Sunday, October 14, 2007

in which I am the Goddess of Geek. Almost.

I'm typing this post on Sweet Baboo's laptop. This is HUGE, because for about two months his keyboard hasn't worked. Baboo, normally fastidious in his habits and routines, for some reason got into the habit of placing his laptop on the floor.

Next to the bed.

Directly under and in front of his night table.

On which rests a cup that holds at least 20 ounces of ice water at night.

Aiyee. Do I need to tell you what happened next? I felt bad enough for him not to say anything. Myself, I keep my lap top on my dresser at night. I'm afraid I'll step on it when I get out of bed to attend to my middle-of-the night pee or dealing with a hot-flash.

Anyway. The laptop was off but open when the water hit the keyboard. As soon as I realized what happened, I yelled, Don't turn on the computer!! Unplug it and take the battery out!! Luckily, the computer was off. Whew! But just then, as Sweet Baboo lifted the computer to take the battery out, he hit the "on" button by mistake. That was the end of the keyboard. The computer would turn on, but the keyboard didn't work. I connected an old keyboard to the laptop, and it worked fine, so I knew it was just the keyboard. Well, hoped it was just the keyboard.

When we took the computer to CompUSA, they wanted $140 to replace the keyboard, and that was if nothing else was wrong. I was offended both as a geek and former poor by that price. I told Baboo that we'd get him a wireless keyboard for now, and I'd see if I could get one online and put it in myself. Then I found on on ebay for $20, and got it. Then I stalled for a while.

The thing is, I really hate working on computers. It's nerve wracking for someone who is not detail oriented to do something that requires careful attention to detail. Plus, I kinda sorta said that I could fix it the same I say things like, "Ironman? Why not?" The words just leap out of my mouth before my brain can say something like, SHUT UP! The last time I removed or added components to a computer it was a first generation Pentium. That would have been in, let's see, 1999 maybe? I have NEVER worked on a laptop before.

So, I put off Sweet Baboo for quite a while. Then I said I'd take it in. Then I stalled on that. For two months he carried around a laptop and a wireless keyboard. Poor Baboo. Bad wife. No biscuit.

Finally after coming back from officiating at the olympic triathlon championship in Dallas he told me that because he'd been carrying an extra keyboard they pulled him aside and made him undergo extra security checks. Plus, it was kind of sad seeing him there, with his laptop at the end of his knees, tapping away on his extra keyboard.
So today, finally, I decided to sit down and figure this out. I found a service manual online (I'm the Google Queen) and greedily saved it to my hard drive, and had that open whilst I removed the tiny little screws and--WTF, what is a ZIF CONNECTOR?

Soooooo, I looked that up. Oh, okay. But I had to fiddle for a while to figure out how to open and close one. My tecchie days are long behind me.
The first time I put in the keyboard, I had to remove the battery and then remove about nine tiny little screws with a little tiny screwdriver. Then I put in the keyboard, put the computer back together, put all the little tiny screws back in, inserted the battery, and turned it on.

They keyboard did not work.


So, I removed the battery and then removed the nine tiny little screws with the tiny screwdriver and stared at the ZIF connectors. Ooohhhhh, I get it. It goes like this. I put the computer back together, put all the little tiny screws back in, inserted the battery, and turned it on.

The keyboard worked! For about five minutes. Then it stopped working. So, I removed the battery and then removed the nine tiny little screws with the tiny screwdriver and and retightened the ZIF connectors. I put the computer back together, put all the little tiny screws back in, inserted the battery, and turned it on.

Again, it start working. Then it stopped again. I hit some of the F buttons at random, and then it started working. Then it stopped again.


I started this on Baboo's computer, but had to finish it on mine. I'm still trying to figure out what's up, and hoping it's not because when you by a used keyboard off ebay, this is what you get.

Still, I've earned the GeekGirl nickname for today.


  1. You are a legend. I'd just be all cross and helpless.
    Good luck!

  2. I am a jealous geek. Too fun.

  3. Good for you for even trying...I would have pitched it and saved for a new one...
    no patience!

  4. As someone who has worked on computers a lot let me offer you a hint - do not replace the screws until the thing works for sure. Just put the panel back on so you don't short anything out and if you need to use tape. Then put in the battery and test.

    I would guess that something is loose since it works and then doesn't work but I don't know. Good luck! I'm sure you'll figure it out.

  5. Anonymous7:24 PM

    I have a feeling you're gonna figure this out, no matter how long it takes.

  6. This is a funny story, especially because I keep my laptup on the floor, under my night table, where my water glass is. And I've spilled it, more than once. But so far the laptop lives.

  7. did you put the 9 littles screws back in their correct screw holes? I think this is where you went wrong. but then, maybe not (J/k)

  8. LOL t Pat - well ... you did earn your geek stipes today! :)


  9. Not sure what kind of laptop you have, but usually you have to take a couple of screws out of the backside marked "K" (for keyboard--how original!) and then the keyboard will loosen up on top. The ZIF (Zero Insertion Force) socket has a little tab that lifts up and it comes out easy. Too bad you still don't live around here. 10 minutes or less and I'd have it fixed :-)

  10. I'm betting that the current problem is the keyboard off Ebay. They are really sensitive. I spilt just a little bit of coffee in my was really just a splash more than anything else. After everything dried, I got an error alarm when I turned it on and then some of the keys worked and some didn't. I used it for several months, learning to cope without the top row of keys, The "T," ""R," and "Y" keys, the tab, and the backspace.

    The new keyboard was only $10.90 from Dell. Once we figured out how to get into the computer, it was easy to install...although with mine you can take off the top of the case, unplug and lift off the old keyboard, plug in the new keyboard and then put the top back on.

    You should see if you can get a new one from the manufacturer, Ms. Google Queen. Half the battle is done now that you know how to install it.

  11. I have nothing of value to add here, but I would so do the same thing. Then I would call Mike and have him come home and fix my mess. You sound like you are better at that stuff than I though, so good luck in your quest, Geek Girl.

  12. After reading this post I am most impressed. Keep up posted on your laptop adventure. :-)


  14. I am totally impressed and yes you have earned your name!


Comments containing links to commercial websites from people with invisible profiles are deleted immediately. Chinese spammers are immediately deleted.

I'm sitting here, looking out the window.  I did 3 miles this morning.  Big whoop.  After recovering from CDiff last month, I got a cold...