I mentioned previously that I upgraded the hard drives in my and my wife's Sony VAIO VGN A-190 laptops to WD2500BEVE. Well, mine just died. FAIL! Less than 8 months. Not sure yet the failure mode, but I can read stuff without any reported error, but a lot of stuff appears to be corrupt (by archive testing). Also SpinRite reads along for a while and then stops with some sort of error screen. This is the fifth time I've tried to use this software with zero results. FAIL! I've taken the drive out (look [here]
for disassembly instructions with pictures - I need to add pictures for HDD removal), hooked it up to another machine and copied off what I could. Warranties for WDC drives are usually 3yrs, so I'm sending it in to be replaced. I wish I could pay a bit extra to get the new WD3200BEVE which, to my amazement, is now the new capacity king in the PATA 9.5mm laptop drive kingdom -- I didn't expect any manufacturer would continue to develop new hardware for this interface. My really big complaint is with Windows security. When attaching a foreign drive the security prevents you from reading many directories, but, of course, this is a twist-tie security measure because you can simply take ownership and grant yourself rights to these directories, but this means writing to the drive -- FAIL -- a big no-no on a failing drive. I did it anyway, and I recovered what I needed to recover and I'm running again on my old stock 80GB drive, but I think the world needs a solution to this problem, so I intend to figure it out. I'll follow up when I find it.
For anyone trying to fix random reboot problems with your d-link WBR 2310, I have the solution:
Stop what your doing and throw it away. Seriously.
I was going to buy a Linksys WRT54GL, but I didn't want to wait. Couldn't get it at Fry's. I got a Belkin F5D9230 from Target. Why Belkin? Because they haven't failed me yet (well, because I haven't bought a router from them before). Why Target? I don't like Best Buy and Target has a more liberal return policy.
The setup was easy once I peeled off those pesky stickers telling me to read the manual (pfft.) and install the software (as if). I gave it the freshest firmware, configured it and it is running great. Momentary flail: Had to reboot my cable modem. Other than that, it's all good. Really good range.
Was having sudden trouble with this router. It was rebooting constantly.
I couldn't even connect on the wired interface. Even with everything else turned off, the wan disconnected, and power cycled.
So, I held the reset while plugging in to get it to restore to factory settings, went through and set everything back and it just started doing the same reboot-a-thon again. Fail!
Upgraded firmware to 1.05, no help.
Googled. Turned off gaming mode, PnP. Still no go.
But, once I turned off IPsec, it started working.
I have no idea why this would work.
I used to own a Linksys WRT54G (v2) but it bit the dust after not a long time of faithful service. I decided to try D-Link. I wouldn't say it was a mistake, given the available options, but I think my next router will be a WRT54GL or Asus WL500G router; something that has third party firmware available for it. Proper routing is complicated enough now to warrant a more transparent platform to work against.
Sony Vaio VGN-A190 Disassembly / reassembly advice with pictures
Got a new iPhone yesterday.
Tried several times to download the new iPhone SDK -- can't get it.
Running IE8 - I love what they did to the zoom feature, but other than that it pretty much barfs on every web page anywhere.
For the third time my iPhone bricked. I figured enough is enough and I went to get a new unit. Fortunately, I live in a city with an Apple Store so I thought this would be easy. No, not so much. You need to make an appointment with the genius bar to get support apparently. I asked what my other options were. None. Really, so if I lived, say, 400 miles away from an Apple store, that means I have to drive all that way to swap it out? Really?
apple.com/support wasn't any help. I found the online support repair thingy but it was apparenltly only for replacing your sync cable, dock, headphones and TTY adapter.
What made me really nervous this time was that my phone just happened to brick while running 1.1.3, but now there's 1.1.4. I mentioned in a past post that you cannot travel without your laptop when you are an iPhone user. Well, you also must have access to a high-speed Internet connection as well. I could not get the restore operation to work until I was connected and downloading a 162MB file. How well is this restore operation going to work on a backup from 1.1.3? Well, it seems okay so far. We'll see.
I mentioned before that it bricked twice under very specific conditions. This time it bricked while I was sending a text message at low battery (20%). My theory is that when the battery is low, flash writes are failing.
For the second time in a month, my iPhone went to "Repair Needed" mode.
I'm running 1.1.3 with no jailbreak or any other shenanigans.
For others that read this, the solution is to reset and restore.
Run iTunes, plug in, press and hold both the sleep/wake and home buttons for 10 seconds, then let go of just the sleep/wake button and continue holding the home button for 10 more seconds, then when iPhone shows up in iTunes, restore the iPhone which takes it to the factory state, then select restore from your last backup, wait a long time for all your junk to sync back and you should be good to go.
This is not good -- while it is hosed, the iPhone can only make emergency calls -- so, basically, I cannot travel without my laptop now. Good thing I sync to a laptop!
I think the commonality is that both times the error occurred as I was plugging in my iPhone into a non-Apple charger while I was using it.
I blogged about replacing the hinge on my laptop. Now I get to do it again for my wife's identical laptop. Stay tuned, by next week you should see a very nice blog post about how to do this with pictures. Also, I'm working on my mom's laptop (an old Fujitsu LifeBook C-7631). I'm pretty sure that either the LCD inverter is hosed or it might just be a loose connector. We might just get her a new one.
[Here it is: http://freachable.net/2008/03/24/SonyVaioVGNA190DisassemblyReassemblyAdviceWithPictures.aspx
I got my hinge and got a couple of hours. Repair done. For anyone trying to do this let me say that it is not for the faint of heart and not really something you should start and continue on a different day. Give yourself plenty of uninterrupted time to complete the repair. Take pictures along the way -- if for no other reason than when you blog it you can include pictures. (Whoops.) [Update: had to do it again - this time with pictures here]
If you've got the bucks and are going to keep the laptop for a while, consider maxing the RAM, replacing both hinges, upgrading the hard drive and replacing the power plug. Thankfully, Sony had the foresight to not board mount the power plug. Get the service manual too. For this model, there was only a compatible model's service manual (SM VGNA-130/B/P/170 Part#: 987636707). Call/email the parts place for yours.
- First, leave it open at 90 degrees or so -- make sure you support the angle so you don't break the other hinge and possibly rip a display cable.
- Power off.
- Remove the battery.
- Remove the keyboard by unscrewing the two dotted arrow marked screws.
- Gently pry up the bottom edge of the left/right edge of the keyboard and lift up a little.
- Locate the keyboard ribbon connector and gently work it out of the socket.
- Under the keyboard there are two totally different screws that need to pulled out.
- Now unscrew the fifteen million other screws from under the machine. I think you only need to remove the arrow marked screws. Most are the same size, but two are long -- use your screwdriver to scratch the case or use tape to indicate where they go. I don't think you need to remove the flush screws from underneath, but I think you might need to remove the two screws from the back edge.
- Now the "palm rest" can be lifted with a little gentle wiggling.
- Look for the two ribbons (mouse, speakers/buttons) that need to be taken off.
- Remove the palm rest. Now you should be able to see the base parts (feet) of the two hinges.
- Now for the display bezel. Use a dull point to lift off the rubber covers off the screws in the four corners of the bezel. Unscrew them.
- Now you will have to use a little bit of force to pry the bezel off, but be careful not to slip and crack/scratch the display. (That's a $700 part!) Also watch out for the hinge area of the bezel.
- Lift off the plastic hinge cover.
- Be sure to support the display while you unscrew the screws holding the arm of the hinge.
- Then unscrew the foot and you should be able to slip the hinge part out without totally disassembling the display frame.
- Slip the new hinge arm in and screw it down, now angle the display so the hinge foot is against the base flat and screw it together.
- Now make sure that the display cable (both sides have some cabling) slips in the hinge without interference.
- If you are replacing both hinges, replace the broken one first and screw it in before unscrewing the other one.
Happy New Year everybody!
Last night after some good surfing and channel9 (http://channel9.msdn.com/ShowPost.aspx?PostID=365911) video watching I went to close my laptop. Now anyone that knows me knows that I handle my laptop very gingerly and I did last night too. You see, my laptop (a Sony VAIO Vaio VGN-A190... yes, I know, mid 2004, how quaint) already has a hull breach or two. The display bezel is cracked in a couple of places and the display cover is cracked at the hinges and in the middle of the top and bottom edges, but these are cosmetic problems. Last night the right side display hinge snapped, which could have been really bad since that's the side that carries the display cable. [Update 2008-01-14: Only the power for the display runs on the right, the signal is on the left side hinge.]
The laptop buying advice: When buying a laptop, check the manufacturer's website for a way to order parts. They should have a good assortment of parts available for the model you are buying, but, more importantly, in-stock parts for a similar class from 3-4 years ago. Sony has DAPC (http://sony.com/dapc) which is pretty good. I quickly found the part and ordered it.
What I would like to see in the future is service manuals or at least a disasesmbly diagram available online.
This is the second time I've used Sony's DAPC. My wife also has a Sony Vaio VGN-A190 and I've replaced her keyboard and the power plug on it. For anyone who stumbles on this post trying to replace the keyboard or add RAM, the trick is to take out the two screws from underneath that have the dotted arrows on them and then gently pry up the bottom edge on the left and right side of the keyboard. Be careful not to rip the ribbon cable.
Some more advice on laptops:
Invest in the screen and processor but be cheap on the memory and hard drive - you can upgrade those later when you need to. Both our laptops are now maxed out for memory at 2GB. I suppose the more general rule is invest in the stuff you can't change later like the size for example. You can't buy a bigger or smaller screen really.
The A190s came with docking stations that have a tuner card and all that jazz. My advice is to skip that stuff. Docks are not really that useful, at least for me.
I figure I've got another year of life left in those laptops before I retire them and get another pair of laptops. I'm tempted to get a bigger drive for mine, but I think I'll just limp along with my stock 80GB. Hitachi just announced a 500GB 2.5" drive (http://www.hitachigst.com/portal/site/en/menuitem.045215966480a7127d807c90eac4f0a0/) which would be great except it's SATA only. John C. Dvorak called it (http://www.dvorak.org/blog/?p=15418) and I agree, this is another nail in the coffin for desktop machines.