—Silvia (part one)…

December 21, 2011

My very first computer was a Dell Inspiron 600m laptop which I affectionately named Silvia for somewhat obvious reasons. It had a 30GB hard drive, the then spanking new “Centrino” chipset (a 1.3GHz Pentium M processor combined with an Intel wireless card for power efficiency), and a whopping 384MB of RAM. I was so pleased with my acquisition. It was thin for its time and I really liked its shape. The grey on grey plastic with silver lettering and blue accents. The removable optical drive which could be swapped for other components (I also got a floppy drive). Sure it only had 2 USB ports but who cared? I finally had a computer to call my own. It worked great for less than a year, then the power button started acting up, media keys died, fan clogged eventually causing the hard to drive to overheat… Well, this might have been the end, but it actually posed several challenges for me to overcome and learn from. And with the internet, that Dell service manual, and a screwdriver set from Radio Shack at my disposal so would begin my tutelage.

I finally worked up the nerve to take the plunge and open her up. By this time the warranty had conveniently expired so I figured what’s to lose right? I managed to safely take it apart completely being careful to lay out all the parts & screws so that I could put them back in the right place. This was long before I stumbled across iFixit. Hard to believe how much gunk builds up inside a case even when you’re as careful as I was to not have food around it.

I cleaned it out, slapped it back together and marveled at the fact that it still worked. I had done it, and I had done it myself. I studied the manual and parts and started pondering about how I could make it better.

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