Computer Surgery


I’ve had this trusty MacBook Pro for about three years now. Like many others out there, I depend on it to a frightening degree. In addition to being my main communication tool, library, and media player, it is a catalogue of several years of my fully-documented design projects, scans of any sort of documents, birth certificate, passport, diplomas, rental leases. In short, it contains my life’s work. I fear that without it, I may be unable to establish my identity.

I was shoving it into my backpack this morning as I was rushing out the door for an 8:30 meeting. It was about 8:15, so I had no time to spare, and in my haste, I fumbled and dropped my backpack onto the hardwood floor. No time to check on the laptop, until I opened it up at the meeting – the display was dead, black as night. On a second glance though, I noticed that the display was there, just very dim – so dim that I needed to hold it under a lamp in order to see enough to back up my data.

So I consulted this website called iFixit – a do-it-yourself manual for repairing Apple products – and began to investigate. I assumed the worst – that I might have to replace the display. Not sure how much that would cost, but I assumed it would be a healthy chunk of change. In the FAQs, I saw “display is dim” – check. Followed the link, and it told me that it might be a problem with the display inverter. So I proceeded to follow the manual to disassemble the display and take a look at the inverter. 15 or so illustrated steps later with an eyeglass screwdriver and the smallest torx wrench from my set in hand, and I found a loose cable – at the display inverter. Plugged it back in, and everything was fine. Plus I learned a bit about what is under the hood of this contraption.

Lesson learned: back up more frequently, and never say “die”.

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