Tuesday, December 30, 2008

A Little Bit of Techie Stuff

So, I'm sure it hasn't escaped anyone's notice that I have been a serious slacker in the blog department for quite a while. The reasons are numerous, but some computer issues were certainly a significant part of the problem. First, Grace ripped the "C" key off of my laptop some time back. It was a pain, but I lived with it. Then the dumb thing started overheating and randomly shutting down. When I went to Colorado at the end of March to spend time with my sister and her family after the birth of my niece, I came home to the surprise of a new laptop (well, refurbished actually). That didn't seem to be a problem at first. In fact, I REALLY liked the new laptop. It had a fingerprint scanner to sign on, and it had a "C" key. Yippee!! It even stayed on until I turned it off...every time! That would be until I had it for about 3 1/2 months. For anyone out there that doesn't know, warranties on refurbished laptops are pretty much always 3 months (not 3 1/2)). GRRR!!!

For a few days, I was just bummed and computer-less. Then, it occurred to me that I might at least get by with the old clunker. Once I figured out that I needed to have the front lifted up off of the surface it was setting on so it could get better ventilation, it quit shutting down at random moments. Of course, that was soon followed by the power plug malfunctioning. It seems that whatever the problem was with that, it fried the battery too. I was not about to spend any money on this dumb machine, but I did discover that if I used electrical tape to hold the plug in "just so", It would stay powered up. I was still unhappy that I lost everything from the refurbished laptop (pictures mostly), but at least I could read and reply to emails.

So, this brings us to yesterday. Kyle (our eldest) has a buddy that works on computers. He felt pretty certain that he could replace my missing "C" key, and even get it to work. I jumped at the chance. I spent my day without my computer, but that was OK with the hope of a working "C" key for the first time in ages. Kyle got home well after I went to bed last night, so I had to wait until this morning to have my own little personal celebration for the newly resurrected "C" key. But NO!! There was no "C" key, and now there were 8 (yes...E-I-G-H-T) other keys that did not work either. WTF?! Well, I woke Kyle up out of bed and had him call his friend right away. He suggested that we blow the keyboard out with compressed air. We did...no dice. I even called my Dad (the Jack of all trades), and none of us could figure out why the keyboard took a sudden turn for the worse. One thing I did learn though; you can't just replace the keyboard in a laptop. It is part of the motherboard, and they only can be replaced as a unit. $$$$$$, and I don't have much right now.

Fortunately, I have a smart husband and Dad, who both suggested that I hook up a regular USB keyboard to the laptop. I didn't like the idea of having a bunch of cords hanging off of the laptop, but then Will reminded me that we had a wireless keyboard attached to the computer that the kids used to use. Yeah!! It works beautifully, and it even has a "C" key that works. I guess the laptop keyboard going wonky was actually a blessing in disguise. Plus, since I was in techie mode, I decided to pull the hard drive out of the dead refurbished Gateway. DON'T BUY A GATEWAY!!!!!!!!!!! (BTW, each word in the previous sentence is a link to a different page that will tell exactly why I have the opinion I do.) I remembered from a previous dead laptop experience that we got an enclosure for the hard drive, and it instantly became a big ol' external hard drive. I was even able to save most of the files. Why not do it again? So, I went onto www.newegg.com and ordered the necessary part. It cost all of $12.75 and requires two screws to put together once it gets here. Not bad for an 80 gig external hard drive.

With all that said, I have just one technical problem to overcome now. My camera is in need of a visit to the shop. I can't afford to take it in right now, but in the mean time, I will do my best to at least keep you all updated with writing. Thanks for sticking around. Ü

1 comment:

JourneytoFamily said...

Yay, finally a post from you! All your computer problems stink! I'm glad you finally have a keyboard that works. Next time, buy a Mac! Marshall used to build PCs for fun and now we are a 100% Mac family. (you could say we're reformed)

And I'm loving the beautiful purple blog background!

Miss you, my friend.