I got the new power adapter and -- although I managed to get some charge into the laptop -- it was clear that the connector was a truly flaky part. Now, while this can be fixed by someone really good (or lucky) with a soldering iron, it wasn't something I had the time or inclination to try.
I'd been looking over the HP Pavilion dv9410us for a while. It has a 17 inch screen and a numeric keypad, both in the "real nice thing to have" category. Sam's Club has had it for about $950 lately, although my local club is supposed to be out of stock on it according to the website.
But in poking around, I found that there's a dv9420us, which is about 1/3 faster, has about 1/3 more storage capacity, and which lists out for $200 more on the HP website. Hmm.
So while I was sitting in Dr. Bob's office waiting for him to look at my leg (which has flared up again -- I now have new antibiotics), I noticed that the dv9420us was on sale at Fry's yesterday and today for $999 after discounts and rebates.
So after we visited daisy_knotwise at the hospital, I tore out on I-355 when visiting hours ended, arriving in the Fry's parking lot at 8:45 PM, left the store with laptop and case by 9:05 PM (5 minutes after closing), and arrived home at 9:35 PM with laptop in tow.
So far, so good, but I need to neuter some more Vista features...
(And the power connector on this one looks to be better mounted. We'll see how it goes.)