My Laptop is History

My Vaio GRV-550 laptop bit the dust earlier this week. It was in a geriatric state since nearly two years before, when my two then toddlers poured Coca-Cola on the keyboard. I saved the computer, but lost functionality of the keyboard and touchpad mouse and a USB port and FireWire port. It sat opened up, without the keyboard, and I had to use a USB wireless keyboard and mouse set-up.

That worked. I had other Vaio issues after that, the Vaio “shut down” problem … which I finally figured out on my machine was purely overheating issues. It had a true P4 processor, and that gets hot. So it’s just that with a laptop and true P4, clean it out with canned air often, and don’t let it get hot, keep an eye on it. Keep an airflow around it, no cloth around it at all.

I am sad about the loss of my old friend. It worked just fine as it was, sitting in one place, not mobile really. The screen was delicious. LCD 16.1 inches of beauty.

We came home from shopping Monday night, got new Memory for the Desktop finally! I went to check e-mail, the laptop wasn’t coming on, I usually “sleep” my laptop when away. This harkened no good news. But then I realized the computer was on, and was alive, and was logged in and … I just couldn’t “see” anything on the screen.

I turned on a light and saw the truth, sugar modules stuck on the screen and sticky drips … Juice.

Frank has been buying Capri Sun and Juicy Juice things for the children of late. They have to ask to get a juice. They have to stay at the dining room table with the juice. Of course this isn’t how the four-year-old operates. :rolleyes: I found the evidence on the screen, and on the floor, the Capri Sun discarded empty container.

Asa admitted to doing it, but can’t say “why” he did it. Oh the frustration when little ones ruin completely good things.

I cleaned up the juice that I could get to and realized that the LCD monitor did have a picture, but you could only see it if enough light hit the screen, and the screen surely wasn’t lit up enough to actually use the computer that way.

I put the baby (laptop) to bed, hoping to find it working in the morning, miraculous fixing of electronics in the middle of the night? Well it didn’t happen. In the morning I was able to connect it to an external monitor, but seeing as I didn’t have the original laptop keyboard for almost two years, I had no way to access the “function” settings to use an external monitor easily. I had to go into Display properties and fool around with the multiple monitors setup. I basically had to look at the desktop computer and memorize what went where in those screen shots. So then in the Ghostly dark world of my laptop LCD monitor I stumbled around but got the computer to show up on the external monitor. It wasn’t great though, if I disconnected it, rebooted, or anything it all reverted to a horrid ‘extended desktop’ situation which afforded me no viewage of my real desktop, just the background of my desktop on my external monitor, and all the functionality of the desktop on the dark LCD screen. So then it would be reboot without connections and stumble around in the dark to get it working.

All good in and of itself, but I couldn’t keep that going, the external monitor belongs to the desktop system. Frank had work to do on the computer, internet based, so I vacated and mourned with my laptop. It started crying and throwing tantrums and finally kaput itself out that day.

The little bit of reasearch I’ve done tells me that the juice dripped down the screen and into the very delicate area at the bottom of the screen, the “backlight” fried, and that is why the screen was dark. The LCD was still working, but there was no backlighting. That thing going bad can be replaced, but in my case, the computer already needed other work done. So it ended up that with what I read online it can be that the computer will not work right with certain backlight outage issues, like it will shutdown and not work … so it could be that I could get it fixed, maybe, maybe, but is it worth it, with it not being mobile in the first place anymore.

So my mind wandered to being in Fry’s some time ago, and looking at another Vaio laptop system. It’s an A-series that I liked when I saw it there. Frank and I found many computers on eBay, and looking around there are many A190, A170, A290, etc. But the price is the kicker. The complete system we like, or rather I like, is: 1 GB Ram, 17″ XBRITE Screen, 80gig or more hard drive, Mobile Processor, that’s the computer. Then includes AV Entertainment Dock (an AV port replicator, tv tuner dealy-do) and External Speakers.

There is a price for such a thing. We are looking for such thing at lower price. Tough job.

Retail new it’s a newer model than A190 that is in stores (that carry it). But generally speaking it’s about $2,400, give or take. On eBay you can get one for under $2,000. So we are trying to get one for under $1,000 but a USED one. We have found a complete used system, but it’s price is rising and the end date is tomorrow. It’s not that we couldn’t get it, but as the price rises, it’s not so do-able right now. In any case, it’s not a beautiful computer, has cosmetic issues that do not affect the workings of it at all, just scratched case, blotchy stuff on inside case, etc. Perfect for our home. It’s like buying a new car: first door ding is no fun time. Buy a used car: door dings come with most of them, and so it’s no big deal. So like a new computer, the first icky something to it is no fun. So get it used and already ickied and it’s no problema. If it works like it should, then it’s good. And costs less, making it more affordable.

I have no delusion of grandure about the eBay auctions going on now. We’ll probably have to wait and look some more and hopefully get something in July. Maybe it will end up being NEW if the $ situation turns around a bit, but then it’d surely not be a top of the line model … but something older that is still in stock and reduced. Anything is newer than my old Vaio, that was gotten in late 2002.

I have an extra laptop hard drive. I had taken my Vaio drive out and got a USB enclosure for it. I can access my stuff through the desktop computer that way. So I just now got that EXTRA hard drive out and put it in the laptop and tried a few things, and it is coming alive and trying … but then quits. I got it to nearly fully load the initial Windows Setup. [further, it comes on sometime and not other times so it’s the Juice issue with the backlight, I’m guessing] So it’s a hmmm thing, is it worth it, is it worth it to try and save it, fix it. Long ago when the keyboard was ruined it wasn’t exactly, we felt, worth it. It was an $80 part from Sony, and we had to install it, being the “keyboard” for a laptop it’s not as easy as one might think, bending it can ruin it. I mean, it’s do-able but was it something I wanted to do? No it wasn’t. Not with what happened when I tried to save the original keyboard.

So it comes down to not knowing if it’s worth it. The computer is (was) nice, but it doesn’t have a DVD writing drive. It’s a CD write DVD read combo drive. USB ports are old, not 2.0. Memory is 512mb and that’s the most it can have. It needs some things done to it, new keyboard, new touchpad and mouse buttons, new stuff on the board if I want the ports to all work … new backlight at the least for the screen.

But in the end, pay to have it fixed, then I’d be back at Square One, when the plan was to upgrade sometime anyhow. I keep saying “it’d be a good kid’s computer” well yes, it could, hmmm. It can play DVD’s and the sound in it is pitiful you have to use headphones or external speakers. Boils down to how much to get it fixed up. I can’t do the fixing. It needs a delicate operation for the screen, and the other stuff, I can’t replace what needs replaced without getting the products and sweating a bit. It’s a laptop, afterall. Oh the circular thing this is.

The thing about computers is what you do with them. I do graphical things. 512mb isn’t very helpful there. I want 2GB. So a new A190 sort of system would provide that ability, it can use max 2GB Ram. Also I want to rip my cassettes and LP’s into digital. I have to use an external device to do it best, so need USB 2.0 to make it work, and lots of space on the hard drive. I then want a device that is a recording device, to get me started with doing something about writing and recording and releasing a CD. It’s a USB 2.0 issue as well, or FireWire. That’s primarily why I really want to upgrade, not just get the old thing fixed back to Square One.

Frank and I are now sharing the Desktop. It’s not easy being a one-computer family, with Daddy working out of the house. I miss my ‘puter. I listened to my music through it. I worked on my digital pictures when I had time, here and there. I’d scan things in, look for something online when I thought of it … now I don’t do any of that. I can write on my blogs, but don’t have the heart to much, except for this post. I don’t usually have the time on the computer to do the stuff I used my laptop for. My online-encyclopia-find-out-about-anything-anytime shop is closed.

I have the Desktop to myself this weekend, Frank is out-of-town, but it’s just not setup for me to work on it right even if I DO have the time to spend with it. I’d have to create a new account and move a bunch of stuff around, but then things aren’t the same on this puter as they were on the laptop, so it’s major work to make things how I want, but I don’t have the tools here to do what I did there either. Oh pooh bear. I’m just a mess thinking of it, and the house needs scrubbed down. It’s hot. It’s dirty out and that makes it dirty in, and fleas are starting to be a problem, icky. So I do have things I need to do elsewhere. It’s harder to do that stuff though with a crimped outlet. My outlet is through my computer. I haven’t one anymore ๐Ÿ™

3 responses to “My Laptop is History”

  1. I am sorry about your loss. I love my laptop, since getting it a year ago, I have used it exclusively, and hardly ever use the regular computer, an old one now, but only 4-5 years old. It is a Pentium 4 so still works for Daniels newer games, but is sometimes sluggish. I don’t play games on my laptop, but get online, put pictures on it, and work on my college online classes. I write my journal pages on it too now. I would truly feel really bad if I lost it. I brought it with me for our move to Washington. I currently have dial up aol, and I hate that, but will soon have dsl through our new phone company, so I will have faster online anytime again soon. We move into our new house on Tuesday and the furniture will be delivered that day. I will have the dsl hookup on Monday, and will try it out with my laptop first. I will get a new email address through msn, I am not sure how or when I will activate it. We will have a box delivered to the house on Monday with the dsl hookup stuff in it and we will do it ourselves. What kind of internet service do you have, cable, dsl, or what? Again, I feel bad that your laptop was ruined. I hope you find a way to fix it or replace it soon.

  2. We have DSL Becky. It’s a SE company — our phone company, the only way we could get it. So if we travel, for instance, in the SE we can sometimes dial-up out of town, but not if they don’t have services in that State or Region or whatever. (some or most DSL companies, not sure how many, usually gives 20 hours or unlimited dial-up to DSL users).

    Glad to hear you’ll be moving into your house soon! That must be exciting.

    My computer, I really don’t want it fixed, I do and don’t and don’t. It’s frustrating. It’s really a good one — if fixed, but older now and not up to what I wish to do with it. It’ll be hard though to find a used better one for what we can afford. Ho-Hum. ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. That one ‘puter on eBay I was looking at I did bid on but didn’t win. That’s OK. I figure that I can wait and get one NEW on eBay in a while, for just a little more money, the exact model I want, and be able to afford it then anyhow. Right now it’s not affordable to do that, but in a little while it could possibly be so. So that’s a hopeful situation.

    My old Vaio isn’t really worth getting fixed, there are so many things wrong with it, but it’s sentimentally something I want fixed, but not as MY computer of main usage. It might be worth it to get it fixed, but might not. It’s hard to judge how to go about it anyhow, as it’s not clear if it can be fixed easily with little cost or not. On eBay there is a company with Buy It Now services of $50 to fix LCD screens of laptops, and $50 to fix motherboards of laptops. I also found several sources for part for my model, like the palmrest/touchpad part that I need to use that again, a keyboard like I need to use that again, etc. Most pulled from other same models or extra parts from some wholesale source or something or other. I know I will get the LCD repaired IF, and that’s a BIG IF, IF we are $’ed enough to find it worth the gamble. If it fixes the powering on of the unit, then the other repairs/replacement of parts are absolutely worth it, to get an old P4 going again for extra computer lying around-ability. It’d be a sentimental hobby repair back to old self sort of thing. I don’t want to put that kind of attention into bringing it back to life to be my main squeeze. ๐Ÿ™‚

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