Wednesday, April 23, 2008

my laptop broke - I FIXED IT - i broke it - FIXED AGAIN!

I like tinkering around with computers. A few years ago I just decided to build a computer and I wound up building like 10 out of old parts I acquired from my job and other places. I did this mostly for free buying used parts on E-Bay to enhance my projects when necessary. I did it totally on the cheap and never really bought anything expensive or new.

We use 3 of these computers still actively at home and I've distributed 2 more to friends and family. Its fun for me, but I don't really understand why. I find myself so sporadically interested in anything lately that the reason for my interest in this is mysterious.

I could get on a huge soapbox here about how we are all over-sold on technology and really your computer from 1997 will work just fine if you know how to upgrade it, but instead I'd like to talk about my recent compulsion to fix my broken laptop.

I used good troubleshooting skills to determine that the problem was the video card. I know how to open my lappy and I've replace parts before so it wasn't hard to take a look at the video card and recognize that the thing that had been causing the weird buzzing sound up until the day it failed was a boogery looking thing stuck to the fan - scratch one internal video card.

I tested some other things about the machine, on other laptops, just to be sure like the screen and the CPU, but all signs pointed to the food booger (or whatever that was).

I ordered a new card on e-bay and attempted to make it work with very limited success. I really tested the hell out of the thing for about 2 weeks before I gave up and got the seller to agree with me that it was bad. In the meantime, I ordered another card because I wasn't sure that I would be able to get that particular model working and the seller was just going to replace it with another of the same kind.

In short I got the video working and the replacement card worked well, so I bought a bunch of other stuff for my laptop.

Why? Its like 5 - 6 years old, why invest in this machine when I can get a new one. The answer is that I don't really know. I like to make things last and I don't like wasting things, I think that was a big motivator here.

Some panic set in as I tried one of my upgraded parts and it really looked like it wiped out my machine. I freaked and in a huff bought even MORE replacement parts! This turned out to be sort of a waste as I was able to fix the original problem with some patient troubleshooting.

In the end, I upgraded both of my laptops as they use a lot of interchangeable parts and I spent almost all of a recent spot bonus I got. I couldn't have bought 2 new laptops for the money I spent so I feel like it was sorta worth it, but upgrades rarely make that big a difference unless they are extreme. I'll be able to sell some of the excess back out on e-bay, but the success of the project is really what I was paying for here.

I LIKE TINKERING - so I spent like the last 5 weeks tinkering around with my lappies and its interesting to me. I'm finishing up now and the experience still has value to me because I get the satisfaction of economising by re-selling some of the parts on e-bay.

I'm such a tight-wad or dork or geek something.

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