January 4, 2010 at 3:40 pm (By Amba)

My laptop screen is, at more and more angles.  Soon it won’t light up at all.

So if you don’t hear from me for a few days, that’s all it is.  I have to get to an Apple Store, and my ProCare membership has expired, and I have a choice between shlepping J there with me today (2 exits down Rte. 40 in the ginormous Southpoint Mall) and throwing myself on their mercy, or going in Fort Myers, Florida on my father’s birthday Thursday.  Sucks either way. …

Actually, I just learned that it sucks worse than that:  it will have to be out of my hands for as much as 3 to 5 business days.  It may need a new logic board or motherboard.  And the hard drive isn’t backed up.

So I have to hope it doesn’t die completely and I can keep working on it with the screen partway closed, until . . . when?

THE PLOT THICKENS: It only (or mostly) happens when it’s running on battery. I plugged it in, and it stopped.  WTF does that mean??

SO NOW: It’s happening again while plugged in.  Go figure.


  1. El Pollo Real said,

    You will be missed but the shining light that is you will hardly dim.

    How old is your machine anyways?

  2. Chris said,

    Pull your hard drive before giving it to Apple. Remember their 1984 commercial!

  3. amba12 said,

    My sense of time is way screwed up, but I think it’s going on two years old.

    So far it’s still working if I keep the lid partially shut, tip it back and peer into it. I’m afraid the arc within which it works is going to get smaller and smaller.

    A Mac specialist I spoke to said the cable to the screen may simply be loose at one end, or may be worn out and need replacing. Nobody knows till they look, though; and I can’t just jump in the car and take it somewhere.

  4. amba12 said,

    I might go to the Apple store in Florida. If it’s just the cable, they’ll have one. If it’s not, I’ll know.

  5. Peter Hoh said,

    I have some sort of problem with my older MacBook laptop. Just to see if it made a difference, I started using it without the battery. So far, it’s been better.

  6. amba12 said,

    Huh! Maybe I’ll try that. As noted above, it’s started happening again while plugged in, too.

  7. Danny said,

    Just back it up now while you still can in case something goes wrong. Learn from my mistakes! Do you have an external hard drive?

  8. pathmv said,

    Depending on how much material you need to back up, also consider a free service like Dropbox, which will automatically maintain an internet-based synchronized copy of your files kept in a designated folder. It’s free for the first 2 GB, then $10 per month for 50 GB, $20 for 100GB. You have to download a driver onto your computer for the automatic synching, but you can access your files over the web from any computer through their website.

  9. amba12 said,

    Danny, I don’t have an external hard drive. Therefore, Pat, Dropbox is a great idea for me. Thank you!!!

  10. Randy said,

    It means Apple products are not as well-made as Apple acolytes pretend. Can’t tell you how many people I know who have Apple machines that encounter problems. (Disclaimer: I own one and it went back for repairs twice w/in 30 days of purchase.) OTOH, very few of the far larger numbers of non-Apple owners I know have encountered serious problems until their machines were somewhat advanced in age.

  11. amba12 said,

    Well, I guess mine is “advanced in age.” Two years is long in the tooth for a computer! And I abuse it. I don’t mean I bounce it off the floor, but when I fact-check fast I download PDFs and leave them clogging the desktop. I did this for a while before I figured out how to delete them quickly, so there is a terrible backlog. I’ve tried being obsessive about sorting through them and keeping the interesting ones, but only a clean sweep is going to do it. I’ll never know what I lost, and what I don’t know won’t hurt me. In fact . . . here goes.

  12. amba12 said,

    I mean, why would I want to save something labeled “tarsier placenta”??

  13. William O. B'Livion said,


    2 years is not old for a computer. The machine that is currently my home server is one of the last IBM branded laptops–a T43–that I purchased in late 2005. It was my primary computer through 2 periods of unemployment (meaning it was on a LOT). It traveled around the country in the tailbag of a motorcycle, and was the personal machine I tool with me to Iraq, where it ran fine until about August when it started to exhibit the symptoms you are describing.

    The best diagnosis I can come up with (for mine) is that the backlight is dying. This is a relatively cheap fix (on my machine) if one knows how to use a soldering iron. Because of my situation I just bought a refurb Dell off Dell’s Ebay store for less than $400 and things were fine.

    In the mean time I borrowed a external monitor from a buddy, and just used that instead of the screen.

    I’ve long been appreciative of Apple’s design, both hardware and interface, but they have routinely had production problems. Dell and IBM did too, but they didn’t quite have the reputation to live up to.

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