Comeback

And that’s it! over 3 months since I ever had a thought about blogging! Maybe I wouldn’t make a come back this soon if Matt over there didn’t wrote that scary post about the recent WordPress worm. I’m invulnerable to it since I turned off user registration since day 1 :P. However, lacking behind in updates isn’t something an IT professional should get used to so I paid 3 hours to have this blog upgraded and moved to a new domain, since my old one is going to expire in December anyways (The Koreans hosting it decided to cheapen themselves earlier this year by violating their own mission to bring free domains. Oh well).

Not the first time I move nor upgrade; in fact maybe I should consider doing WP upgrades and moves for other people for profit: it’s so smooth it almost feels good 😛 Can you imagine it? I described the process once before already but this time the situation is a bit different: I’m not moving host, everything is already in the database so Import/Export isn’t really necessary (and it costs time + bandwidth to do so).

1. I installed WP at the new domain and copy all the plug-in and upload over

2. I crafted the wp-config.php for the new domain to make sure all changes are dealt with. This time there is no change from WP 2.7 to 2.8

3. I changed the domain in the CP and have to login to the new domain. It says a database upgrade is needed, I hit next and got a blank admin screen. Befuddled

4. Google a bit, the first hit says this is caused by plugins, I moved them out and reload, it worked! All the posts are there and the theme is kept

5. Add the plugins back one by one until I found the one causing problem: No follow in posts

6. Edit the images to point to the new domain: if I were to use Import/Export like last time, the server will have to pull all the file over (which is on the same server, a waste of bandwidth) but the image URL in the posts will be automatically updated. This time I just move them over to the new domain’s directory, so I updated the posts’ images by two simple SQL queries:

UPDATE wp_posts SET guid = replace(guid, 'http://silentwind.co.cc', 'silentwind.za.net');
UPDATE wp_posts SET post_content = replace(post_content, 'http://silentwind.co.cc', 'silentwind.za.net');

Images should be displaying by now.

More disassembly

I concluded my last blog post streak with a disassembling post, it’s quite appropriate to have another one right now to celebrate my comeback 😛 This is going to be a short one: my TV Box which is used to watch analog TV with my computer’s monitor.

It used to work fine when new but when it’s about 6 months of age, its image quality gradually decrease until I’m more frustrated by watching TV with it than not at all, at which point I thrown it into storage. When I pulled it back out 2 weeks ago for a sudden need, it worked. But the next day it refused to display most of the channel :/

So I took it apart, maybe I can do something about it, it’s better than being furious at it anyway.

To the top is the outer case and the speaker (the one with a couple of wire dangling). To the bottom is the main circuit board, which is also everything. All the components are soldered to the board so nothing else could be taken apart without damaging it

Close up of the mainboard

I noticed a variable resistor above the chip in the middle (the one with the number 4 on it). I plugged everything in, turned it on and start tuning it left and right slowly to no avail. Later, I decided to turn it all the way to the left (so it would rise and possibly allow me to take something else out :P), this time it gives crystal clear picture and got all the channels. What confuses me is if from the start, it was working well because the resistor were at the top then what kind of mysterious force pushed it down later?

Chinese stuff after all, heh.

Disassembling that MP3 player

Almost everyone has one of them. They are cheap, they are convenient, they are a good way to show off. I had one from years ago but rarely use it since I hate anything that isn’t rechargeable (the ISO-14000 kind of guy). The button are a little off since I move it around a lot and must have broken something :/

So, when I have a new set of screwdrivers, it became my first victim :P.

I got off on the wrong foot: I tried to crack open the top side (the side with the screen) when actually I should do it otherwise. I found out eventually, but the casing suffered heavy scratches; and I acidentally peeled of a capacitor too 🙁

The rest is only a few screws, loose them and here are the results

Battery side

Screen side

Nice look inside Chinese manufacturing “technology”. All they’ve been doing is make a cheap (I mean really cheap) processor and bridge between the storage and the USB interface. It’s the Processor you see in the middle. AT is for Actions semiconductor. The storage chip is Samsung’s and the Radio is from Phillips.

It turned out what I’ve worried about this poor thing’s quality doesn’t matter that much. As long as the computer can recognize it, the thing will just work fine, the rest of the parts are from more qualified manufactures 😛

IMO, when stripped bare, the LCD looks a lot sexier, you can see the bright LED illuminating the fiber optics plate beneath. They look pretty good but is covered by the original casing. My guess is they make color by blending 4 LEDs: red, green, blue and white as they seem to be the strongest colors and have only one dot of light to the left side.

Blue

Red

It works fine even when disassembled (and lose a certain capacitor :”>). I guess that control screen brightness, since that’s the only setting not working.

In the end I’m too lazy to reassemble the thing. Furthermore, the buttons are off because the plastic handle inside is swollen and broken. Cheers to Chinese plastic! I can hold it back with glue but why do so when I can hit the circuits directly? So now I have the weirdest MP3 player I’ve ever seen. At least it does not electrocute me 😛 and is about 30% smaller from the original one (the case is damn big =__=).

Also, it’s not until I completely disassembled the thing I found many have disassembled their MP3s too; anh this website. They have a nice guide how to do what I’ve done to recover dead player. The site is a community run by owners of the MP3s. It turns out that they are pretty popular around the world. They have everything you’ll ever need related to these things (circut map, specs, firmware etc.)

The MP3s came under a variety of brands and forms but the internals are just the same. Some folks even made a computer out of it. There are also a resource editor and (code) disassembler so you can modify your MP3’s animation, logo and strings.