Cry and Let Slip the Dogs of War


I’ma bout to get medieval on somebody’s ass. So imagine that your 4 year old laptop, it is a good laptop, it is an expensive laptop, it is a laptop with a shitload of storage capacity; it is a laptop which contains your baby’s birth pictures, her first halloween costume, countless email addresses, in short, the veritable substance of your life, has a non-working monitor. For some time now you have had it hooked up to the once-standard desktop monitor of the 4,000 pound behemoth variety, loaned for free by a work associate. However, time has come to set accounts to right by your faithful laptop, and so you bring it to an allegedly reputable repair facility. You explain to them in great detail what they are to do and not to do with your monitor. You offer to pay extra for a full-system backup before they endeavor to do any repair work (you thinking, naturally, that since their aim is not to in any way touch your hard drive, any actual touching of the hard drive will perforce be accidental and therefore destructive), but they assure you that this is standard practice on every laptop they take in, free of charge.

You take a deep breath, and you hand over the equipment. Over the course of the next several weeks, reports come in intermittently: 1. It’s the inverter. needs to be ordered, week to ten days. Cost: about $150 plus or minus, parts and labor. You say, make it so. 2. It’s not the inverter. Maybe it’s the LCD backlight. Needs to be ordered. another week to ten days. Cost: unknown, unlikely to be greater than original estimate. You say, after a pause, make it so. 3. It’s not the LCD backlight. It’s a little widget on the motherboard that regulates power from the battery pack to the monitor, which cannot be modularly replaced, the entire motherboard would have to be replaced. You sigh. Estimate the cost, you say, and we will then consider the best course.

4. Replacing the motherboard would cost more than for us to sell you a new laptop we just happen to have on hand of exactly the same model, with a couple of mods required to bring it up to spec. Cost of the new laptop will be $400. You put your head in your hands. You contemplate taking back the laptop and running for your life. You need a new system functioning as much like the old one as possible. You say, “okay”. 5. You go away for a weekend trip. No messages when you return. You call the shop. They scramble around, and then say “your laptop is ready, come pick it up any time.” You are relieved. You arrive at the shop. The owner proudly places your new laptop, remarkably familiar except for the noted absence of a few toddler’s stickers here and there, and asks you to boot it up and see that all is in order. You do so. The computer seems to function as it should. Except that your data is gone. “Why is my data gone?”. To be continued tomorrow...