Feature: Cutting SIMs, changing APNs, and mobile freedom

July 9, 2010

Engadget

It’s here – the first in a regular series of features! Check out my first post on Engadget, about cutting SIMs, changing APNs, and mobile freedom…

Then listen to Chris Ziegler and I on the Engadget Mobile podcast, usually recorded live every Friday at 4:30 PM ET, and posted every Saturday :)


Fixing a scratched lens with a floppy disk

October 9, 2009

Tonight I was inspired by Micky Aldridge (not Ricky Cadden, as I said in the video – my apologies to both), who wrote about Nokia finally acknowledging the N97 scratched lens problem, which I’ve experienced myself.

I used Micky’s tutorial on replacing the N97 lens cover to fix the scratched lens on my N97 review unit with a MacGyver-esque hack involving a floppy disk :)

If you’re thinking WTF, watch my video! No matter what, don’t try this at home, unless you’re OK voiding your warranty…


Modding the Acer Aspire One – eSATA

March 10, 2009

Welcome to part 4 of a multi-part post on moddng the Acer Aspire One!

In part 1, I showed how to take the Aspire One apart, how to upgrade the RAM, and how to add internal Bluetooth. In part 2, I showed how to replace the SSD with a 1.8″ PATA hard drive and how to reassemble the Aspire One. In part 3, I showed you how to add internal 3G (specifically HSDPA)…

In this final part, I demonstrate how to add eSATA to the Aspire One. Here’s another video and additional pictures that cover the process. As usual, I’m not responsible if you damage anything.

Read the rest of this entry »


Sony VAIO P – HSDPA mod

February 12, 2009

So, after more tinkering with the Sony VAIO P, I have successfully managed to mod the Gobi radio from Qualcomm (built-in WWAN) from EDVO-only to EGDE/HSDPA!

I have documented the process with a how-to and some pictures

Enjoy :)


Sony VAIO P – Windows XP downgrade

February 10, 2009

I have successfully managed to downgrade the Sony VAIO P to Windows XP (from Vista). I used this guide started by this person and contributed this information :)

Most importantly, I got both the WWAN (EVDO-only for now) and GPS radios working! Next up: more modding (it’s EDGE/HSDPA time)…


2nd anniversary

November 22, 2008

tnkgrl Mobile is 2 years old today!

It’s been a great 2nd year. I’ve looked at a lot of devices, both short and long term, like the Nokia N95-3, Apple MacBook Air, Nokia N82, Apple iPhone 3G, Nokia E71 and HTC Dream/T-Mobile G1.

I’ve hacked the Asus 701 (Eee), the Vulcan Flipstart, the MacBook Air SuperDrive, and the Acer Aspire One. There’s even been some crazy adventures

But I’m planning to bring you a lot more goodness – in fact, Matthew Bennett and I are starting a weekly podcast. So come back soon and come back often :)


Modding the Acer Aspire One – HSDPA

October 28, 2008

Welcome to part 3 of a multi-part post on moddng the Acer Aspire One!

In part 1, I showed how to take the Aspire One apart, how to upgrade the RAM, and how to add internal Bluetooth. In part 2, I showed how to replace the SSD with a 1.8″ PATA hard drive and how to reassemble the Aspire One…

In this part, I demonstrate how to add internal 3G to the Aspire One (specifically HSDPA). Here’s another video and additional pictures that cover the process – enjoy :)

Read the rest of this entry »


Inside the Asus 901 (Eee)

August 18, 2008

Since I have an Asus 901 (Eee) on loan for a couple more days, I’ve cracked it open. Here are is some pictures pr0n :)

There are several boards inside, a 1 GB DDR2 SoDimm, a 4 GB mini PCIe SSD, an 8 GB mini PCIe SSD (16 GB on the linux version), a mini PCIe WiFi card, and a Bluetooh module.

Like the Acer Aspire One, there’s also a 40-pin ZIF connector (unused here) compatible with most 1.8″ PATA hard drives, and there’s a missing mini PCIe connector and SIM holder on the motherboard for 3G.

I went ahead and temporarily connected 1.8″ PATA hard drive to the ZIF connector. The thin (5 mm) hard drive fits in a dedicated opening in the bottom casing of the Eee, but requires the removal of the 8 GB mini PCIe SSD. This worked fine, but the 4 GB mini PCIe SSD became the IDE slave device.

Next I connected the 8 GB SSD from my Acer Aspire One to the ZIF connector, and kept the 8 GB mini PCIe SSD in place. Once again, the 4 GB mini PCIe SSD became the IDE slave device, but the existing 8 GB mini PCEi SSD was disabled…

I hope this info is useful to some people out there!


Modding the Acer Aspire One – hard drive

August 16, 2008

Welcome to part 2 of a multi-part post on moddng the Acer Aspire One!

In part 1, I showed how to take the Aspire One apart, how to upgrade the RAM, and how to add internal Bluetooth. Today I demonstrate how to replace the SSD with a 1.8″ PATA hard drive and how to reassemble the Aspire One…

Here’s another video and additional pictures that cover the process. Of course, I’m not responsible if you damage anything.

The Aspire One SSD features the same ZIF connector found on 1.8″ PATA hard drives, which are small, light, efficient, affordable, plentiful, and somewhat shock resistant – all this while providing more storage and better performance than this particular SSD. Blame the iPod :)

Apparently, there’s just enough space for a thin (5 mm) 1.8″ PATA hard drive under the Aspire One’s motherboard. I happened to have such a hard drive floating around, a 60 GB Samsung HS06THB. It’s a plug-and-play mod – just disconnect the ribbon cable from the SSD and connect it to the hard drive.

I used double-sided adhesive foam squares to secure it to the motherboard. This adds some padding and provides protection for the hard drive, but makes for an even tighter fit. Check out the pictures.

In part 3, I’ll be adding internal 3G to the Aspire One. Stay tuned :)

Update: As mentioned in various people’s comments on various other posts that have linked to my mod, thick (8 mm) 1.8″ PATA hard drives also fit!

Also, if you are having problems connecting the existing ribbon cable to the 1.8″ PATA hard drive, try another ribbon cable with a different thickness. If the 1.8″ PATA hard drive is not recognized once connected, try flipping it over (it’s unlikely to be damaged if improperly connected)…


Modding the Acer Aspire One – Bluetooth

August 14, 2008

Welcome to part 1 of a multi-part post on moddng the Acer Aspire One!

In this part, I demonstrate how to take the Aspire One apart, how to upgrade the RAM, and how to add internal USB Bluetooth…

Here’s a video and some pictures that cover the take apart and RAM upgrade process. Of course, I’m not responsible if you damage anything.

The internal USB Bluetooth mod is pretty much identical to the one I performed on my Asus 701 (Eee). It works without interfering with the built-in wireless or disabling any of the available USB ports. Use this post for reference.

Basically, I connected a micro USB Bluetooth module (Bluetooth 2.0 + EDR) to a 5V trace (off in standby), a nearby ground trace, and the USB signals (pins 36 & 38) available on the mini PCIe card slot occupied by the WiFi card. The Bluetooth module was stripped, wrapped in Kapton tape and installed under the palm rest.

In part 2, I’m going to show how to replace the SSD with a 1.8″ PATA hard drive and how to reassemble the Aspire One.

Read the rest of this entry »


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