On Sunday we were blessed to hear from the Rock Solid Choir, which is made up of pre-teen kids from Trinity Baptist Church, as they kicked off the Christmas season. They took over the entire service and put on a singing and drama presentation that entertained us all. All together there were over 250 kids involved in the production, including 80 or so in the main choir. Unfortunately we’re still trying to figure out the camera settings on our Iphone, so the pictures aren’t great, but you’ll get the idea.
First up were the pre-school aged kids and there were only a handful of them who had their own agenda up on the stage, like the kid in the middle who spent the entire time playing with his costume.
They were followed onstage by the main Choir, who sang a number of songs and showed of a variety of dance moves.
A few members of the choir also performed a Christmas Family drama. At one point a young lady forgot her lines, and it was just hilarious to hear one of the boys pick up the slack and finish the segment. The show must go on after all.
Once we got home from that I took on another project that I’ve been interested in doing for a while. I purchased a new Dell Laptop several years ago, and had it die on me just as the warranty ran out. Needless to say I wasn’t too happy with the machine, and as I was working in Victoria at the time, I ended up using a cheap notebook computer that I had purchased through work for all my personal stuff (mostly Skype and emails home). Shortly afterward I retired and we purchased a new laptop to supply our needs when we went to Arizona and across Canada (that machine has been in the shop twice, and had a hard drive replaced under warranty, but that’s another matter). The Dell has been sitting in the file cabinet ever since, until I pulled it out in an emergency basis when the newer Toshiba took it’s latest trip to the repair shop last month.
The issues with the Dell hadn’t gone away, but it filled the bill for a few days. The main issue with it is that the onboard video chip had died, and as long as you didn’t mind everything being pink and didn’t use the computer for more than 20 minutes at a time (when the video got real choppy and the machine usually shut down spontaneously) things were just fine. I’d done some research on this particular version of the D630 laptop, found that I wasn’t alone in seeing these types of troubles, and surfed to a few Youtube videos where people had fixed the problem themselves. The problem occurs when the many teeny little solder joints on the main system board become fragile and break, usually from overheating. Believe it or not, the fix involves baking the board in the oven at 390° for 8 minutes or so to re-attach the solder to the board.
I don’t know if any of you have ever taken a laptop apart, but I could not believe how many little screws were involved in holding the thing together. I ended up with a small pile of various sized screws, all of them smaller than a grain of rice. Thanks to the various videos, I managed the get the machine apart in a little over an hour. I also found that the heat-exchanger attached to the cooling fan was completely blocked with dust so I now know why there was an overheating issue. I also found that I may need new glasses, as I was having trouble finding all of the various screws and connections mentioned in the videos.
Once the machine was disassembled, I fired up the oven and baked the board for the required 8 minutes. I figured that if I overcooked the thing I hadn’t really lost anything, as the computer was pretty unusable already. Once it cooled off, I found another video which documented the re-installation process and everything was back together in less than a half hour. I only had 4 extra screws in my little holder and I have no idea which ones I missed. I plugged in the power and fired up the machine only to be faced with……nothing. No display, no hope, and no clue as to what was wrong. I figured since I had some extra screws, I might as well pull it apart again and see what I’d done wrong. It didn’t take long to find the various connections that I’d either not installed, or hadn’t made sure were correctly clicked into place. This time when I fired up the machine I was rewarded with a regular boot-up sequence and my familiar Windows 98 desktop. The only issue was that I did not have a working touchpad on the machine and had to use a corded mouse to do anything. At least the number of extra screws was down to 3 this time, and I was getting good at taking it apart by now.
The 3rd time was the charm, as I managed to get everything working and only ended up with 1 extra screw, so I consider that a success. I played around with the machine all evening and have had it powered on all day with no issues so far. It will come along with us to Arizona this year, as I’m not convinced the ‘new’ laptop will survive the winter as it’s showing an increasing tendency to shut down whenever it wants to.