learning to use other senses (part 2)

… and squint.

This is part of the laptop backlight repair documentation.

So I gave up on fixing the laptop screen. The screen shall forever stay apart from the laptop. I even removed the laptop cover from its hinges so I just get a nice flat machine, and lighter, too. On second thought, this isn’t that bad. It’s no worse than a desktop machine. It’s still portable, and I just need to find a VGA monitor to connect to. Or just use Remote Desktop to connect in. Fine with me. But before I can get an external monitor, I still have a transition period where I need output from the machine right on the desk.

Now remember when you held down shift or control or some such key too long in Windows and Windows thought you were retarded or blind and needed help? I do. I’ve been offered StickyKeys and Narrator before and randomly paid attention to what they did. So I turn on Narrator (accessibility feature, comes with Windows). I wish that it were a better screen reader, but alas, it only reads text in some mutable controls, like buttons, drop down boxes, selectable labels, and hyperlinks, and it announces on-screen events. Nevertheless, with that, I was able to open programs, browse the web, copy files, all by listening on my headphone through Narrator and using all the keyboard shortcuts I could muster. I could not use Outlook because its aural interface was too sparse, but could use Webmail and Gmail and I could type and respond. Of course I never was quite certain what I was actually doing, but from the sound of it I was doing all right!

After a few days of this crap, I remembered that I have a Pocket PC and it has Remote Desktop client on it. A 3″ screen is a bit desperate for viewing a megapixel desktop, but in a pinch, it was what I needed. Only one problem, the Pocket PC needed network drivers installed. So back to Narrator and restoring an old backup of the Pocket PC files from that POS software known as ActiveSync. Really it was a chore trying to establish a partnership by listening to Narrator … then to aurally browse the file system by parsing mangled readings of filenames … then an hour of copying files and checking on the “progress bar” by alt-tabbing back and forth to generate “on-screen events” for Narrator to read.

Amazingly it all worked and I am now able to do all my work over a 3″ Remote Desktop. Wow, even I’m impressed. Moral of the story, replacing the CCFL has unintended consequences and is not guaranteed to work. Second moral: learn your keyboard shortcuts and Narrator. Who knows when you may need them.

Back to the beginning.


  1. November 20th, 2008 | 22:27

    [...] On to Part 2. November 16th 2008 Posted to Uncategorized [...]

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