Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Two Years Until Retirement

(The anticlimactic conclusion to the laptop repair saga!)

We drove back to Northwest Computer Support this afternoon to pick up my laptop. Desiree, the technician working on it, had called me yesterday to say that she couldn't figure out what was causing the problem (networking dies after returning from standby or hibernate), and recommended a full factory restore of Windows. I said I could do that myself, and there was data I'd want to get off the drive first anyway. I could be mistaken, but I think she sounded a bit relieved that I was taking it off her hands.

It's ironic, I suppose, because I've been watching The IT Crowd. (Although so far, the show isn't really that much about IT, or even work. But that's another story...)

Anyway, after we got home, of course I had to spend the entire afternoon mucking with the laptop myself. I couldn't change the "deep sleep" setting that Jessen recommended, because my T61p doesn't have the same hardware as his T60 did. But I did update my networking drivers again (Desiree had rolled them back to the ones that came with XP), cleaned up the registry a bit, and left Lenovo's Access Connections software uninstalled because it doesn't play well with the latest networking drivers.

At this point, I probably won't do a factory restore, because the inconvenience of not being to put my laptop on standy or hibernate is less than the inconvenience of reinstalling every damn piece of software I've loaded on it over the last year.* If things get worse, I might consider it. And you better believe I'm doing regular offsite backups. (Yes, Mozy, I said select all! We're paying $57 a month for broadband; I might as well get my money's worth.)

The title of this post refers to the fact that on Tuesday, I shelled out $130 to extend my laptop warranty through the end of January, 2011. I didn't expect Northwest Computer Support to be able to fix this standby issue, but they did a great job replacing the main system board when that failed, and I'd much rather have someone else dealing with hardware issues. I don't mind getting my hands dirty, but I'd prefer not to pay $800 the next time I need a new motherboard.

I don't know when I'll get another laptop after this. I'm not interested in a "netbook"--I tried out an OLPC XO last year and was not impressed; for writing, I'd prefer to pick up an AlphaSmart Neo, which is only $219 and boots up in less than two minutes.

I will be getting a new, quad-band mobile before our trip to Europe this June, and that device is likely to be the Jesus phone or something similar. We'll see.


* Besides, without knowing the cause of the problem, I have no guarantee that it won't resurface after I've wiped the disk and reinstalled everything. And then I'll have wasted a lot of time for nothing, won't I?


Corby said...

I've never purchased a laptop, but I've used 4 different ones through work: and the never seem to last more than 18 months or so. And I just /abhor/ having to reinstall software and copy data. They (whoever "they" is) need to devise a simple automated procedure for "make this computer do everything that computer does."

CKL said...

My philosophy on replacing hardware is more like the military's: use it until you can't repair it, and then spend billions of dollars on an excessive upgrade. :) My desktop PC is over 11 years old, and the only thing I've had to replace is the power supply. I used my last work laptop for over four years--the entire length of my employment.

I got my current laptop mostly so I could play Portal and Spore. It's completely overpowered for most normal applications, though Firefox 3 is starting to challenge it. (Oh snap!)

Most of my data lives in Google Apps, on a thumb drive, or in Dropbox. I still need a local hard drive for music and video, but I dream of the day when fast wireless broadband is available everywhere and I can use a true palmtop for my daily computing (email, blogging, web browsing).

DeeAnn said...

When I left my employer last year, they had just increased the expected life of a laptop from 3 years to 5 years. There was much despair on the parts of my coworkers on the 3-year threshold, who had been so excited about getting brand-new laptops. I was one of the people with a 3-year-old laptop, but it's hard to care that much when you're leaving the company.

That said, I'm writing this comment (and almost all of my other writings) on Big Bertha, the honkin' Dell laptop I bought back in 2005. She runs hot, but she still gets the job done....