Tinkering Your Way to Savings

Back in November, the Android box the in-laws were using was blocked. Not entirely sure what happened, but from my understanding, some Government organization in China pushed software on the box to combat copyright infringement.

After a few days, the company that makes the box worked out a deal with someone and they box was allowed to work again. However, the software that was pushed effectively bricked the device. Bricked is a tech term that describes the fact that the device is no longer usable and is effectively as good as a brick. Funny enough, probably better to call it a paper weight, but a brick is shorter to say.

Anyway, we effectively called it a write off and left it at that.

At least that's where that situation was left until recently. After talking with wifey about it, I realized the in-laws paid something like $50 for the box. While they wouldn't admit it, they like using the tv box to easily watch their Chinese programs and shows streaming from China. They prefer it over using the computer to load their shows.

They were planning on getting another box. However, I could tell they were reluctant purchasing another box that may or may not be blocked.

We looked it up and seems there may be a way to reload the OS on the android box to unbrick the box.

Reading the instructions online, we managed to load the software. It was an easy process with a Windows XP machine. It didn't work on Windows 7. Probably a driver issue. Not sure.

Anyway, now that the software was loaded, it just took a while to download the updates. Of course a lot of apps weren't available anymore. As a result, the apps needed to be loaded manually. Simple thing to do, just go to Google and search for the apk file, download it, load it onto a usb, connect it to the android box, and install the apk file.

That's about it. By tinkering, we were able to save some money. We didn't need to purchase another box.

Of course, it might not have ended up this way, but there would have been doubts as to whether or not another box was needed in the event another box was purchased.

If loading the software didn't work, no harm! Since the box was effectively bricked in the first place, it didn't matter if it worked or not. The only benefit would be we'd have the box working again, which it is.

Granted the box wasn't expensive in the first place, but $50 is still $50. Not a lot of money in the grand scheme of things, but many of these little $50 purchases will add up and could cost you thousands of dollars over the period of 10 or 20 years.

Anyway, don't tinker with stuff if the warranty is still valid. You also need to ensure you don't hurt yourself. Some electronics have high voltage capacitors that still keep a charge after they are unplugged.


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