Danny Iachini’s Weblog

My Nerdy Stuff

I Don’t Fix Computers – I Program Them.

This is the hardest thing in the world to explain to people.  “Oh, you’re a computer science student?  Could you take a look at my computer, it’s not doing ::insert some computer problem:: correctly…”  I can take a look, but it’s probably unlikely that I’ll be able to do anything to fix it it.  If you want me to write you a program to do something useful for you, I’ll definitely give it my all to write it (unless it’s your photo-analyzer, Meloy :-P).  If you want me to show you some good programs out there to use for different tasks, I’d love to show ya!  But if you think that being 3/4 of the way done with my CompSci degree means that I can fix all your hardware problems, I’m sorry, but it doesn’t.

So when mom told me yesterday morning that her laptop monitor went 99% black, I knew I was in trouble.  I could see the tool-tip for some icon in her tray, but that was about it.  Vinny had suggested pointing a flashlight at it, and sure enough – that helped somewhat.  We pointed some floodlights (seriously.. it was ridiculous.) at it, and I was able to navigate enough to copy her “My Documents” and Desktop onto my big iPod (which I wiped clean at the beginning of the summer in order to help me reformat her computer).  After dinner this evening, mom and I went to CostCo, Best Buy and RadioShack to see what kind of deals we could find on a new laptop.  We returned home (empty-handed) and began doing research (because I know nothing about hardware).  Suddenly, mom asked, “Would we be able to plug a monitor into my laptop?”  I smacked my forehead, shouted “Doh!” and plugged my monitor into her laptop and it worked instantly.

I officially no longer know how to debug computer hardware issues.  If this problem had arisen 4 years ago, I probably would have thought through the whole thing on my own, but not any more.

In other news – does anyone have any suggestions for a good deal on a laptop that mom needs to surf the web, check her email, and do word-processing?


July 1, 2008 - Posted by | Uncategorized


  1. Dell. Nothing too expensive. I’m not sure about portability versus size, but looking at Dell’s site they have the Inspiron 1725 with an upgraded processor and battery for $799 – that seems like a pretty good deal to me at first blush.


    Comment by Michael | July 2, 2008

  2. what up danny? yea i just thought i’d say matt would agree with you. the kid can progrm. but man, saying he knows how to use a computer is a serious stretch.

    how’s the summer treating you? i don’t remember how i exactly stumbled upon your blog, but take it easy.

    Comment by eliot | July 2, 2008

  3. Thanks for the heads up Michael, but mom’s looking to get a new one ASAP, so I doubt she’d be willing to wait for shipping…

    Eliot – thanks for reading buddy! My summer’s been pretty solid — I’m really enjoying the database work that I’m doing down at Mellon, so that makes it a lot better than most summers). How’s yours going??

    Comment by dannyiachini | July 4, 2008

  4. You might be able to replace the backlight for the LCD. I’ve done it before and it’s not too difficult.

    I’d go with Dell for something inexpensive, but with good service – which seems to be important since you won’t always be there to help with technical issues.

    Comment by Swigger | July 4, 2008

  5. Hey Swigger! Long time no see! Do you by any chance have any good advice for replacing the backlight? I’d like to fix up the Dell for my little brother to be able to use…

    But yeah – Dell is supposed to have good service, but my mom found that they just never were very helpful. We found a cheap Compaq at Best Buy and got a solid service plan on it (my buddy B works at the Geek Squad when he’s not in school, so I figured that would probably work out all right).

    Comment by dannyiachini | July 6, 2008

  6. Gah, I need to check your blog more. I fixed a few LCDs at my last co-op, though they were standalone displays, not laptop displays.

    Not sure what brand laptop your mom had, but there’s an excellent guide on taking apart laptop LCD’s at the following URL:

    Also, as someone who constantly is bugged by my sister/mom/brother/father/friends etc, I would highly reccomend creating an admin username on your Mom’s computer and setting it up for RDP. Much easier than talking through things on the phone, etc.

    And trust me, you’re not clueless about fixing computers. Simply being born in a generation that grew up using them puts you leaps and bounds ahead of your elders.

    – Kyle

    Comment by Swigger | July 16, 2008

  7. Thanks for the heads up Swigger! I’ll have to see what I can do to fix that so my little brother can play around with it. And I’m going to play dumb and pretend there’s no way for me to remote desktop to fix it :-P

    Comment by dannyiachini | July 21, 2008

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