Archives: October, 2010

Goodbye, Old Friend

Thursday, October 7th, 2010

I killed my laptop today. With water. It’s been sent off to who-knows-where for repair by dedicated Lenovo technicians.

I’m now going to take time to reflect upon my old, surprisingly unnamed laptop.

Here’s the earliest photograph I have of my old T61p, taken when it was only one day old…

It was involved in some early hijinks, here it’s joined by my T23 and my desktop in a rickrolling session:

In November of 2008, I chose to upgrade its motherboard to support four processors and dual graphics cards. The eBay listing for the motherboard provided by the Taiwanese vendor was a bit sketchy, but the product performed flawlessly. A++ would buy again.

The power unleashed by a Core 2 Duo, a Core 2 Extreme, a Core 2 Quad, AND an AMD Turion X2 coupled with both ATi and nVidia graphics was intense. Luckily, the motherboard vendor supplied an extremely efficient one-piece heatsink that cooled all six silicon dies to a reasonable operating temperature.

Massive power occasionally caused massive instability

Also sometimes Windows Vista was a bitch

Fuck you, Windows Vista, fuck you!

This is why I will use Thinkpad laptops for the rest of my life:

My first battery, posthumously named Ted Kennedy, was deemed inadequate for my needs in August 2009. Kennedy was succeeded by the exuberant Billy Mays

During winter break 2009/2010, my T61p underwent several critical changes. I once again overhauled the motherboard, dumping support for the factory Core 2 Duo in favor of a newer Xeon chip. My newly reinvigorated laptop is seen here with its new Xeon processor, providing titles for RPI TV’s hockey coverage:

Shortly after, I ditched my stock DVD/CD-RW drive in favor of new cheap technology from Asia. I absolutely love buying from sketchy Hong Kong vendors; I’m always amused by the strange stamps and customs stickers attached to the packaging. The product this time was a Hard Drive caddy. Coupled with a new hard drive, my Thinkpad’s storage capability increased by 412.5% from 160 GB to 660 GB. The blue hard-drive indicator light on the caddy confuses a lot of people. It also causes the thinkpad to not boot half the time when restarting. A complete shutdown / startup works fine, however.

I held off upgrading to Windows 7 until May 2010. I didn’t want the OS upgrade to wreak havoc with my RPI TV titling programs. I’m happy to say 7 has only bluescreened once.

During summer 2010, my Thinkpad had an unfortunate encounter with a feline. The family cat has always enjoyed keyboards; unfortunately she enjoyed my laptop’s keyboard while it was perched precariously near the edge of a table. The ensuing fall cracked the LCD bezel, broke the PCMCIA door, and took out part of the palmrest as well. I don’t have any pictures of the damage, so here’s a picture of the culprit:

I continued to overhaul the motherboard on two more occasions. I upgraded to 5 processors, adding an i7 chip in Spring 2010. Finally, just two days before its wet demise, I added a 6th, an AMD Phenom II X4.

The incident itself occurred early this afternoon. It was a blustery day, and my window blinds were making quite a racket banging against the window with each gust of air. I was in the kitchen, preparing a lunch of fake ham sandwich and strawberry waffles. I grew more and more agitated by the incessant banging of the blinds, so I dropped my lunch and headed to my room, intent on raising the blinds to the stowed position.

As I entered the room, I noticed that my laptop screen was blank. It was sitting emotionless on my bedside table, just under the windowsill. Perhaps it Windows Updated and shut off? I grabbed my phone from the palmrest and was alarmed by the puddle of water that was revealed by its ascent into my hand. Closer inspection revealed a soaked keyboard and soaked palmrest. Only the battery, plug, and bluetooth LEDs were lit. A now empty water bottle lay on the floor next to the table. I conjectured that the bottle, which was capless, had been blown and/or knocked off the windowsill by a gust of wind and/or the bottom of the blinds. The ensuing spill soaked my laptop and phone.

I rapidly retrieved four select-a-size paper towel segments and began drying off the keyboard and palmrest. I was a bit alarmed that the water had not drained through the keyboard drainage holes on the bottom of the laptop. Lifting the laptop revealed a massive puddle. Just how much water is in a 16.9oz water bottle? It was now clear that water had drained. I attempted to powercycle the laptop a couple times. The bluetooth status LED flicked on and off. This was bad. I removed the battery (whose contacts were quite damp). No change. I removed the hard drives and resigned myself that this was the end of my 6 processor, 20 core, dual GPU laptop.

I later traveled to the Rensselaer Computer Repair facility, and all I got was this lame loaner laptop.

Given the extent of the water damage, I don’t expect the laptop I get back will be spiritually my laptop. Since the palmrest was damaged in the Summer 2010 feline incident, I don’t expect to get my stickers back. I hope the Lenovo techs are taken aback by my awesome Taiwanese 6 socket motherboard.

May you rest in piece, my curiously unnamed T61p. I hope the 3rd world “computer recycling center” you end up in is pleasant, and I hope the toxic water runoff you cause doesn’t kill too many remote villagers.

Political Compass 2010

Thursday, October 7th, 2010

In keeping with one of my annual traditions, here’s this year’s Political Compass result:

Economic Left/Right: -5.12, Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -5.54

I’m slightly less liberal and a little bit more libertarian than I was last year.

RPI Cherry and White Scrimmage

Monday, October 4th, 2010

Full gallery located at, highlights and captions below!

1. Senior forward Bryan Brutlag (#4)

2. Sophomore defenseman Nick Bailen (#29)