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Archive for July 31st, 2009

PowerBook G4 Sleep Magnets

July 31st, 2009 No comments

How does the laptop know to go to sleep when the lid is closed?

On the PowerBook G4 15″, there is a magnet on the back of the LCD that activates the sleep switch when the lid is closed.

While the position of the magnet and sleep sensors vary on different Mac laptops, the 15″ and 17″ (all models except the 1.67Ghz)¬†PowerBook G4s are unique in that the magnets are just taped to the back on the screen.

It is important to make sure that when installing a new screen, the sleep magnet is transfered to the exact same spot on the back of the new LCD. Even half an inch one way or another and the magnet will not activate the sleep mode when the lid is closed. New kapton tape should also be used to insure that the magnet does not fall off with use.

Backside of a PowerBook G4 15" LCD. Sleep Magnet(1) and Display Cable Connector(2)

Backside of a PowerBook G4 15" LCD. Sleep Magnet(1) and Display Cable Connector(2)

The first laptop we noticed with this sleep magnet location with was the original PowerBook G4 Titanium. To this day, I would say the TiBook screen replacement is the most difficult of any laptop I’ve ever worked with (the bezel, display house and hinges are all glued together and require expert workmanship for a clean removal and seamless re-assembly.) You wanted to be 100% certain of the location of the sleep magnet before finishing that repair.

Later Mac laptop models have specific places on the bezels where the magnets go making screen replacements much easier in that respect.

Does the magnet being on the screen hurt the display? Not at all. The strength of the magnet is pretty weak and only CRT screens were that susceptible from damage from magnets.

Categories: Insights Tags: , , , , , ,

Palm Pre – Early Report Card

July 31st, 2009 3 comments

PreIt’s been almost two months since the Palm Pre came out. The hype has died down, the marketing is getting weird and the jury is still out on wether the Pre will be the beginning of a new Palm or one of the last nails in their coffin.

A member of the MyService team is an avid Pre user (yes not everyone here has an iPhone) and I decided to revisit the device. While I use a iPhone 3GS and am obviously biased, I was a long time Palm user and want the Pre to succeed.

While I had seen the Pre in a lot of marketing and displays, I never really spent time playing with the actual device.

First impression was that the Pre felt cheap. Second was that the UI felt slow. Third was the screen was too small and finally the keyboard felt terrible.

Any benefits over the iPhone were akin to MP3 players that had built in radios trying to use that feature to compete against the iPod.

Here’s where I think Palm won and failed with the release of the Pre.

On paper and in print ads the Pre was a winner. It looks great. It has a physical keyboard. The UI is pretty and the multi-tasking apps was a strong, unique selling point.

I think the exclusive Sprint launch was genius. Sprint users have been feeling left out on the phone scene for quite a while (that’s why I left) and exclusive Pre access made them feel important again. If the Pre is a cult hit with Sprint, that will help it as it competes with the iPhone later.

The number one fail for me has to be the build quality of the Pre. The original iPhone had no 3G, zero app store and limited functionality, yet was extremely well built. The metal casing and weight really made you feel that this was more than just another phone. Apple has learned that specs and software can come later but initial hardware design and execution is job one.

Everyone I talk to who either has a Pre or is thinking about getting one first states that it’s because they are on Sprint and don’t want to change. As exclusive carrier phone deals start to go away in the next couple of years Palm is going to be in real trouble if they don’t either increase the build quality of their phones or compete more on price with with iPhone. Time will tell.

Grade: C+

Pros: Exclusive Sprint launch. It’s different than the iPhone. You can text while driving. If you like to hack the software and get more technical with your smartphone, there is a pretty robust dev community forming.

Cons: Bad build quality. Slow. Feels cheap but is still expensive. Terrible marketing.

Conclusion: Unless you dislike Apple, I can’t see anyone picking the Pre over the iPhone if they had the choice. But since you don’t have the choice, if you want to stay with Sprint and want a smartphone the Pre is decent holdover until something better comes out.