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May 6, 2005
The Laptop Follies Continue

Sometimes I have all the luck ...

After getting a good amount of feedback on my laptop problems, as well as reading through some similar issues over at Dean Esmay's, I was able to determine a couple of things about my Toshiba Satellite laptop:

1. An earlier model of the Satellite (the 5005) had almost exactly the same problems as my A65 -- overheating, shutdowns, and slow response from the processor which gets increasingly worse over time. In that case, Toshiba settled a class-action suit from Satellite 5005 owners by giving them $500 each, or a $1500 credit from Toshiba Direct if they returned their computers to Toshiba. Unfortunately, that does not apply to the A65.

2. Toshiba didn't learn much from that costly debacle, if their design of the A65 is any indication, considering my current laptop is a replacement of the defective model I first bought.

3. Like me, Dean bought an extended warranty on his Toshiba Satellite system. Like me, Dean found out that using that warranty means not having a laptop for three to four weeks. I have a desktop, but for blogging as much as I do, the laptop is an absolute requirement.

4. In other words, Toshiba may not be the best choice for anyone who wants a reliable product, which is the polite way of saying "it sucks".

In an effort to correct the problem myself after dinner last night, I wound up using my Oreck handheld vacuum cleaner -- the one that David Oreck uses to pick up a bowling ball in his TV ads -- to try cleaning it out. I vacuumed through the fan first, them reversed the vacuum and blew through the heat-sink vent in the back. This disgorged a large amount of dust back through the fan assembly, so I repeated the procedure a few times. After spending a half-hour with the vacuum, I decided to power it up to see if any progress had been made.

That's when I found out my Qwest DSL was off line, which it was until early this morning.

However, so far today it appears as if the problems have abated. I'm not losing any performance at all so far, and the fan hasn't even kicked into high gear once. (It had been running high for a while.) While I still have some other issues with the system, notably the 30-minute battery life when the WiFi is turned on, at least it looks like I can rely on it to stay powered up.

Thanks to all of you who provided me such great feedback on laptops yesterday. I especially loved all the "Buy an Apple!" e-mails and comments I got. You guys just don't give up, do you? I'd actually considered it when I bought the Toshiba, but my desktop is a PC and I network with it and other machines in my house. Using an Apple on a Microsoft network isn't impossible, but it's more work than I want to do, especially given the generally higher costs of the Power Books.

I'll eventually buy another laptop and keep the Toshiba as a spare. I have other projects that need my attention and funding before I can do that, like a family vacation this summer and subsidizing the Little Admiral's upcoming new digs. For those of you who offered to get me good pricing on other machines, I may be calling on you in the near future to see what we can arrange. In the meantime, I'll keep my Oreck vacuum handy as an essential blogging tool. (Your jokes about this admission should go directly into the comments section ...)

Sphere It Digg! View blog reactions
Posted by Ed Morrissey at May 6, 2005 6:57 AM

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