The tale of the smoking laptop


With electricity poles as well organised as this, who could’ve guessed there would be a problem with the grid here?

Allow me to finally tell you the story of woe that describes why all my blog posts are about three months delayed. No, cit is not down to laziness, I swear. Well, maybe a bit, but mostly it is down to this. After Hampi, we travelled by train down to Bangalore to stay with some wonderful couchsurfers: Maryam, Vlad and Robert. These guys were very open, helpful and fun to be around. This was all the more impressive as they were each very busy at the time. Vlad was preparing for the Startup Festival he was organising, Maryam was moving back to the US, and Robert was busy with work. Between the unusual mix of cultures (American, Russian, Iranian, German and Irish), we had plenty to talk about when we gathered together in the evernings to chat. We spent some time in Bangalore enjoying a good steak, the odd beer at a micro-brewery, or sampling the tasty food at a local restaurant. They also kindly allowed us to stay with them while we enjoyed the comforts of an actual aparment, with all the trimmings, such as a kitchen (with a fridge!) and a functioning internet connection. This was essential as I was still finishing up some contract work for a few days. As I was working one day, the ceiling lights briefly flickered and my laptop switched off just afterwards. Hmm. Not a good sign. I tried to switch it on, without any luck. Another victim of India’s power supply, I thought, just like the bat in the picture below, that was in the wrong place at the wrong time. I’m sure if he could talk (and was a little less crispy), he’d agree with me that India’s power ¬†supply network needs a bit of work.

Freshly cooked giant fruit bat anyone?

Freshly cooked giant fruit bat anyone?

I spent the next day exploring Bangalore in search of a computer repair shop. I found one who had a replacement adapter/rectifier that I could use to test if it was just that that was broken. I checked the voltage and current rating against my own one to be sure before plugging it in, and lo-and-behold, the laptop was miraculously alive once more. For a moment. Then the smoke started. Lots of metallic-smelling smoke, just like I was soldering something back home. Unfortunately, the smell was my laptop soldering itself to, well, itself. They opened it up and we saw a literally melted motherboard. That, as they say, was that. It was an unusual little netbook manufacturer (MSI Wind) and no-one had any replacement parts in this neck of the woods. Luckily I managed to save the hard drive and was able to use Robert’s laptop to boot into my Ubuntu operating system and work away to complete the contract over the following days without having to reinstall all of the necessary software or pull down all my files from Google Drive. Thank you Robert (and all the Ubuntu software developers)! I wish I had taken a photo of the laptop, but I wasn’t exactly in the mood for picture taking at the time, if you know what I mean.

To console ourselves after our useful little friend for the last five years departed us so suddenly, we bought a shiny new Samsung Galaxy Note Tablet. We didn’t want to buy a new laptop as we have a good one at home and we figured a tablet (or plank as I now refer to them) would be handy to replace a lot of the lost functionality. We could Skype everyone back home in Ireland, browse the inter-webs, and write all of the posts on it. Unfortunately linking in the photos to each post properly was a nightmare. It just goes to show that you can’t replace a laptop yet, as I always expected. So each of the posts had to wait to be completed whenever I had access to a real computer and that’s why all of them are so delayed.

Needless to say between work and melted-laptop related fun, we didn’t see much of Bangalore other than the inside of our hosts apartment, so I’ll move swiftly on to our next stop, Mysore.

Posted in Computers, My travels, Something New Tagged with: , , ,

Leave a Reply