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Your Most Damage-Resistant Hardware? 945

Posted by timothy
from the saturday-musings dept.
questamor writes "After reading the recent Slashdot article linking to drivesavers and their list of damaged hardware that was still recoverable, I'm curious about the worst things slashdot readers have done to their hardware and still had it work. So far I've been lucky, and in more than a decade of owning computers I've hotplugged almost everything except a CPU (sometimes accidentally, sometimes through laziness) and never knowingly broken anything. What have you all done to your machines? I imagine there are many stories of dropped, drowned, stolen and generally abused machines still working and doing their thing; or at least, able to be brought back to a working state"
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Your Most Damage-Resistant Hardware?

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  • by jon787 (512497) on Saturday March 01, 2003 @05:24PM (#5414769) Homepage Journal
    Never had any problems with the SNES console, the cartridges, or the controllers.
  • I... (Score:4, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 01, 2003 @05:24PM (#5414770)
    I installed Windows.
  • I've dropped my HDs, left an IDE cable plugged in while that HD's power was unplugged, etc.

    Every time my old box crashed while playing GTA3 I'd hit the top of the case. The CD-ROM was in the top slot, and I once hit it hard enough to scratch the CD.

    I've also had PCs running while I messed around inside, i.e. changing cooling, which involves moving all the cables around.
    • Re:loads of stuff (Score:3, Interesting)

      by meringuoid (568297)
      I've dropped my HDs, left an IDE cable plugged in while that HD's power was unplugged, etc.

      Is that dangerous? First time I ever installed a hard disk I forgot about the power cable and wondered vaguely why it wasn't working, till I noticed that all the other IDE gadgets had an extra plug into them beside the ribbon. Was I in danger of smoking something there?...

      • Re:loads of stuff (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Qzukk (229616)
        Not to the hardware. I have stuff un-powered all of the time, mostly because I shuffle bigger and bigger drives around and have them hanging by their IDE and power cables outside my tower since I'm too lazy to install them properly for a temporary job. I've used a dead cd-r drive as a scsi terminator too.

        I suppose some controllers might get confused if there is the extra wire length that goes to dead circuits instead of nowhere, but I'm sure that will only bother anything if you have your drives set to "cable select" instead of master or slave.
      • Re:loads of stuff (Score:5, Informative)

        by Gaccm (80209) on Saturday March 01, 2003 @05:52PM (#5415014)
        There is a reason not to do it, but it's trivial. The grounding wire on the power plug is a whole lot better than the grounding wire on the 40pin ribbon. By taking out the power first, there is still some electricity in it that then goes thru the ribbon.
    • Re:loads of stuff (Score:2, Informative)

      by shamilton (619422)

      Everything you list is pretty harmless. Well, except the drive dropping, although when they're off, the head employs a locking device.

      Drives are meant to receive power and signal independently. You can even give it the 5V line before the 12V, or the other way around, it'll be fine. Just don't UNplug it while it's on, as that will likely crash your OS (but not damage the drive.) And you don't want to plug the signal cable in after it's powered up, unless it's SATA.

      You can also safely power it up without a signal cable if you want to test noise or something.

      sh

    • Re:loads of stuff (Score:5, Interesting)

      by dotgain (630123) on Saturday March 01, 2003 @05:51PM (#5415003) Homepage Journal
      Ever seen what happens with a SCSI ribbon back to front!? Most of the time it's impossible because the plugs have a little notch preventing that. Of course, with the myriad of people making cables, some end up with the notches on the wrong side, etc, or without any at all.

      My friend did this, and the amount of smoke from just one wire on the ribbon was amazing (to me anyway, he didn't seem to take it the right way).

      It was like someone took a knife and sliced the ribbon all the way down, making two parallel ribbons. You ask: was everything OK afterwards? Yes! The scsi card and all devices were fine. Did his scsi card have a fuse on the terminator power wire? Obviously not. The event was locally named the "Lonergan SCSI terminator power-wire-fire". Boy I can't believe how tough some of this hardware is. The only HD I've every blown was because I let the onboard controller touch the case chassis. Spark! I've got cables the wrong way round, forgotten to plug fans in, hotplugged stuff I shouldn't... I can't kill anything!!

    • and I used to leave my case off of my computer, which sat on the floor just to the left of my desk. And I chainsmoked while I was unwinding playing video games after work.

      One night four or five years ago, while I was drinking a rum and Crystal Light and smoking, I reached to grab my drink which was sitting to the left of my keyboard (this was not my first drink of the night) and I knocked the entire drink (probably 20 ounces at least) into my computer. While I was trying to catch the cup, I hit my hand on my ashtray and flipped that over too.

      I fully expected the computer to just stop working, but, with the exception of the CD-ROM opening and closing on its own several times that night, the computer worked fine and still continues to work fine.

      I cannot say I have had the same luck with keyboards. I have unknowingly spilled drinks into keyboards multiple times and not realized it, until the next morning when I would realize that, no I was NOT so drunk that I could not type, it was just that the keys were sticking together...
  • Floppy (Score:5, Funny)

    by kmac06 (608921) on Saturday March 01, 2003 @05:25PM (#5414773)
    One time I accidentally dropped a floppy from about 2 inches above the desk, and yet it still worked! (although I did have to completely reformat, losing the data already on it)
    • by BigBlockMopar (191202) on Saturday March 01, 2003 @07:27PM (#5415570) Homepage

      One time I accidentally dropped a floppy from about 2 inches above the desk, and yet it still worked! (although I did have to completely reformat, losing the data already on it)

      You just reminded me of something that happened to a friend in the late 1980s.

      We were die-hard members of one of the Texas Instruments TI-99/4A user's groups. He had his PEB (Peripheral Expansion Box) at a meeting, and was carrying it on a cart up a set of stairs. He was at the top of the stairs when it feel off the cart.

      Before I continue, a word on the TI-99/4A. If there's a nuclear holocaust, I have every faith that the only survivors will be the Jews, Dodge Darts, McDonalds uniforms, and the TI PEB. You see, Texas Instruments built them out of stamped steel, with each card housed in a cast aluminum case [glowingplate.com]. They were overbuilt for military use, let alone as a "home computer".

      So, the PEB went end for end down the terazzo stairs. Bang, bang, bang. Little chips of terazzo breaking off the corner of each step, and a few small dents in the PEB.

      He picked it up and shook it. Nothing sounded loose inside, so he hooked it up, and it still worked. Until he tried to save to a diskette.

      The old full-height Shugart 5.25" double-sided single-density diskette drive now had a new feature. He could format a diskette, flip it over, and format it again. One of the heads was now halfway between tracks, so the net effect was that he had a four-sided diskette. 360k to a 5.25" diskette, while the rest of us were only getting 180k.

  • Good Idea! (Score:5, Funny)

    by ancukiewiczd (614805) on Saturday March 01, 2003 @05:25PM (#5414777)
    Just a second, let me see how well my Thinkpad survives a 20 foot drop. I'll be right back.
    • by MBCook (132727) <foobarsoft@foobarsoft.com> on Saturday March 01, 2003 @05:31PM (#5414832) Homepage
      I just ran into ancukiewiczd, he says he's having trouble getting his laptop to run. Go figure.
    • Re:Good Idea! (Score:5, Interesting)

      by gmack (197796) <gmack.innerfire@net> on Saturday March 01, 2003 @06:08PM (#5415128) Homepage Journal
      IBM used to make very solid hardware.

      Case in point a few friends were ridding in the suzuki version of the Geo Metro and didn't have space in the car for the PS/2 so they put it on the roof and someone put his arm out the window to hold it.

      The get most of the way home when the thing blows off the roof while the car is going 110Km/hour and bounces twice on the shoulder before going into the ditch.

      They stop and pick it up and when they get home they plug it in.. still works.

      Pity they don't make them that solidly anymore.

      • Re:Good Idea! (Score:5, Interesting)

        by badasscat (563442) <basscadet75NO@SPAMyahoo.com> on Saturday March 01, 2003 @08:14PM (#5415783)
        Pity they don't make them that solidly anymore.

        They do. I've got a 4 year old Thinkpad that I've dropped countless times from normal table or standing height (a couple of times while it was on and the hard drive spinning!) and it's only got a single small scratch on the top of the casing to show for it. IBM still makes probably the toughest hardware out there, and they don't even advertise the fact - it's just assumed. IBM makes hardware the way people expect hardware should be made. (Though it's true that their PC keyboards are no longer built to the same standards as their old Model M's, but then most people don't even seem to like typing on that kind of keyboard anymore. I'd never give up mine, though.)

        Just to compare, my wife has a Fujitsu FMV-Biblo, a made-in-Japan notebook with a metal casing. Her system has hinges that no longer work (she needs to prop up the screen on something) and the speakers crackle when the network's being used, apparently due to a bad connection. My IBM still looks and works as good as new despite the abuse it's taken.
        • Re:Good Idea! (Score:4, Informative)

          by Thaelon (250687) on Saturday March 01, 2003 @11:43PM (#5416684)
          Pity they don't make them that solidly anymore. They do. I've got a 4 year old Thinkpad

          You just contradicted yourself completely. Before you moderate this flamebait hear me out.

          I've been working at my college as a laptop service technician for 3 years and I've had incredibly intimate experience with 3 models of IBM thinkpads. The 390, the i1422 and the i1300.

          All three have had serious design flaws that made them break in predictable particular ways due from normal use.
          • The 390's battery latches broke like popcorn, and the hinges would break the covers into smithereens.
          • The 1400's would get white dots on the LCD from the LCD bezels being so flimsily made that slight presure on the outside of the closed laptop would squash it down onto two upraised areas on the keyboard bezel.
          • The current model my college has is the i1300. The hinges. Oh dear god the left hinges....For some inexplicable reason they made the LEFT hinges in these things out of pot metal, while the right hinge is good material and breaks about 1/2000th as often (Yes we have ~1700 machines on campus). Normal use will cause the left hinge to give out well within a year (the lease is 3 years). And if the hinge starts loosening up (the metal splitting) without being seen to it will eventually break the hinge cap, the upper and lower covers, both LCD bezels AND the LCD itself ($800 that IBM gets to eat, becaues it's a warranty issue).
          Oh and each new model we get has more and more of its components integrated into the motherboard. Currently if any one of the following parts becomes broken/inoperable the $700 motherboard has to be replaced: power port (can't count the number of times a trip over the power cord has cost the student $100 deductable and the college $600 to replace it)
          • headphone jack
          • microphone jack
          • bios (corrupted etc)
          • CMOS battery holder
          You ask why the college has to pay for what should be covered under insurance? Because these things are so fragile that our 2nd insurance carrier dropped us like a rabid hamster! So don't even begin to say they still make them solid! I know better, I have to fix the damn things. Not to mention the hd in the stupid things has a transfer rate of 2.0MB/s (1/3rd the speed of my ipod's drive!)
  • by DemiKnute (237008) on Saturday March 01, 2003 @05:25PM (#5414778) Homepage
    But I installed Windows XP on my computer and it still runs.
  • Motherboards (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Roarkk (303058) on Saturday March 01, 2003 @05:25PM (#5414780) Homepage Journal
    The most drastic case I've ever come across was a motherboard that I installed without grounding. Turned it on, nothing happened for a few seconds, then "POP!" Smoked the thing.

    The amazing part is that I took it out, put it back in properly grounded, and it's still running! (That was about four years ago, I think).

    • Roarkk Computer's -- Home of the 30 second burn-in!
    • by BigBlockMopar (191202) on Saturday March 01, 2003 @07:05PM (#5415460) Homepage

      The most drastic case I've ever come across was a motherboard that I installed without grounding. Turned it on, nothing happened for a few seconds, then "POP!" Smoked the thing. The amazing part is that I took it out, put it back in properly grounded, and it's still running! (That was about four years ago, I think)

      I'd expect that you had a capacitor fail. I don't know what that would have had to do with forgetting to "ground the motherboard".

      The black leads in your AT/ATX power supply connector are the power supply grounds. The RF grounds are provided when you screw the motherboard down into the case - the little pads around the screw-holes are connected to the motherboard's ground plane and serve to take care of that requirement (although, as most of us know, a motherboard will run outside of a case - it's not recommended for RFI reasons).

      If it was a new motherboard, probably it was defective. There are generally lots of capacitors on motherboards, to provide RF bypassing and power supply filtration. If an electrolytic capacitor (aluminum or tantalum) is installed backwards - or has too low a voltage rating - then it will fail. Aluminum (ordinary) electrolytics tend to fail leaky - which means that the capacitor will dissipate energy and heat up, sometimes exploding, but often just remaining there. If they pop, they often remain shorted, and cause your power supply to shut down, or damage other parts of the circuit.

      On the other hand, tantalum electrolytic capacitors (generally small yellow-orange rectangular surface mount) will tend to fail shorted. They eat up a lot of current, generate a lot of heat, and pop. Once they've actually exploded, they tend to be open circuited, so they're effectively no longer there.

      If this was something like a bypass or a filter capacitor, your motherboard almost certainly will no longer work as well as it was designed (ie. RF emissions, susceptibility to RF noise or power supply ripple, etc.) but if it still works well enough for you, that's good.

      All the same, I'd be taking a look at what failed and replacing it. You need a very steady hand and a good iron with a clean tip, but you can replace the defective capacitor.

      As for the likelihood of a motherboard leaving the factory with a badly placed or wrongly-rated capacitor, well, sh*t happens. In the late 1980s, Toyota shipped over 10,000 Corollas with missing passenger side front speakers. That's a little easier to spot than a shipment of mislabelled capacitors, or accidentally putting a spool of caps into the pick and place machine the wrong way around.

      • by jamesh (87723) on Sunday March 02, 2003 @02:00AM (#5417239)
        I used to work as an engineer in a manufacturing plant for one of the larger computer companies. We would be assembling PC's from components, which would be the first time the boards would be powered up for any length of time. If a cap was going to pop, it would generally do it in the first 10 minutes or so of testing. Sometime's because they were installed backwards, sometimes because they were fractured and a bit of moisture had leaked in, and sometimes just because. When they pop, they do so with a fair bit of force for their size.

        This is why you should wear eye protection when you peer over an open computer, especially a newish one!
  • ...but I remember that an N64 Cruis'n USA cart still worked after three hits with a sledgehammer.

    (Yes I really hated that game).

    (Yes, the fourth hit killed it).
  • Drove over a laptop (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Judg3 (88435) <jeremy@NOsPam.pavleck.com> on Saturday March 01, 2003 @05:26PM (#5414786) Homepage Journal
    Well, not me, but my mother. About 3-4 years ago she drove her Explorer over her (i think) Satellite.

    It looked horrible, all cracked and what not, LCD and keyboard destroyed.

    But for grins I hooked it up to an external monitor, keyboard, and mouse and she booted right up.

    And I've been using Toshiba lappies ever since :)
  • by Blkdeath (530393) on Saturday March 01, 2003 @05:26PM (#5414789) Homepage
    A colleague and I were bored at work one day, and on our bench was a 486 that wouldn't quite work. Something with a bus that would crash when we imaged it. Who knows. Anyways, we put Win'95 on it, drivers, and some software. It worked. We were still bored. So we pulled the RAM - while it was running. Sure, it locked up, but it came back. So we hotplugged the fans. Then the hard drive. The floppy drive, the CD-ROM, the CPU, the motherboard; it just wouldn't die. So we started getting nasty with it; rapidly connecting and disconnecting the motherboard power leads. Nothing short of, well, shorting it would kill it!

    Finally we decided we'd had enough, so we shorted it out and sent it to the dumpster.

    They sure don't make 'em like that anymore.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 01, 2003 @05:40PM (#5414903)
      Because the chip components have shrunk. As they get smaller, electrical, impact, and heat damage destroy them more easily. We can't get much smaller than the current generation, too, because the components fail so easily.
  • Baked Apple (Score:4, Interesting)

    by semaj (172655) on Saturday March 01, 2003 @05:26PM (#5414790) Journal
    That Baked Apple [slashdot.org] from a while back was pretty impressive. It still booted after 20 minutes at 400 degrees...
  • Not me, but... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by NYFreddie (84863)
    A friend had rewired his power supply leads into his motherboard. Plugged in the CPU and it promptly started smoking. Take out the CPU, and the ZIF actually has burn marks on it. We put the CPU in another machine, works like a charm. Hook another power supply up to the MB, swap the CPU back, works like a charm.

    AMD - takes a burning, keeps on churning.
  • Hacksawed Video Card (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Rebel Patriot (540101) on Saturday March 01, 2003 @05:27PM (#5414795) Journal
    Not sure if this actually qualifies, but here goes.

    A friend of mine who frequents here once had a video card that would not fit into his case. I forget the exact model. He called up the manufacturer and asked them what he could do. They told him that everything on the board past a certain point was just redundant, and that it could be safely removed without affecting performance. Naturally, he got that in writing before taking a hacksaw and hacking off almost half the card! It worked when he finally got it in.

    Nope, I didn't believe him either. :^)
  • After my baby sister came over, touched a Western Digital Hard Drive, created a lovely ESD, turned the computer off, and I threw the hard drive across the room, having part of the MOLEX connector break off. The sucker still worked.

    I was amazed... and that drive is still running in one of my boxen :P
  • one time i was replacing a bad cdrom drive in my computer. i was talking on a corless phone and didnt realize the computer was still on. i got the old one out with no problem. when i put the power cable in the cdrom, sparks flew, the power supply shut off, and the phone shut off. i thought i had dreid the computer, but after a few minutes, it turned back on. the cdrom and computer fine.... the phone never worked again. my friend on the line said it sounded like a buzz you get from audio equipment when nothing is plugged in.
  • by Trevalyx (627273) on Saturday March 01, 2003 @05:30PM (#5414826) Homepage
    Once someone tried to steal my Palm IIIc... I set it breifly on a bench and turned to greet someone and a guy not far away swiped it. Being somewhat hyper-protective of my stuff, I was around and after him at speeds I had never realized on my own two feet before.. Our path carried us most of the way across the park, over benches, past old couples mumbling darkly about the wastage of youth, through puddles, etc... It ended up in me doing a flying tackle (another new one for me..) to the theif into a picnic table, the palm taking a small flight, and a bit of food being mussed..
    It's alright though. The palm survived and it turns out the people at the table were my ex girlfriend and a couple of her friends. She got pepsi all over her... ;-)
    • by drinkypoo (153816) <martin.espinoza@gmail.com> on Saturday March 01, 2003 @07:05PM (#5415459) Homepage Journal
      Is it just me or does this look like the guy is trying to build his defense for why he threw pepsi all over his ex?
  • My keyboard! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by NeoFunk (654048) on Saturday March 01, 2003 @05:31PM (#5414830) Homepage
    Have you guys ever stopped and thought about how must punishment your poor keyboard takes every day? Computer components come and go, cards fail, monitors burn out, CPUs die, but keyboards truely stand the test of time. I've had my $10 Logitech keyboard for years, and it's still typing away, strong as ever, while just about every other computer component I have owned has been upgraded or replaced.

    Imagine how many keys you have typed on your keyboard throughout its life. Imagine how much frustration you have taken out on it during a rough match of Quake 3 or Starcraft. Imagine how many food particles and hairs have been caught in its grasp. Pretty amazing that it's still clicking away, eh?
    • by Turbyne (563535)
      Imagine how many keys you have typed on your keyboard throughout its life
      At last count, 19,999,969, and it's still working fi
  • My Dell Laptop has been babied throughout its life, but it is a piece of cr*p. The lettter 't' barely works, and when it does work, it prints triple. My left control-key doesn't work anymore, and the battery is nearly completely dead.

    Anyone know how to fix a laptop keyboard?

    • You can buy a repleacement keyboard from Dell, they're very easy to change. That said, I'm quite suprised. I've owned a couple of Dell laptops that have had TONS of abuse and never flinched.

      On the other hand, I owned a Winbook and that thing would fall apart if you were to breath in it's general direction from the other side of a football field. NEVER BUY WINBOOK. Junk junk junk junk. I could give you examples. I WILL give you examples:

      • The time I set it down (not dropped, set) on a table and the thing refused to boot up. Had to send it in for repairs, the CPU was loose. The factory never screwed the CPU module in.
      • One day I opened the screen and it just fell off it's hinges. The cables kept holding it on, but the dang hinges just fell off.
      • I just loved the time when it came back from repair and the PC card slots wouldn't work. They worked BEFORE the repair. Well, after a little inspection with a flashlight, I found that 2 screws had been jammed into the pins of the PCMCIA slots, so it immediatly had to be sent back.
      • I loved how no matter what the repair, they always reinstalled windows. I could have sent it in asking that they just send it straight back, and I'd have gotten a new install of windows.

      And that's just a TASTE of what they put me through...

    • by murphj (321112) on Saturday March 01, 2003 @05:43PM (#5414937) Homepage
      The lettter 't' barely works, and when it does work, it prints triple.
      I think you're having the same problem with your $ key.
  • by SiliconJesus (1407) <siliconjesus&gmail,com> on Saturday March 01, 2003 @05:32PM (#5414837) Homepage Journal
    I used to be in charge of a small group of guys who did hardware integration on Sun and Compaq platforms. On a particularly busy day, one of the more 'weighty' of my co-workers was working on an Enterprise 250 server, and carrying it over to the rack for QA when he summarily tripped over a pallet on the floor, and landed the entirity of his bulk on the 250 he was previously carrying. Of course, I'm thinking oh crap, are you okay, followed closely by oh crap, that box costs a pretty penny and he just broke it.

    Once we decided he wasn't going to die, I picked up the 250 myself and moved to the QA rack, by some act of god, it booted and showed no ill effects of having close to 400 lbs of human land on it.

    You won't see those intel POS computers doing that!
  • by mmdurrant (638055) on Saturday March 01, 2003 @05:32PM (#5414842) Homepage
    While doing my laundry one week, I brought my laptop to the laundromat so I could do some work while I waited. Somehow, my Xircom CardBus Network Card (the orange one) made it into one of my laundry loads. Two weeks later when I came back to do my laundry again, the attendant handed me my network card, saying that he found it in one of the dryers. The casing was a little melted, but after a wash-rinse-spin-dry cycle, I plugged it in and it fired right up. I'm naming my first son Xircom, as it must mean fearless and indestructable.
  • Flaming Motherboard (Score:5, Interesting)

    by _marshall (71584) on Saturday March 01, 2003 @05:33PM (#5414848) Homepage
    About 4 or 5 years ago, my best friend and I had just returned from what's referred to as "first saturday" in dallas (everyone goes downtown and sells hardware for cheap on the first saturday of the month).

    We were pretty anxious as we had both just bought brand new machines... so we headed over to my house and started building the computers.

    I swear that there's nothing better than the first time you turn on your computer after you've successfuly built it. Anyway, as soon as my friend was finished building his, he turned on the machine, and I kid you not, the motherboard caught on fire! the details of how we stopped the small fire alude me at this point, but after we finally finished putting it out... he turned it on again, and it worked perfectly!
  • by mikosullivan (320993) <miko@id[ ].com ['ocs' in gap]> on Saturday March 01, 2003 @05:33PM (#5414851)
    Back in my tech support days we once got a call from a secretary who had had a vase of flowers sitting on a shelf next to her monitor. A coworker had accidentally knocked the vase over and the quart of water in the vase had all poured into the top of the monitor. There was an audible zzzzzzt and the monitor went dead.

    My coworker took a replacement monitor up to her. Then he turned the monitor upside down (after unplugging it of course), drained out all the water, and instructed the secretary to let the monitor dry in the corner for a few days.

    A few days later he connected the formerly hydrated monitor back to the computer and everything worked fine.

    • by macshit (157376) <(gro.ung) (ta) (selim)> on Saturday March 01, 2003 @10:52PM (#5416438) Homepage
      Heh, once I had an HP system (not a PC clone, a wierd 68K monster with an IEEE-488 bus for peripherals, and I think 8-inch hard-drives; of course I ran NetBSD on it :-) at home with this really nice (but huge) Triniton monitor.

      The monitor had a nice broad, flat, top, and Being Stupid, I would do things like leave glasses of water sitting on it. Of course one day my luck ran out, and I knocked a full glass into the well-ventilated top of the monitor.

      There was a zapping sound, and the display on the monitor sort of warped, and `exploded'; it's hard to describe, but it went completely nuts, like a particularly impressive screensaver. The effect was really very cool.

      I was momentarily stunned, so didn't do anything. Then I noticed that although the display was most certainly totally bizarre (there were no scan lines to speak of, more like spinning scan parabolas), it didn't seem to be getting any worse. So I decided that hell, if it's fried, it's fried, and it will probably dry out a lot faster if I leave it turned on...

      So I just left the monitor turned on overnight. When I came to look at it in the morning, it was back to normal, looking very nice indeed.

      HP had some really impressive hardware back in the day... :-)
    • by bigfatlamer (149907) on Sunday March 02, 2003 @12:13AM (#5416796)
      Same story but it was an entire pot of coffee. No zzzzt though as we managed to shut it off fast enough. Let it drain and dry for 4 days, plugged it back in and it works like a champ.

      As a special bonus you get a nice coffee aroma when after it's first turned on.

      BFL
  • by MBCook (132727) <foobarsoft@foobarsoft.com> on Saturday March 01, 2003 @05:34PM (#5414854) Homepage
    The worst thing that's happened to me was when my little sister put 5 or 6 CDs in my CD drive. Now if it was a CD changer, things wouldn't be so bad, but it wasn't. I had to disassemble the drive just to get the door open, but once I got the CDs out it work just fine, and still works to this day.

    Appartenly, someone didn't teach her that while you have to put a CD in the drive to play her games, you also have to TAKE THAT CD OUT when you want to play a different game. I'm still trying to figure out how she managed to get the drive to open/close when there were 4 CDs in there.

    • by Issue9mm (97360) on Saturday March 01, 2003 @05:44PM (#5414940)
      Wow. That's pretty tragic.

      My daughter (now 15 months old) recently yanked the ejectable CD-RW tray out of the drive. Just walked up to it, hit eject, grabbed the tray, and yank. Completely yanked the thing loose.

      The next thing I know, she's running around the house brandishing her CD Tray like a weapon.

      Anyway, after I got it back from her, I put it back in the old fashioned way... sheer brute force. I just opened the tray cover, put the tray back in, and forced it back into position while it made its horrid little ratcheting noises.

      After that though, it worked perfectly. The tray ejects when the button is pressed (though sometimes closes randomly now. Annoying, but not surprising), reads perfectly, and even burns usable CDs at 24 speed.

      For the record, it's a 24x10x40 Lite-On, and it's currently working without a problem after two months of use.

      -9mm-
  • Old Apple IIG (Score:5, Interesting)

    by IdIoTt (130358) on Saturday March 01, 2003 @05:34PM (#5414857)
    About 12 years or so ago, my father's friend had a housefire. The heat warped the monitor, attachable 3.5 inch drive, and the keyboard. The whole system was blackened by the smoke and then completely hosed down by the firefighters. He told my father he could have it for spare parts, but when my father cleaned a few connections and plugged it in, the bugger worked! We were both amazed at the amount of damage done to the casings and hardware(the 3.5 inch floppy had SERIOUS issues ejecting.) That's probably the worst I've ever seen done to a computer.
  • Input devices (Score:2, Insightful)

    by lavalyn (649886)
    Most consumer level hardware is now planned to be obsolete within 2 years anyway, so nothing needs to be damage resistant. When something breaks, it's a great excuse to go build a more l33t box.

    And the only exception to that is probably keyboards and mice, which take years of punishment.
  • by green pizza (159161) on Saturday March 01, 2003 @05:36PM (#5414869) Homepage
    My primary workstation for almost 4 years has been an SGI Indigo2 workstation (R10K, Solid Impact graphics). The workhorse has survived falling out of my pickup, winters of static electricity zapping projects hanging off the serial ports, frequent brownouts, and constant hot swapping of ps/2 and scsi devices. I've upgraded and downgraded the graphics cards once or twice a year, often trading with friends and roommates. I could probably field strip the machine blindfolded. I installed IRIX 6.5.2 in early 1999 and have successfuly run the OS updates and installed the newest freeware release every quarter since then. I still haven't had a need to do a reinstall and am currently running 6.5.17m + Feb 2003 Freeware.

    Sure beats my PCs, Mac, and Sun for reliability of both hardware and software... maybe it's the fact this beast weighs over 50 lbs!
  • Well, I didn't do this, but a vandal at my work place did...

    Someone dumped a full bottle of non-dairy creamer into an open (non-running) system. Over a humid summer weekend. It solidified, then hardened. Washed the PC in hot water, and a good dry later, fixed it.

    Check it out... [mrchuckles.net]

  • by CTho9305 (264265) on Saturday March 01, 2003 @05:41PM (#5414912) Homepage
    Here [cmu.edu] is a semi-detailed page describing what I did, with a list of pics here [cmu.edu]. The voltage regulator caps were blown, but I replaced them for a super-ghetto motherboard ;)
  • by King_TJ (85913) on Saturday March 01, 2003 @05:43PM (#5414934) Journal
    Let's see here....

    Just the other day, I pulled a motherboard out of an old Mac Color Classic, updated the RAM on it (a couple of 4MB 30-pin SIMMS max. it out - woo!), and slid it back in. After that, I suddenly realized it was plugged in and the power switch was on the whole time. Oops! Well, I pressed the power key on the keyboard, crossing my fingers, and yep - it booted right up.

    I've also watched a former co-worker swap internal SCSI hard drives on a PowerMac 7100 while the machine was running. (Dumb idea - but again, he got away with it. Of course, I yelled at him to never do that again afterwards. Heh.)

    I did, however, kill a perfectly good 2GB Micropolis hard drive just recently, because I attached it to a power connector that had been ripped loose and improperly repaired. (It looked ok, but I guess a couple leads were shorted somehow from a bad re-crimping job.) The whole system powered off as soon as I powered it on, and then I smelled smoke. Luckily, only the hard drive died though.... Everything came up fine with a different HD in it.
  • HardCard (Score:5, Funny)

    by Pilferer (311795) on Saturday March 01, 2003 @05:43PM (#5414938)
    I paid $700 for a 70 Meg "Hard Card", which was a hard drive that fit into an ISA slot. My IBM PS/2 286 couldn't take a 2nd hard drive, so it was my only option. At the time, my harddrive was 20 MB, so 70 seemed like "more than I could ever need".

    Anyway - fast forward to the year 2001. I'm playing around with an "old" 266MHZ system I'm about to sell to a coworker, when I find my old HardCard in a box of old crap. I stick it in the ISA slot, turn the computer on -- and it works! With all my gay little files from when I was 12 years old. 16-color porn, anyone?

    Anyway.. it starts to smell like smoke.. I hear a "crackle" noise.. and turn around to see the hardcard is ON FIRE. And it looks like it's been on fire for a while. It's melting. And I'm still copying the files on it over to my C:\ drive! Ack! Can I copy 70 MB before it turns into a pile of melted GOO? . . .

    The fumes get too intense, and I leave the room to find something to put the fire out with. I come back, and the copy is complete. I saved the data! I put the fire out... wait a few hours.. and turn the old 266 box back on. The hardcard works. It still works! To this day. And it dosen't catch on fire anymore.

    Worth the $700 IMHO. Try that with an IBM Deskstar.
  • definitely (Score:5, Funny)

    by Savatte (111615) on Saturday March 01, 2003 @05:44PM (#5414949) Homepage Journal
    my schlong. it's been consistently beaten for years, but always starts up when i need it to.
  • by Rojo^ (78973) on Saturday March 01, 2003 @05:45PM (#5414956) Homepage Journal
    . . . and not have a BOFH quotation? =)

    "The screen on my PC is really dim" The woman at the other end says "Should I wind the brightness knob up?"

    "NO!" I scream "Don't touch that knob! Have you any idea of the radiation that comes out of that thing when the knob gets wound up?!!!!"

    "Well I..." she says, all uncertain

    "TAKE MY ADVICE!" I say "There's only ONE way to fix a dim display, and that's by power surging the drivers"

    The words "power surging" and "drivers" have got her. People hear words like that and go into Dummy Mode and do ANYTHING you say. I could tell her to run naked across campus with a powercord rammed up her backside and she'd probably do it... Hmmm...

    "Have you got a spare power cord?"

    "No.."

    "Oh well, never mind, we'll have to do the power surge idea... Ok, quick as you can, I want you to flick the power switch of your PC on and off 30 times"

    "Should I take my disks out?"

    "NO! Do you want to lose all your data!?!"

    "Oh! NO! Ok.."

    I listen carefully.. .. ...clicky..clikcy...clikky.. .. .. ...clicky. ...cliccy.. . . BOOM!

    Amazing, it probably made it to 27 - the power supply usually shits itself at 15 or so...

    "MY COMPUTER BLEW UP!!!" she screams at me down the line

    "Really? Must've been a dodgy power supply! Lucky we found out now! Is your machine still under warranty?"

    "NO!"

    "Dear oh dear. Well, Best get it repaired then. Did you backup your files?"

    "Yes, to the system, Yesterday, but all this morning's work is gone!"

    "Oh dear. What was your username, I'll just check that your backups worked ok?"

    She tells me....
  • Well (Score:5, Funny)

    by fluxrad (125130) on Saturday March 01, 2003 @05:47PM (#5414963) Homepage
    Let's just say, if you were one of those kids who couldn't color inside the lines with your Crayola's, don't try unlocking your AMD Athlon with a Bic .5mm pencil.

    Aparently I was one of those kids.
  • Water damage (Score:3, Interesting)

    by nhavar (115351) on Saturday March 01, 2003 @05:47PM (#5414971) Homepage
    Not mine but I built a friend's parents a new computer after their basement flooded. The computer was "always on" and the people came home to find a burst pipe had gotten the whole refinished basement.

    I got the old computer with a waterline halfway up the mainboard (stunk - wastewater). The CD and harddrive got salvaged into the new PC - no apparent damage. The mainboard, processor, soundcard and modem all got tossed into the junk bin for a couple of months.

    I decided one day to see what would happen if I tried hooking it up (would it pop and smoke). To my amazement it all started up fine. The modem was fried - no dial tone. But the P166 CPU and board were fine and the shitty old PacBell sound card worked as well as a PacBell 16 bit sound card could work.

  • by raygundan (16760) on Saturday March 01, 2003 @05:49PM (#5414988) Homepage
    I was building a desktop on the cheap when I was still in college-- so keep in mind while reading this that the whole system was made from the lowest-quality and most inexpensive components i could find. I'd built probably a half-dozen before, and serviced more than a few other peoples' machines. Which, of course, means I got lazy and overconfident-- and accidentally connected the "Power" LED line to what should have been the power switch connector on the motherboard. Manged to get the polarity right, and everything. Finished putting it together, and plugged it in.

    It came on instantly, but as this was before "soft" power switches were everywhere, I just figured the pushbutton switch was already in the ON position. After watching the POST and seeing everything okay, I started to walk away-- and then the room filled with smoke. Fast. Those little case fans are wicked efficient for that, apparently. So I dove for the plug, and pulled it out.

    I opened the case back up, and the inside of the PC was blackened with soot, and the tiny LED wires were still glowing-- their insulation burned clean off. Clipped the wires off and taped the ends, plugged the switch line in instead, and everything just worked. And continued to do so until today, 6 years later.

    Took forever to get that damned burnt-plastic smell out of my room, though!

  • Nintendo (Score:3, Funny)

    by IIRCAFAIKIANAL (572786) on Saturday March 01, 2003 @05:50PM (#5415001) Journal
    Well, when I was around 12 years old, my Nintendo quit working.

    My Dad decided to fix it.

    My Dad is a truck driver.

    Needless to say, I got a Super Nintendo that Christmas.
    • Re:Nintendo (Score:3, Interesting)

      Incidently, the same man managed to toast a pc I gave him for Christmas (I give away my old hardware to my family).

      It was a mini-atx style pc that I put together during college. Once I finished college and got a job, I built a new PC and gave that one to him and my younger brothers.

      About 1 year later he was in town so I went to meet him for coffee. He had the tower with him and told me it just quit working one day and asked if I would look at it.

      I took it home, opened it up, and saw that the entire motherboard and everything in it was caked in thick yellow soot. He had been smoking while using it for over a year, all that smoke being sucked into the power supply must have slowly made it overheat.

      After I cleaned it out (took 3 cans of Dust-Off!), I found that the power supply and the motherboard were dead.

      (Note that my frivolous use of canned air may have contributed to the death of the mobo - static electricity and all that :)

      This also reminds me of this story:

      The following story is true. The names have been changed to
      protect the innocent.

      A computer repairman was one day called to a grade school to
      repair their no longer working computer. When he opened up the
      processor, he found a thick coating of white dust covering every
      component within, i.e. backplane, mother board and all other PC
      boards, housing walls, etc. He had never seen any coating like
      this in any other computer. The repair of the processor
      involved simply blowing out the dust.

      A few days later he was on another service call within the
      school for another computer. Walking by the room that contained
      the unit he had previously fixed, he decided to peek into the
      room to see how it was doing. What he saw explained the white
      dust. He saw several boys beating the chalk board erasers next
      to the fan in the unit, and watching the unit suck the dust
      inside.

      Found here. [rickadams.org]
  • The list (Score:5, Funny)

    by CaptCanuk (245649) on Saturday March 01, 2003 @05:53PM (#5415025) Journal
    Unplugged items with a system on:
    RAM, Video cards (PCI+AGP), Harddrives, G4 Upgrade CPU's, CD-ROM's, Soundcard... most of the time without noticing the system was running. That's what happens when engineers don't have enough cool hardware and most cases are open G4's lying around and way too many machines turned out and buzzing to figure out which are on and which are off.

    Craziest tool for fixing something:
    A guy I knew dropped food into an ISA slot while he was plugging in a card. Didn't quite work when he powered it on so when he noticed the food near the slot, he pulled out the card and tried to clear the crumbs. The only thing in arm's reach was a 4 prong fork. So he forked it. Forked it good for a few minutes - then decided it was a good idea to turn off the computer while doing that. Replugged in the card and everything was good.

  • by jhouserizer (616566) on Saturday March 01, 2003 @06:01PM (#5415090) Homepage

    Some years back I worked for a company that had several large HP plotters. If you're not familiar with them, they are basically large ink-jet printers, capable of printing on sheets 48-inches wide and up to tens of feet long. They're obviously useful for printing CAD drawings, GIS maps, etc.. And highly-precise ones can cost big $$$ (precise meaning the scale of the drawing that ends up on the paper is accurate to less than .01" of distortion over the 48" width of the paper) - at the time at least, these plotters cost over $10k each.

    Anyway, we grew out of our office space, and we therefore rented new space, and started moving. Myself and another college-age guy were in charge of moving all the computer equipment, since we were the "geeks". We took a couple of these plotters - which stand about 4 feet tall, 5 feet long, and only about 8 or 10 inches deep - and all of the mechanics are along the top - so they're tall and narrow, and very top-heavy - and loaded them into the back of a small pick-up truck, and headed down the road. Being a dumb 20-year old (and driving like one) we zipped around a corner, and both plotters lauched themselves over the side of the pickup-bed and bounced across the road. Needless to say, we nearly crapped our pants!

    We stopped to pick the "garbage" up out of the street, so it would be out of the way of other cars - we assumed that the plotters were a complete loss, and that we were going to have a fun discussion with our boss. We placed them back in the pickup truck (including many broken-off pieces of their plastic cases, a few gears, belts, etc.)

    Well, we got them into the new office space, set them up, and snapped back together all of the parts that we could. To our amazement, not only did they "power up", but they actually worked! And not only that, their callibration wasn't off by a hair! In my mind, this was absolutely amazing (and a god-send)!

    Aside from looking ugly (cracked, scuffed, and holy cases), there was no problem, and (according to my former co-workers) they went on to work for several years.

    I've never been a fan of Hewlett-Packard PCs, but their plotters and printers sure hold high respect in my mind.

  • by dustman (34626) <dleary@ttlCOMMAc.net minus punct> on Saturday March 01, 2003 @06:01PM (#5415091)
    My first hard drive I bought used out of "The Want Advertiser", a weekly magazine of classified ads here in New England.

    My computer at the time was a Tandy 1000SX, so it had 2 low density 5.25" floppy drives... I spent many afternoons playing the original MechWarrior on this machine.

    <DIGRESSION>
    The Tandy 1000SX was an IBM PC compatible, but it had some custom hardware: It had sound which was better than the PC speaker (in that it was polyphonic), and some sort of 16-color graphics which was nevertheless incompatible with EGA... so, most games couldn't do better than CGA, but MechWarrior supported both Tandy Sound and Tandy Graphics! Because the processor was a lowly 8088 and MechWarrior was a true-3d engine (one of the first? filled polygons, but no texture mapping or anything), my mechs would take a step every 10 seconds or so... Battles would have taken forever, except for the fact that it was very easy to win in this game: Just take a Locust mech (the fastest), and use only machine guns (which generate very little heat)... It was very easy to run around behind enemy mechs, and then just shoot out a leg (which makes them fall over and die)
    </DIGRESSION>

    Anyway, I bought a Seagate 40MB RLL hard drive out of the Want Advertiser for a measly $25. (HDs were far more expensive than this at the time). This was a godsend for me because I was only like 14, and my parents did not approve of my "computer habit." I had more money than other kids, although still not much... I babysat 4 days a week after school, 3pm til 9pm, for $10/day.

    The guy said on the phone, "The drive works fine, except for one thing: Sometimes you have to turn the power off and on a few times to get it to work, it doesn't always spin up on the first try"... I got the drive, and it worked fine, I almost never had the problems the guy mentioned.

    Another digression: The drive was RLL, but I only had an MFM controller (which I had also bought used, for $10). You could hook up an RLL drive to an MFM controller, but you could only address 17 out of the 32 sectors per track an RLL drive had, or something like that... So I only got like 20MB of usefulness, but after years of swapping 360k floppies, I was still happy.

    Anyway, the drive got worse and worse over time, until finally I was afraid to turn the computer off because the drive would take sometimes 20 minutes of monkeying to get it to turn back on.

    One day, I just couldn't get it to spin up for the life of me. I let it rest for awhile and tried again, and it still wouldn't work.

    What I ended up doing always gets some people calling bullshit, but it's the truth: I took the case off of the drive, and I could see the platters and the arms and everything right there... I tried turning it on and I saw how it sort of jerked in one direction... So, I started it spinning in that direction by myself, and then turned it on, and it spun up fine, and I could use my drive. I replaced the cover and used the computer and everything was fine. The drive lived maybe 3 or 4 months after this, with me powering it down as infrequently as possible, but it was growing steadily worse in terms of bad sectors... I didn't have scandisk or anything, so every couple of weeks I would reformat the drive (the lowlevel format marked and avoided the bad sectors), and reinstall DOS and the software I used... (I had been used to having no HD anyway so this wasn't such a huge deal). When I finally gave up, more than 60% of the sectors were bad, and the top platter on the stack had fingerprints on it from where I had occasionally slipped while doing the manual spin up.

    That's my wacky hardware story.

  • by Xzzy (111297) <sether&tru7h,org> on Saturday March 01, 2003 @06:01PM (#5415092) Homepage
    Some friend and I got to a third friend's house just after he'd finished bolting his new motherboard into the case.. without using those little risers they give you to seperate the board from the chassis.

    He couldn't figure out why the thing wouldn't power on. Every solder joint on the board had been short circuited to each other for who knows how many flips of the power switch.

    Fearing the worst we corrected the installation and powered it up.. machine promptly gave us a cheerful beep as it completed POST.

    phew.
  • by Hangman Jim 99 (85153) on Saturday March 01, 2003 @06:02PM (#5415098) Homepage
    Messing around inside a power supply while it was on, wondering why the fan wouldn't spin.

    When i came to, I was on the floor and the lights were out.

    I'd almost killed myself, and this was in australia where we have a full 240V (not wimpy 110)

    The power supply still worked, but I wouldn't touch it again :)
    • by CyberKnet (184349) <slashdot@nOSpam.cyberknet.net> on Saturday March 01, 2003 @10:02PM (#5416186) Homepage Journal
      My God. I did this too... (Coincidently, I was also in Australia).

      At work one day we had a power supply that would work intermittantly. I would power it on, it would go for a few minutes, and then power off. I figured it was just a short, so I turned off the computer, pulled out the power supply, and proceded to open it up. It is now that I tell you that at this point in time, I was in the main server room of a large corporation in Mascot (Corner of Kent and Coward).

      I pressed various place with my plastic handled screw-driver trying to identify any broken relays or other such things. After about ten minutes, I finally admitted to myself that I knew absolutely nothing about power supplies, or electronics in general. I plugged it in and turned it on to test it, just to make sure it still worked. No problem. I turned it off.

      I started to close it back up. It was around this time that I put my (bare) finger on the lid in an effort to hold it closed to put the screws in. BANG. When *I* came to, the lights in the server room were out. It was eerily quiet. Apparently while trying to cheap out of a $20 power supply, I had taken the business to its knees... I had forgot to unplug the power supply.

      Later inspection of the power supply (now dead) showed that the case had arc-welded closed, and my fingerprint was burned onto the outside. I kept it as a souvineer until I left for the USA.

      Three Cheers For The Darwin Candidates!
  • Amiga (Score:3, Funny)

    by v23 (560913) on Saturday March 01, 2003 @06:14PM (#5415166)

    Back in the old days I had a friend who posessed some strange magical powers. He was able to fix any hardware with almost anything tool he found.

    Once he was working on my Amiga 500 with a russian military bayonette. He took out a diode which was controlling the brightness of one of the two leds on the front. Snap-snap, it was done.

    Then, just for fun, he took out all the chips and the processor from the sockets (paula, denise, m68000) and put them on his T-shirt like buttons. It was fun. Then he put everything back nicely. After switching on, the computer did show any sign of life. It was not fun.

    The guy looked at it, said "whoops", took out the processor (M68000), turned it around by 180 degrees, then inserted it again. The computer turned on, and worked perfectly.

  • Burnt alive (Score:5, Funny)

    by Shazow (263582) <andrey.petrov@shazo[ ]et ['w.n' in gap]> on Saturday March 01, 2003 @06:25PM (#5415229) Homepage
    My computer was giving me a lot of trouble -- specifically my RAM. I took it out and put it back in, over and over, in different combinations, while running numerous scanning programs.

    One time, I didn't quite put it in all the way. Next thing I know, my computer wont boot, something smells awful, and half my motherboard is yellow-hot. Literally, a quarter of the ram stick was lighting up my entire room; it was that hot. You see, I stuck it in unevenly; half of it wasn't in at all.

    So I quickly pull the plug, pull out the ram stick and juggle it for a while until it cools down. I make catch my breath and clean off the ashes. A good portion of my ram slot was completely incinerated and part of the connection strip on the ram chip was completely black. Luckily, the metallic contacts were still intact on my motherboard. I took a set of pliers and adjusted them to the proper position. I cleaned the ram. I tried sticking it in. I boot up. Tada, it works. Phew, that was a close one.

    A few days later, I come home from school and turn my computer on as I always do. While it boots, I go off to wash my hands and change. I come back under two minutes later, my entire room is engulfed in smoke. I dive to turn it off. I vent off the room. I couldn't figure out what burnt. The ram stick was still fine, but I took it out just incase. I run it again, it runs okay for a couple of minutes. Suddenly, smoke again. Then I notice the wires that connect the ATX case to the motherboard are melting. Horrible smell. I unplug them immediately. Turns out that one of my wires was plugged in upside down. I think it was the PC internal speaker wire. I tore off the wire, I don't need it.

    I turn on the computer, all is fine for a while. It struggles to boot and then, again, smoke! Ahh. I turn it off, I sniff around. The entire room smelled awful. I couldn't tell what burnt this time. I try to turn it on again, wont go. I unplug all non-essential hardware, wont go. I take out all the hardware, piece by piece, analyzing it, sniffing it. I get to the PSU. My god. It smelled like a skunk crawled up another skunk's urethra, set itself on fire and gave birth to another skunk.

    So my PSU burned down. I get another one.

    Yay, my computer works again. But wait, my hard drive is dead. The PSU must have been kind enough to overload before keeling over and dying.

    I got the hard drive replaced. I stuck the burnt ram stick back into the burnt ram slot. I stuck the burnt wire back into the burnt connector. I brushed off the ashes from various parts. I even overclocked it a bit. It all works fine now.

    As good as new. Just a few tints of black here and there.

    - shazow
    • by MsGeek (162936)
      Thank you. I don't entirely understand why, but that description of yours...

      "My god. It smelled like a skunk crawled up another skunk's urethra, set itself on fire and gave birth to another skunk."

      ...made me laugh the hardest I have laughed since the first time I saw the classic Beavis and Butt-Head episode "The Great Cornholio."

      Thanks. I needed that.

  • linux stability (Score:4, Interesting)

    by ralphus (577885) on Saturday March 01, 2003 @06:35PM (#5415288)
    I was running smoothwall for a firewall on a piece of crap old pentium 2 with a tiny hard drive that I got used out of a bin at a pc parts recycler. I stuffed the box full of ram (256), and let it go. It ran for several weeks, and then started to slow down network traffic going through it by about 50%. I was lazy and not using the net much, and didn't care to look into it too much. I finally went into the room where the firewall was and heard a terrible clanking. the hard drive had completely died, and the heads were just banging all over the place inside. The firewall was still running, but it was generating massive console errors whenever there was attempted disk activity by the kernel. I guess the firewall ruleset and the kernel and all the drivers were in memory, and the box remained running albeit slowed by massive I/O errors. I was pretty damn impressed. Once the box was shut off it was dead for good until i put a new hard drive in.

    how's that for stability?

  • by bperkins (12056) on Saturday March 01, 2003 @06:39PM (#5415315) Homepage Journal
    I dropped my cell phone in a bathtub once about two years ago.

    It continued to work for about a minute after the incident, and then worked the next day after drying out overnight. It was acting flakey for about a week until it would just not turn on anymore. I decided I would try more drastic action.

    I preheated my oven to about 150F, shut the oven off, removed the faceplate and battery, wrapped it in a towel, and left it in for 45 minutes.

    It has worked ever since.

  • by Dthoma (593797) on Saturday March 01, 2003 @06:41PM (#5415325) Journal
    But...

    It might soon. I'm not even going to get out of my comfy computer chair. All you have to do is click this link [212.229.115.84]. That link is a link to the webserver running of my RH Linux machine at home. Did I mention it's running purely off a 56K modem?

    (yikes, am I gonna take a pounding from this)
  • Two stories... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by dargaud (518470) <slashdot2@NoSpaM.gdargaud.net> on Saturday March 01, 2003 @06:52PM (#5415380) Homepage

    Back in 1981, I had an Oric 1 [gdargaud.net] and was fiddling with the internals, motherboard upside down. Then I plugged the power in to test it, forgetting that it was upside down and put the power plug inside the video out... A huge spark came out, my hair briefly caught fire and I was scared I'd just busted my first computer in which two years of savings had just gone. Plugged it properly and it works fine.

    2nd story in Antarctica [gdargaud.net], 1997. I had two rugged military laptops for data acquisition and an HP Vectra desktop for use inside. One of the laptops video fried when a snow machine started a few feet from it and the other didn't have the right connectors. I had to program an eprom on some equipment outside and just put the Vectra+Monitor on a box. For 4 hours at -45C and it worked fine. I even have a picture [gdargaud.net].

  • Damn cat... (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonvmous Coward (589068) on Saturday March 01, 2003 @06:53PM (#5415385)
    My computer survived an assassination attempt. Shortly after I moved out on my own, I adopted a kitten. He was cute for the first week, then he turned obnoxious. He'd do things like wake me up at the crack of down by biting my nose, or jumping on my back just to see if he could stick, etc.

    Boy he loved wires. He loved them a LOT. He learned a lesson about that one day, though, when he bit into the cord on my cell phone charger. I didn't actually witness this, but I did notice chew marks on the connector along with a sudden drop in the number of damage reports. I have a good feeling he learned what electricity is.

    Even though he was taught not to bite cables, he still loved them! As a matter of fact, he found my mouse cable far too irresistable. This one was on my laptop. I had a little velcro tie to keep the cable wound up. I also had my laptop on a pair of TV tray tables (hey! I was a bachelor!) the cable dangled between them with this furry looking velco strap. Oh he loved that. I'll never forget one day he jumped up, caught the tie, and learned a physics lesson. Once his weight was on the cable, the path of least resistance (my mouse) started sliding off the table. Moments later *Whap* he was hit in the face with an optical mouse. The look on his face was hilarious! I imagine all he saw was a blinding flash of light quickly followed by a smack to the forehead!

    But that's not why I'm writing. You see, I was a bit careless back in those days. More efficient in some ways, I never put the screws in my PCI/AGP cards on my computer. Never needed to! Call me lazy if you like, but if you ever tilted this comuter you'd hear the scrape of sliding screws that fell all the way to the bottom where I cannot reach them. Never bothered me, though. Everything was cool. Until I got this damn cat... You see, I came home one day and noticed that my monitor didn't come back on upon moving the mouse. This was odd. I assumed that the computer had frozen or something and pressed the reset button. Only, nothing really happend other than the beeeeeeeeeeeeeeep beep beep message you get from your bios that basically says "Somethin just ain't right." I was a little worried. I hadn't done anything to the computer, had no reason to think something was up. I thought about it for a sec and realized that the monitor hadn't come on, fortunately this observation lead me towards the video card. And what'd I find?

    I found an unseated AGP card. After examining it for a bit, I realized what probably happened. My cat attempted to assassinate it. I'd seen him do this type of stunt before. He did a Tarzan stunt where he jumped off a shelf and grabbed the cable. The leverage caused the card to turn and unseat itself completely. From there, I assume he landed on the ground and found something else to do. I don't think that would have worked on the PCI cards, the AGP one was the loosest. Grr, I wanted to kill that little shit over that. I was worried he might have blown the video card or the mobo. Either would have been bad financially. After that happened, I decided a new directive would be issued that required ALL cables and cards to be securely fastend down. And I did.

    My cat helped me with the operation. He must have either loved or really hated my computer. I brought it out on the floor under my apartment's only light. (Hey! I was a bachelor!) I then got the screws I needed and started the operation, only to find that moments later my cat was INSIDE the case sniffin around. Grr. I had no idea what kitten fur would do to this computer, fortunately I never learned either.

    My computer survived the assassination and malpractice attempts. It didn't survive, however, the upgrade to a 3x faster Athlon.
  • by digidave (259925) on Saturday March 01, 2003 @07:01PM (#5415439)
    Too bad I'm so late, so nobody will read this, but yesterday I was adding a server to a rack by myself. The two ServerIrons we use are on top, but only take up 1/2 depth, so I pulled them out from the back of the rack as far as I could without them falling, then from the front I balanced the IBM Netfinity 4500R 3U server.

    The plan was to lift the ServerIrons from the back of the rack and slide the IBM underneath. It was an attempted time saving measure. Oh, and everything still had to be plugged in and working while I did this so our web sites didn't go down -- only the new IBM 4500R was not yet running.

    To make a long story short, the IBM didn't remain balanced once I moved the ServerIrons and it fell front-first 5 feet onto a tiled floor. The plastic face is smashed in a bit, the tabs that hold it on are gone and the case cover had its tabs bent so it wouldn't fit back on.

    I bent the case tabs back so the case would fit back together and put on the face as best I could, booted up and it worked.

    In fact, it's running our web site right now!

    Oh, and don't tell my boss :)
  • FLOPPY OF DOOM!!! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Exantrius (43176) on Saturday March 01, 2003 @07:08PM (#5415480)
    I had a floppy disk somewhere-- It has been dubbed many things in its time, but the most common is the Floppy of Impending Doom.

    Okay, so here's the story of the floppy of Impending Doom.

    When I was 11ish, I met the first guy that programmed-- he programmed basic among other things, and I thought he was the coolest guy-- We kinda played around a bit, and eventually, he gave me a floppy full of dumb little games written in basic-- Not well written, mind you, but when you're not supposed to touch the computer, any game is cool.

    Anyways, he gave me a floppy full of games. Fast forward a couple years, I had moved, and didn't have contact with this guy. I had met another guy who was into computers, and I ended up giving him a bunch of stuff on disk-- hex editors, game trainers and their ilk. Having no other disk accessible, I ended up giving him the disk of impending doom.

    Fast forward, another year and a half, said friend had passed that disk around, and I ended up getting it from a friend who got it from a friend, who got it from some guy I don't know, who got it from another guy, who got it from my friend. I realized there was something special about this disk (it went through like 7 people that time. It had my original label on it, which is how I know it's the same disk.

    The disk was used for a couple years a couple times a week, I didn't have a printer, so I would bring it to school/a friends house to print stuff. Eventually, I left it in the computer lab.

    It made it's way around back to me, after more than 2 years, right before I graduated high school. This disk is now so old, and has so many writes on it, that I didn't trust anything I ever wrote on it-- Yet somehow it still worked fine. I brought it up to college, and, because my computer didn't have a floppy drive, I didn't use it... I ended up giving it to someone who needed it in the computer lab (I worked in the labs). Three years later, about a month and a half before I drop out of school, the disk turns up yet again. Someone left it in the computer lab, and so I grabbed it again.

    At the time I was working on a search engine for a small non profit organization, which had me moving all around, so I used this disk to port my writings from place to place. I ended up leaving it with my non-profit supervisor (I was volunteer, I was having a bad time at the time, so I gave up the stuff, I didn't get paid anyway).

    I'm sure that in a few years, I'll be living on the streets of some large city, and I'll find it stuck to gum in a trash container. It'll still not have a bad sector. /Ex
  • by MaKS327 (654475) on Saturday March 01, 2003 @07:11PM (#5415486)
    My cousin was coming home from Southwest Texas State University for Christmas. He fell asleep at the wheel due to lack of sleep from finals that day and rolled his car 5 times over (at 75 mph on 290 going to Houston). As this happened the computer fell out of a broken window at some point. The cd drives, case cover, and other various parts flew everywhichway. The car was totalled, but he made it out with just a few scratches, and surprisingly enough, his computer, once reassembled worked fine! Everything, the cd drive, pci cards, everything except the monitor which was shattered to pieces. He still uses it to this day.
  • by Abstruse (100599) on Saturday March 01, 2003 @07:53PM (#5415688)
    My friend had an Amiga 600 back in the day it was new and his sister was having a party while we were chilling out and sneaking beers (we were like 13 or 14 at the time). Totally drunk off his ass, my friend pours a 3/4 full can of beer on his running Amiga, saves all his open files WITH THE BEER INSIDE, turns it off, pours the beer out, and boots it up perfectly. He also used to hot-swap hard drives with that thing, but the file system he used was so sturdy (he claims) that he could unplug a hard drive in the middle of a file transfer and it would not only still run, but it would pick up where it left off. I never saw this feat myself though, so I don't know if he was bullshitting me or not.

    The Abstruse One
  • by ddieder (197053) on Saturday March 01, 2003 @08:02PM (#5415735) Homepage
    In the mid 90's, hurricane Andrews drown and 'blew away' Homestead Air Force Base in Florida, and it was closed permanently.

    I was at another base at the time, and my base's IT requirements were growing rapidly, so we had set the 'we want hardware' flag.

    Lo and behold a bunch of 3B2 servers arrived, running an antiquated UNIX, AT&T system V release 3, right from the ex Homestead AFB. Most of them were in primo condition, but a couple of them had mouldy, green-stained horizontal lines a few inches above the bottom of the unit. We found out later these servers had been standing in that much hurricane Andrews water for a good while.

    Being young, well employed and stupid at the time, I plugged one of the drown ones in and fired it up! To my amazement, the thing seemed to work perfectly!

    At least one of those servers was still in production use several years later when I left.

    I have to give AT&T credit, at least back then: they built some seriously resistent enterprise class hardware. Years later, I communicated with one of my ex-co-workers, who decommisioned one of those boxes. He said they found some tiny, desiccated minows in the server case after they took it apart.

    Absolutely amazing!
  • TV + Urine (Score:5, Funny)

    by MrP- (45616) <rob@elitemrPOLLOCKp.net minus painter> on Saturday March 01, 2003 @08:09PM (#5415766) Homepage
    Back when I was maybe 3 or 4, I used to take the back off our old wooden floor based TV, just to look inside. Well one day I decided to take a piss inside the TV, I pissed all over the inside, every circuit board, wire, etc. My mom caught me and yelled at me, then she put a big window fan behind it for a few hours. When she plugged it back in (it was plugged in when I peed on it btw), it turned on and worked fine. This was in like 1985 I think, we had the TV until about 1996 when we finally threw it out. It worked still but we got new TVs for xmas that year and we were using that old TV for the Sega.

    I wonder of my 17in LCD could survive being pissed on.. hmm...
  • by quakeroatz (242632) on Saturday March 01, 2003 @08:28PM (#5415845) Journal
    A buddy of mine, after getting severly aggrivated when he was blue-screened during a competition Quake match, carefully ripped out all the cables in the back of his case, picked the entire PC up by the his two Voodoo 2 SLI pass thru cables, carried it out to the yard, spun twice and lanched the entire rig 25 feet into my backyard (he's my neighbour too).

    The entire case was bent, cards popped out, I could have sworn he cracked the mobo. After about 5 minutes of picking grass out of the drive bays and popping the cards back in the slots... it worked, perfectly!
  • Betty the 486 (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Thangodin (177516) <elentar@CHEETAHsympatico.ca minus cat> on Saturday March 01, 2003 @08:38PM (#5415875) Homepage
    A friend of mine bought a 486 33Mhz at a time when they were the ultimate bleeding edge, all tricked out with the best video and sound he could buy. He wasn't rich at the time either--he got it on a two year installment plan, but he loved it, and named it Betty. Six months after he bought it, there was fire in his building, a small three story walkup with a pizza place on the main floor. He had to leave everything inside, and he watched in horror as smoke and sparks poured out of the room with the computer in it--and fire hoses poured water in. When he was able to get back in the next day, all the disks in the shelf above the computer were partially melted, and the computer and monitor had icicles on them (yes, it was winter.) He brought it over to a friend's place, took it apart and let it dry for three days, and then put it in the bathtub and turned it on, just in case it caught fire when the power hit it. The only thing that was wrong was that the hard disk needed reformatting. For 12 years he had this scorched, smoke stained PC (it went from light beige to dark brown in the fire) that ran like a swiss watch. Eventually it was relegated to a Red Hat Firewall, and he just retired it last year and passed it on, still working.
  • by Skuld-Chan (302449) on Saturday March 01, 2003 @10:29PM (#5416299)
    Someone burned down the middle school I went to - and if you don't believe me go to the school (its in Coos Bay Oregon) and look it up in the year book - I think it was in the early 90's

    Anyhow - we had a lab that was about half Apple 2 gs's and half C64's (the place was mostly for learning how to use logo) - I can remember scrubbing cases, - stuff like that. Most of the Apple 2's powered up just fine - all the C64's powered up. Now these computers had black specs all over them until the day they were replaced, most of the Apple 2's lasted for about a year and died, but those C64's all worked until the day they were replaced with dos pc's.

    Its interesting how well some electronic devices hold up to being subjected to massive amounts of heat, then massive amounts of water all within in a couple of hours.
  • Run over and Shot (Score:4, Interesting)

    by blackfly (122455) <blackfly.mac@com> on Saturday March 01, 2003 @10:48PM (#5416413) Homepage
    I have a car audio amp that survived a drive-by shooting. It's a crappy no-name knock off amp too. The amp has 2 nickel sized bullet dents, but has run fine for the 4 or so years since. My friends car was wrecked and he got hit twice, but is fine now.

    My office is on Pico blvd in LA (a very busy street). On a smoke break i noticed something orange and toilet-seat shaped being run over by numerous cars in the middle of pico. I ran out to find an Apple iBook (clamshell tangerine). The LCD was hosed as was most of the upper housing of the case. Everything in the lower half was perfect. Mobo, CPU, and hard drive all work fine. I work in a Mac store and waited till someone came in with a liquid spill on another clamshell. Found a nice blueberry one with a fried logic board and cpu, but pristine case. Now I have frankenbook [utterer.com]. You cant see it there but the apple glows, the keyboard is half black/half white (powerbook g3 keys and ibook keys) and i have glow-wire around the keyboard and trackpad.

    BlackFly
    CapsGetPeeled [capsgetpeeled.com] fo Life
  • by cookd (72933) <douglascook&juno,com> on Saturday March 01, 2003 @11:00PM (#5416487) Journal
    In 1999-2000, I had this computer that I used as a web server in college for a school group. It was a 486 with 16MB RAM running FreeBSD, Apache, PHP, etc. I got a friend to let me leave it in the corner of a building on campus. One cord to the power outlet, and one cord to the ethernet jack.

    Well, one day I get an email that the server is dead. Web pages don't show up, but it responds to pings. I telnet in, but any command locks up the telnet session. So I run reboot, and it never comes back. Final diagnosis: hard drive failure.

    Replaced the hard drive, and restored the web site. All is well until I get another email that the server is dead. No pings this time. Turns out that the water main in the floor above it had broken, and it had been thrown into a pile of computers that were behind a makeshift "dam". Once students were allowed back into the area, I searched around, found my computer, plugged it in, and found that it was once again working as expected.

    Besides those two events, this old Gateway 486/66 never had to be rebooted or repaired. Ran without a hitch until I unplugged it on the last day of finals.

    Just goes to show that BSD will never die...
  • by ImpTech (549794) on Saturday March 01, 2003 @11:07PM (#5416518)
    My freshman year of college, a friend down the hall from me was buying all kinds of strange stuff on ebay. At one point he bought this case of miscellaneous scsi cards and cables. It turned out it was all 50pin cables and scsi cards from old Apple machines, in other words absolutely useless. Now, being engineers, and being freshmen, and being dumb, we decided it would be a good idea to break a few of them. Specifically, we wanted my roommate (who had, I believe, a red belt in Tai Kwon Doe at the time. He's got a blackbelt now.) to punch one in half they way he breaks wood at tests. Somehow we convinced him to do this.

    The first time he tried to break the card, the kid who was holding it didn't have a tight enough grip, so it went flying and hit him in the face. The second time, he held on, but the card didn't break or even crack, and he cut his hand on the solder on the bottom of the board. Undeterred, we got two people to hold the card, while my roommate tried a third time. This time, the board went flying again, cut one of the guys hands, hit me in the forehead, and my roommate cut a big gash in his hand. This was no longer amusing.

    My roommate was pretty pissed, and he tried to break the card over his knee, but with no success. We stomped on it, we threw it. Eventually we had to have one person step on one end while another pulled up the other. It finally broke, but only after leaving scores of wounded combatants. That day I developed a new respect for the durability of printed circuit boards.

    I guess thats a little off topic, since the card obviously didn't work again. To save this post, I should mention that the same ebaying friend bought a full-height 2GB scsi drive, which we used to run around the floor hitting people with. It was known lovingly as the "People-Hitting SCSI Drive". It continued to work, and he eventually sold it to some other poor sap on ebay, as I recall.

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