Old & New

Monday, 1 March 1999
I smell something burning at the back of my Thinkpad. The AC adaptor's cable is sparking. A déjà vu feeling keeps me calm. You know, it is the third time this happens to me. I plug in another adaptor. Back to business.

IBM ThinkPad The notebook is not so optimistic. The LCD screen remains dark. Switch the thing off & on, a horse-physic that usually works. Not now. Even the lights on top cry off. It's like this thing is complete without power. Help! The diagnosis is a burnt out motherboard and VGA card. Repair is possible but costly. Spare parts alone will be a few thousand Aussie dollars. So total loss? No worries, there is hope.

The LCD screen broke before. Same story then. Repair would have cost thousands of dollars. At that moment I decided to buy a complete new notebook, same model. That was a wise decision. Had the hard disk and extra memory swapped, and it was up and running again. So at that time, I had a new computer, with the old hard disk and memory. To me, it did not feel like a complete new one. All my things were still there. I kept the old one. You never know what it can be good for. Notebooks breakdown quite often, especially when used intensively. Some spare parts may come in handy.

A few months later the hard disk crashed. The amount of misery was still low. Fortunately I had a backup of the most important things. So, the new hard disk in the old notebook swapped places with the old one in the new notebook. Once again, up and running. The new computer really felt like new to me. All familiar settings were gone when the hard disk crashed. The screen was fresh as a virgin, like I just bought it. The old computer was less operational again, having it's own crashed hard disk.

The lid at the back broke. IBM ThinkPad The first AC Adaptor went down too, but I still had a spare one. At Fraser’s Hill last December, the spare one broke down as well. Still no worries. IBM Malaysia (my.IBM.com) has plenty of them in stock. Back in Holland, the top teared at the hinge. So the old notebook had to donate all those parts. How quite new is this 'new' notebook? It was largely assembled from the old one's components. The old one reincarnated more or less, continued to live as donor.

The smell of burning plastic has somewhat lifted. AWS Service ( Tel (0181 459 018, www.awservice.nl), the regular repair agent for SUMit, knows how to deal with burned electronics. It takes just a couple of hours to regroup parts into a working notebook. The old one is almost gone now. The whole bottom part, with motherboard, VGA card, floppy disk drive and keyboard has now been donated to the new one. What's left is just a bag with components, souvenir of better times. The floppy drive and the keyboard are the only working spare parts left. And those two originated from the new notebook. The repair man did not even bother to reassemble all this junk.

So now I feel like I have only 1 notebook left. Is this thing 'new' or 'old', I don't know. I lost track.

Till next week!