Following up on my post below– it turns out that indeed my warranty has lapsed, and I am therefore SOL. (Duuh-oy! I bet you didn’t see that one coming!) Dell doesn’t seem to think the existence of parallel problems in 5150 models with exactly the same power adapter is grounds to look after me and my problem, and they’re not convinced that the problem is in the power adapter anyway, so that’ll be $249 to ship the out-of-warranty machine back, and, if it turns out the power connector is shot, it’s another $499 for a new mainboard as well. I know I said this last post, but, YAY. So I guess now the trick is finding someone who has a multimeter I can borrow and test the adapter to see if it’s putting out the requisite power, since (a) I’m not willing to spend $90 on spec on the off-chance it’s the adapter and (b) I’m really not willing to spend $249 on spec if it’s not the adapter.
On the other hand: a Hmm Moment. If it’s not the adapter, the math starts to look a lot like $249+$499+$PITAT*=new machine. It’s not that I don’t like what the results of this math imply — I always like the idea of a new machine — it’s that I don’t want to spend the money on a new machine. Nor do I think I should have to — it’s not like there’s anything wrong with the existing one, save for the fact that the power adapter doesn’t want to work, it’s kinda heavy, and it might not be ready for Vista (oh no; I’m only half-kidding since I really want to play Halo 2 and suck hard at FPS on the Xbox or any other console).
Aggh. If it’s not one damn thing, it’s something else.
* PITAT: “Pain In The Ass Tax.” This is the amount, sometimes trivial and sometimes not, that you could, in theory, save if you were willing to put in the effort in a given situation. Sometimes it requires a lot of effort to save not-a-lot of money, and so this rhetorical device allows you to quantify the premium you’re willing to place on your time and effort. The PITAT in this case consists of the efford I have to put in to get the box to the shipping company and ensure I’m around to receive it, as well as the time I will be laptopless, as well as the inevitable frustration that will come with dealing with a technical support operation on this issue. To be sure, the PITAT in this case is a non-trivial amount of money, but we’re already into non-trivial amounts here anyway. One could easily argue the PITAT value of replacing is less than the PITAT value of fixing (though one could easily argue the reverse, too).
Put another way — the brutally honest way, I mean — it is in some cases a way of measuring how lazy you are, and how much more you’re willing to pay in order to support your laziness. I don’t think of it in those terms, of course; I think of it in terms of “how much of a premium am I willing to pay in order to not put up with whatever is likely to piss me off if I pay less.” Hence the Pain In The Ass Tax, not the Lazy Tax. (We already have one of those.)
This is my new favorite shopping argument “tool.” It effectively kills any discussion with your significant other over whether you’re a chump for paying more for something. “$8 for cheesecloth? We’ve got to be able to find that more cheaply.” “Lookit, I’m tired, I’m hungry, and I need to make the frakking coulis tonight, so I’m buying the damn cheesecloth and we’re going home. PITAT.” Bah-dum-dum.
Note to self: Stop posting after your nights and go to bed instead, idiot.