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I have been working/traveling for the last month almost non-stop. Last weekend I finally crashed at home with a pile of reviews to write and paperwork stacked beyond the capacity of the backpack that usually contains them. However, before anything could be done in the way of clearing the mess, surgery had to take place. My laptop was on its last leg — again.

As my last birthday officially landed me in my mid-thirties I realized that I had become “that guy.” The one bent over a table trying to save a laptop, worth about C-note in today’s market, with the same tools my father used to salvage a coo-coo clock 30 years ago.

When I asked him back then why he bothered with a piece of junk such as that, he just grumbled something about being “perfectly fine” which was followed by a “…nothing is wrong with it; you’ll see.” Almost 30 years later I find myself in the same boat.

Thankfully I was spared the agony of my old man catching me huddled over a decrepit machine with a $15 nutty-professor visor, because I’m half blind now, a set of jeweler’s screwdrivers, and 3-in-1 oil for an hour muttering about how nothing lasts anymore.

I learned a few things this weekend, actually. First, a little time and some carefully applied oil can fix almost anything. I’ve almost turned into my father minus the black socks. And last but not least, you may look like a big dork, but a hobby visor is a great investment if you like to see your work past your twenties.

Deluxe Magna Visor [Excel]
Street Pricing [Google Products]


13 Responses to Editorial: Lessons Middle-Aged Men Learn

  1. Robert says:

    Gotta get one of those visors.

  2. Shellie Patterson says:

    Gateway M465 huh? Those stupid fans/heat sinks are cruddy – I’ve replaced a bunch of them at work!

  3. george says:

    anyone got a line on ones that work for folks with glasses ?

  4. GadgetLovingGeezer says:

    By “visor,” I am not sure if you mean the type with magnifying lenses. The OptiVISOR made by Donegan Optical is probably the best known, high quality magnifying visor.

    My dentist uses one while working on his patients and I have found it great for working on small electronics and other gadgets.

    See http://www.doneganoptical.com/optivisor.php

  5. MeasureOnceCutTwice says:

    Here’s one I recently bought:


    The major selling features are the twin LED worklights, and that it only cost $5.23. Not a precision tool, but meets my needs.

  6. rreimund says:

    Sean, That’s awesome.. reminds me of myself a few weeks ago. I had an old Thinkpad T42 that kept rebooting itself. Turns out the GPU separates itself from the system board. Normally not worth the cost of repair. Well, I spent an hour taking apart the entire laptop, covering the system board in aluminum foil except the GPU, and heating it up with a heat gun to 230 degrees C.

    After letting it cool, the laptop works like new. No more crashes.

    So Kudos to you, sir.

  7. Discobubba says:

    In today’s economy I see this as perfectly acceptable. If you can spend a bit of time on something to save money there’s nothing wrong with that!

  8. jeff_williams says:

    For me the reason I fix things isn’t because of the money (even though most things are perfectly fine) but the satisfaction of completing the repair successfully. I love that the comments are full of other tool mongers willing to dive into laptops. I have my wife’s apart currently for an lcd transplant.

  9. paganwonder says:

    As they say on another ‘monger’ site- “If you can’t take it apart you don’t really own it” ! Besides, those old farmboy skills are VERY handy in an unreliable world- fix a laptop, fix a flat, fix a broken heart… all good skills.

  10. Kurt says:

    If you will be using it on a regular basis, the Optivisor, as opposed to a cheap knock off, is truly worth it. They are way more comfortable, due to padded head band. Thumbscrews on the side allow you to adjust the tension so that they stay in place but can be easily flipped up. The optics are better too. It works fine over my trifocals. You can add an led kit, but I prefer more oblique lighting.

  11. ambush says:

    Time to put your “good fan” in in stead of nursing the old one?

  12. Dr Bob says:

    Yup, I’ve torn into my laptop a few times, the last time to clean the air cooling system and fan. It looked crudded up from the outside and the inside from inspection was worse. Took out the fan and cooling tubes , blew the dirt and dander with an air compressor and then cleaned the fan blades with q-tips.

  13. Sean says:

    Sweet! Excel is what Brookstone used to be, back in the day when I actually bought stuff from them. Excellent find for both the visor and the company.

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