Monday, February 12, 2007

Up and Running Again

I should have added to my list of lessons from Hawaii that it isn't necessarily a bad thing when your notebook computer has both its battery and its AC adapter die on you. OK, yes, I will admit it, I took my computer with me to Hawaii. There, I discovered that my battery could only hold about five minutes of juice and that the AC adapter had been damaged en route. As a result, I was just able to squeeze off a short message to one of my clients that I wouldn't be able to do anything until I returned from vacation.

After that I just relaxed.

Of course, when I got home, I still had to get this old beast running again. Since I work mostly on web servers which run some flavor of Unix (as opposed to Windows), my desktop machine does the same. Still it is nice to have a machine booted into that other operating system for testing purposes. Since most of the world runs Windows of some description (not that it's a monopoly or anything, no-o-o-o), I figured it would behoove me to keep an eye on how my systems run under that benighted excuse for an operating system.

Oops, am I standing on my soapbox again?

Anyway, I remembered reading on the lifehacker blog about some ways to save money and one of them involved buying your computer peripherals from Ebay. So, I decided to check them out. I am glad I did. I easily found several highly-rated sellers on Ebay selling what I wanted at a comparative discount. The AC adapter cost me about $20, including shipping. The battery, a much higher capacity one than I had purchased originally ran about $60 with shipping.

Just for grins, I thought I would compare that to buying from the manufacturer. Unfortunately, my machine is so old that apparently the manufacturer doesn't sell the parts anymore. Checking around other sites online, though, I found that the AC adapter alone could sell for as much as $50 and the battery that I chose could easily go for well over $100!

Now, might I end up regretting buying these lower-cost parts? Maybe. But that's one of the benefits of the Ebay rating system. If a seller has thousands or tens of thousands of sales and still has a better than 99% positive rating, there's a good chance that you're safe. Heck, I "won" these auctions on Friday morning and they arrived on Monday afternoon. Not too shabby on the customer service side, either.

So, if you find yourself in need of widgets for your computer, you might want to check out Ebay. It's a cheap and relatively safe way to go.

So, what was the last thing you bought on Ebay? How was your experience?

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