Goodbye, Old Friend

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.

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