TweetFollow Us on Twitter

Macho Computer Tools

Volume Number: 13 (1997)
Issue Number: 4
Column Tag: Tools Of The Trade

Fixing your Computers the Manly Way

By Michael Rutman, independant consultant

Using testosterone to help fix computer problems

Are Computer Users Really Geeks?

For years I've had to put up with guys and their power tools looking down on me because my equipment is delicate electronics. It's really not fair, especially since most powertools today have more computing power than my first computer. Still, they seem to feel that because their tools slice, dice, and otherwise mangle perfectly good pieces of wood, metal, etc. they are more manly than myself.

Maybe that lovely tan a CRT creates isn't as manly as the sawdust smell of a woodworker. However, there are many "manly" ways of fixing our computers that would put us right up there on the testosterone scale.

Violence is a Legitimate Tool for Fixing Faulty Computers

Many years ago Apple released the Imagewriter LQ. To this day, nobody seems to know why they released it, but they did. The LQ, that paragon of quality, had this endearing habit of having to be sent back to Apple every week or so to be fixed. Apple, of course, got right on the problem and hired a single summer intern to fix all of the LQ's in the world. Yet, for some unknown reason the problems with the LQ persisted.

A friend of mine that managed to purchase an LQ for himself, seemed to be getting a little frustrated with his LQ always being on the blink. Several "repairs" later, he decided that maybe fixing it himself would work better. Of course, if a summer intern fixing thousands of LQ's at Apple couldn't get everything to work correctly, what would make my friend think he could do any better? After a bit of time, he gave up and realized that the LQ was just not going to work.

A short time later, my friend was messing around with his .45 caliber pistol. I know what you must be thinking, "what is he doing messing around with a loaded gun?" Well, remember, we are manly men, and we do stupid things. Fortunately, when the gun went off, it only hit the LQ. It went right through the back of his lovely printer, passing through the mechanism without touching a thing, and came out the top.

Turning the printer on to check for damage, he attempted to print a page. You guessed it, everything worked great! It turned out that the back plate was rubbing agianst the mechanism, and blowing a hole in the back plate was all it needed. My friend tried to tell Apple, but apparently Apple frowns on summer interns firing guns on the Apple campus. Go figure.

Apple Recommends Violence

Speaking of Apple products that require a little violence, Apple has in the past officially recommended beating on your computers. Those of us who have been around for a while can remember the sticky Quantum hard drives of the late 80s. Quantum had a rather large batch of hard drives with lubricant that was a little too viscious, and Apple had a bunch of computers that had too little umph in their power supply. The net result: if the Macintosh was cold, the hard drive couldn't start up.

Apple's official recommendation was, "Lightly bang the side of the computer to unstick the mechanism." Personally, when I'm late on a project, "lightly" is a relative term. However, you have to admit that banging on the side of electronic equipment to get it working is a manly thing to do. It was nice to see Apple ask us to be manly with our computers.

This is not the first time that Apple recommended this kind of treatment for their computers. Those of you who go way back may remember the Apple III and Apple's recommended boot process: turn on the computer, grab the left front corner, lift about 3 inches, and drop. Repeat as necessary. Now, some people say that the Apple III had loose components and this was the easiest way to reseat them. I disagree. Apple knew that a number of computer people were being looked at like geeks, and they wanted to help us. After all, what's more manly than dropping a several thousand dollar computer in order to fix it? You could drop it, then look at the neandrethals with their power tools, guns and other manly things and say, "It just takes a certain knack."

Power Tools and the Computer

I have personally used a table saw to fix a powerbook. One of my friends managed to replace every part of his duo 230 except the back plate of the monitor. Unfortunately, he managed to break the plastic nut off the back plate and the screen would not work. Normally, I would recommend he get a new back plate, but his back plate had lots of stickers on it, and we all know how important those are.

Never one to be daunted, I realized we could fix this with a liberal application of every power tool I could get my hands on. For those of you who watch "New Yankee Workshop," you know that one should never do a job with a hand tool when 6 power tools will work. Taking the computer into the workshop, I realized that we could just glue a nut onto the computer, but that wouldn't use any power tools. So, I convinced my friend that it needed a brace to hold the nut, or the nut might slip while the glue dried.

Using my table saw, we were able to rip a small enough piece of wood to be thin enough to fit into the case. We were able to use the drill press to make a hole for the nut, but I had to use a hand saw to cut the wood brace down to size. I did get to use the miter saw to make a brace for the clamps, but my friend stopped me from sanding the brace to give it a smooth polish. Something about being on the inside where nobody was going to see it.

A ton of epoxy later, we had a chance to drink beer while waiting for the epoxy to dry. After all, when you are doing manly things with power tools, you have to do something stupid, and what's more stupid than getting drunk when the potential for more power tool use is there? Unfortunately, the glue held and the only other tool we got to use was a screwdriver.

Other Cases, Other Manliness

After a quick query for other manly fixes, I've come up with a few more stories. I don't have first hand knowledge of how true these are, but what kind of manly man would ever exagerate his manliness? So, with that in mind, I bring them for you to judge on your own.

One friend tried to slip in the time he fixed his stereo with his Ruger Mini-14 rifle. At first I was excited, especially when he told me that before shooting it, the stereo's left speaker was reduced to noisy static and the phonograph arm jammed, but after shooting it, both speakers were at the same quality and the arm swung freely. Unfortunately, after a little more proding, he admitted that the quality of sound was closer to static than music, and the arm swiging freely included swinging in rooms the phonograph was not in. So, I must say a 10 for manliness, but not a recommended procedure.

Another story I heard uses a refrigerator to fix the computer. This brave computer user has found that cooling the floppies in the refrigerator makes them easier to read. At first, I was skeptical. After all, who would have thought to try it in the first place? Then my wife reminded me that she has pulled the remote control out of the refrigerator many times after I've gone for something to drink. So, I could see someone leaving their floppies in the refrigerator when going for a cola. After that, I can see why the cold floppies always work, while the warmer ones are unreliable.

Geekhood, or Manly Men in Disguise?

So, the next time some manly man, who just happens to know how to fix every appliance in your house with chewing gum (as well as build the house for you with a nail file), disdains typing at a computer, remember, we too can be manly men. If we try very hard, I'm sure we can even hurt ourselves doing it.

We hope by this point you realize this article was presented in jest. This is, after all, the April issue (that is, April Fools Day is in April). We apologize if the article inadvertently offended you. If you are still bothered by it, drop us a note and we'll see what we can do to ensure you don't receive such articles in the future. If all else fails, take scissors to the articles you don't like and then you won't have them! ;-)

 

Community Search:
MacTech Search:

Software Updates via MacUpdate

FINAL FANTASY Ⅸ (Games)
FINAL FANTASY Ⅸ 1.0.4 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $16.99, Version: 1.0.4 (iTunes) Description: ==========●Special sale price for the FINAL FANTASY IX release! ●20% off from February 10 to February 21, 2016... | Read more »
Tennis Club Story (Games)
Tennis Club Story 1.03 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $4.99, Version: 1.03 (iTunes) Description: Aim for the ace position of tennis club prestige in this simulation! Your leadership decides if players make it to the big... | Read more »
Check out the new Pirate Attack update i...
Love pirates and board games? Well, you'll love the new Pirate Attack themed update that just launched in Game of Dice. It adds a bunch of new content themed around pirates, like an all new event map based on a pirate ship which revamps the toll... | Read more »
Splash Cars guide - How to paint the tow...
Splash Cars is an arcade driving game that feels like a hybrid between Dawn of the Plow and Splatoon. In it, you'll need to drive a car around to repaint areas of a town that have lost all of their color. Check out these tips to help you perform... | Read more »
The best video player on mobile
We all know the stock video player on iOS is not particularly convenient, primarily because it asks us to hook a device up to iTunes to sync video in a world that has things like Netflix. [Read more] | Read more »
Four apps to help improve your Super Bow...
Super Bowl Sunday is upon us, and whether you’re a Panthers or a Broncos fan you’re no doubt gearing up for it. [Read more] | Read more »
LooperSonic (Music)
LooperSonic 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Music Price: $4.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: LooperSonic is a multi-track audio looper and recorder that will take your loops to the next level. Use it like a loop pedal to... | Read more »
Space Grunts guide - How to survive
Space Grunts is a fast-paced roguelike from popular iOS developer, Orange Pixel. While it taps into many of the typical roguelike sensibilities, you might still find yourself caught out by a few things. We delved further to find you some helpful... | Read more »
Dreii guide - How to play well with othe...
Dreii is a rather stylish and wonderful puzzle game that’s reminiscent of cooperative games like Journey. If that sounds immensely appealing, then you should immediately get cracking and give it a whirl. We can offer you some tips and tricks on... | Read more »
Kill the Plumber World guide - How to ou...
You already know how to hop around like Mario, but do you know how to defeat him? Those are your marching orders in Kill the Plumber, and it's not always as easy as it looks. Here are some tips to get you started. This is not a seasoned platform... | Read more »

Price Scanner via MacPrices.net

Apple refurbished 15-inch Retina MacBook Pros...
Apple has Certified Refurbished 2015 15″ Retina MacBook Pros available for up to $380 off the cost of new models. An Apple one-year warranty is included with each model, and shipping is free: - 15″ 2... Read more
BookBook For iPad Pro Coming Soon
The iPad Pro is a device unlike any other, and with Apple Pencil, it’s the ideal portable sketchpad: all that’s missing is the modern easel and portfolio to go. TwelveSouth’s BookBook for iPad Pro... Read more
12-inch 1.2GHz Silver Retina MacBook on sale...
B&H Photo has the 12″ 1.2GHz Silver Retina MacBook on sale for $1399 including free shipping plus NY sales tax only. Their price is $200 off MSRP, and it’s the lowest price for this model from... Read more
iPads on sale at Target: $100 off iPad Air 2,...
Target has WiFi iPad Air 2s and iPad mini 4s on sale for up to $100 off MSRP on their online store for a limited time. Choose free shipping or free local store pickup (if available). Sale prices for... Read more
Target offers Apple Watch for $100 off MSRP
Target has Apple Watches on sale for $100 for a limited time. Choose free shipping or free local store pickup (if available). Sale prices for online orders only, in-store prices may vary: - Apple... Read more
Apple refurbished 2014 13-inch Retina MacBook...
Apple has Certified Refurbished 2014 13″ Retina MacBook Pros available for up to $400 off original MSRP, starting at $979. An Apple one-year warranty is included with each model, and shipping is free... Read more
Macs available for up to $300 off MSRP, $20 o...
Purchase a new Mac or iPad using Apple’s Education Store and take up to $300 off MSRP. All teachers, students, and staff of any educational institution qualify for the discount. Shipping is free, and... Read more
Watch Super Bowl 50 Live On Your iPad For Fre...
Watch Super Bowl 50 LIVE on the CBS Sports app for iPad and Apple TV. Get the app and then tune in Sunday, February 7, 2016 at 6:30 PM ET to catch every moment of the big game. The CBS Sports app is... Read more
Two-thirds Of All Smart Watches Shipped In 20...
Apple dominated the smart watch market in 2015, accounting for over 12 million units and two-thirds of all shipments according to Canalys market research analysts’ estimates. Samsung returned to... Read more
12-inch 1.2GHz Retina MacBooks on sale for up...
B&H Photo has 12″ 1.2GHz Retina MacBooks on sale for $180 off MSRP. Shipping is free, and B&H charges NY tax only: - 12″ 1.2GHz Gray Retina MacBook: $1499 $100 off MSRP - 12″ 1.2GHz Silver... Read more

Jobs Board

*Apple* Retail - Multiple Positions (US) - A...
Sales Specialist - Retail Customer Service and Sales Transform Apple Store visitors into loyal Apple customers. When customers enter the store, you're also the Read more
*Apple* Retail - Multiple Positions (US) - A...
Job Description: Sales Specialist - Retail Customer Service and Sales Transform Apple Store visitors into loyal Apple customers. When customers enter the store, Read more
*Apple* Subject Matter Expert - Experis (Uni...
This position is for an Apple Subject Matter Expert to assist in developing the architecture, support and services for integration of Apple devices into the domain. Read more
*Apple* Macintosh OSX - Net2Source Inc. (Uni...
…: * Work Authorization : * Contact Number(Best time to reach you) : Skills : Apple Macintosh OSX Location : New York, New York. Duartion : 6+ Months The associate would Read more
Computer Operations Technician ll - *Apple*...
# Web Announcement** Apple Technical Liaison**The George Mason University, Information Technology Services (ITS), Technology Support Services, Desktop Support Read more
All contents are Copyright 1984-2011 by Xplain Corporation. All rights reserved. Theme designed by Icreon.