Malleable Musings

May 1, 2010

I can haz teh interwebz

Filed under: Life at home — Brendan @ 12:56 am

You don’t know what you got till it’s gone…..

I’ve been without my Samsung NC10 notebook for a while. The screen developed a fault a few months ago in which the screen would just go blank (white) when you plugged in or unplugged it from the mains. It would return to normal as long as you then turned the screen brightness down. I found out later that this was a known fault that would have been covered under the warranty.  However it wasn’t that big a deal so I carried on regardless until a few weeks ago when a couple of bubbles and a crack appeared on the screen.

My poor little netbook screen

It’s been a difficult couple of weeks without my little netbook.  It’s amazing how much this my internet use has been even more curtailed than usual.   I use a computer at work, but generally at work I’m working, rather than surfing the net for stuff that interests me.   We do have another computer  at home and I have my iPhone but these have their limitations, namely I can never get to use them because I have a Farmville addicted wife and two kids, who are always on them.

Anyway, this sort of screen damage is never covered under the warranty because it is always assumed to be user caused impact damage.  The nice people at Sykes (who Samsung use for their customer support) quoted £189 to get a new screen fitted at one of their repair centres and well over £100 (I didn’t make a note of the price) for just the part itself.   I dithered a bit at this point and did a bit of googling.  I contacted, D & J Henry, who also happened to be my local Samsung repair centre, and do electronics repairs for Argos.  They quoted £100+VAT which was a bit more reasonable.  I was very tempted to just pop around and see them, but I tried a couple more google searches before I made up my mind. Up popped up the website for who were selling the screen for £65.75 including overnight delivery.  Then I also found a piece which showed most of the necessary steps and confirmed to me that I could handle the repair myself (I’d previously managed to replace my iPhone screen and the NC-10 looked equally as simple).

There was only one problem. There seemed to be several different screens to chose from.  The very helpful LCDs4less people told me there were actually two different types of screen and the only difference was the size (one screen is 10.1″ and the other is 10.2″) but I thought it was best to ask Samsung (Sykes) for the part number.

Once I knew I was after a BA59-02415A LCD PANEL-10.2WSVGA;CLAA102NA0ACW,WSVGA  I ordered the part last Saturday.   I got a despatch note on Monday and the screen was sitting waiting for me on Tuesday evening when I got home from work.

The repair was was very straightforward and took all of ten minutes.  The first few steps are shown in this article. The article doesn’t show the actual screen removal but if you are interested it’s simply a case of undoing an extra eight screws and detaching a ribbon cable at the back of the screen.  In retrospect whilst I had the case undone I probably should have gone the whole hog and ordered in a digitiser as well.  The idea of a touchscreen net book really brings out the inner geek in me.

I have an overactive mind so various thoughts hit me as I was making the repair:

1. the ease I had in sourcing a specialist piece of equipment over the internet

I’m not a huge internet shopper so it always surprises me when it the process works well.  I’m not sure how I would have gone about making this order just a few short years ago.  The interwebz has definitely changed businesses.

2. the value of information and skill

I was reminded of one of the key messages I picked up from Freakonomics, a book I read maybe four or five years ago and a blog I used to follow religiously. This message was that there is value when there’s an asymmetry in information, but that many of these asymmetries are diminishing with technology and a move towards the openness of information.

I also think that there ‘s something about the application of knowledge or information or maybe even confidence.  It’s easy to get information; it’s more difficult to know you have the experience or the skill to apply information.

(As a separate story, this week, even though my wife works for a DIY retailer and so would get a huge discounts on the materials, I’d just paid a local company to put in a new garden fence for me.  Why? Well simply because my wife, probably correctly, didn’t have the confidence that we (I) had the skill / experience that a tradesman would.  Note to self: Brendan if you ever get the time there’s another blog post in that story about sub-contractors, brand and WOM.)

3. the value of trust of both information and of brands

I’ll not launch in to a diatribe about the care that’s needed with internet research, but could I trust this information/company crossed my mind several times.  This was even more the case when I replaced my iPhone screen. The lack of solid information at that time was why I felt it was necessary to video the repair I made.

I’ll also not mention anything about the additional trust I had in D & J Henry simply because I knew where they were based and that I could visit their premises in person.

Instead I’ll just mention the brand premium.  Sykes were able to charge more than D & J Henry because they were closely associated with the Samsung brand.  I’m sure I knew D & J Henry were the Samsung repair centre (from the Samsung website) but I’m sure I only got a cheaper quote because I range their general customer line rather than taking the Samsung route.

4. and finally, how consumer electronics is designed to be disposable and how the make do and mend culture that I grew up in doesn’t seem to exist anymore.

Thinking about points 1,2 and 3 I think that there are probably lessons and parallels for all sorts of industries but especially for the one in which  I work, the higher education industry.  Especially when I read Seth Godin’s latest post and some of the responses to it.


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