jeudi, novembre 02, 2006

The reason why I'm two days behind

It's Saturday afternoon and I'm writing my post for Thursday. This is mostly because I didn't have 5 seconds to myself on Thursday.

Remember how I had spent Tuesday evening taking apart a student's laptop? Well, we didn't get further than the disassembly on Tuesday, so Thursday's job was to finally do the soldering and then put the thing back together again. I spent the morning researching soldering tutorials and power jack diagrams in preparation for The Big Solder. I realize that it is possible to remove solder, but I didn't want to mess up the motherboard, burn any of the components, or short-circuit the entire board and fry it. All of which was entirely possible. Throughout the entire day/afternoon/evening, I kept on telling myself that "At worst, the hard drive is intact." Data loss is the one thing you can't fix or replace.

I finally got a hold of my boss's soldering iron and solder, and away I went. The positive pin on the power jack needed to be patched up and strengthened, so I put a little bit of paper over the nearby components and got soldering. It wasn't a pretty joint (I was essentially creating a new pin out of solder), but it eventually held together. I plugged in the power adapter and checked the LED charge light. At first it didn't work. Then, I dug out the laptop's battery, connected it to its connector on the motherboard, and that closed the circuit. The rest of the afternoon I spent putting the laptop back together. I would reattach one component, then plug in the AC adapter to check that I hadn't screwed something up; then, I would unplug it and add another component, etc. etc. By 20h00, the laptop was back in one piece with 3 screws leftover. Anybody who's done a fair bit of laptop repair is familiar with this experience. No matter how well you follow the assembly instructions, there's always still one or two screws that are leftover when you put things back together. I believe it's the IT fairy's way of keeping me on my toes.

I finished the laptop and returned it just in time to head out with a friend for drinks. This was the friend whose English class I appeared in last Tuesday as the "Canadian Content" representative. We went for falafels in the old Jewish district (rue des rosiers) and then a glass of wine near the gay district. I got home just before midnight....and just in time for a frantic knock on my door.

Once of the students had been injured, and it was pretty messy and required immediate attention. Since this has to do with part of my work (in addition to IT stuff, I'm the night-person for the students that stay in my building) I'm not going to go into detail. Suffice it to say that I got to know the French medical system quite well, and we didn't get home until 2h00 in the morning. I should also note that the only thing I had eaten that day was that falafel. So my blood sugar was low, I had an impossible headache, and I had been awake for a very long time. To top things off, the injury was worse than we had thought, so we had to return to the hospital the next morning for reconstructive surgery.

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