Logitech M500 laser mouse (repair)

Last week the left mouse button of my beloved Logitech M500 laser mouse stopped working correctly. The mouse is several years old and used daily for several hours, so there is no reason for me to be unhappy with it’s endurance. But replacing a mouse, because of a single worn out switch, felt like a waste. That’s why I decided to repair the mouse.

m500

Unfortunately I could not find a service manual on the Logitech support site. That did not stop me, oh no, on the contrary! I got enthusiastic and documented the process, so this will be much easier for you to repeat.

The “missing” Logitech M500 service manual

This post will show you what the inside of a Logitech M500 laser mouse looks like. It also explains where the screws are located and how you can remove them carefully. It should be possible without destroying the mouse, but I take no responsibilities for your actions. If your mouse is still under warranty – which is a generous period of 3 years – then I urge you to stop reading and contact Logitech support to get your mouse replaced.

m500_bottom_screws

The 4 bottom screws are located underneath the feet or “skates”. The skates are oval stickers and can be removed without too much damage by using a sharp knife. Slide the knife underneath the entire skate to peal it off in one piece. Do not fold or bend the skates as shown on the picture unless you plan to replace them. A replacement set of 4 skates can be bought on-line and cost about 5 dollars.

m500_remove_wheel

The cable of the mouse can easily be removed, because it is connected with a plug into a socket. Pull the plug out gently by wiggling it. You can then remove the wheel by pulling out the “f”-shaped axis (shown in the inset) that is located in the middle of the mouse (see circle). On one side it has a little handle that you can use to gently pull the axis out. After doing that you can pull the wheel structure upwards from the front of the mouse as indicated in the picture. You may need to pass a little aluminum strip that keeps the wheel structure in place.

m500_screws_inside

Now we can remove the main board of the mouse which is kept in place by 5 screws that are marked in the picture. Easy ain’t it? If you need to replace a left or right mouse button switch the model is “OMRON Micro-switch D2FC-F-7N” as you can see below:

m500_omron_d2fc-f-7n

Their 3 pins can easily be (un)soldered on the main board. You can buy this OMRON micro switch on-line for about 1-2 dollar per piece.

Happy hardware hacking.. ūüėČ

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The innovation paradox

bulb_onThink about your work and ask yourself this simple question: “What would I improve if their were no constraints?”. Next ask yourself the questions: “How sure am I that the constraints really exist? Did I try? Is there really no workaround?”.

“What would I improve if their were no constraints?”

The paradox

Businesses tend to steer for compliance, cost reduction and security to achieve financial stability. They also wonder why they fail to innovate. I learned that this is called the “innovation paradox” as organizations tend to pursuit two seemingly opposite goals. So if you are caught in that struggle, then I suggest that you read¬†Jeffrey Phillips on his blog “innovate on purpose”.

Quotes

These 10 quotes may inspire you on your search for innovation:

  1. “The arrogance of success is to think that what you did yesterday will be sufficient for tomorrow.” – William Pollard
  2. “When all think alike, then no one is thinking.” – Walter Lippman
  3. ‚ÄúManagers maintain the present while leaders create the future.‚ÄĚ – Orrin Woodward
  4. “The difficulty lies not so much in developing new ideas as in escaping from old ones.” – John Maynard Keynes
  5. ‚ÄúDreaming is largely lost among adults drowning in self-imposed realities.‚ÄĚ – Ryan Lilly
  6. “A key ingredient in innovation is the ability to challenge authority and break rules.” – Vivek Wadhwa
  7. ‚ÄúIf at first the idea is not absurd, then there will be no hope for it.‚ÄĚ – A. Einstein.
  8. ‚ÄúInnovators are inevitably controversial.‚ÄĚ – Eva Le Gallienne
  9. “Creativity is thinking up new things. Innovation is doing new things.” – Theodore Levitt
  10. ‚ÄúNo obstacle is so big that one person with determination can’t make a difference.‚ÄĚ – Jay Samit

Parallel thinking

Even in a team of people that are creative and have the guts to innovate, there is one thing that can ruin everything: ego play. All creative ideas and innovation plans should be team owned and not be associated with a single team member. Tools like De Bono’s “Six Thinking Hats” can help you to create a parallel mind that dreams up team owned ideas during a brainstorm session.

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Panda 4.1 impacts organic traffic from Google

Here is a screenshot of my Google Webmaster Tools search statistics for the past 3 months (sorry for the Dutch dates and text):

panda41

It seems that LeaseWeb Labs was affected by an update of Google’s ranking algorithm named “Panda”. Every now and then Google adjusts the ranking of websites to avoid search engine spam.

Google launched Panda 4.1 on September 25, 2014 and told us it would be a ‚Äúslow rollout‚ÄĚ that would go into the following week. No one really expected the rollout to continue into this week but it has and the fluctuations and ranking changes you are seeing are likely related to that. – searchengineland.com

As you can see in the above graph we have lost 10-20% of our search traffic from Google. We believe that update 27 (version 4.1) of the Panda ranking algorithm is to blame. Although Google may be optimizing their algorithm continuously, updates with high impact do not occur often. It is believed that on Friday 8 August 2011 7% of the queries were affected by an update. Until the May update this year there was never such a big impact of any update. In September we have seen another update and although the impact is said to be smaller, it seems bigger on our site. Below an overview of this years algorithm updates (source):

Update   Name        Date         Queries affected
26       Panda 4.0   2014-05-20   8%
27       Panda 4.1   2014-09-25   4%

So it this really bad? No, not at all! Google needs to fight search engine spam and every honest site benefits from that, so this is also good for us. And we are not completely dependent on Google search traffic. It is estimated that about 40-50% of the total visitors of this site come from Google. So this small loss of organic traffic is hardly visible in our total traffic graph (from the “Count-Per-Day” WordPress plugin) as you can see below:

panda41_2

Did we learn any lesson from this? No, not really. We will just continue to make good (unique) content and trust that Google will keep rewarding us with lots of visitors.

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Gaming on Ubuntu with Steam for Linux

Valve-SteamBox

Is gaming this what Linux needs to win the hearts of kids now and thus of the IT managers of the future? I sure hope so.

Many people say that the Linux desktop is not getting popular because Linux can’t play popular game titles. If there is one company that is doing everything to change that, it is “Valve Software”. With their Steam platform they explicitly target Ubuntu Linux. They even released an Ubuntu based Linux distribution called “SteamOS”. They are also working with hardware vendors on SteamBox concept: a game PC with SteamOS pre-installed. With this box they hope to win the most important screen of the house: the TV.

Steam has lots of great commercial (non-free) games for Ubuntu Linux. These games all work flawless and perform just as good as the Windows versions. I will alphabetically list 10 popular titles from their library of over 700 games:

Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (FPS)

Counter-Strike: Global Offensive

Counter-Strike: Source (FPS)

Counter-Strike: Source

Dota 2 (RPG)

Dota 2

Europa Universalis IV (Strategy)

Europa Universalis IV

Football Manager 2014 (Strategy)

Football Manager 2014

Portal 2 (FPS)

Portal 2

Sid Meier’s Civilization¬ģ V (Strategy)

Sid Meier's Civilization¬ģ V

Team Fortress 2 (FPS)

Team Fortress 2

The Book of Unwritten Tales 2 (Adventure)

The Book of Unwritten Tales 2

Tropico 5 (Strategy)

Tropico 5

Play anytime and anywhere

On the Steam platform you can buy games and all bought games can be downloaded anytime and anywhere. The games are also automatically updated over the Internet. There are people that criticize this system, because the games are bound to an account and you cannot trade the games you have bought on Steam. I think this complaint is understandable, but I feel that the cloud based game storage is extremely convenient and works like a charm so I can live with that flaw.

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About hiring programmers and Asperger’s syndrome

Managers in software teams are often confronted with highly intelligent programmers; programmers that all suffer in some extent from Asperger’s syndrome. These people are very intelligent, question authority and do not do what is told unless they are satisfied with the reasons why. They have a low social sensibility and love endless discussions about principles. They like to stick to rules onces they are settled, can focus for hours on single pieces of code, love to be fully focused and hate it to be disturbed.

Am I generalizing? Yes, you bet I am, but I am sure: If you are a programmer you will recognize some of it.

‚ÄúManaging programmers is like herding cats‚ÄĚ – Meilir Page-Jones

I love that quote, because it holds so much value. Some say it only applies to senior programmers. But that leads to the following dilemma: hire easy-to-steer junior programmers that may have little or negative contribution to the software you are building or hire hard-to-steer seniors that can bring big value. Whether it is true or not, I think the latter is preferable.

Dealing with senior programmers is hard and I believe it is a challenge that does not have its match in other industries. One of the factors that is making matters worse is the global lack of senior¬†programmers. These programmers can afford to behave arrogantly and non-compliant because the software business needs them so badly. They can always find another well-paying job. All they have to do is mention on their social media profile that they are “available” and it will rain job offers on them.

One of the methods I see that people use to get a grip on their developers, is to pay them above average or get them secondary benefits that are so good they cannot be matched elsewhere. But then again, you must be careful this does not lead to arrogance, lack of self-criticism and a feeling of superiority. These are definitely enemies of a good working team, so this cure may be worse than the disease.

Further reading on Asperger’s syndrome

The following links give some more insight into Asperger’s syndrome:

  1. http://archive.wired.com/wired/archive/9.12/aspergers_pr.html
  2. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/home/you/article-2557765/Is-man-wired-differently.html
  3. http://www.healthcentral.com/autism/c/1443/153287/asperger-difficulty/
  4. http://edition.cnn.com/2013/04/11/health/aspergers-work-irpt/
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