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SCREEN REPAIR OF SAMSUNG GALAXY S4

SCREEN REPAIR OF SAMSUNG GALAXY S4

A Samsung Galaxy S4 (and also S5) is a fantastic device to use as a cheap burner phone for one simple reason — a removable battery. It is also well supported with a LineageOS port. Someone gave me an old Samsung Galaxy S4 a few years back that had a damaged display, and I kept it thinking that one day I may need it. A few days ago I decided I wanted to fix that display so I could build a burner phone from scratch with a single messenger app like Session, which has a custom APK file that you can download on to your Android without a Google Play Store or even an F-Droid store. This can be very useful if you do not want Google apps or any other app besides a default browser on your device.

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Posted on by Vikas N. Kumar.

DELL PERC 6/i VIRTUAL DISK SETUP FOR RAID

DELL PERC 6/i VIRTUAL DISK SETUP FOR RAID

There are almost zero manuals online on how to setup the Dell PowerEdge Expandable RAID Controller version 6/i (PERC 6/i) to add additional virtual disks to an existing configuration, so I decided to write a quick instruction manual here. Even Dell’s website either has dead links or does not have enough information on the steps. These steps are identical if this is the first time you are setting up the RAID on the server, and not just for adding a new set of drives.

In my scenario, I have several Dell R710 PowerEdge servers that required additional disk drives. I am running RAID-1 on the existing server with 4 physical drives (Samsung EVO SSDs) pretending to be 2 virtual drives to the operating system. I wanted to add 2 more SSDs and hence create another virtual drive for the Linux operating system to be able to access it.

The process is very simple and takes about 5 to 10 minutes. Read below for the instructions described using images.

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Posted on by Vikas N. Kumar.

MINIMIZING RISK WHEN CHOOSING A RESEARCH LAB FOR PhD

Applying to universities with good PhD programs is only a third of the application process. Most students end up ignoring what is considered a “good” advisor and assume their achievements (GPA, publications, winning your March Madness bracket, blah blah blah, what have you) will automatically garner them that baller PhD advisor. As PhD Comics often states, selecting the right advisor is like being in a long-term relationship. If you ask me, it is more like arranged marriage – find the word on the block about your future spouse’s family, and then meet and question your future spouse.

Ending up with a well-funded advisor is not a draw of luck but about doing your homework smartly on the advisor and the PhD program. How do you end up with a good advisor (I didn’t want to be stuck taking care of their dog while they are in Magens Bay for some conference. True Story.) and in a good research lab (Not doing support/maintenance/code-monkey IT work but doing actual research, the entire reason I am there for)?

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Posted on by Ankur Kumar.

USING YARDSTICK ONE TO CONTROL A REMOTE CONTROLLED POWER PLUG

USING YARDSTICK ONE TO CONTROL A REMOTE CONTROLLED POWER PLUG

I had a remote controlled power plug (Figure 1) purchased from Home Depot (or Amazon, cannot remember anymore) whose remote was malfunctioning. The On button would work but the Off button did not. I saw this Hak5 video on the Yardstick One and realized I could try doing the same with the YardStick One I had purchased a few years ago, but never used. If you love watching videos instead of reading blogs, the Hak5 video linked earlier is good enough. However, if you prefer reading a blog instead, this post is for you.

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Posted on by Vikas N. Kumar.

MICROSCOPE FOR ELECTRONICS REVERSE ENGINEERING

MICROSCOPE FOR ELECTRONICS REVERSE ENGINEERING

Electronics is getting tinier and my eyes are getting older. To be able to re-use old hardware, sometimes it is necessary to:

  • discover the JTAG, SPI, I2C or UART pins on the circuit board, or
  • extract and/or reload firmware correctly without damaging the board, or
  • check the quality of the connnections of the main processor chips, or
  • map the pins of the main processor back to a datasheet, especially with custom ASICs and System-on-Chips (SoCs) being made based on standard designs but by arbitrary vendors.

I saw this post on Twitter, got excited and ordered a full microscope which could do 300X zoom from AliExpress. This took a month to arrive, but was an exciting wait.

The microscope and the stand arrived last Friday, and I assembled it myself. However, it does not have an assembly manual so this post will act as one.

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Posted on by Vikas N. Kumar.

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