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View Full Version : Laptop woes (compounded by no-job woes)



Kenzie
09-25-2009, 08:27 AM
I'm quite certain that my Powerbook is dying. For the last week or so, it's been completely turning off while I'm using it. The pattern has been - it turns off, I press the power button, it comes back with everything I had open intact, a second or two later it goes off again, I press the power button again, repeat once or twice more before finally it's off and stays off no matter what I do. At that point the only thing I can do it reset the PRAM and then it will work again, albeit having lost whatever I had open and unsaved, disconnecting me from the internet so I have to go through the annoying process of retyping the WAP password, and resetting the clocks. The first few times it seemed to work for quite a long time after setting the PRAM, now it will work for a little while but it's completely unpredictable - it might start turning off again in five minutes, or an hour. It's driving me insane and I feel like I can't do anything - I'm scared to work on my WIP because I'm sure I'll lose what I write, and saving every five seconds is distracting and I can't lose myself in the work enough. I had to do some graphic design work for my mother the other day, something she needed urgently, and it took me all night because it kept shutting down.

Everything I've read on the net about the problem indicates that it's going to die, and will cost a fortune to fix seeing as it's out of warranty. It's a six-year-old laptop that I bought second hand two years ago, so it's no big surprise that it's having issues. I'm feeling extra frustrated and sorry for myself because I don't have a job despite applying for the last three or four months, therefore have absolutely no income and am living off my husband's savings - his chances of getting a job are much higher than mine but it's taking a little while even so, and there are obviously no guarantees. We are spending as little as we can and aren't in a desperate position as far as living expenses because our home is almost paid off, but I really don't want to go out and buy a new computer right now with no money coming in. The Catch 22 is that I need a job to buy a new computer, but I need my computer to find/apply for jobs, to do the small amounts of freelance work I get, and to work on my WIP - and obviously this jobless time is the best time I'll ever get to focus on it.

To make matters worse, we just bought a car after putting it off as long as possible - second hand, it passed all the safety checks including the transmission, but yesterday it started leaking transmission fluid and the transmission started slipping. And my husband's own laptop is having issues, the powercord isn't working and he only just bought it recently. It's the worst possible time to be needing to replace all these things.

I don't know what to do, if I should just throw a new computer on the mortgage and forget about it until one of us gets a job, or if I should buy one as cheaply as I can off eBay (not sure if I want to do that as I figure I'll just end up back in this position in a couple of years), or if I should just muddle along with the laptop and run it into the ground. And goddamnit, why wont someone just HIRE me already???

Sweetleaf
09-25-2009, 08:51 AM
Aw Kenzie. :Hug2:

If I was you, I'd throw a new one on the mortgage. Another second hand cheapie is only going to give you more problems sooner down the track, so bite the bullet and put it on the house while you can.

I know it seems like an unnecessary luxury, but like you've pointed out - it's not. You need it to get and find work, and spending all day at an internet cafe isn't going to save you anything.

Well that's my advice. Good luck. :Hug2:

Medievalist
09-25-2009, 08:51 AM
Is there a local Macintosh geek you can take the computer to?

Someone with perhaps the Hardware test CD that goes with that model?

Do you get a low power warning (I'm wondering if this is a powersupply/ancient battery issue)?

Are you running OS X?

Can you create a new User account, and just work on the WIP for a while (don't install anything else or modify the account more than you have to) and see if the same behavior takes place?

katiemac
09-25-2009, 09:04 AM
You are me last month. I opted to fix the computer. On no income it was cheaper than buying a new one, but I kind of like this computer anyway. Got it fixed twice, actually. Once it was the power socket. The week I got it back from my tech guy I got slammed with a virus.

Kenzie
09-25-2009, 01:00 PM
Thanks for the replies all! Husband's in the 'just buy a new one' camp, though he says to go on one of the interest-free deals rather than the mortgage, which is a fair point as many of them don't even require month to month payment for some time, so we can put it off until we get jobs or, if worse comes to worst, pay it off with mortgage money further down the track.

I am more inclined to go this way rather than try to get this one fixed, because my gut feeling is that there are more problems on their way. It has a few little glitches all over the place, and hasn't really ever been powerful enough for my design programs - it's main purpose was as something portable for travelling, and I compromised on its actual abilities. It does need a new battery which I am not keen on paying $200 for, and the hard drive only has about 5gb of space left. So all in all I think it's going to be less of a waste to buy a new one.


Is there a local Macintosh geek you can take the computer to?

Someone with perhaps the Hardware test CD that goes with that model?

Do you get a low power warning (I'm wondering if this is a powersupply/ancient battery issue)?

Are you running OS X?

Can you create a new User account, and just work on the WIP for a while (don't install anything else or modify the account more than you have to) and see if the same behavior takes place?

I don't know any Mac-ish people unfortunately. There's actually not even a Mac store with technicians in this city, I'd have to take it to one an hour down the coast. I am running OS X, 10.5.2 to be precise. Ummm no power warning but as I mentioned above the battery is completely screwed - it doesn't hold charge at all and never really has, so I've never used it unplugged from the AC. I bought a brand new AC for it just a couple of months ago as well.

I might be able to do what you mentioned with the User account - except I do need my design programs as well as the WIP (and the docs I need to apply for jobs) - how might that help?

Komnena
09-25-2009, 05:13 PM
You might try getting computer access at your library.

Maryn
09-25-2009, 06:48 PM
Stray thoughts. Have you backed up everything of importance. Do it now, today.
Libraries in the US routinely allow computer access to patrons. Don't know about where you are, but maybe.
Does it have to be a laptop? Here, if you want it, you can get a fully functional desktop, with not a lot of RAM, for free, by posting your need on public bulletin boards or on Craigslist. People would much rather their old computer, which is fine for internet use and word processing but not so great for gaming or movie-making, went to someone who really needs a computer than to a dump where its heavy metals leech into the soil and ultimately the water table.
Computer manufacturers' business is off, like everybody else's. There are bargains to be had, and good financing as well.
Man, if you were here, I'd hand you the old Dell, free and clear.

Maryn, whose house has a ridiculous number of computers

Medievalist
09-25-2009, 07:29 PM
I might be able to do what you mentioned with the User account - except I do need my design programs as well as the WIP (and the docs I need to apply for jobs) - how might that help?

First: Back up your Mac. Now.

If the Applications are installed properly, any User account on the Mac will be able to use them; you won't be able to use the files you've made though, or Web browser book marks--those are unique to a User account, and are protected (there are ways to share files between accounts).

If you create a brand new User (using the Accounts settings in System Preferences) and don't have the problem, then the problem is related to software--and definitely fixable. I agree a new battery isn't worth it--and honestly, the battery may be the problem, possibly the tiny one on the motherboard. Either way, I would not personally spend the money on it, either.

But yes, you do need a new computer, it sounds like. I would suggest looking at the Refurbished MacBooks at the Apple online store; there are some deals. You still have the same Apple one year warranty and can buy AppleCare anytime during the first year for two more years of coverage.

I just bought a refurbed MacBook. If you or your husband are on the School board or teach or or work for a school or college are taken classes through a college or university or Extension program, you qualify for the educational discount too, from the Apple Education Store online.

I would also price check with Amazon and Best Buy.

If you buy a Mac, don't buy extra RAM from Apple; you will pay far too much. Buy it from an Apple certified RAM provider, like Cruicial (online) and install it yourself.

You will want to have all the RAM the mac will hold, if you can. You can do it later too.

Susie
09-25-2009, 07:32 PM
:Hug2:s and hope everything works out well for you, Kenzie.

backslashbaby
09-25-2009, 07:37 PM
Ah, you mention design programs? So you need a Mac?

If you could get by with a little netbook, there are some great, very cheap!, models around. But not for memory-intensive things, unfortunately.

Hugs, for sure!