For a while there it looked like my computer had had the dick: the thing was struggling with any task more extensive than editing a text file, gasping and panting and frantically scrabbling for disk space. At the very least, a new hard drive might have eked another year of life out the poor old heap.
Also, my camera kept shutting off at random intervals, and the problem had been gradually getting worse.
When confronted by tragedy, the mean and cheap-arse side of my personality takes over. So, I told myself the computer was probably just overheating and that pulling the laptop apart and fiddling with the fan attached to the CPU would solve all my problems.
To undertake the operation I prepared extensively, by reading through the first search result on Google
and digging out an old precision screwdriver from a $2 shop that had previously been used as a nail punch. Inside the fan, the heat sink was covered with a fuzzy mat of lint, which I pulled out. My laptop now works perfectly.
Also, I found that the hinge of the lens cover on my camera had a small piece of lint wedged in it, which I pulled out. My camera now works perfectly.
I can repair any piece of modern consumer technology! As long as it involves lint. Which it probably will.
This is what I get for living in a yurt.