days of use, you’ll be prone to smudging the lens that sits right above it.

That said, that camera module also doesn’t look like it’s a budget smartphone. The vertical camera array is situated on the top middle part and is separated by a circle that looks like the source of the radial pattern.

Learn basic mobile photography skills

While we’re talking about the cameras, the versatility of the ones equipped on the Redmi 9 is pretty impressive.

On most occasions, you should be able to take a good enough photo for your social media feeds. But you can even take it a step further by learning some basic mobile photography skills.

Here are some tips and how tos from our archives that you might find useful:

  1. How to take slice of life photos
  2. Capturing festivities
  3. Using foreground element

Use the built-in photo editor

You don’t have plenty of space for apps, so it’s prudent to learn the in and outs of the built-in photo editor. Just go into the gallery and edit one of your photos, and you’ll be treated to plenty of options.

Take for instance this wide angle photo. It looks fine, but a little unbalanced.

On the photo editor, you can fix that by aligning the horizon to the grid and making the colors pop more.

If you’re feeling adventurous, there are also plenty of filters you can play with. Here’s a sample of how that same photo was turned into this very stylized one that looks almost like a scene from Attack on Titan. 

Google is your best friend 

One of my favorite Google Apps is Google Photos. It gives you unlimited storage of your photos at zero cost.

It’s most likely already installed on the Redmi 9 out of the box. Just make sure you turn syncing on so every time you take a photo, it’s automatically uploaded and backed up.

Google also has lite versions for most of their apps so that should help ease up the load on your limited RAM and storage.

Use lite versions of apps

Lite apps aren’t limited to Google though. More commonly used apps like Facebook, Messenger, Twitter, and even Spotify have lite versions.

These versions eat up less space and less memory when used. Of course, you’ll be missing some features, but that’s the trade-off.

What you can do is identify which app you use the most and need all of the features available, so you can get the full version of that app, while keeping everything else lite.

Be resourceful about it

One of the hallmarks of Xiaomi and Redmi is offering good value for less. That means making the most of what you have.

For the Redmi 9, this means knowing for sure what it can do, and allocating its existing resources based on your smartphone needs.

Remember, your smartphone is only as good as how you use it.

A quick reminder that the Redmi 9 (3GB+32GB) is currently on sale today on Xiaomi’s official flagship store on Lazada. On July 7, 2020 only, it’s up for grabs for PhP 500 less or at exactly PhP 6,490 (US$ 131).

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