Anyway, since I was up, I decided to be a bit productive. I went to University Computers to pick up my laptop and paid them the $35 diagnosis fee. Their diagnosis was basically, "Gee, this computer doesn't have any of the screws inside it holding the parts together so we're not gonna try to figure out what's really wrong with it and will just ship it off to IBM for a total overhaul that would cost minimum $925." Um, no thanks.
Since University Computers is right next to the BU Bookstore Barnes and Noble, I was sucked in again. They still did not have Asimov's The Robots of Dawn, but they did have Heinlein's The Moon is a Harsh Mistress. Since I'm currently enjoying Stranger in a Strange Land so much, I figured I would enjoy Moon as much as everyone has been telling me I would and, therefore, bought it. I also added Clarke's Childhood's End; it was this or Rendezvous with Rama, but I couldn't remember which installment in the Rama series this was and decided to play it safe. I also did what I forgot to do last time: I bought the first two of Alexander's Chronicles of Prydain, The Book of Three and The Black Cauldron, which I had somehow managed not to read as a kid.
Laptop and books in hand (or, at least, on passenger seat), I headed down the MassPike to a computer store in Framingham that minkrose had recommended highly. And this leads to another mini-rant. The toll there is $1.20 and back is 30¢. Now, why can't the MTA make it $1.25 and 25¢, respectively, instead of making me search my ashtray for the rare nickel or dime??? Why their bloody insistence on inconvenient dollar and cent amounts. That's kind of like the buses charging 90¢ now — just charge the damned dollar, 'cause I ain't gonna carry around shitloads of change and you're gonna get my dollar bill anyway! </rant>
This other computer store charges a $75 diagnostic fee, but they will waive it if you choose to have the work done there. And, a brief look around the shop and a conversation with one of the technicians fills me with confidence that they might actually know what they're doing. (No sarcasm there at all. The guy sounded competent, as opposed to the luddites at University Computers!) It sounds like the problem may be as simple as soldering a point but should be no worse than replacing a part, probably costing just a couple hundred dollars. They'll let me know by Monday.
Hopefully I'll have a working computer again by sometime next week! Yay!