25 January 2008

ZZZZAP!!! -- doh!

For some reason, I tend to generate a lot of static electricity. At work, I touch one corner of one of the privacy panels to "discharge" any built-up static. Sometimes this is enough to trigger the barcode readers.... which is a little weird.

This afternoon, I reached out to open and turn on my laptop and ---- ZZZAP! It fired up OK, but when I tried to move the mouse (it sits on my graphics tablet), nada. After using the touchpad for a while, I realized I missed the mouse and went looking for an alternate... which is when I found that it wasn't my tablet that had died but all my USB ports. They are now zombies... they appear to be alive -- they both give power to connected items and also are seen to be active by Windows -- but they no longer function.

While I could adjust to not having the mouse and I would accept not having the graphics tablet, it also means I can't transfer any music or images... and that just.won't.do.

After a web search for "acer usb not responding" I found that this is not an uncommon occurrence among laptops... the USB ports sometimes just randomly die (and likely my static zap was only a coincidence and not a trigger).

The most frequent suggested fix is to buy a PCMCIA USB expansion card (about $65) which would return two of my three ports. Of course it would also mean I would lose my wireless card... though that is not too critical right now (since the battery only holds a charge for about 8 minutes, I leave it on the desk, plugged in; adding an ethernet cable wouldn't matter).

Since my laptop will be 3 years old in March, we had slated it for replacement soon anyway... we may just have to go shopping a little earlier than planned.



Star said...

I had no idea that could happen like that. Oh well. laptop shopping can be fun, albeit expensive. Any interest in the new Apple airbook?

thnidu said...

What a bloody nuisance!

BTW, in your subtitle -- "Thoughts that float through my head like so much detrius." -- I'm pretty sure you mean detritus.

-- Dr. Whom, Consulting Linguist, Grammarian, Ortho√ępist, and Philological Busybody

Cheryl said...

Star: No interest in Apple, I'm afraid. I have ordered a Dell... so we'll see how that works out.

thnidu: Yes, I did mean detritus, and I am very surprised -- considering how long it's been there and how many picky people read my blog -- that you are the first to notice my typo! It's been fixed now; thanks!