Saturday, May 19, 2007

Close call

Since my second home desktop computer died, I've been using an obsolescent hand-me-down laptop (or, as the vendors like to say these days, "notebook"). I hate laptops because they're so ergonomically bad. I don't rely much on a mouse, but I use a real one, sometimes in a stationary way (to scroll, and then use the touchpad for moving the cursor and for clicking by tapping). I've seen people with some sort of rack for holding the screen at a better height, but I haven't troubled myself to find one. I use a real keyboard and it's at a proper height for prevention of repetitive stress injuries. Although I dislike this laptop, I don't want it to fail, either, so great was my dismay to find this morning that it wouldn't boot up. A little troubleshooting led me to believe that it had stopped drawing power, had then gone to battery without my noticing, and had run the battery down. The problem was traced to the brick (power adapter). When I looked into what a new one would cost, I found that, because of the age of the outfit, probably only a reconditioned item would be available, and not at a good price. I'd already tried the unplugging everything and then reconnecting, with no signs of life. Finally, I put the power cord into a different receptacle in the surge supressor. There was life! I'd been already to take everything to PC Guru, thinking that the people there are more likely to have good access to parts, even reconditioned ones. Had I done that, though, they would have found nothing wrong at all. For over a month, people have been experiencing flickerings, outages of a minute or more, brownouts, and other electrical phenomena. Most are more aware than we are, because we have nothing that needs any sort of resetting if it goes out. We did once have a video recorder for time-shifting our telenovela; during one of these outages, however, something was fried so that the setting for antenna (not cable) won't hold, and we no longer are able to record anything but static, because the setting reverts to the default cable (and we don't have cable service). Maybe there was a damaging surge during one of these episodes. Some blame these events on all the digging and demolition and construction; others think it's something that the electric utility itself is doing. At any rate, I'm thankful that all is more or less well.


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