We just had to sneak a peek into Barnes & Noble’s GlowLight technology. And what better way to accomplish this than through a proper teardown? Although the tech seemed super-simple at first — just some inexpensive LEDs on top of the screen — we knew there had to be more stuff packed inside in order to evenly light the screen. So, how did B&N do it?
The glass in the display assembly includes a diffraction grating that disperses the light from the Nook’s eight LEDs to achieve even distribution. Barnes & Noble must have spent a good amount of time optimizing this diffraction surface for the uniform lighting, which is why they have kept the technology in-house and are filing for a patent.
And how do we know it’s a diffraction grating?
With our favorite distraction around the office — lasers. We took a laser and beamed it through the glass panel onto a wall. Unlike the light of the white LEDs found on the Nook, the green laser beam (which is all the same wavelength), was split into the diffraction pattern shown below. If no diffraction grating was present in the screen, the laser beam would be projected as a singular dot on the wall.
Besides uncovering the magic of GlowLight, we found this device to be quite similar to the older Simple Touch. The motherboard looks almost identical, save a connector for the GlowLight LEDs. The other noticeable difference is a frame made out of magnesium, as opposed to the aluminum plate found in the non-lit Simple Touch. (We verified this magnesium claim the hard way, apparently not having learned our lesson from last time.
Spring has fully sprung in the northern hemisphere, and the warm air and sunshine are perfect for bike riding. Many of you may just be breaking out your bikes again from winter storage. And after sitting in your garage for six months, your bike could probably use a tune-up.
Of course, on California’s Central Coast, we’re blessed with beautiful weather year-round—so bicyclists are out and about all the time (Side note: why does it sound like I’m bragging whenever I describe this town? Just one of the many reasons it’s great to work for iFixit). Yet even if, like me, you never put your bike away, you might appreciate a bike maintenance primer.
So in honor of bike month and warmer weather, here’s a basic bike maintenance video from the London Bike Kitchen. They produced the video in partnership with 10:10, an organization dedicated to reducing our carbon footprint by 10% each year. The video is from a 10:10 UK blog post, part of the site’s month-long repair series.
For lots of people, when a device breaks, that’s the end of the story. Glass is shattered. Battery’s dead. Connectors aren’t connecting. Lights aren’t turning on. Chapter done, book closed. Get a new phone.
But for repair folks, the break is just the beginning. Fixers are the sort of people who pick up the pen again, who rewrite the end after the story is supposed to be long over.
Thus begins Darren Vance‘s story: “While at work one day,” he recalls, “my iPhone 4 slipped out of my top pocket and smashed the screen.” It wasn’t the first time he’d broken a phone—his iPhone 3GS died when it got wet on a fishing trip. But this time, the phone was fairly new, and he wasn’t ready to upgrade. Since the warranty didn’t cover drop damage, his options were slim. So he decided to fix the phone himself.
Kyle spoke this week at a U.S. International Trade Commission hearing on used electronics exports. The hearing will be an important source for a USITC study for the U.S. Trade Representative’s office. In his testimony, Kyle stressed the importance of repair worldwide:
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Apple has made a lot of proprietary, anti-open-source business decisions over the last few years: Pentalobe screws to keep you out of your phone, super-strong adhesives to keep you out of your iPad, and repeated moves to block cross-platform development. It can be easy to forget that Apple was not always so closed—and difficult to imagine that they could ever be so open again. But while speaking in Sydney this week, Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak reminded the world of Apple’s open-source roots and called for a more open Apple.
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