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Displays Hardware Hacking Build

Pixel Qi Introduces a DIY Kit 74

jones_supa writes "Pixel Qi has just revealed their DIY kit for netbooks, planned to be out near the end of Q2 — sounds like June. This makes it possible to retrofit a screen to one fully readable in direct sunlight. In her blog, Mary Lou Jepsen says: 'It’s only slightly more difficult than changing a lightbulb: it’s basically 6 screws, pulling off a bezel, unconnecting the old screen and plugging this one in. That’s it. It’s a 5 minute operation.' She also talks about the 'laptop hospital,' a service depot started by kids in Africa."
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Pixel Qi Introduces a DIY Kit

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  • Slashdotted before a first-post. That's unfortunate.

    • Re:Slashdotted? (Score:4, Insightful)

      by xlotlu ( 1395639 ) on Sunday March 07, 2010 @07:47PM (#31395118)

      It's hosted on yahoo servers. That's more than unfortunate... it's sad.

    • I've always wondered about that. How can a site be slashdotted when nobody here ever RTFA?
      • Re:Slashdotted? (Score:5, Informative)

        by bpkiwi ( 1190575 ) on Sunday March 07, 2010 @10:11PM (#31396380)
        Only the people who comment don't read the article. This is mostly because of the moderation system - if you stop to read the article then your comment will appear to late to gather any mod points - thus you are lost in the +1 noise. Only by jumping in as soon as you see something posted and saying something pointless, uninformed, and inane will you have a chance of getting moded to +5 by your peers - who also didn't read the article.
        • by Tynin ( 634655 )
          Interesting overview of the /. moderation system and its short comings. Seems like we would be best served by posting new stories and then not allowing any comments to be made for 24 hours or some arbitrary allotment of time. Something tells me that we'd just end up with craftier trolls, but that is its own form of entertainment.
          • by tepples ( 727027 )
            Apparently subscribers get to see articles a few minutes early so that they can RTFA and still post an informed comment. Another way to get an early post is to take advantage of threaded view: skim the article, then reply to one of the first top-level comments so that even though it's a late comment, it still appears near the top so that it garners replies and moderation.
        • by mellon ( 7048 )

          Naw, all you have to do is tack your comment onto one of the ones that's on top, and it'll get modded +5. Of course, that requires you to say something that people agree with. The good news is that it doesn't have to be particularly insightful... :'}

        • by maitas ( 98290 )

          Time will always be the more importan factor. Though I would like to see a single 6 Score to the comment that recieved more mod points in the first 24 hours.

  • ignoramus (Score:3, Funny)

    by martas ( 1439879 ) on Sunday March 07, 2010 @07:21PM (#31394898)
    i thought their stuff was only black&white? won't you need some pretty severe UI changes to get something useful out of a netbook like that?
  • No thanks, but I'll wait for when it can be done as a replacement for TN screens of larger sizes (14", 15", (17"?)) and proves to be better at quality than *-IPS panels.

    Netbooks might be a proof-of-concept, but notebooks of larger sizes and higher quality would be a better application.

    • by SpinyNorman ( 33776 ) on Sunday March 07, 2010 @07:42PM (#31395076)

      This isn't a generic LCD display - that's not their market.

      The big deals with the Pixel Qi display is that:

      - It's totally usable in full sunlight
      - It's full color and fast (OK for video)
      - It has a reflective e-ink mode
      - It's low power

      It's really geared towards:

      1) eBook readers that want color and video support
      2) Laptops/netbooks intended to be used outside (which tends to mean smaller form factor)

      They use the same production line as traditional LCDs though (there's lots of articles / videos on them if you Google), so they'll certainly be able to produce larger sizes if they want to.

    • I'll wait for when it can be done as a replacement for TN screens of larger sizes (14", 15", (17"?))

      With you on this - mostly because I don't have a netbook.

      and proves to be better at quality than *-IPS panels.

      What? You want to replace a TN-quality display with something that's better than the best on the market? And that's stand-alone display market - there are NO laptops on the market today, that has an IPS-display. There aren't even any that have MVA/PVA displays. Why the hell not settle for replacing it

      • I've heard claims that 15.4" and 17" MacBook Pros have IPS displays.

        Also, ThinkPad X201 Tablets have PVA displays.

      • Mind that the iPad has IPS, proving that small IPS panels can be built profitably. The iPad might be a non-general-purpose device, but it puts Lenovo's arguments against it to shame.

        As for the Thinkpad (X201/etc.) panels, is that just for tablet models, or is it for all of them?

        • The iPad doesn't qualify as a netbook/notebook. You said it yourself. And to be honest, I really want an IPS display on a notebook, but for some reason all manufacturers have seemingly decided "fuck it, we'll do cheap over good", which is completely stupid. There IS a market for expensive laptops in the business segment.

          You can't do proper image manipulation on a TN-display - the colours are all wrong. That means you can't sell that laptop to people who do photo-work, be it professionally or in their spare

  • Sorry, Internal Server Error.
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    Please contact the server administrator, and inform them of the time the error occurred, and anything you might have done that may have caused the error.

    More information about this error may be available in the server error log.

    Additionally, a 410 Gone error was encountered while trying to use an ErrorDocument to handle the request.

    Please check the URL for pro

  • A similar link (Score:2, Informative)

    by lazycam ( 1007621 )
    A quick google search turned up the same story: []
    • by jhoegl ( 638955 )
      ppppfffftttt, complain first, wait for server load to even out, google last.
      welcome to /.
  • Yeah. To change a lightbulb you have to change five screws and a bezel. What's one more screw?

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by SpinyNorman ( 33776 )

      Not much apparently. If a five year old girl can do it, maybe you can too?! ;-)

      Just a quick note to say the DIY kits from our distributor will be available towards the end of Q2. We will be announcing with them prior to distrbution. Thanks for your patience.

      One of the reasons I'm personally committed to doing this goes back to my One Laptop per Child experience and girls in a poor rural part of Nigeria who helped us test the early beta-laptop builds. In their school they had slanted desks bolted to benches

      • by temojen ( 678985 )
        The OLPC must be built substantially different from every laptop that I've worked on (Acer Aspire One, Almost every recent Dell, Thinkpad, HP, or Toshiba). Almost all of them have the LVDS connector on the motherboard and fed through the hinge, requiring disassembling the base to some degree to get the cable out, then about 6 screws to open the bezel, then several more to get the screen module out, then several more to get the frame off the screen. I suppose you could re-use the LVDS cable to avoid opening
        • by mellon ( 7048 )

          That's correct, the OLPC is built substantially differently from every laptop you've worked with. :')

          Seriously, the CPU and the screen are on the same side of the hinge. The only wires that go through the hinge are a connector for the keyboard and the connections for the battery. It's full of win, except for the choice to use OpenFirmware instead of LinuxBIOS.

      • Yet, most people are scared to change their laptop screen. It's only slightly more difficult than changing a lightbuld: it's basically 6 screws, pulling off a bezel, unconnecting the old screen and plugging this one in. That's it. It's a 5 minute operation.

        Most people are scared to change their laptop screen because its so easy to break the bezek, which has strange little hooks and may be glued on at points so that it cracks and breaks.

        I've taken apart laptops and I think they do things just to make us break it. Frankly I'm surprised my current thinkpad has the audio jacks on a daughter board that can be replaced (although you have to take apart the whole base part of the laptop to get it off.

      • by RMH101 ( 636144 )
        I'm sure changing the screen on an OLPC is nice and easy. Problem is, TFA states you should do this to your netbook. For every laptop I've changed a screen on, it's been a fairly complex operation with significant risk of breaking something - levering off the bezel without snapping anything, taking the keyboard and rest of the top plastics off to get at the video connector on the motherboard, threading the resulting ribbon cable back through the hinge, and removing the screen from the lid. It's non trivia
  • by ultor ( 216766 )

    What about the problem of dust getting inside while changing the screen? Few people have the clean-rooms necessary to get factory-quality results. Sure, it'll take five minutes to change the screen, but it'll take three more hours of repeatedly taking the bezel off, spraying it with a can of air, and putting it back on to remove the inevitable particles getting in.

    • by shogun ( 657 )

      A modern laptop screen is a sealed unit which you would replace entirely - open the bevel pull out the screen, put the new one in, close the bevel. The front of the screen is exposed to the outside anyway so it would be exactly the same as dust getting onto it in normal use.

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by ^_^x ( 178540 )

      All of the laptop screens I've disassembled have included the LCD panel, lighting tube, backlight reflector and diffusor assembly in one main assembly, so it may just be a matter of opening the case around the screen, popping a couple of cables off and swapping it.

  • by gmuslera ( 3436 ) on Sunday March 07, 2010 @07:40PM (#31395062) Homepage Journal
    Now we can begin our own "How many netbook owners does it takes to change a lightbulb" jokes.
  • I think Yahoo has actually been slashdotted :o
  • I haven't seen any tests on this. I don't doubt it'll match a regular TN screen in all ways, but how do they compare to the better IPS, MVA, PVA technologies?

    From what I understood about the PixelQI displays, they should be as easy to make as regular displays, so it ought to be possible to get them in high colour and viewing angle versions as well.

  • Seriously, their technology must be something all display manufacturers are after. So why have they to offer something like that which will be only of interest for geeks?

    As far as I know there is nothing amiss with this displays. They are great, cheap, easy to produce and offer nothing but advantages. There's no reason they shouldn't be able to sell this technology to everyone building netbooks or notebooks or desktop displays. But there's not a *single* device you can buy with this display. What's going on

    • by icegreentea ( 974342 ) on Sunday March 07, 2010 @09:03PM (#31395756)
      A whole bunch of Pixel Qi running devices were demoed at CES this year. We'll probably never see half of them again, but the rest are all presumably coming out sometime. This shit is friggin NEW. Hasn't really been time to integrate into most laptop lines yet. My bet is that the high-end laptops will start offering this as an option soon enough.

      And there are a few downsides. I'm assuming that they are still more expensive than a plain LCD screen. But from what I can remember from the CES videos, there's a distinct yellowish tint to the display (in color/video mode). It was very much as if it was all printed on newsprint. Now, nothing wrong with that for what the screen does, but I cannot see manufacturers pushing out a yellow tinted display across all their lines. There would be... backlash.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by mellon ( 7048 )

      They don't *have* to sell the stuff to geeks. The reason that they are such heroes is that despite not having to sell the stuff to us, they've decided to do so anyway, even though we will no doubt be a major pain in their collective asses. Because they think that laptops shouldn't be black boxes.

  • Why notebooks in general don't come with transflective screen options is beyond me. It's an old and proven technology used on most PDAs and many smartphones now and the color gamut is actually pretty decent; perhaps not enough for color matching but excellent for gaming, movies, and the like (not to mention basic word processing, coding, etc. tasks). They are perfectly readable in all lighting conditions including direct sunlight, with full color reproduction. It is true that contrast and color gamut do suf

    • This isn't an ordinary transflective screen.

      On a transflective screen, external light goes through the color filters twice, as they're in front of everything. On this, the color filters are between the backlight and the actual liquid crystal setup. Therefore, with the backlight off (or with ambient light that overwhelms the backlight,) the contrast is equivalent to a (quite excellent) monochrome display - but it IS a monochrome display at that point.

  • by blackest_k ( 761565 ) on Sunday March 07, 2010 @08:04PM (#31395246) Homepage Journal

    If you could manage to mount the new screen to the outside of the netbook with a touch screen mod and switch the connections between the internal and external screen. It might be able to create a netbook/tablet. I know i'd find that useful.

  • by Hurricane78 ( 562437 ) <deleted&slashdot,org> on Sunday March 07, 2010 @08:22PM (#31395366)

    This group of girls armed with screwdrivers starting taking apart the laptops and reseating the cables. Sometimes they'd change out a screen, or a speaker. They learned about the hardware of their laptops. They got to see what was inside. They got better and better at fixing things by learning as they went.

    5-11 years old. Not told by anything to do so but in their own interest. Sorry, but that’s humanity at its finest.
    If I learned one thing about our abilities, it’s to simply assume you can do it. I see so many people who say and think that they can’t do this and can’t do that.
    We all are incredibly intelligent. Everyone can fix electronics. Everyone can write software. Everyone can learn quantum physics!
    It’s just a matter of allowing oneself to assume that one is able to do it. And then do it.
    That one rule, worked for me my whole life. :)

    Ministers of Education had a tough time believing that these girls could fix the hardware, so they would visit - to see it with their own eyes - and start thinking differently about maintenance of hardware.

    And here we see that exact mindset of “we can’t”. Just as most people here would assume a 5 year old girl couldn’t fix a computer. Let alone one from a 3rd world rural area.
    Turns out that’s bullshit! :)

    Man, if everyone could just see the tiny box of social conditioned pointless rules that he is caught in... “You can’t do that! Only rich good looking men get girls! Obey! Buy, buy, consume and buy! You are ugly! There is another side, that is against you! Believe! You must do this, and must not do that! ... ”

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      I used to believe everyone can learn quantum physics. That is what I literally said to people.

      Then I started tutoring at a community college, and got hit with a big reality bat.

      For a lot of these older people, they have an incredibly difficult time remembering to do the same thing to both sides of an equation. And don't even get me started on them figuring out how to manipulate negative numbers for adding, subtracting, multiplying and dividing. *shudder*

      The best they can do is try to memorize lists of rul

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by cdrguru ( 88047 )

        A dirty secret that most educators know is there are people that can manipulate abstract symbols and those that cannot. If you confront someone that cannot do this with a problem that requires it, no matter how hard they try to do it, they aren't going to be able to.

        This does not appear to be learned skill but something the brain is either capable of or not.

        This used to be pretty unimportant in the grand scheme of things. It became more important around the beginning of the 20th century, but was a pretty

      • Well, they are old. That something different. Your learning rate naturally falls with the age. Give them some drugs that raise the learning rate again, and see it do wonders. ^^ You know: The good stuff. ;)

        Also for many people, it’s a really long walk from where they are to being able to think freely.
        I know because I know how deep in the delusions I was. I was extremely introverted and always though I were the loser. Well, since I redefined what I am, I’m literally getting random strangers in th

      • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward
        In tutoring math I've noticed that some people need a different approach, a new angle... another way to look at a problem and they can be taught. But I'm talking about high school football jocks that everyone thought were illiterate morons. Though, I wasn't their English tutor, so maybe they are illiterate.
      • by islisis ( 589694 )

        I have never wanted to mark anything "troll" more than this in my life.
        If you can't see how propogating the goals of an educational system which filters its customers through provacation rather than observational is the very trap leading teachers like yourself to fall into that mindset then you'll be shunning the place honesty in communication forever after. The only reason to believe it is true is in order categorise your own self, after which the only honest point you have to make is that you have refuse

    • Nobody ever thought to tell them they couldn't succeed at that.... so they just did it!

  • Okay, so when will people be able to buy these things for their own netbooks, and how much will they cost?

    Will the screens be compatible in all netbooks? (I know there is a resolution standard but unsure if there is a standard panel size.)

    How would you switch between the 3 screen modes? You'd need a dedicated switch that your netbook doesn't have, or a special driver (hopefully there would be a Linux version) to select your mode.

    I'd love to have one of these screens to replace the glossy display in my curr

    • Will the screens be compatible in all netbooks? (I know there is a resolution standard but unsure if there is a standard panel size.)

      It's not 100% clear but it looks to me like the article is actually about the OLPC, given that 1) the word "Netbook" appears nowhere in the article and 2) the involvement of Mary Lou Jepsen.

      Another non-story/crappy headline.

  • Sign me up (Score:3, Interesting)

    by davide marney ( 231845 ) * <> on Sunday March 07, 2010 @11:22PM (#31396908) Journal

    I purchased four XO-1s when they originally came out a couple years ago. I gave away two, boxed one for posterity, and am still using one for browsing (Opera) and note-taking (Zim) when I'm at conferences. I still get heads-turns and kids inching over to take a look over my shoulder everywhere I go.

    The XO-1 has an early version of the Pixel Qi screen, and it is extremely functional. I'm still amazed every time I'm reading an ebook on the subway, and walk from the deep darkness of the subway tunnel into blinding, direct sunlight, and the XO-1 display is still completely readable.

    The XO-1's processor, however, is quite slow, and that becomes a pain in the neck for browsing. A decently-performing netbook doesn't cost very much these days, but the screens are a disappointment. I'm really looking forward to snagging a Pixel Qi DIY kit, buying a cheap netbook, and fixing up my ride.

    Bring it, Mary Lou!

  • It takes more than this display to make a machine as power-friendly as the XO. XO's wifi is provided by an external module with its own power management, and its processor is less power-hungry than any x86 on the market today. I still know of no one producing a product today based on the Marvell meshing AP in the XO, though if I am lucky enough to be wrong, I'd certainly like to know who is doing it. The processor situation will rectify itself shortly, and anyway, the XO is slow. I don't think I'm alone in

    • by daid303 ( 843777 )

      I don't think I'm alone in wishing for an OMAP4-based Linux netbook.

      While a bit smaller then a netbook, the [] is as close as you can get it for an OMAP4 based linux netbook right now (well, in 2 months, when it gets released)

Reactor error - core dumped!