Last week, my laptop (an ultralight Dell Inspiron 300m named Fibula) started behaving badly. Even when it was connected to AC power, the battery would semi-randomly increase and decrease in charge. It clearly wasn’t a problem with the battery itself, as swapping batteries had no effect. Over the course of a few days, the problem just got worse. When I realized that the computer was in real danger of dying completely, I created an image of the hard drive on Paul’s new backup drive. I also called Dell Tech Support, only to find out the worse possible combination of news: (1) that my warrantee had expired and (2) that the source of the problem is likely the motherboard.
By the next day, Fibula wasn’t running off of AC power or charging the battery at all. (He now has about 2 hours of life left in him, thanks to a halfway-full long-life battery.) So over the past few days, I’ve been writing papers and such on Paul’s laptop and the uncomfortably-situated living room desktop. (That desktop is an extra computer set up to play MP3s through the stereo, not to be worked upon.)
Today, I called a few local computer repair shops. They confirmed my fear that replacing the motherboard would be too expensive to be worthwhile: over $700 just for the part alone. So it looks like I’ll be buying a new laptop, likely another lightweight Dell.
Poor Fibula was only a year and a half old… and now I must cannibalize him for his still-functional hard drive and RAM then discard him as worthless trash. I would be heartbroken, except that the bastard had the temerity to die right at the end of the semester.
Update: I just ordered a Dell Inspiron 700m. I should get it next week. Yeah!