Posts Tagged ‘laptop’

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Laptop’s New Life

My laptop has had its fair share of problems, mostly because it’s aging; I bought it nearly 6 years ago!! I’m actually impressed it’s aged so well! A few days ago, the display started to flicker with increasing frequency and become distorted shortly after turning it on. Here’s a video showing the problem: (Warning: contains a little bad language – woops…)

(Link to video here if embedded object doesn’t show up.)

Last night, I took it apart and tried wiggling every LCD-related wire I could find, hoping to affect the display’s output and conclude it was a fixable loose connection.

Laptop in Pieces

Nope. Fine. Who needs a screen anyway?

Screenless Laptop

I now have a very compact desktop – it even includes wireless, keyboard, mouse and speakers! It just needs a monitor. I haven’t decided whether I will make it a pseudo media PC to stream things from my desktop to the TV (a little work), or just to have it replace the family computer (almost no work!). The family usually gets my computer hand-me-downs. 🙂

Anyway, looks like I’ll need a new laptop sometime soon. I vowed to go smaller with my next laptop, but I’m not sure if a netbook would suffice. Of course, I would like it to run Linux (Ubuntu?), have long battery life, reasonable storage, support WPA2, have a built-in 1.3MP camera, and all that good stuff. Bluetooth would be nice, too. Let me know if you have any suggestions.

Unexpected Revival

Due to various other things, (some within my control, others not), I haven’t worked much on PhotoFile since I last posted. Some of these things continue to require some of my attention. I had planned to have a minimally usable version out by the end of September, but now I’m not sure that will happen.

One of these things has been my laptop. What’s that, you say? I thought you said your laptop was dead….? I did. Or, at least, I thought I knew what the problem was but I wasn’t able to open the laptop to take a peek. A couple days ago, my dad showed up and convinced me to call around about getting someone to fix it. After hearing that there was an $85 assessment fee, as well as $85/hr rate, I decided it was time to attempt to open it up again. We got to the same stage, which was removing all visible screws and it was still refusing to reveal it’s secrets. Lots of poking around resulting in lots of failure continued. Note: It’s fun prying off laptop keyboard keys! 😀 The first one was a little unnerving, because I wasn’t sure if it would break. And they’re like little puzzles to put back together!

Feeling discouraged, I decided to take a break. Now here’s where something truly magical happened. Seriously, I hope you’re sitting down for this: I focused my mind and used the vast powers of the Internet. I think it was maybe the first Google result for “taking apart Toshiba laptops” that led to me finding a picture and a short description for disassembling a different Toshiba laptop. Luckily, this was pretty much the same as mine. Soon, I was excitedly prying off a plastic strip above the keyboard, which revealed more screws! Jackpot!


So I’m happy to say, the problem was something that was loose and connected to the hard drive. After snapping it back in proper-like, everything seems to be working! The combo drive was also loose (caused by my last attempt). I’ve since done a fresh install/upgrade to Ubuntu Gutsy. Unfortunately, I’m missing my customized Xorg configuration file, so I can’t use the nVidia binary drivers quite yet. I forget what options I had to enable…. But the fact that I have a laptop again is pretty sweet! I was kind of lazy about re-assembling it, though. I wonder where these 7 screws are supposed to be….

nvidia and Compiz on Gutsy

With this recent revival of one in the family, I had to try out the latest 3D whiz-bang (compiz-fusion) on my laptop. I have an nVidia 16MB GeForce4 420 Go on my laptop. After lots of troubleshooting, it looks like the new drivers resolve all the issues I was having (no window borders, black windows, etc). Only one problem, those new universal drivers do not support my chipset. I’m guessing that means I will no longer get any proprietary driver updates… great. I might have to look at the nouveau project for any kind of 3d performance/stability in the future. Would be nice if nVidia decided to follow in AMD’s footsteps and open up their specs.

I hate hardware problems

I think my laptop has officially died. I knew the hard drive was going, and it finally went. Knowing that day was nearing, I didn’t have any important information on it, so that’s ok. Anyway, I bought a new 2.5″ hd to replace it… but it doesn’t always work. I know, that sounds strange, but depending on how I keep the hd in my laptop (manually, with my hand seems to work more often than actually putting the cover on) it seems the drive does not connect completely, and most definitely not consistently. 🙁 I know the new drive is ok, because I also bought a 2.5″ drive enclosure to hopefully salvage my old laptop drive (not able) and was able to test it out fine. Yesterday, I got fed up and decided to take apart my laptop and see if I could see a problem of a loose connection or something. Unfortunately, disassembling a laptop is not very straight-forward. Even after removing every screw I could find and prying at the snapped edges I could not figure out how to completely remove the back cover from the laptop – it still seem connected somewhere in the centre. I didn’t want to force anything so I thought I’d better put it back together. After putting the HD in again, and booting it up, I saw “IDE #1 ERROR” which means there is now something wrong w/the DVD drive. Great, I either loosened or damaged something while trying to take it apart. Oddly enough, it then pretends to work and boots…. I can use it for a short while, and then it gets read errors and I must restart, unsure if it will start again. *Sigh*

I’m not sure if I should take it somewhere to get repaired. The laptop is over 4 years old and no longer covered by warranty… so the service alone would likely be costly, before looking at any replacement parts. The battery has been dead for quite a while so that’s another thing to replace… It’s probably a better option to hold off on anything laptop-related until I need one, then just get a new one appropriate to my needs at the time.

Maybe I’ll try taking this thing apart again….

some links

I’m still alive

But my laptop is not. Well, the battery is not, anyway. I can basically only put it into suspend and resume it somewhere, without any use in between. Example: I was on the bus, and I “resumed” a suspended session from my laptop. I already had a pdf open, and I wanted to search for something. I was actually trying to study, believe it or not! Anyways, it started searching the large PDF and died. Completely ran outta juice. It must have looked funny to the other passengers… I had just taken my laptop out, typed some stuff, had a brief look of shock, and put my laptop back into my bag. Aw well, I guess it’s over 3 years old, and I have used it a *lot*, so it’s not really unexpected.

So anyway, on Friday morning, I bought a Nintendo Wii. Oh wait, that’s next post. 🙂 To be continued….