Thursday, May 03, 2012


last august my laptop keyboard died.

to be fair, not all of it died; just certain keys. i was suddenly without v, b, n,  comma, period and question mark, along with a few others scattered about.

it began to be a challenge to write anything, even though i'm familiar with lipograms and not that long ago wrote a series of essentially the same geocache log as a set of progressive alphabetical lipograms. you can start reading them here if you like.

so anyway, my laptop isn't all that new, but it isn't that old either and we were going to get it repaired, but that would have cost as much as a replacement, but the nice boy in the computer store told us that IF the problem was just the keyboard, it was a $20 part.

otherwise, i was going to have to ship the machine to some repair place and then they'd make an expensive repair and we decided that it was worth $20 just to see.

so i called up dell and asked for whatever department sells replacement parts, and got a HUGE runaround and a bunch of guys in some call center who wanted to know a lot of information about my machine that wouldn't be necessary to simply buy a replacement part, but would be very handy in trying to upsell me a plan for something or other.

i just want to buy a part, i kept telling them. i do not need a plan, or a technician, or an appointment with a service center. is there a way to just buy a part?

it was a few months ago so i'm not sure i remember clearly, but i think they hung up on me.

so i went to the website, which is similarly organized. what i wanted was to find a page where i enter my model number and the part i need and it tells me my options. it took me a LOOOOONG time to find such a page.

and i'm pretty good at finding pages and such, so this is an indication of the consumer friendliness of the site.

surprise, surprise! the website is geared toward making it super simple and FUN to buy tons of new things, but really, really hard to find replacement parts for things you already have unless you want to pay money to talk to a service center who will charge you a lot of money to replace a $20 part.

but find it i did.

and (did i mention that my laptop isn't all that new?) when i finally got to the page that listed what parts were available for it, there was exactly one keyboard, so i ordered that.

two days later it arrived at my house and i installed it.

old keyboard, access panel removed
i knew how to do this because the nice boy at the computer store explained it to me: "see that little access panel? pop it off and slide the keyboard right out. you'll see a connecting cable and you should disconnect it and then just drop the new keyboard in and close it up."

so that's what i did.

without keyboard
only after i had it all installed, i noticed it was a spanish language keyboard. that might not seem like a problem, but spanish language keyboards have some keys that english language keyboards do not have, and many of the punctuation marks do not correspond to what's labeled on the keys.

i thought: fine. i will just change my keyboard preferences over to spanish and everything will match, plus how cool will it be to have an ñ key?

new keyboard, installed and tested.
turns out that to do that, you have to change your whole system over to spanish, and i was not prepared to do that for the sake of a few punctuation marks.

it is what it is. it was the only replacement keyboard available for my machine, and it works just fine and every time i can't find the apostrophe, it serves as a happy reminder of my first computer repair.

1 comment:

Margaret (Peggy or Peg too) said...

I'm sorry that made me laugh.
That was wrong of me I know.


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