Roodhouse Tech Blog

Technology at Geneseo Community School District 228

Archive for the ‘Misc. Repair’ Category

Gone are the days of Firefox 3.x, where the release schedule was slow and stable.  Firefox is on pace to change version about every 6-8 weeks and with this I find that sometimes things get a bit jumbled up.   Mainly the cache seems to get corrupted and can cause some funny behavior and slow the browser down.

If your Firefox on your Apple computer is running slow or acting strange, here is a small Apple Program I wrote that simple cleans the cache, removes your browser history and resets a few minor preferences.  Running the program will close firefox then do a quick cleanup and that is it, quick and easy.

Download it here Fix-Firefox-Mac


Fix Firefox



Time Machine is a great backup tool and usually works pretty flawlessly.  One area that could be improved is in recovering iCal Calendars.  To recover your iCal Calendars from a specific time you have to jump through a few hoops and do a few steps that may not seem very intuitive.  Here is how:

1.  Make Sure iCal is closed and not running.

2.  First Connect your backup Time Machine Device and Turn off your WIFI (and disconnect Ethernet if hard wired)


3.  Next Click on Finder and click on the word GO | Go to Folder




4.  Type in ~/Library


5.  Now Click on Time Machine and Enter Time Machine


6.  Using Time Machine go back in time to the date where your Calendars were good.  Now in the Finder windows find the folder Calendars and click to restore this entire folder.  You can Restore it to your Desktop.

7.  Exit Time Machine and Drag / Copy this folder Calendars on your desktop to your Library Folder.  You can click again on Finder | Go to Folder | ~/Library if you missing the windows.  (Step 2 Again).

A message will appear letting you know there is already a Calendar folder,  click on REPLACE or Replace All.


7.  Now Restart the Computer.  Do Not Open iCal yet.  You must first restart the computer or logout first and then after you are logged back in, then start iCal.  Your Calendars will be back (you may need to wait a minute or it to and you may see a message saying restoring calendar events.

After Restoring the Calendar Folder and copying it to ~/Library (Replacing the Folder) Make sure to reboot the computer before starting iCal.



Thats it Calendars are restored.  A bit of hassle but can be done.


Youtube has updated its site and Video Download Helper and  no longer work to download many videas as mp4 files.  Strangely using still works if you save in the webm format but not the more universally accepted mp4 format.  All is not lost however as a quick Google search reveals that this add on works well.

Download YouTube Videos as MP4 – yes that is really the name.



Now with this Add On installed and working to download a video you must first play video on youtube.  Now with the video playing look below the video and you will see a new option that says Download.




Notice the Download tab on the video and the option to pick MP4.

That’s it.  If you don’t see this option first close firefox (or reboot computer) and then start it back up.  Now search for a new video and you should see the little download link.



So perhaps my iPhone 4s is no longer operational and am awaiting a new phone, which may not arrive for a couple more weeks.  To fill in the gaps in between I took my original AT&T iPhone and activated it using a GoPhone Sim Card.   No Jailbreak is needed and you can do from the phone and from a computer with web access (or Phone connected via Wifi).   Here is what worked for me.

1.  Buy a 15$ GoPhone generic Samsung flip phone from Wal-Mart.  I bought ATT because that is what the original iPhone (2007) was.

2.  Open the GoPhone and discard the phone and keep the Sim card (looks like a credit card with a little chip that pops out).

3.  Join your iPhone to Wifi and download this file.  Mobile Config (For US AT&T carriers only)

Your phone will ask you to install the settings, just click install and choose okay.

4.  Now put in the SIM card into the older iPhone (Works with Original iPhone, iPhone3g and iPhone 3gs -with older iOS)

5.  Now follow the GoPhone instructions and activate the phone but using the iPhone and using the web to activate instead of the phone.

Start here.

You will find your SIM number on the card that came with the GoPhone.





You will find the IMEI number on your iPhone under | Settings | General | About – then scroll down to IMEI.


6.  Thats it now just save the phone number and put this into your iPhone settings,  Settings | Phone | My Number

7.  Make sure you add money to your go phone account,  can do it through the phone if you reboot it, or can also put money on account via the web.

After you have money on the account, reboot the phone or just wait few minutes and your iPhone is now a GoPhone.


Note:  There is no need to jailbreak or modify your phone whatsoever.

Note:  Do not activate the GoPhone Sim in the generic flip phone that comes with the package.  If you do the SIM gets locked to that phone for 6 months and will not work.  You must activate the SIM first with the iPhone or go to AT&T and get a new SIM.




This summer I migrated two servers to Linux based platforms running on Dell PowerEdge R210′s.  Previously a G5 Xserve was running our mail server for the last 7 years and it has done a great job.  Kerio no longer supports the PPC based architecture meaning no more software updates.  In addition the age of the machine itself in terms of hardware meant ready for a change.    Kerio now has a true 64 bit version of their software and supports Linux natively.

Kerio Running On Ubuntu 64bit


The migration process was smooth although time consuming,  with over 400 active email accounts and 300 gigs of information simply copying the info took well over 5 hours.  The configuration files are for the most part interchangeable and could simply copy from old server to the new with just some minor changes to file paths.  Mac uses /usr/local/kerio and Linux uses /opt/kerio.

The new version of Kerio supports jabber protocol and would like to enable this having the server handle all instant messaging, video chats and email.

In a similar move I setup another server which hosts all staff websites and it running latest version of Apache, PHP.  The Windows server that these sites were previously on was 32 bit based and was starting to max out the RAM limit of 3.5Gigs.  PAE extension was possible but simply running on a dedicated 64 bit server with less overhead seemed a better path.  Moving the information was pretty slick in this case as well (200 gigs of website data, 70 websites).  The only trouble here was correcting URL pathnames to case sensitivity (Windows not case sensitive, all flavors of Linux are case sensitive).

Both Servers are R210 Dell PowerEdge running a RAID 1 configuration with Western Digital SE4 drives.  Plan to continue to reduce the number of Microsoft based servers with Linux.





Blue iPhone Screen #3

So I just finished replacing iPhone 4S screen a couple weeks ago. Just like that I was walking and literally accidentally tossed it onto the pavement and cracked it again. My white and black cow phone did not last long.

Cracked Cow Phone

This time I replaced the back and front screen with blue covered parts off of amazon for 35$. Since this is screen number 3 I thought I would stick with just the parts and focus on cheap.

Blue phone works great .. Repair is a lengthy process.




Okay so the iPad 3 and iPad 4 have exceelent displays with great resolution.  They are also much more fragile then the original iPad 1 and crack easily from a drop here or there.  After fixing my iPhone 4S display I thought the screen repair on the iPad 3 and 4 would be a huge undertaking.  Actually it is much easier then the iPhone the hardest part is simply removing the screen.

I went home and grabbed my wife’s hair dryer and used this to heat up the edges of the units.  Using a swiss amy pocket knife and iSesame tools included in my screen repair kit the glass eventually was removed.  The adhesive holding the screen on these units is pretty tough and I found myself scrapping bits of glass here and there.  On the bottom left hand corner you will find the cable the connects the digitizer to the main board of the machine.

Removing screen with Hair Dryer and Knife

removingscreenwith hairdryer

Removing Screen iSesame
With the screen/digitizer removed you need to simply remove the Retina Display underneath with a small Phillips.  With the Retina Display removed you will see where the ribbon cables connect and using the plastic splunger can flip open the latches and pull out the cables removing both the screen/digitizer and retina display.

Removing Ribbon Cables



With everything removed Can now simply plugin in new screen and carefully reattach.  This is easy for the iPad 3 but with the iPad 4 you have one extra step.  The iPad 4′s button is different and you must change out the button or use a new ribbon cable.  I used the screen repair kits from  Also used one of the tear down videos on youtube from same company.

When I go to replace another iPad screen I will likely just order the part itself and not the kit, saving 30-40$.  The tools provided in the kit are good and can be easily reused.

I say 45-60 minutes is a reasonable expectation of time it takes to repair.

Whats left of the old screens

whatsleft of the screens

Fixed – iPad 3 and iPad 4





Cow Phone iPhone Screen Repair

So my iPhone 4s got a bit smashed.  To repair from apple is 200$ so I decided to buy a kit from iCracked on Amazon for 60$.  The kits originally was 100$ but at reduced price of 60$ I thought worth the repair effort.

iCracked 4S kit. 




First off this is the most nicely packaged kits I have seen,  you get the new screen and digitizer, a protective sticker pre-attached,  a bumper, decent instructions,  tool set to remove the strange size micro screws and a polishing cloth.  I repaired an 3GS screen once and I all I got was literally the repair part and then used youtube to help dismantle the phone.

Repair Kit


The repair kit does its best attempt to make this as painless as possible but unfortunately the job is still quite involved.  The instructions said allow 45 minutes for the repair,  I would say allow at least 90 minutes for the repair.  You literally must remove everything to get to the screen replacement, the logic board, the camera, the speakers, antenna wires, EMF shield, connectors, grounding clips (a little tricky), etc.

The only complain I had with the process besides the optimistic time for the repair was the lack of a flat head screw driver.  There are two flat head screws in the iPhone that must be removed and this is the one tool left out of the kit,  I happened to have a small flathead so no big deal but could have been included in the tool kit.

The size of the components is unbelievably small.

MotherBoard with CPU removed.



I liked how on the instructions were place holders to put screws and parts as you remove,  making reassembly much easier.




The repair worked great except for a minor detail. I ordered a white front plate instead of black and the kit does not come with a new button.  The result is now my children only refer to it as the cow phone.  With the relatively positive experience with this kit if I can find good deal with same kit for an iPad 3 will also give it a shot at fixing.

Cow Phone Repaired




The other day a storm came through and knocked power out for a good 8-12 minutes.  Just long enough to get our server stack at the High School to shutdown.  Anyways most servers powered back up okay but our Apache webserver/ MySQL server did a disk check and on reboot the MySql daemon failed to start.  Looking into the logs it shows a message that the Innodb module failed to initialize and thus the mysql process crashes.


Looking into the specific mysql logs I find that this module fails because it the file innodb1 is corrupt.  This is not good as this file holds the index and information for all databases on the server (300) and is used frequently.  The easiest fix would be to restore a backup but in my case I showed the latest backup being May 5, 2013 and there has been two full weeks worth of activity since then.

To save all data and not relay on older backup need to try and force a recovery of InnoDB.  According to MySQL documentation you can force a recovery by restarting the MySQL service/daemon after adding a line to its configuration.


innodb_force_recovery = 4

Under the mysqld section of the config file you can add innodb_force_recovery = 0 – 6.

Levels 1-4 are pretty safe as most data is preserved.   Setting the level to 5 or 6 gets a bit more risky as you could lose some data.

In my case levels 1-5 did not good and MySQL refused to run.  On force recovery level 6 the MySQL did work and all databases were up and running.  After checking that databases (Spot checked about 50)  and verifying no information lost, next step is to dump or backup all of the databases.  When MySQL is in a force recovery mode other then 0,  the databases are locked and you are unable to add information.  You can however dump all the data as a SQL file export and then reimport the data to clean database.

Here I used PhpMyAdmin to select about 1/3 of the databases at a time.  I learned the hardway to not select the Information Schema or MySQL database since if you do this, you cannot use PhpMyAdmin to restore your databases as it will fail on these two.

Do not select Information Schema or MySQL if restoring to same database server

InformationSchema MySQL


With a backup of all databases minus these two safe and ready, now ready to reset MySQL and fix corruption.

My method:  First make sure have backup, next stop the MySQL process running.  Change the MySQL config file and set the  innodb_force_recovery = 0 to zero then delete the innodb log files and innodb file itself(ib_logfile0iblogfile1 is a InnoDB logfile. ).  Then delete (DROP all Databases except for MySQL and Information Schema).

Now restart MySQL and a new InnoDB and logfiles will be generated and you will have a working MySQL on recovery level 0 with no data.  Now using PhpMyAdmin go to Import and Import all the databases back in MySQL and am back up and running.  This process worked for me and no data was lost.



This afternoon I started a process of making 300 exact copies on a 2 gig flash drive.  To copy a single disk at a time on Mac just using Finder was around 10 minutes.  So at that rate we have 300 x 10 = 3000 minutes or 50 hours of copying.  Not really going to work,  I tried a few google searches for copying multiple disk images to USB on a mac and did not really find anything that would work quickly and efficient with USB disks.  On the PC side there is a free application called imageUSB,  program works perfect and does what it says.


Here simply created a image of the a perfect finished flash disk,  then using multiple USB hubs plugin disk and whoalah now I can do 32  at a time at 12 minutes per copy cycle.  This reduces total time to make 300 copies to just around 2 hours.

Download ImageUSB for PC Direct


Using generic sub 15$ dollar 10 port usb hubs I setup two PC’s doing 11 on a laptop and 21 on a Desktop.  This setup with two machines offset a bit gave me time to plug and unplug usb thumb drives.  If you ever need to mass duplicate thumb drives ImageUSB works great.

Mass Copying in Action

20usb 30usb


July 2014
« Jun    

Roodhouse Tech on Twitter