Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Milk on my laptop keyboard -- my network saga

Or, how my various computers went down last week, depriving me of Internet access.

So, last Monday a friend of mine came over and helped me out with my network, by getting my modem to recall the username and password so that I did not have to have my laptop manually dial, and set up my router so that I could connect my other laptop (though I did not at the time set up the second laptop).

Later that night, I was in the other room and came in to the living room to see Meir standing on my desk chair with his hands over my laptop. He likes the laptop since he uses it to work on his "documents" (he likes to type in Word) and watch Baby Einstein DVDs. He also likes pressing keys and buttons, particularly the one that turns on and off the power. I left Meir to his own devices, since he often plays with my laptop without harm.

I checked in on him a few minutes later and saw what he had been up to -- he had poured mikl from his sippy cup onto the laptop keyboard and was merrily splashing about in it.

I panicked slightly, fearful of frying the motherboard, and cut power to the computer. I saw some milk pooled under the Alt key and figured it was a benign enough key to start off on -- if I couldn't get it back on, I had another Alt key, and it was the right Alt key, not the left one I use to switch to typing in Hebrew.

Sure enough, I couldn't get it back on. And for some reason the laptop was convinced the Alt key was pressed down, such that it interfered with the use of all other keys on the keyboard as well -- as well as interfering with the mouse.

My other laptop was still attempting to manually connect the DSL model, and could not figure out that it was already connected.

I would have been better off turning the laptop upside down and letting it drain. I was a bit annoyed at Meir, but more annoyed at myself, because I was the one who actually caused the damage.

The next morning, someone with more hardware experience got the key back on with a screwdriver, but the Alt key was still acting up -- now I could press some keys, but not others.

Finally, I asked some folks at a local computer repair shop if they could fix it. They said they would order the part and get back to me. Meanwhile I bought a USB keyboard to plug into the back of my laptop as a keyboard alternative. This worked a bit better but the Alt key was still interfering and I could not effectively work, even through gotomypc to my workplace.

The next day I found out they had forgotten to order the part. I left my laptop at the repair shop, and later that day put an order in for a new desktop PC. Which finally arrived Erev Shabbat, the same time the laptop was fixed.

Yesterday I started to set up the computer, install necessary programs, and am more of less back in business. Hooray!

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