Finally I have my laptop back! It has been acting weird these past few weeks - for no apparent reason, it would shut off prematurely. It got progressively worse and finally 'died'.
So, without a laptop, I was out of commission for a week, and life was not the same. On the bright side, it wasn't a hard drive crash - that would have been awful.
After 480 RMB, which is about US$70, they replaced the motherboard and now I can post!