Techie Wayne's interest in problem solving started a long time ago. His experience includes 20 years as a troubleshooter in the plastics industry, and he has been tinkering computers since 2001. Today, he spends his days homeschooling his son and his nights fixing computers. His company's services cover everything from screen replacement and virus removal to tune-ups and data recovery. He works on laptops and can even build custom computers from scratch. Taking pride in his straightforward approach, he charges by the job instead of hourly and only charges $10 for his time should the client decide not to go through with repairs.
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Liquid Crystals and LCDs: How Cell Phones Resemble Carrots
A smartphone's tiny screen relies on the strange properties of liquid crystals. Check out Groupon's study of LCDs to learn how they create the vivid pictures in your pocket.
The term liquid crystal seems a contradiction, but a liquid crystal is actually neither a liquid nor a solid?it's both, stuck in a sort of chemical limbo with its molecules somewhere between the liquid and solid phases. When an electrical current passes through a liquid crystal, its molecular orientation changes, and so does the direction of light that passes through it. By sandwiching these crystals between polarized glass and manipulating the current passing through them, your phone is able to control the light they channel, resulting in the high-contrast images that appear on screen. Although our brains only see each pixel as a single dot, each consists of red, blue, and green subpixels that, when lit at various intensities, can emit more than 16 million colors.
Despite their advanced applications, liquid crystals are not a recent discovery. They were first identified in the late 19th century by a scientist studying cholesterol extracted from carrots?a natural source of liquid crystals, as are human beings and most other living things, which tend to have them in their cell membranes. Liquid crystals and LCDs were the subject of research and patent applications throughout the early 20th century?including one filed by Marconi?s Wireless Telegraph Company in 1936?and finally hit consumer electronics in the early 1970s, when they were introduced in wristwatches.
At the ripe age of 8 years old, Steven Teague began fiddling with his uncle’s Hewlett-Packard computer, sparking a deep interest in computers that eventually led the tech-savvy kid to found his own help center, Crucial Computers LLC. Today, Teague offers computer troubleshooting, repairs, and installations for a variety of systems; he even goes so far as to provide same-day and afterhours services in cases of emergency. From configuring wireless networks to to setting up newly purchased computer systems, Steve can not only handle it all, but also teach it. The shop offers hands-on computer-building classes, with each session capped at 10 students for attentive instruction.
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