carlfoxmarten: (default)
Huh. Again, this place is covered with dust! Gotta stop forgetting about it...

Anyways, since I've started to get more involved with microcontrollers, and since I'm out a fair bit of the time at maker meetups while I'm working with them, I'd decided that a new laptop was in order. It also helped that I got a fair bit of Christmas money, as well as several back paycheques.

So, almost nine hundred Canadian dollars later, and I'm now typing on my new Lenovo Thinkpad T450. I'm very happy with how light and solid it feels, as well as the performance they managed to cram into a system that's three-quarters of an inch thick, not counting the screen! For example, it runs Team Fortress 2 better than my desktop computer (which is, admittedly, eight years old, and which I'm also working on replacing). It also runs The Saboteur very well (though with some graphical glitches, so it's not completely smooth sailing).

I am having some problems getting the microcontroller development environments set up properly, but that should just take some time to iron out properly. I suspect this is due to the fact that it's running Windows and not Linux, but I am rather hesitant to install Linux on this thing just yet. Especially with this being my very first new laptop ever.
(the last three, yes three, were all hand-me-downs or refurbished devices)

Did I mention that it was light? Just the laptop itself weighs just under four pounds, which feels much lighter than each of my previous laptops.

I've got other news that I'll be posting here later on, mostly good news, so keep an eye out for that.
carlfoxmarten: (Default)
I'm posting this from my desktop computer, as my laptop is currently out of commission.
It's gotta be something with the first bit of storage space, as for the last week it's taken a whole minute or so to load the operating system selection menu.

Anyway, now it takes less than fifteen seconds to come up with a "Read Error", so I'm currently doing what I can to attempt to fix it.

I could spend about $90 to buy a new 160GB drive, but that would leave all the other problems this laptop is having.
(which includes vertical coloured lines on the LCD display and the keys not necessarily cooperating all the time either)

The best (but most expensive option) would be to buy a whole new laptop, but I won't be able to afford that for quite a while.
After all, this laptop is at least eight years old...
carlfoxmarten: (Default)
This is a picture of the video cable I'm having problems with on my laptop.

(yes, I am aware that it needs to be dusted)

I have three options to deal with this:
  1. Order a factor-recommended replacement cable for $60USD plus shipping, handling and taxes (the Canadian government charges taxes on the package as it comes across the border)
  2. Try to repair the multiple breaks myself. Only problem is that I'm not sure I can find wire that fine.
  3. Buy a new laptop to replace this one.

The option I like best is option 3, but it'll cost way more than the $100 I estimate it'll cost for option 1.

The cheapest option is #2, but still, I have to find a place that sells wire that fine.
(though it would be a good idea to make it with wire a bit less fine so it wouldn't break as easily)

Whatever I do should be done soon, though.
I have to almost literally fight with this wire before I can adequately read the screen.
(which probably means I should stop closing the screen at night)
carlfoxmarten: (Default)
This is getting annoying yet again.

So far I've taken the cover just back of my laptop's keyboard off and jiggled the video cable, poked the cable, removed it and put it back in again, and finally pulled some of the tape off the cable and poked the wires some more, and each time have got a little more life out of the slowly-dying cable.

However, I don't suppose this could last forever.

Eventually I'm going to have to replace the cable or the whole laptop, and I'm not sure which I'd rather do.
Technically, I don't have money for either option right now (when does anybody have the money to replace one of their major computer systems?) so I have to deal with the cable as best I can.

If it was my only computer, I'd have thrown it out the window long before now, so I'm lucky in that respect.

I could extend the laptop's life a bit longer at the expense of portability by hooking it up to my current monitor, but that would mean I'd be tied down to my desk, though it would solve my display problem.

Ugh, looks like I really need to find a better job than a paper route so I can replace the ailing tech in my life...
carlfoxmarten: (Default)
Too bad it's the video cable...

When I turned my laptop on this morning, the display was even worse than it had been a while ago.
A little fiddling around with it didn't improve anything, and even made it worse than that.

Right now I'm lucky I can use my 2-port KVM switch to view the laptop on my desktop screen, but this means I can't take my laptop anywhere else at all without trying to fix or replace this blasted cable.

I had found a company that is the official supplier of replacement parts, but they want $60USD plus shipping and handling (plus duty and taxes at the border) for a dinky little cable that could be made for less than $10.

Granted, it would be cheaper than buying a new laptop, but sometimes I'd rather just buy a new laptop, as the video cable would be prone to breaking again, due to it making at least three right-angle bends, a real no-no for any cable, small or otherwise.

If I did buy a new laptop, I'd probably want it to at least have a dual-core processor, and at least 500GB of hard disk space, to ensure that it'll be able to last for at least a few years.

I have thought about trying to repair the cable myself, but when I got some of the tape off and had a good look at the wires inside, they appeared to be mostly very fine wires.
Wires of ordinary diameter are fairly easy to obtain, but fine wires are typically more difficult, and I'm not sure where to look to find them.
carlfoxmarten: (Default)
I know you probably don't want me complaining about the same thing too often, but my laptop display issue is starting get pretty serious, and with colours not always being what they should, I won't be able to do anything about artwork on the laptop until I figure out some way to get it fixed or replaced.

The desktop computer still runs as normal, but I can't quite keep jumping between Linux for artwork and Windows for games without suffering the wait between OSes.
(and no, I will not install the additional software to facilitate creating my artwork on Windows, because it's a duplicitous waste and I can't stand using Windows for such things)

Though it would probably be a good time to start using the desktop computer more often again...
carlfoxmarten: (Default)
The screen on my laptop is starting to flicker at random even more now.
It seems the cable that connects the motherboard to the screen is starting to get even more intermittent breaks in it.

I'd like to buy a new cable for it, as the rest of the laptop is still working perfectly well (aside from a green pixel), though I would be interested in a whole new, more powerful model.
But if only I had the money...

If I couldn't get a new cable for this laptop, and couldn't get a new laptop to replace this one, I do have an alternative.
Unfortunately, I'd also have to buy a new monitor, as my current one is an LCD one that only goes up to about 1280x1024, and would also have to buy a USB KVM switch.

I'd hook up my desktop computer and my laptop to the KVM, then hook the KVM up to my monitor and a USB keyboard and mouse (both of which I have and like using), which would allow me to use the same monitor and keyboard setup for both the desktop computer and the laptop.

What I'm not sure about is the relative costs of all three options...
carlfoxmarten: (Default)
So, it seems as though my laptop screen is starting to die a little faster now.

Sometimes it's as simple as certain colours changing, other times the whole image starts acting as if the vertical hold is shot.

I have, however, traced the fault down to a particular cable.
It makes two 90° bends that are around the location of the hinge.

I've managed to find the part number on the cable, so I'm going to try contacting Toshiba to see if I can obtain a replacement.
(the date on the cable says 2005/10/08, so I know for sure it's at least five years old)

If that doesn't work, I can try repairing the cable myself, or try talking to a couple of computer repair places to see if they can help.

On the other hand, I'm not entirely sure how much longer I want to keep using this laptop like this.
Most of my concerns are over the large size and heavy weight, but sometimes that's the best form factor.

I'm kind of torn between Always Innovating's TouchBook or AlienWare's M11x.

Each have their good points, so I'd have to think pretty hard about the differences.
(though price would be a major tipping point)

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Carl Foxmarten

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