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So I bought this Dell Latitude D420 for 130 quid in Cambridge in early 2010 because my primary workstation had died. (Turns out it was just playing dead; too late.) It was a great travel machine, and I brought it with me back to New Zealand. Where I immersed it in the nutrient tank of a living wall for about an hour. It was on at the time. Emergency rice brought it back from the dead, and it continued to do good service for many months. However, all the nutrient gunk had been left in situ when it had dried (the pro tip says disassemble and wash in deionised water; pffft) and eventually the screen began to deteriorate, rapidly fading to illegibility. I retired the machine to server duties, where it performed reliably, even if I did have to guess what was happening on the screen most of the time when forced to use the console.

This morning, as I opened the screen, there was a popping sound, and suddenly the screen is working perfectly again (as the blurry mess attached attempts to demonstrate).

I own three of these things (well, two D420s and the D430 I'm typing on), all bought second-hand and together costing less than $600. Until I find an ultrabook which runs Ubuntu and I no longer need a separate server, I'm pretty happy with them. Spontaneous regeneration is icing on the cake.

[Update: It's not actually "working perfectly". Yes, the brightness is fixed, but the screen still brightens very slowly. I'll take what I can get.]
Michael Deegan (miiichael)'s profile photoJeremy Byrne's profile photo
I also have a D420 which currently sees far more use than the two considerably more capable desktop PCs in the house. (Mine could do with more RAM though). I don't need something as compact (or expensive) as an ultrabook, but I would like something a similar size with a screen better than 1280x800. My previous laptop was a D630, until it succumbed to the nVidia hardware fault.
Re. the D630, I empathise. For years I used a Thinkpad at 1600x1200, then descended to a Vaio at 1440x900, and now I'm getting by with 1280x800. If there's one thing to be thankful to Apple for, it's pushing screen resolution on laptops. Standard vertical resolution languishing at 768 for several years was embarrassing.
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