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Bringing back the dead

by christinekling

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My Problem

We all know in our heads that life is not eternal, but in our hearts it’s a different story. When it comes to love, sometimes it’s hard to let go. What made him so special was the way he made me feel, the way he brought out emotions I’d never felt before. It was like he saw in me a creative side I never knew existed. When they told me he was too old, there was no chance, it was his brain that was gone, I could hardly believe it.

Surely, I said, there must be something you can do. Please -

No, the guy at the Genius Bar said, we no longer do logic board repairs on Macs that are more than five years old.

So, I brought my 2009 black MacBook home to my boat and put him to rest under a towel in the quarter berth. I thought about donating some of his organs, but that laptop was the one I used for the five years I during which I lost my way, decided after 4 books I couldn’t write anymore, then started the book that changed my life, Circle of Bones. I couldn’t just throw him away. I thought, maybe next time I go sailing I’ll conduct a burial at sea? No, that laptop gave me back my life. I had to do the same for him. I would try to raise the dead. It was time for surgery and some serious organ transplantation.

My Fix

I went to one of my favorite websites www.iFixit.com, and I ordered a new logic board and heat sink. Then, I undertook the big operation. Since I live aboard a 33-foot boat, space is an issue. I prepped my lap desk as the operating room. I cut up little sheets of paper and numbered them. As I went through each stop of the process, I made piles of tiny screws on each numbered paper. I unplugged all the teenie little wires for speakers, microphones, batteries and fan. I cleaned the surface on the new heat sink and spread the thermal paste with a platic-wrap-covered finger. The process took me almost two hours.

When he was finally all put back together, it was time for the smoke test. I plugged it in, pushed the power button and heard that magic chime.

He’s alive! My lovely little zombie Frankencomputer.

My Advice

I had already replaced the hard drive in this computer and upgraded the memory. In my MacBook Air, I've replaced the Airport card. I'm not any sort of electronics technician or a mechanic, but as a sailor I am a do-it-yourselfer. Don't be afraid. If you want to try it, go for it. These guides walk you through it step-by-step. I am a 59-year-old woman. If I can do it, anyone can.

In fact, this project has given me so much self confidence, I'm thinking maybe I can find a guide to plastic-surgery-by-the-numbers. I have been thinking lately about getting a face lift . . .