Zen and the Art of iPhone Maintenance

About a year ago I bought a used, unlocked iPhone 6 for $260 on eBay for Milo. The phone worked well for a few months and then Milo started having problems with the lightning port. The plug wasn’t staying in securely and the phone was not charging consistently. The problem gradually got worse until, last week, it stopped charging altogether.

After checking options, including just buying a replacement (ugh, there goes much of the savings from buying used), I checked iFixit for a guide and replacement parts. While the cost of parts (with required tools!) was only $24.95, the project was rated as Difficult, with 1-2 hours required and, if you add tear down and reassembly steps together, 74 freaking steps. I recognize a good father/son project when I see it however, and pulled the trigger with iFixit. The tool kit and part arrived 2 days later.

Milo and I finally had a couple of hours to spend on the repair today and had a great time doing it. I shared some of my repair project secrets with him, such as how to secure and order ridiculously small screws and parts to keep things organized and understandable for reassembly. Shipping tape for the win!

Other than the step for reattaching the antenna cable (holy crap was that fiddly), we had no issues whatsoever. The phone is charged and everything is in working order again.


“This is not the realm of priests.”

Having finally sobered up after I stopped going to AA meetings, I found this an interesting read. My own experiences with problem drinking, the “program”, and my success afterwards, are reflected in many of the descriptions in the article. I never used the opioid antagonist drugs mentioned, but would have had I known about them. It’s good that they exist, at any rate.


The Irrationality of Alcoholics Anonymous

Turns out …

… upgrading a 9 year old iMac with an SSD is worthwhile too.

Although I had to re-purchase, download, and create a bootable USB stick of OSX 10.7 Lion to format the new drive. But what the hell, now I have a complete set of OS media again. Why Lion? Lion is the last version of OSX that can be installed on this model.




There were some dicey moments cracking the case open, the credit card method to unlatch the front top corners didn’t work so a bit of improvisation was necessary. The shielding was a pain in the ass too, as were the deeply recessed screws to release the screen. The absence of a long magnetic T10 torx tip necessitated further improvisation with tiny dabs of contact cement to keep screw and wrench together while fastening the screen back to the case.

This was by far the most involved SSD upgrade. I’m glad I had the four others for practice!




Patient is awake and snappier than she ever was. Cheers!

The New Media Center iMac is Born!

Thursday night I ordered a refurbished iMac from Other World Computing. It cost $359 and is the 20 inch mid–2009 iMac education model. I also bought the maximum amount of RAM for this model (8GB), and a 240 GB SSD ($94.88 and $139, respectively). Shipping was free Fed-Ex Ground and quoted at a 4–5 business day delivery time.
20 inch mid-2009 iMac educational model
Astonishingly, all of the items arrived the next afternoon, Friday, while I was still up in San Jose. Milo naturally offered his opinion regarding the cost of the contents of the giant box marked “iMac” to Charlotte (at least $3,000!), resulting in much panicked texting and hilarity.

After getting home from SJ Friday night and not able to keep from my new tinkering project, the little iMac was fully upgraded and getting its new operating system installed at around 1am.

Saturday morning I noticed that there was no bluetooth hardware listed in the system report. After a bit of research, it turns out that Apple kept that off of the hardware specs for the educational model (other differences include a lower CPU clock speed and half the L2 cache as its standard brother). The absence of bluetooth was going to be an issue as the new computer is replacing our old media center computer (a white plastic 2006 iMac) and must work with the same bluetooth keyboard and trackpad. Amazon had many USB bluetooth dongle adapters to choose from and I selected the well-reviewed GHS bluetooth 4 for $14.95. I get free second day air shipping through Amazon Prime and delivery was quoted as no later than 8pm Monday night.

Migrating the iTunes library turned out to be trivial as it already resided on an external drive and all that was needed was a copy of the old iTunes folder (in the user folder on old iMac) in the corresponding folder on the new iMac. Everything works flawlessly, all of the metadata, playlists, etc. are there, all point to the media files on the external drive.

The dongle arrived today at noon – Sunday no less! By US Mail. Also astonishing.

Now we have a zippy computer that runs Yosemite and feels responsive and modern. All of this for $600 and change, and of course about 3 hours of my time.

What else needs fixin’?