Saturday, August 22, 2015

Unexpected Result

They said it wouldn't happen. Oh, that ubiquitous they. But this time, even though they were the experts, I got a different result. A better one.

We're talking about my old laptop. Not former. Just old. It's an Apple MacBook. I've had it for several years, bought at a store which refurbished a bunch of them after the school who had gotten them for its students had already declared them too old, too outdated.

But at $400, not too cheap. Not for me.

There's a whole lot of stuff I don't do on a computer, so this one was just fine. All except for one tiny thing. Since it's called a laptop, that's exactly how I use it: sitting in my recliner with it open across my lap.

It gets hot. Painfully, red-mark, hot. Particularly on bare legs. And the fan that's supposed to come on and blow out the hot air and bring in the cool worked only intermittently.

I had a plan. Since we were heading back to Minnesota for the summer, where I knew where to find Apple stores, I'd drop it off for fan replacement. Maybe just fan heat sensor replacement. After all, who knows how the innards work?

On a side note, Paul had bought the same laptop for himself before I left for Arizona. It was that or stick with the old I-Mac with the hemisphere base and the adjustable neck holding up the screen. Re-e-e-eally old. But I showed him there was a reasonably priced alternative out there, and gave him driving directions.

His got much more use than mine, being often used for gaming, and predictably his broke down earlier this summer. With the used Apple store having gone out of business not so long before, his option was to buy a new, more up-to-date MacBook Air. ($ ouch!) And because it was his hard drive that died, and it contained expensive games and tax data, etc., he also paid to recover the info. ( $$ double ouch!)

When it was all over, together we owned a functioning but overheating laptop and what was essentially a collection of parts.

At the Apple store, I got my own bad news. My laptop was so-o-o-o old that they didn't even have replacement parts for it anywhere. Nor could it be fixed. And by the way, where it overheated, the far left corner, was in fact the location of the fan itself. Talk about irony. I did pick up the data back-up appliance, in case I wound up with a paperweight hard drive like Paul's.

So Paul had an idea. Why don't we just put my hard drive in his old laptop? Everything else worked in his, and it was a simple substitution. So we did, and his fan worked just fine.

For a while, anyway.

I'm back to using my laptop in short bursts, but that's not the story here.

The battery in his laptop was having its own near death experience. He never noticed because he only used it while plugged in. My habit of use was to plug it in after using, or if the low charge warning window popped up. I went from a couple hours of use to 15 minutes. Oh, and by the way, it booted up really, really slowly.

Since we had interchangeable parts now, I took the battery from my old laptop and switched them. (OK, really Rich did.) And I thought I noticed that the very long booting process had improved just a bit. I hadn't actually timed it, but it was certainly less frustrating. Further, since I had by now gotten fairly paranoid about whether my new combo laptop would develop the same problems, or rather, how long it might be before it actually did, I ordered a new replacement battery. (Under $17, eBay.)

Heck, that was so simple that even I could install that myself! Well, after finding out that it really did fit my computer and the actual problem was that I just wasn't pushing it in quite right. But it did work.

I had the foresight to wait until I was done with my workshop prep and printing, just in case the new battery needed hours to charge up or something. Which it did.

So this morning I booted it up for the first time since installing and charging the new battery. You wanna guess what? Yep, it was back to its  former speedy booting-up time.

They were wrong!

I feel so much better now. Maybe it's time to start finding out how to use ....

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