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A Screw Cargo Cult

I have become very fed up of removing 21 tiny screws in order to open up the back of my laptop, which I needed to do in order to :
1) clean the keyboard which was glitching
2) remove and replace the keyboard, when it became clear that there was so much dog hair stuck in the thing that I was never going to be able to type 'L's again.
3) bend the pins on the power jack so that the laptop could once again receive mains power
4) bend the pins again, for plugging and unplugging causes them to bend (honestly, this Vaio has the cheapest, shoddiest looking power jack socket you can imagine. Outside it's all sleek plastic: inside it looks like it cost 0.01p.)
5) repeat 4 at intervals, swearing fluently

So last night I rebelled and after fixing the power jack again, I only replaced 15 screws. Because I'm going to have to take them all out again, aren't I...

Apparently one of those screws I didn't replace was the screw that was causing my Windows updates to fail?

Well that is the message I am tempted to take from the fact that I spent hours and hours failing to resolve the whole 'windows update' problem with software.  *Cough* some time ago, I gave up and resolved to take it to a qualified repairer 'as soon as I get a chance'.  And now,  suddenly, Windows Updates are working again.

It would be logical to conclude from this that in the Sony Vaio VPCF22C5E, those tiny screws are in some way interfacing with the operating system.

Now I am installing update 12 of 37, and wondering whether this Toshiba would be a useable replacement.On the one hand, 1Tb of hard disk and 8Gb of Ram sounds adequate, and it's only £350!  On the other hand, Window 8 :-/  And having to Install All the Software.   I did vaguely wonder about a Chromebook, or maybe even a switch to Ubuntu, which I like a lot as a server OS.  But if I can get a decent windows machine that can run all my legacy windows programs for £350, a Chromebook seems less attractive, and laptops with Linux preinstalled seem to be way more expensive than ones with Windows.  No, I'm not looking at Macs.And I am absolutely, definitely never buying a Vaio again.  Not only is this power jack socket cheap and horrid, (and bending it back into place so it works is starting to knacker the plastic around it) but I can't even find anyone in Europe who will sell me a replacement for it. *rage* 


( 12 comments — Leave a comment )
28th Mar, 2014 10:19 (UTC)
I love my VAIO SVF152C29M, my second VAIO, but I am prejudiced.
(My brother works for sony :)
Just saying!
28th Mar, 2014 11:01 (UTC)
This one was great until about 3 months after the warranty ran out. At which point, things started failing. I emailled Sony and asked them if I could still pay them to service it (since I had two hardware issues and one software issue, and reasoned that they would have all the parts).

I got a reply saying that Window 7 was no longer releasing any updates since it was discontinued and I should buy windows 8 (utterly untrue, end of mainstream support for Windows 7 will be 2015, and extended support, 2020!) At that point I decide that maybe I didn't want to send my laptop to be repaired by them...

I think maybe I made a mistake with this machine because it was a relatively expensive one with a number of custom upgrades, so it's not a laptop that was in shops. If I go for that Toshiba, at least I'll have something really common so finding parts should be easy.

Ask your brother if he knows any of the secret gnomes that make Vaio VPCF22C5E power jack sockets :-), you can buy them on ebay for a lot of Vaios, but not this one, and when I contacted a big supplier of replacement bits, they said 'nope'. :-(
28th Mar, 2014 11:23 (UTC)
I hate Windows 8. I never use the 'Metro' or whatever it's called, just the desktop, I miss the Start menu (I've pinned all the applications I use to the tool bar, so I don't lose them), and it's taken me a while to get used to the Search facility (since I jumped straight from XP to 8), but I do have to admit that Windows 8 runs all of the applications I bought for XP (I'm too mean to buy new) with almost no trouble -- my photo editing software does tend to crash a bit, but it was always flaky, and didn't run at all on Vista (and it only cost £25 in the first place).

That laptop's also a good size. When I bought mine, about six months ago, you could only get huge things -- mine has a massive touch pad with teeny, tiny buttons, which I miss 50% of the time, so instead of clicking on a link I bring up a menu... Plus it's too big for my laptop bag. It's amazing it's survived six months.
28th Mar, 2014 20:52 (UTC)
I don't mind it being big - I try not to carry my laptop about with me much, because I find that if you take your own hardware to clients or whatever, you always spend ages trying to get it to talk to their bizarre and undocumented kit, plus I'm scared of dropping it in the river or something. Last time I took it to give a presentation, it threw a wobbly at the dataprojector - which was of similar age and *from the same manufacturer* !

So now I tend to put everything on the web, carry a phone but ask the client to pull things up on their machine.

It really only has to be a laptop so I can work flomped in front of the fire with a pile of dogs and cats next to me :-D

28th Mar, 2014 15:47 (UTC)
Sugru is your friend!!
PM me an address and I will send you some :)
28th Mar, 2014 20:46 (UTC)
Oooh, now that's a thought! Is Sugru better than green stuff? We've got some green stuff I think.
28th Mar, 2014 20:58 (UTC)
For this, yes.
It is stickier, easier to mould into shape, dries in about an hour (cures overnight).
It sets into a soft silicone and has a high(ish) heat tolerance.
We use it to fix all the broken connectors in the build centre.
29th Mar, 2014 08:49 (UTC)
In that case I will take you up on your very kind offer - PM on way!
29th Mar, 2014 09:44 (UTC)
Will post it on Monday, so you should have it Tues/We'd, depending on how good the post is out your way.
29th Mar, 2014 10:18 (UTC)
28th Mar, 2014 22:04 (UTC)
Can you not get a block of wood and screw 21 screws into it, and when the power fails on the laptop do the ritual "oh bugger!" and unscrew the 21 screws, drop 2, screw the other 19 in, hunt around till you find one of the ones you dropped, screw it in, and give up on the last one?

That *ought* to fix the power supply by the magic of cargo :-)
29th Mar, 2014 08:59 (UTC)
I like this idea. It involves doing things with wood, which I prefer, and there seems no logical reason why it would be any less effective in fixing my Windows Updates.
( 12 comments — Leave a comment )

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