Saturday, August 03, 2013

Adventures of a long-lived laptop

Long ago, just before I started freelancing full-time in the fall of 2005, I bought myself a brand-new laptop for the first time in my life.  I'd always had used, outdated machines to that point, so I was very proud of my little Averatec 1020.  Not only was it twice as fast as the 500 MHz Dell laptop that I had been using, it was also equally as small and light, despite the fact that it had a CD/DVD drive on the computer (my Dell had a separate one, much like the netbooks do now).

My Averatec survived being knocked off my desk by my cat, being sent back to the manufacturer to have the cooling fan replaced while it was still under warranty, and numerous other adventures.

I bought a netbook, an Asus Eee, for my birthday in 2009.  My Averatec had started having significant problems, so I put it aside as a backup computer.  But then the Eee's hard drive failed on me last summer, and I started using the Averatec again while the Eee was in the shop getting a new hard drive.  It was a good reminder of how much I'd loved the Averatec, and so I had the shop also test the hard drive on the Averatec for me.  It turned out that it was physically fine, so the shop told me to restore the hard drive to factory settings (the computer didn't come with install disks for the operating system -- it's installed on a partition on the hard drive).  I did that and reinstalled all my software, and the issues I'd been having went away.

I was so pleased that even after I got the netbook back with its new (and considerably bigger) hard drive installed, I continued using the Averatec -- small hard drive and all.  I've been using it ever since.  It's just too hard anymore to find a netbook-sized computer with an optical drive and a screen with decent pixel density (so that you can see full web pages without scrolling back and forth).  Sony makes one, but their prices are ridiculous; the 11" Mac Book Air is also an option (although there again is the separate optical drive problem), but I don't particularly want to have to buy all-new software for Apple.

For those reasons, I intend to keep using my Averatec as long as I possibly can, so I was devastated when my husband dropped it a couple of weeks ago.  The computer was still working, but one corner of the keyboard had popped up, and we assumed the tabs holding it in were broken.  I ordered new (used) parts and took it into the same shop I used last time, and they fixed it for me.  It turned out the tabs were actually fine, they just couldn't be put back into place unless the computer was taken apart first; but replacing parts meant I no longer have a hole in my N key, and also that my touch pad (which was replaced along with the housing around the keyboard) no longer skips around when I try to use it.

So after two (or three -- I can't remember) falls and numerous other adventures, the Averatec is still running strong.  I've considered upgrading the hard drive (it's only 60G), but according to the shop it's a real bear to take apart this computer, so I guess it's time to start using USB data storage more often (currently I use it mostly for backup).

Long live the Averatec!

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