So You Spilled Water on your Laptop…

Yesterday, I was cleaning some junk off my desk and knocked over a just-filled 20oz cup of water directly into my ThinkPad T43. I’m posting this from that same laptop thanks to info I found online and got from a good friend that is familiar with ThinkPads and works for Lenovo.

Here are some tips to consider if find yourself in the same… er… boat:

  • Unplug your laptop, take out the battery.
    Be careful here – this is water+electricity we’re talking about. Notice I didn’t say “turn off your laptop”. If your experience is like mine, that’ll be taken care of for you. My T43 turned off within about 2 seconds of the incident. I found some folks online that advised keeping your laptop as flat as possible when you do this. I didn’t. You probably wouldn’t in the same situation as panic takes over. Basically you should try to make sure water flows OUT.
  • Drain.
    I tipped my laptop forward away from the display and onto some towels on the floor of my office and let it drain while I sopped up the rest of the water from my desk.
  • Field Strip.
    Flip the laptop over and remove the screws that hold it together. On my T43, that meant any screw that was labeled with a number. An aside here: IBM/Lenovo is very thoughtful – the holes are well-labled and there’s a legend showing you the actual scale/size of each screw by it’s number. Once you’ve removed the screws, open the machine up. For my ThinkPad, that meant popping off the plastic bezel and removing the top/keyboard. The ribbon cables that connect the keyboard and trackpad to the motherboard on a T43 are designed to release easily – there aren’t any clips to worry about. Remove everything that looks removable. The internal WiFi, memory, hard drive and optical drive were easy to remove.
  • Dry and Wait.
    The thing that’s going to ruin your chances of coming out of this ordeal with a functioning laptop is plugging the thing back in before it has fully dried. I turned my T43 upside down on top of some towels on the kitchen table in an inverted V, thinking that any remaining moisture would drip away from the display/hinge. I turned the ceiling fan above the kitchen table on full-blast. I left everything alone for about 6 hours. When I checked back, I couldn’t detect any moisture.
  • Cross fingers/toes/legs/arms/eyes and turn it on.
    When my T43 turned back on, it was a little confused. I had to OK my way through a couple of BIOS errors and reset the time. The errors were harmless “hey – things have changed” messages. Nothing too scary.

The only wierdish thing that I’m experiencing now is that my laptop seems to want to display on my connected external monitor on boot. Since I’ve got a boot password, it looks like it has died when it sits there with a blank screen. Type the password blind and hit enter to pass this, then wait a bit for your OS to load. Fn-F7 (switch display modes) doesn’t appear to work until the OS is booting.

And that’s it… My ThinkPad has been functioning normally for about 20 hours since turning it back on. I feel lucky. I love my ThinkPad and am even more impressed with it now. Hope your ordeal goes as well.

Oh yeah… some other water-related info: I’ve washed 2 iPods. “Washed” like all the way through the cycle and figured it out when I heard it bouncing around in the dryer. I got both of these working with an inexpensive battery replacement. Wow.

Wildebeest, who?

Nathan: Knock, knock.

Me: Who’s there?

Nathan: Wildebeest!

Me: Wildebeest, who?

Nathan: Wildebeest Girl Scout cookies!!!

Me: Huh?

Nathan: [checks joke book] Oh. It was supposed to be bison.

Boo Berry!

Halloween’s right around the corner… and that means Boo Berry returns to the store! Start the day off right.

I Am An Insect

This weekend, we took the kids to the NC Museum of Art to see Paperhand Puppet Intervention’s I Am An Insect. Wow. It was incredible to watch and the live accompanying band was excellent. The kids had a great time and haven’t stopped talking about it…

Here are a couple pics. Note that if the one you’re looking at is a video, you’ll see a triangular “play” button on the middle of the picture that you’ll have to click on if you want to watch the vid.

You need Flash to view this slideshow.

oh, nevermind


My MP3 jukebox displays album covers on the TV when a track is playing. Said Nora, my 3-1/2 year old, of the cover to Nirvana’s Nevermind:

That baby is sinking because it’s not wearing its floaties.

Don't worry… I'm Superghost!

Our family just returned from a trip to the beach. A sure sign that I let the TV act as baby-sitter a couple’a times too many: I just overheard Nora, my 3.5yr old, exclaim (in her spookiest voice) “Don’t worry… I’m Superghost! I’ll scare you and then save you!”

No more Scooby Doo for you, Nora.

they're trouble

screen-time bucks

In an effort to manage TV/computer use by my almost-6-year-old son, we’ve implemented a method discussed a couple of months ago on ParentHacks. The gist is that you give your kids fake money that can be traded in for “screen time” in half-hour increments. “Screen time” in our house covers anything with a screen: computer, TV, DVD, etc. We don’t think that our son is quite ready to manage a weeks worth of “bucks” just yet, so we’ve been renewing his supply on Sundays and Wednesdays. Any leftovers at the end of the week each get converted to $1 to be spent on books.

In a reaction to the original ParentHacks post, John Watson designed some very nice printable bucks that we’ve put to good use.