03 May 2014

The Job Market and Laptop Repair

This post will be a rather boring and un-enlightening week in review. As you already know from my last post, my wife and I are moving to Kansas in about a month. This means that I need to find a job in a rather odd time of the hiring season. Most jobs open up around graduation time, basically this month. And so, while there is a plethora of jobs being advertised right now, most of them will be displeased to hear that I won't be around till next month. It is just one more drawback on top of an already heaping pile of drawbacks (lack of a bachelors degree, lack of experience in fields I want to work in, and the virtual disappearance of entry level jobs that pay anything close to a livable wage).

In one bright bit of news, a friend of the family dropped by for a short visit last week and mentioned that we should call ahead to the local church leadership in the area and try to get help from ward and stake employment specialists. It sounded like a fantastic idea, so I spent most of last week trying to get into contact with someone who can help me. It was difficult, it seems they recently changed the employment specialist in one of the wards, and the branch's employment specialist lives in the wrong town. And so with hope I called up the last ward and found out that indeed they are willing to help.

This employment specialist has done an okay job, other than the fact that she seems to disapprove of my job seeking standards. I don't feel they are unreasonable though. Simply put, I don't want to work in a call center because I already know I would be terrible. I don't want to be a salesman pushing a product that I don't 100% believe in. I need to have a job that I can pay rent, utilities, food, gas, and student loans on. Lastly, I want to be able to support both my wife and myself so that my wife can start working on her own business. In other words, I need to be earning about as much as I am earning now. Yet this employment specialist keeps riding me about how I need to be willing to take a janitorial position that won't support me, and keeps saying that my wife needs to be a secretary or take some other full time job.

I don't think that it is part of her calling to be judgmental of my employment lifestyle choices. I can understand that it can be frustrating, especially in this economy to meet my demands, which I find to be frankly ridiculous. I'm not asking to have a lifestyle of new cars or ultimate leisure, I don't take part in expensive past times, I am simply asking that I can pay rent, utilities, and food so that my family can live on one income. A janitorial position paying $10.68/hr doesn't cut it in that area.

On the positive side, I do have to hand it to her, she did locate a company that has several open positions that I would be perfect for, and which may actually pay me a livable wage. These positions have not been posted on any of the other job aggregating sites. So this weekend, it is time to draw up several resumes, and start to schmooze up to the HR Manager.

In other news, I have an old game that I've been wanting to play, but when I install it on my newer laptop, it gives it a bad case of the recurring Blue Screen of Death. I've played it on my older laptop before and so I know it would work. But the old laptop has been having problems with overheating lately. I figured, what the heck. It is out of warranty, I might as well just try to fix the problem myself. So I looked up a guide on dismantling my old laptop and went to work. I was surprised at how intensive the process was actually going to be. To get to the cooling element, you have to dismantle the entire laptop from the keyboard down. With each plug I pulled, each ribbon cable I disconnected, and with each screw I pulled out I silently prayed in my head that I wouldn't break something important.

Then I finally had it all apart and I looked at the fan and aluminum heat dispersion fins, It wasn't nearly as clogged up with dust as I had expected, so I decided it must be the thermal paste that has worn out. I went to Radio Shack and picked up a small tube of the paste, looked up some guides online of how to apply the paste, and began to take the heat transfer plate off the board. It wasn't pretty, the old paste was gunky, put on poorly, and hardly there. The GPU only had a half torn poorly applied thermal pad on it, and that was the piece that was getting particularly hot in my old laptop. I checked to see if Thermal paste would be okay for a GPU and found that while it is alright to use it, there can be absolutely no excess past that squishes onto the board around the GPU Die. That may only apply to actual Graphics Cards, but I heeded the warning nonetheless. I carefully spread the thermal paste on both the CPU and GPU, secured the thermal transfer plate, and began to button everything back up.

Just before hitting the power button I turned to my wife and said "If this thing even starts up I'll be happy. If I get even a few degrees better cooling, I'll be ecstatic." Sure enough, everything turned back on and worked properly (other than the microphone and the caps-lock light. The plug with the wires to these two parts broke while trying to remove it, something that several people complained about in the comments to the dismantling guide. I tried to manually reinsert the wires, but I think I got them crossed because I couldn't remember which way they went.). It will take a while for the thermal paste to cure and get optimal performance. But I'm already seeing 10-20 F difference. Hooray for the power to do things yourself.


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