I had decided to go ahead and get the laptop fixed. It's still cheaper than buying a new one again so soon, even with the risk posed by still not having any warranty coverage. I took it back to the shop it had been at, since they were already familiar with the machine and the nature of the problem. A few hours later, the shop-owner calls me up, anger not quite completely hidden in his voice. Dell had just informed him that the part that was needed would not be available until the 1st of April. Why was he so angry? Because he'd just been on the phone with time a day or so previous, asking about this same part, and no one had said anything then. Now he was told that they haven't had any available since some time before his first call. I totally understand-- why hadn't they mentioned that the first time? Why wait until he actually placed the order?
Anyway, I agreed to wait. Not much else as far as options, after all. Not unless I could find a shop locally that just happened to have the part already on hand. Not likely. Then he called me this past Thursday to tell me that the part had arrived early (well, in comparison to the original estimate, of course). I could pick it up anytime.
Then he called me back an hour later to tell me that the new MoBo was exhibiting all the problem characteristics of the original one. And he's off to chat with the fine folks at Dell. Again.
As of yesterday, the laptop has a new working motherboard, and as soon as I can (i.e. payday) I'm welcome to come and retrieve it. And I will, since the tally on this platform is now approaching $2500. I can't afford not to.
On a side note, I released a new rev of RPC::XML over the weekend. Some small-but-noteworthy bugs in handling method-autoloading, and in signal handling within RPC::XML::Server.
Programming is a Dark Art [...] The programmer is fighting against the two most destructive forces in the universe: entropy and human stupidity.
-- Dr. Damian Conway