New Laptop

My trusty workhorse of my IBM-supplied ThinkPad T42p has finally bitten the dust. After several months of the fan sounding decidedly rough, it simply failed to start one day with some ominous BIOS beeps and the “Fan Error” message, followed by an automatic power-down.

Luckily, I’ve now been issued with a replacement model: a Lenovo W500. This isn’t a bad machine, but it does lack some of the tactile niceties of the more solid T42p. Sure, the screen is wider (running at a resolution of 1920×1200), with a much faster CPU (Intel dual core 2.5GHz) — thing is, though, I don’t really need this horsepower and I certainly don’t need such a high-resolution screen. With the T42p I used to work all day with the screen, whereas I think this display may get a little tiring on the eyes after a while. Only time will tell.

There are some neat touches with the system: it does have a fingerprint scanner (which isn’t just a gimmick) and built-in GPRS connectivity for mobile internet, should I ever decide I want to use that.

Of course, I currently can’t boot my old system, which means my data is currently stuck on the old hard drive. Yes, I have a backup, but it is now 30 days old (having been on holiday for a week and working at home for a while before that). The files which I need now are the ones which I use every day, hence they are the ones which are not up-to-date in my backup copy.

According to PC Pro though, it’s a highly-capable laptop so I shouldn’t complain: review here.

Ust a Nimute!

Hurrah! I’ve got the keyboard fixed on my work laptop today.

When I’m working at home, Lucy often wants to come and say hello to me while I’m sitting in the kitchen. She likes to sit on my knee and watch me working on the computer. Unfortunately, she also likes to play with the keyboard.

Somehow, the other day she managed to flick the cap off the letter “J” on my keyboard. I’ve done this myself many times: if your nail gets caught underneath the key it can jump off. Normally quite easily fixed, but for some reason this time it broke one of the plastic mounting, rendering it unrepairable.

This meant that, while the ‘J’ key was functional, you touched the bare membrane underneath, rather than pressing a proper key. This was a bit of a pain, because one of the main passwords that I use several times a day at work contains a j character. I promptly changed that password, because it was becoming annoying to try and type quickly when you can’t even feel the key you’re pressing.

Normally my ThinkPad T42p would now be classed as beyond economic repair (it’s over 4 years old) and a new one would be ordered. Three or four years ago, I would have jumped at the chance of a new machine, but age has provided me with great wisdom and has demonstrated that shiny kit syndrome does not always pay dividends. I decided to try and hold out for a fix, otherwise I need to go through the pain of getting a whole new machine setup from scratch, not to mention the problems which had been reported with some of the newer laptops which were becoming standard issue.

Thankfully, one of the very kind people in our local tech support department managed to source a used keyboard from a dead machine and I fitted it myself in about 5 minutes. Three screws in the bottom, shove the keyboard at the top, pop it out and remove the ribbon cable. Swap keyboard, reverse the instructions and done.

The only problem is the type on the ‘N’ and ‘M’ keys are worn off, but that’s only a problem if you don’t know your way around a keyboard. Mow where’s that buttom for creating a mew post?