I’m sure everyone’s just hanging on for this one.
First, the dodgy screen. Since this is a Dell Latitutde, which is a business class laptop, it comes with next day business service. Andrew rang the special support number and they agreed that it sounded like a dodgy screen. A technician came out the next day with an electric screwdriver and duly replaced the screen with one that works properly, hooray.
Then there was a short saga of trying to get data off my old laptop’s hard drive. I did this the usual way in the end: I got an adaptor from the 2.5″ output to normal IDE and plugged it into a desktop. The only problem was finding an IDE cable that didn’t require a missing pin, since the adaptor doesn’t have a missing pin. Andrew’s oldest dead computer had one such cable, problem solved. Our dumb BIOS then immediately decided to boot off the laptop’s drive… (Oh, and the other problem was trying to get a master and slave configuration on our new desktop’s single IDE channel, eventually we gave up and just unplugged the other one for the duration.)
We’re not quite sure what to do with the old laptop, which is now sitting in pieces on a table. The hard drive is known good (currently being run through all 25 passes of shred for all partitions except the Windows recovery partition), the LCD is I think also working. It should have at least three cents value as scrap bits, but where?
Finally, getting the D630 to work. I upgraded to Ubuntu Gutsy G-something, which means I have everything except sound, which at the moment requires either fiddling ALSA config files or compiling ALSA or compiling a new kernel depending on what I read. I haven’t bothered trying yet.
So on the balance: done. Hooray.