Sunday, April 30, 2006

It's Fixed!

I'm typing this post on my freshly-restored Thinkpad T23 laptop. On Tuesday, the backlight on my laptop ceased its merry operation.

It was not unexpected- for several months the screen had been progressively drifting farther and farther into the red end of the spectrum, and lately had been given to flickering wildly at random intervals.

Saturday, though, was the last straw. The flickering had gotten so bad that I had to connect it to an external display device (A beautiful 17" LCD monitor- magnificent!) because of the flickering.

Late Saturday night, I researched the problem and found that the symptoms my laptop had been showing were consistent with either a burned out power inverter for the backlight, or a burned out Cold Cathode Flourescent Lamp (the backlight). Between the two options, the power inverter would be the cheapest and easiest to replace, so early Monday morning I went to ebay and bought a replacement power inverter.

I didn't get around to installing the new inverter until last night, when I started the journey to the center of the machine. I learned quickly that when a laptop is the machine, the center is protected by an inordinate number of layered components, and the journey is very circuitous.

To get to the power inverter, you first need to detatch the front bezel of the screen;
To detatch the front bezel of the screen, you must remove the screen from the laptop;
To detatch the screen from the laptop, you must remove the fan from the processor;
To remove the fan from the processor, you must separate the keyboard bezel from the laptop;
To separate the keyboard bezel from the laptop, you must remove the keyboard;
To remove the keyboard, well, you get the idea.

Thus, to replace the power inverter residing on the interior of the screen, you must take off virtually every removeable component of the laptop.

The trip was made possible through the excellent documentation IBM makes available on their website, the Hardware Maintenance Manual series. There's one for just about all the hardware IBM/Lenovo manufactures. It would have been very difficult, if at all possible, to replace the appropriate component without the Manual.

All that to say, at about 4:05 this afternoon I successfully replaced the power inverter. And then found out that the power inverter wasn't problem. The CCFL (backlight) was burned out, and I wouldn't be able to get a replacement bulb probably until the end of next week.

And then it hit me:
I have a non-functioning thinkpad somewhere in my room. The thinkpad has a screen. The screens are the same size. The bulbs are the same length. They're interchangable.

So I took the second laptop apart and removed the bulb. It took about an hour or so, I think. Mabe an hour and a half.

The "new" bulb matched the dead bulb almost exactly. The length was the same, the connector was identical. The only real difference was the connector wires- the "new" bulb's were about an inch and a half longer than the dead bulb's. Fortunately, there was enough extra space in the screen bezel that everything fit.

So, after spending another hour or so reversing the disassembly process, it's fixed!

Total dollar cost: $8.99
Remaining parts: 1 Power inverter, slighly used; most of an i1400 laptop, sans backlight.

The experience: Priceless.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Increased Traffic

This morning I posted a link to my blogspot page from my xanga "blog."

This could introduce a whole new demographic to the wonder of non-social blogging. I wonder.

And the extra link should give my blogspot a higher pagerank. This could be interesting. I'll to look into it.

Monday, April 24, 2006

Tornado wrapup

Just got back from a run/walk - parking garages are a lot taller than they look.

The cloudy region of the weather has passed - it's generally clear now, with the remaining storm clouds to the south east, accompanied by sporadic lightning.

From the statewide weather radar, it looks like most of the severe weather has moved to the north east, and is now over Tulsa. The tornado warnings are all gone now, replaced by a few scattered severe weather patches.

Further bulletins as events warrant.

Tornado, still

The tornado that's on the ground in Yukon is reputedly winding down, and from the radio reports, it sounds like the front is starting to break up.

The tornado warning has been extended to 2:00 this morning.

The only tornadic activity in the state is located towards the south - looks like about halfway between the City and Texas border.

There's reports of large hailstones in various places (Yukon? Skiatook?), but there's nothing like that here yet.

It's raining now, and the power just blipped. I'm glad I'm running on batteries. :-)

Tornado update, continued

Ok, so it looks like the tornado warning was lifted, but the tornado watch is still on.

And Stephen's family just arrived!

And the TV just left. Back to the web for news...

Immediate Warning Lifted

The building's tornado watch was just lifted, so people are returning to their various locations. Out hall is clearing out, slowly.

I really need to find a streaming weather video/audio site.
Or get a radio.

Tornado update

I'm learning that there is a surprising dearth of information regarding live weather conditions in Oklahoma City.

Tornado update

Almost all the people in the building are on my floor. I think there's about 60ish.

The tornado front has moved closer to us, to Yukon.

And, ironically enough, there's golfball sized hail in Stillwater.


I'm sitting in the hallway here listening to the frenzied excitement of a block party. Right outside my door is a group of four girls playing some sort of scrabble game. Next to them is a group of people gathered around a television set. Further down the hall is a group of people collected around a guitar player, singing songs. A bit farther down is a group of conference attendees talking. I think. I can't hear very clearly over the multitude of conversations.

There's a tornado front in town, and so far there's been two that have touched down in El Reno, a few miles west of here. It's moving east, so we're keeping our eyes on it.

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Primal Drives

Inherent in the nature of Man is the desire to affect the world in a way that extends beyond the actor- that extends outward to reach a greater circle of humanity than the actor himself resides in, or extending forward in time to a point beyond the death of the actor.

This drive results in the strong urge in individuals to create or destroy.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Tax Refund

Every couple of days, I log in to my bank account to keep tabs on the balance. Since this week is the week my paycheck is processed via direct deposit, I was expecting it to show up as a "pending credit" on my account sometime around Wednesday.

I didn't notice it, but I did see on Tuesday that there was a peding credit in an amount that didn't look like my paycheck.

It was my refund from the Oklahoma Tax Commission.

That was fast- two business days, tops.

Friday, April 14, 2006

Tax Acknowledgement - Tax Return Accepted by IRS

Tax Return Accepted by IRS



Your return with SSN ending in XXXX was accepted by the IRS. No further action is necessary.

If you have any questions regarding your account or return please visit our Help Center.

Be sure to check out for tax preparation tips, life insurance quotes, online IRA's and other ideas that can save you money!

If you have any questions please visit the Help Center
*Refund distribution subject to IRS & bank approval.
We cannot guarantee date of receipt of refund.


Now all I have to do is wait for the refund!

Tax Update:

I got an email this morning from TaxSlayer - my federal tax return was rejected.

After lunch, I filed again. It turned out that the first time around, when I was entering my W-2 information I selected "Statutory Employee" as the value for Box 13. Oddly enough, this had an effect on the total amount of taxes due- income for Statutory Employees, apparently, isn't taxed.

It looks like my return is correctly filed now, with a 50% reduction in refund. At least it's still a refund.

Edit: I've been reminded that it is possible to file as early as February. I have yet to confirm this rumor...

Thursday, April 13, 2006

The Meaning of Life

To all you people who desperately try to figure out why people act like, well, people, and then get frustrated when you can't(you know who you are):

"Maybe in order to understand mankind, we have to look at the word itself: 'Mankind'. Basically, it's made up of two separate words: 'mank' and 'ind'. What do these words mean? It's a mystery, and so is mankind."

- Jack Handey

Y'all are just going to have to learn to cope.

Taxes are Filed!

I just finished filing my taxes - I started just about an hour and a half ago, and a good portion of that time was spent trying to find a link to the relevant 1099 forms on the account pages of Edward Jones and my credit union. As it turned out, Edward Jones apparently DOESN'T PUT 1099-DIV FORMS IN THE SAME SECTION AS YOUR E-STATEMENTS! THEY DON'T PUT THEM ANYWHERE! YOU HAVE TO FIND THE PAPER COPY THEY MAILED YOU THREE MONTHS AGO!

As you probably guessed, I'm a big fan of getting my account information online, as it's almost always better organized online than in real life. However, I'm getting a refund this year, so I'm a bit ambivalent at this time about how Edward Jones organzes their account information portal.

I'll probably get all worked up about it again a year from now.

I should put it on my calendar...

I e-filed through TaxSlayer. Their free e-file page can be found here, as linked from the IRS e-file page.

Google Calendar!

It Exists! It's Real! It's Beta!

I'm not quite sure why, but I'm really excited about this. I don't use a calendar for personal stuff on a regular basis, and even if I did, I don't have a lot of events to keep track of. But still...

Google Calendar! It's Google! It's a Calendar!

Did I mention that I'm a bit excited about this?

Tuesday, April 11, 2006


I just got back from watching my first hockey game - Oklahoma City Blazers vs. Some Team from Colorado. It was exciting. You can read a pre-game blurb in a Colorado paper here.

Overall, it seemed like a good game. For years I've heard stories of how violent hockey gets, and references to bloody noses and such, but I had no idea how it all actually played out- it wasn't bad. I've seen worse in the lobby here :-) (okay, on very rare occasions)

The final score was OK 5 to CO 4. It was getting very close for the last three minutes, but we won!

Saturday, April 08, 2006

Oh Glorius Sunshine!

It's a beautiful day outside today- The sun is shining brightly in the clear blue cloudless sky, the calm 64 degree air briefly stirring with a slight breeze, the magnificent green of growing vegetation prevelant throughout.

It's just gorgeous.

I'm sitting here at my desk feverishly attempting to finish a writing assignment that's not done yet because I didn't do it earlier, when I should have.

I haven't been outside in two full days. Except for traversing the parking lot to and from a vehicle, I haven't been outside in the sunshine in ... 4 weeks? 5 weeks? It's just a guess- I don't remember when it was.

I need to get out more or less frequently.