June 29, 2009 by

My (Sort of) Brand-New Dinosaur


Categories: tecknical stuff, What the heck was THAT?

Some of my readers might remember me talking about the dinosaur laptop I have used in blogging, and how the laptop seemed to be possessed by a phantom that would make the screen get snowy at times, and make a set of keys stop responding for no reason. I learned to placate the phantom by giving it a “massage”–i.e., tapping the bottom of the laptop to get the keys to work again.

As it turns out, appeasing a codependent computer-phantom only enables it, and soon it requires more than just a massage. Before long, I had to do more than tap the bottom. I had to spank it.

Keep your mind where it belongs…

I inherited the laptop from The Wild One when she got a Macbook. She was ready to put the old laptop out to pasture because it was running so slowly, but I figured if I could get an already-paid-for laptop to keep working, I could have my own laptop, too. And I did! I reformatted the hard drive and kept it from having too many programs on it, and it worked well for blogging. I kept that baby running for nearly 2 more years.

But then came the phantom that would not be appeased.

First the power cord went bad, and not wanting to spend more than the laptop was worth on a new power cord, I bought one of those cheap generic versions on ebay. It provided power, but didn’t fit in the slot snugly. (The battery went bad years ago, only holding a charge for a few minutes.) So I’d have to finagle with it and get it to sit “just so”. Then, of course, the other stuff I’ve already described.

And finally, a couple of weeks ago…the phantom destroyed its host. Fried the motherboard. The death of the possessed dinosaur.

Let me show you just how stubborn I was about keeping this thing alive, and how hard it is for me to let things go. By the time the laptop gave up the ghost (pun intended), this was my normal blogging routine:

  • Plug in laptop.
  • Mess with power cord until the laptops A/C indicator light stays on without my having to hold the cord.
  • Turn on laptop.
  • Get online.
  • Start typing. Discover (predictably) that the batch of keys does not work, and the phantom requires its massage.
  • Pick up laptop and give it a hard spank on the bottom.
  • Watch the coffee shop staff snicker at me. (Or watch The Wild One roll her eyes, if I happen to be at home.)
  • Re-position power cord, now dislodged from having to move the laptop. Do this quickly, before the battery dies and we have to start all over.
  • Blog.
  • Re-position the power cord because for no apparent reason the A/C indicator has gone off. Do this quickly, before the battery dies and we have to start all over.
  • Cuss under my breath.
  • Finish blogging.

The Wild One was quite relieved when the dinosaur died.

I had no laptop before this, so I didn’t miss it before. But now, of course, I am addicted. The next step would have been to upgrade The Wild One’s computer for her business and pass her Macbook to me–but I’m not quite ready to transfer to Mac, and buying a new laptop was not an option at this time. Especially not a PC laptop, since at some point soon I will be switching to Mac, and I didn’t want to spend lots of money for a laptop I’d use for maybe a year–even if I had the money.

And yet, my laptop addiction must be fed. So the solution was obvious.

For Father’s Day, I got a (sort of) new dinosaur.

That’s right. A ridiculously low price spent on ebay for a used Dell laptop. Big, thick, heavy, bulky…but in near-perfect working order. No scratches that I can see. A perfect, bright screen with no snow. A fresh re-load of Windows XP. An internal wireless card that works better than the plug-in I was using. Faster processor. A working battery, and a cord that actually works.

It’s almost like getting a brand-new laptop–four years ago. 🙂

So this morning, I’m writing this on battery power, all keys functioning. No spanking. No cussing. Just blogging bliss.

And The Wild One is resting much easier.

But I think the coffee shop staff are a little disappointed that the show is now over.

Musician. Composer. Recovering perfectionist. Minister-in-transition. Lover of puns. Hijacker of rock song references. Questioner of the status quo. I'm not really a rebel. Just a sincere Christ-follower with a thirst for significance that gets me into trouble. My quest has taken me over the fence of institutional Christianity. Here are some of my random thoughts along the way. Read along, join in the conversation. Just be nice.

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