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Editorial Hardware

What's the Hardiest Hardware You've Seen? 247

Posted by Cliff
from the survivor:-hardware dept.
mrsev asks: "I work in a lab and so have lots of strange equipment around me. Recently I found an old 256Mb USB Flash Disk, that I had been looking for 6 months. This would not be amazing but for the fact that it was frozen in a block of ice in one of our -80C freezers (-112F). It must have fallen from my top pocket when I was reaching in. After chiping it out and a quick thaw and dry ... it worked!! All my data was intact and there were no problems. I am now looking for a victim to test in our liquid nitrogen storage facility. My question is what is the strangest hardware survival you have seen."
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What's the Hardiest Hardware You've Seen?

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  • by amcnabb (682951) on Wednesday December 03, 2003 @06:44PM (#7622925) Homepage
    I saw a machine once that had Windows running on it for 5 years, and it survived it! After I installed Linux on it it worked like a charm.
    • IBM System 32. (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Glonoinha (587375) on Wednesday December 03, 2003 @09:52PM (#7624525) Journal
      I worked IT/MIS for a company that had several older buildings including one that had a System 32 in it from way back when. Someone decided that they wanted that computer gone and since it was a computer and I was a computer guy it was my problem. Having never seen a S/32 before I grabbed my little leatherette pouch of little tiny screwdrivers, needlenose plyers and wirecutters just in case.

      Boss stopped me, suggested I leave those behind and we stopped at the diesel mechanics shop for crowbars, a hacksaw, and a few 4 pound sledgehammers. I was like ... WTF and he asked if I had ever seen the machine in question. D'oh, no.

      Get there and this thing is a beast. The printer frame was cast aluminum about the same size and strength as the intake manifold and heads on a Chevy V8 engine. The computer itself was made of 1" steel square tubing that was like a quarter inch thick, the bolts that held it together looked like something you would use on a house. The hard drive was a single platter, and the base housing was cast bronze or something, weighed about 20 - 25 lbs or so, about the size of a current ATX desktop case, and the motor for the drive was a monster 220V electric motor about the size of a small pumpkin - half horsepower maybe?

      I have no clue why I was there taking that monster apart, but I got a real good appreciation for how Tonka tough IBM used to make their computers. Probably less powerful than my $50 calculator but built like a tank.
      • Re:IBM System 32. (Score:2, Insightful)

        by vlm (69642) *
        A collector would likely have paid alot for that machine. I know I would have given you maybe $100 for it depending on media and docs, and I'm relatively poor and cheap as far as collectors go.

        Search ebay to see what a classic pdp-8 goes for now, generally more than a good used car is worth. Admittedly a pdp-8 is a little more popular, but I'm sure you could have gotten a heck of a lot of "beer money", or at least someone would have hauled it away for free, saving you the effort.
  • Tough CPU (Score:5, Interesting)

    by WavyGravy-R5 (665896) on Wednesday December 03, 2003 @06:45PM (#7622934) Homepage Journal
    I recently had an AMD 1400 Mhz chip that was used for my schools Journalism department. It has been dropped easily a few dozen times, left behind a VERY dirty, dusty desk for about a month, AND has been submerged in photo developing chemicals. Out of sheer curiosity, I put it on one of the boards the other day, and in amazement it still worked.
  • The shack (Score:5, Funny)

    by splattertrousers (35245) on Wednesday December 03, 2003 @06:46PM (#7622951) Homepage
    I once bought something at RadioShack, and two weeks later, it still worked!

    That was one for the record books.

    • by Anonymous Coward
      whoa, it worked when you bought it?
      • Are you asking him, "whoa, it worked when you bought it?" or "whoa, it worked when you bought it?"? I laughed @ 1st, thinking that it was the 2nd question, but now I'm beginning to wonder. :^)
  • I know these things are designed to take a beating, but it's definately the toughest piece of hardware I've ever had.

    I used one of these things while out in the field for a utility company doing GPS mapping. I threw the thing on the floor of my truck, accidentally dropped it a few times, and accidentally left it on top of my truck in the rain.

    Everytime I pushed the power button the thing ran perfectly, regardless of the fact it was running 98SE. I wish I could buy one of those things on the open marke

  • by satanami69 (209636) on Wednesday December 03, 2003 @06:51PM (#7623006) Homepage
    See here [slashdot.org]
  • G3 Wallstreet (Score:2, Interesting)

    I once aquired a G3 wallstreet. It'd been left in the trunk for several months. There was no carpet, it was diurty, and the guy lived in an area with lots of pot holes.

    When I get it it had nearly no paint on the bottom, and the top was scratched all to hell. but, it worked. LCD was in good shape, and it worked for a few months until I had passed it on to someone else.

  • by Rick the Red (307103) <Rick.The.Red@BLUEgmail.com minus berry> on Wednesday December 03, 2003 @06:56PM (#7623043) Journal
    See it here [classic-audio.com].
    • Ah, the days when Solid State meant solid state, not planned obsolescence. I believe I had an old Pioneer mid 80s-ish receiver/amp that survived a fire. The knobs were melted off and replaced with generic Radio Shack ones, display didn't work, etc. It was later passed on to a friend and fried by his ex-girlfriend that decided if more speakers = more power, then 10 speakers = much more power.
    • I remember a print ad from Apple the showed either an early Mac (128K) or an Apple ][* that had been through a fire and still worked. Can't find it now.

    • I think the most interesting thing about this ad is the footnote: "* Mr. Espina's notarized statement is on file with the Marantz Company." It seems so ... quaintly earnest. That was back when we had truth-in-advertising laws that still came with the threat of enforcement.

      These days that ad would probably be a hyperbolic "Extreme Marantz!" depiction of someone using it to put out a grease fire, plunge a toilet, jack up a car to fix a flat tire, and finally pound some nails before finally turning it on to

    • Many years ago, when home computers like ZX Spectrums and such ruled the world, a friend of mine had a rather unusual TV to plug his Speccy into.

      His father was a TV engineer, and he'd replaced an old black-and-white portable for someone. It was on a shelf above the customer's cooker, there had been a chip pan fire, and the plastic case of the TV had melted. The tube had tilted back under its own weight, and the top of the case had slumped over it.

      The melted telly lay around the workshop until my mate's

  • by Tiersten (58773) on Wednesday December 03, 2003 @06:56PM (#7623051)
    Low temperatures actually improves data retention in SRAM when it's unpowered, I know it's not Flash but they both do rely on storing charge.

    The fact crazy people have previously immersed their PC in liquid nitrogen and still had a functional PC at the end shows that it shouldn't damage most electronics.

    So assuming the low temperature didn't crack the PCB or chip leads and the moisture didn't short anything then it's not too surprising that it survived.
    • Are you thinking of the extreme cooling guys who used liquid nitrogen to cool their system? because if you are (and i might be mistaken) they didn't immerse the system rather than cooling tubes... the system itself was immersed in a non-conductive material.

      on topic: my chain smoking brother has an old celeron thingy, the screen and case look yellow and the keyboard is a haggered piece of sh!t. last time i opened the case there was cloud of dust and the whole thing was covered in a thick layer of dust... tr
      • Yeah. You could be right. I've seen pictures of where the CPU only was immersed in liquid nitrogen and one of where some guy used Fluorinert (sp?) which was chilled with liquid nitrogen.
      • I once did tech support for our customers. The folks were obviously heavy smokers, because you could see ashes over the keyboard, desk & computer. When I opened it up, you could see ashes inside, if I recall correctly. I was so amazed @ how filthy the place was.
  • by joelparker (586428) <joel@school.net> on Wednesday December 03, 2003 @06:58PM (#7623066) Homepage
    I accidentally dropped my Powerbook Duo
    down a long flight of concrete stairs...
    it bounced all the way to the bottom.

    It survived with all data intact,
    God bless Apple's case designers. :)

    • by adamjaskie (310474) on Wednesday December 03, 2003 @08:23PM (#7623863) Homepage
      A kid in my dorm has dropped his powerbook g4 several times. One time it fell off his lap, and hit the edge of a table leg on the way down, taking a chunk out of the table leg, and wedging it between two parts of the case. Another time, he dropped it off his desk, and it hit something on the floor right on edge, putting a dent in the side of the keyboard area. Then, it slipped out of his backpack, tumbled down a flight of stairs, and bounced through the railing to fall an entire story. It hit the railing on the way down, denting the edge of the laptop, and finally landed corner first on the concrete floor. He has the bright spots on the screen, two mashed corners, two dented sides, a dent in the side of the screen area, and a slightly bowed screen. And it still works perfectly, other than one of the USB ports being mashed beyond recognition, and some creative application of a 20 pound instrument transformer to bend the metal far enough to insert the charging plug.
    • IIcx through a flood (Score:3, Interesting)

      by danamania (540950)
      I bought a IIcx on ebay - advertised as "as is" and unknown if it worked. Hey, I liked the case and didn't have one yet, and it was $10 =)

      Turned out it'd been half submerged in a flood then populated by mice. Between the silt, leaves, mouse pee, water and mouse crap it was in a sad state.

      EVERYTHING got a thorough soaking cleaning under detergent and hot running water, then warming and drying. Thankfully the peeing rodents hadn't been there long enough to corrode too much. A spray over with silicon based f
    • I ran over my future wife's iBook on my bike. Long story short: I was coming to a stop and started swinging my backpack around and discovered the zipper was failing. As I watched my front wheel plow over the top of that white plastic case I knew for sure I'd be buying her a new computer. The only real evidence of the mishap was a scuffed up corner and the tire mark, which washed away before I returned it to her.
    • God bless Apple's case designers. :)

      Of course, we cannot forget the PowerBook that was baked in an oven [mac.com] for 20 minutes at 400degF [mac.com] yet somehow still had a working (though cracked) screen. [mac.com]

  • IBM Thinkpad laptop (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Komarosu (538875) <nik_doof@nikdo[ ]net ['of.' in gap]> on Wednesday December 03, 2003 @07:00PM (#7623079) Homepage
    Now i've got a REAL monster, a Pentium 1 133mhz IBM thinkpad from a long time ago. Its been dropped down about 3 flights of concreate stairs, been hit in the LCD screen by a football a few times, survived the fury of a 6 year old kid, dropped on tarmac from 3-4ft.

    The verdict? A nackered case, a flickery LCD, but a perfect, no badcluster HDD and it still works perfectly.
  • by ivanmarsh (634711) on Wednesday December 03, 2003 @07:03PM (#7623113)
    I've got a ~12 year old Seagate SCSI drive that still works fine.

    You can cook eggs on it while it's running, but it still works.
    • dood! sounds like a jet engine when it spins up? i have 2 of those! one makes eggs, the other makes coffee. i should get pictures.

      On topic: the coffee has splished, and the eggs have splattered more than once. they still run dandy.
  • by andrewl6097 (633663) * on Wednesday December 03, 2003 @07:10PM (#7623178)
    The card's performance, drivers etc sucked, but one time I put it into the AGP slot and sparks flew, literally ( a bolt of electricity jumped from end to end of the slot ). Smoke rose. Powered the thing up and everything worked fine.
    • This is a prime example of "the cockroach syndrome". The uglier, stupider, and more useless the item is, the longer it will last, making it harder to justify getting rid of it (or harder to get rid of it period).

      Take for example, DOS. You can't get much uglier and useless than DOS. Yet because it's so ugly and useless, it's also the most stable OS in the world. No, really! DOS is incredibly simple (there's a (practically) complete open-source clone of it (FreeDOS), and it only took a few years), so there b
  • Vintage Macs (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Tyrdium (670229) on Wednesday December 03, 2003 @07:11PM (#7623186) Homepage
    The Macs that Apple had out in the 680x0 era have got to be the toughest things I've ever seen. I've got about four of them sitting in my room (I had more, but had to get rid of them to make space for more old comps). I've done pretty much everything imaginable to them, and they're just fine. The very early compact Macs in particular were very tough. The 128K to Plus or so had zero moving parts, except for the floppy drive, and their cases were made out of what seems to be thick steel (judging from their weight). The Apple series computers (e.g. IIGS) were pretty damned tough, too. Unfortunately, with their white plastic shell, the new Macs get scratched up extremely easily, and the cases aren't anywhere near as tough as those of vintage models. Oh yeahl, and their Laserwriters were damned tough, too. I've kicked my Personal Laserwriter 320 by accident a bunch of times, and it's taken numerous other abuses, but still works perfectly. I picked it up for 5 bucks at a flea market, so I have no idea what it took before then.
  • by ChaseTec (447725) <chase@osdev.org> on Wednesday December 03, 2003 @07:13PM (#7623198) Homepage
    I used to work at a tech shop so of course when ever we had the chance we'd take delight in destroying equipment. There were monitor from building tops, screw driver heads on spinning disk platers, blanking plates in slot 1 cpu slots and just about anything else you can think of.

    Someone tried to sell us a pretty old computer and when we told them it wasn't worth anything they ask us to trash it. The hard drive in the system was an old MFM 5.5 inch full height drive that had a non-removable cover. We tried to break it open with a hammer and could barely scratch the thing. I swear that you could have thrown the thing out of an airplane and it would surface scan ok.

    Another time we had a custom throw their own computer through a wall after Windows locked up on them. The only thing that didn't have any damage was a USR 56k ISA modem. But that was only until we gave the modem back to the customer and he broke it into two piece in the front of our store(I personally think he had issues). It did take him about 5 minutes to crack the thing though....

    • Ah, MFM... I remember MFM... my 3rd and 4th computers had those.

      To segue this back to topic, system #4 was a 286. After I'd had it a few years, I added a 287 (math coprocessor for the youngsters) that I bought used on Usenet.

      That 287 turned out to be one chip with a deathwish; for some reason, it ran at about 300 degrees F. (Yes, it would boil drops of water.) The system would shut down after about 10 minutes.

      But after I added a makeshift aluminum heatsink, it was fine. And that systems still works

      • I pulled a 287/6 out of an old fridge-sized Tektronics graphics workstation that I found in a scrapyard under a dead Austin Maestro. I suspect the Maestro met its fate before it met the Tektronics, but the case was holding the weight of the car.

        Anyway, I stuck it in my Compaq Deskpro 286 which was, of course, 8MHz. It worked fine but got rather hot. Never needed a heatsink though. Possibly if it had been clocked to 10 or 12MHz it would have.

        That was in the days when overclocking meant something. Goi

  • Mind sharing? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by gabraham (723236)
    Would mrsev mind sharing the brand and model of his Flash disk? I wouldn't knowing what to look for in the store if/when I need a Flash disk later.
  • Many years ago I had the rubber/plastic band on my Casio Data Bank watch break. I decided not to get a new band and, instead, wondered how hardy the watch might be.

    The Data Bank line is "water resistant" so I figured I'd try to kill it by putting it in a plastic cup filled with water and left in the freezer portion of a refrigerator over night. I forgot about it and, about a week later, saw it sitting in the little block of ice I'd made.

    After busting the watch out the display was dim but still fully fun
    • I had a watch when I was younger that I loved (can't remember brand/model), and I lost it.

      Many months later we were having our septic tank emptied, and the workers found my watch in the yard. This thing had spent a good portion of a year (if not more) in our yard in rural Connecticut (I don't live there anymore, thankfully), and had clearly been put through the lawnmower. Half of the watch band was missing. It still worked, and I kept it until the battery died a while ago.

      And ironically I now own a Casio
  • Hardiest hardware (Score:5, Insightful)

    by wowbagger (69688) on Wednesday December 03, 2003 @07:23PM (#7623293) Homepage Journal
    • When you post that link, you need to specify which one you mean.

      There's some information about Pioneer 6 on that page. It was launched on 16 December 1965 and last time they checked (in 1996) it was still working.
  • by GR|MLOCK (203716) on Wednesday December 03, 2003 @07:28PM (#7623326)
    The summer after my freshman year, I was working as a technician at a computer shop. We had horrible floods that summer, and a customer brought in an Acer 486DX66. It had been underwater for a week, buried in mud on the first floor of their house. He was only bringing it in to get a quote for the insurance company, and of course after taking one look at it we wrote it off completely.

    The next week I had some free time and noticed the box sitting in the corner. I took it out back, turned the hose on it, removed and washed the cpu and memory, took it inside and plugged it in.

    They were still using that computer as the fax server when I quit.
  • Amiga Floppy (Score:4, Interesting)

    by McCarrum (446375) <mark.limburg@[ ]il.com ['gma' in gap]> on Wednesday December 03, 2003 @07:28PM (#7623335)
    Back in the days when Commodore Australia and Commodore US were at war (atleast internally), I worked for a shop in Canberra Australia selling the brand new Amigas. Wonderful things.

    Well, we had contacts on both sides of the pond - and when Commodore Australia wouldn't give us the brand new 1.1 release of the boot disk, we contacted the US office and got one sent out to us. It came by courier late in the day, in the middle of winter. Indeed, I was just going home. I grabbed the disk, thinking that I'd take it home and test it out there. So I grabbed my stuff, got into the car, and drove home. Grabbed a drink, and promptly forgot about it.

    Next morning, I got up (at a loverly -4C .. the fridge was warm), got to work, parked, got out, and spotted the 3.5" floppy disk on the wall next to the car .. completely iced over. I freaked, calmed down, freaked, calmed down, chipped it out, and put it next to a VERY gentle heat source. Five hours later, I unscrewed the disk (remember when 3.5" disks had screws?) and transplanted the data to a new shell.

    Worked. Beutifully. A quick backup or 10 and we were happy. Indeed, that became a mascot disk at the place for a while, and worked for ages.

    Ahh memories ... now, back to work.
    • Somewhat odd that now you can't buy a pack of 10 disks without 50% of them going bad within a week after purchase...There's something to be said for good, solid craftsmanship, even in the simplest devices.

      --trb
  • I've heard of a couple incidences of hapless field service techs backing over them with their cars. Still worked.
  • by Neck_of_the_Woods (305788) * on Wednesday December 03, 2003 @07:30PM (#7623353) Journal

    I had it in my shorts, I hit the pool. Still did not know it was in my short, threw them in the wash. Then the drier.

    Found the damn thing when I was folding my shorts the next day, with water on the inside of it. Set it up on desk at work for about 3 days and pluged it in as it had the only known good copy of some offsite routers. Took a couple seconds and wamo there is my data, pull it off to the desktop. Reach down and find the little bugger all fogged up on the inside. 2 weeks on my desk for a real long term dry out and that damn thing still works like a charm.

    Go figre....

  • by Apreche (239272) on Wednesday December 03, 2003 @07:35PM (#7623390) Homepage Journal
    Nintendo controllers and systems have classically been made of ultra-durable plastic of doom. I remember throwing controllers again brick walls, and dropping gamecubes painfully high distances. Of course, I've never had any of these things break or stop working. I'm sure that when cockroaches rule the earth they will all play SNES games.
    • Nintendo controllers and systems have classically been made of ultra-durable plastic of doom. I remember throwing controllers again brick walls, and dropping gamecubes painfully high distances. Of course, I've never had any of these things break or stop working. I'm sure that when cockroaches rule the earth they will all play SNES games.

      Yes, I can confirm this :-) Back when me and my brother were playing SNES he often got very angry with some games and held the joypad by the cable and smacked the pad to

    • One of these days you need to find an original IBM AT computer - regular desktop computer (a 286 8Mz generally) that weighed about 40 or 50 lbs. I think it was made of 1/8th inch plate steel and you could literally stand on it to use it as a stepladder (stand on the top of the case around the edges where it had support.)

      The indestructible toy is very useful for destroying other toys.
  • by g1zmo (315166) on Wednesday December 03, 2003 @07:36PM (#7623396) Homepage
    Just a few days ago I caught a rackmounted server on fire.

    Turns out (and I know I've done this many times before without starting any type of fire) I had the ribbon cable in backwards on the floppy drive. When I turned the power on, immediately the power wires started glowing orange and the flames were about a foot high and smoke poured out of the case.

    After I pulled the plug, only one segment of the power harness was melted (the part with the small floppy connector), so I cut that out, put the floppy cable in correctly, plugged in the other floppy power lead, and turned it back on.

    Shocked the Hell outta me, but the thing still worked, and has been working ever since.
  • I've dropped my zaurus (5500) onto various surfaces from large heights, scratches on the case, yes. But never does it stop functioning.
  • AT&T Merlin PBX (Score:3, Interesting)

    by moosesocks (264553) on Wednesday December 03, 2003 @07:46PM (#7623506) Homepage
    The building I was working in over the summer (a school) was undergoing major rennovations. Completely new electrical system, phone system, new cielings, etc.

    The day after the construction started (two days after the students left for the summer), we walked in to the building to find to our horror what looked like a war-zone. The cielings had been removed with a sledgehammer. Bits of drywall everywhere. The network and phone wires were hanging, supporting the old lighting fixtures. We knew then that the network cabling was garbage, and removed it all, but kept the phone system, thinking that if the new system was delayed, the offices would still have their old phones.

    The summer passed. Lots of bad stuff happened in the building aside from that first day. Long story short, we were able to tie up the old phone lines. Only one had been broken. It's the day before school opens, and the new phones aren't installed yet - thank God we saved the old system. We go to plug in the controller for the PBX, and are greeted with a sound not unlike a gunshot, as flames lept out of the cabinet and power supply. (My guess is that the noise came from the surge surpressor which recoiled several feet as a result of the large bang, and was smoldering).

    Fearing the worst, we replace the surge supressor, grab an extension cord, and try another outlet. Lo and behold, the phones work perfectly (one line had a bit of static on it). School opened without a hitch.

    Also during that project, we had our T1 DSUs/CSUs nearly destroyed. We were never told that the concrete wall they were mounted on was having several holes cut in it for HVAC. We arrive to find our equipment buried in bits of concrete and a large hole directly above the board (a sledgehammer was used). Amazingly, after being shaken out, they too worked fine.
  • by szyzyg (7313) on Wednesday December 03, 2003 @07:46PM (#7623512)
    I once had the good fortune to open for Kid 606 and Matmos (currently Bjork's support act) at a bar. Being a DJ I was using good old fashioned vinyl on Technics sl1200 turntables - now those are tough turntables and take a lot of punishment. but....

    Matmos setup their laptops in the DJ both - a pair of Powerbooks they just laid them on top of the turntable platters. Anyway they DJ'd anyway in their own fashion until someone accidently hit the start button on the Turntable and the laptop crashed to the concrete floor.

    And it kept playing without a glitch, they picked it up, checked the connections and then continued with their set.

    Maybe not the toughest hardware, but a pretty spectacular demonstration of real world survivability.
  • I unwittingly left my cell phone in my pocket when I went to do laundry. Didn't notice until I saw the antenna in the lint trap of the dryer. Got it out and turned it on and it still worked. I was pretty amazed. Makes the $100 I dropped on it seem worth it.
  • Baked laptop (Score:2, Interesting)

    by hublan (197388)
    My workmate hid his laptop in the oven when he was going away for a weekender. There had been a bout of burglaries in the neighbourhood and so he was a little bit paranoid.

    You know where this is going...

    He came back after the trip and thought he'd make himself a pizza. So he pre-heated the oven to 400F. After the smoke cleared, he took the laptop out and threw it out in the snow and left it there for a good while for it to cool down.

    The top of the lid was mostly melted away and had fused with the bottom
  • back in the '80s, seagate made some 20MB hard drives ('ST-255' and friends) that I've seen hold up like no other fixed disc in memory. not long ago, I pulled a pair of them out of a dead PC-XT -- where they'd been, collecting dust, for 8 years, after 9 years in continuous service -- stuck them in another XT clone box, and fired it up. the drives spun for 9 hours while their contents were delivered out thru the slow XT serial port, without so much as a single failed CRC32 :-)
  • by Maskirovka (255712) on Wednesday December 03, 2003 @08:07PM (#7623727)
    Rumer has it that you can prop up the side of a house with an HP laserjet II or III. I've dropped several 5Ms and 4s onto concrete from up to 1 meter and still gotten test pages along with burning smells and grinding noises. Their newer printers are a lot more fragile though. Still, if you want to really abuse something, buy an old rackmount Prolient server. I've never had the privilage of destroying one, but ruined several drillbits on a modding project.
  • Old PPC Motherboard (Score:2, Interesting)

    by ShawnD (21638)

    I actually improved a system through abuse!

    I have this old Motorola PPC PReP motherboard I use for a fileserver. It had stopped autobooting, but would still boot if I manually typed the boot command on the console.

    One day I was playing with it and managed to plug in the power leads wrong (AT power supply :-(). When I turned on the switch and the fans just sort of twitched I instantly realized what I had done.

    I plugged them in correctly and turned it on and it still worked!. All of the NVRAM had bee

    • I actually improved a system through abuse!

      You have to show 'em who's the boss.

      There was this freeware project for the Amiga 2000 where you could get instructions and parts to solder a Zorro-ISA bridgeboard and use the ISA slots in an Amiga 2000 for stuff like network cards. Normally, those ISA slots were for the Commodore PC-on-a-card 8086, 286 and 386 cards, but with this hack, you could use them from the Amiga (with the proper drivers, of course). Anyway, my card didn't really want to work and after

  • I have a symbol compact flash 802.11b card. I had a habit of keeping it in my shirt pocket, and one day I remember idly having my hand on my chest, feeling the CF card and thinking "Blimey! I'd forgotten all about that! I might have put my shirt in the wash!" then thinking "heh - as IF! I'm FAR too smart to do something STUPID like that!!!"

    Cut to two weeks later and I'm pulling clothes from the washing machine, then I hear a clatter on the floor. Cue guttaral moan that could probably be hard across t
  • by Malfourmed (633699) on Wednesday December 03, 2003 @08:27PM (#7623885) Homepage
    My trusty hammer.

    Sure I've had to change the head a couple of times, and also the handle, but aside from that it's as good as new.
    • My trusty body.

      I had to change the head a couple times, but it still works! Can't say much for the looks, but it's almost impossible to move a soul from one body to another and all that.

      Only problem is that now all my attempts at humor on slashdot are duds.
  • by generationxyu (630468) on Wednesday December 03, 2003 @08:40PM (#7624007) Homepage
    I once dropped a (at the time broken) Sony Discman out my second floor window, it first hit a ledge, and then the ground, landed face up, with the top open. I wasn't too worried about it since it was broken. It then proceeded to get rained on for a week. When I finally got it back inside, the PCB was coated in mud, and it was essentially a mess. I washed it off with water (after all, i might as well use the parts for something). Turn it on, it works. Apparently rain and mud fixes Sony Discmen.
  • Way back (late 80s) I had a used Toshiba laptop - you know, blue monochrome LCD, 2 floppy. I slipped running up the front stairs of my apartment (concrete steps, concrete landing) and fell swinging the laptop over my head and smashing it down on the landing. Pieces flew everywhere but I just took out the soldering iron and melted the brass inserts back into the plastic case, carefully figured out where everything went, reassembled it and used it for quite a while thereafter.
  • I once beat a man to death with a Model M keyboard. Worked just fine before and since.

    OK, I didn't really. But I'm sure I could have, those things really are invincible (also big and heavy) - fire, physical shock, water (or beer), nothing hurts them.
  • I've got a 128 meg compact flash card that has been in my right front pocket every work day for the last 9 months. It has a software reflash for a device that my company sells on it. I run in to customers that need the update about once or twice a week. It has now made 3 trips through the washer and dryer and still works.
  • In 8th grade, Michael torino used to spit in the disk drives every time he used them, todd difosid knoced them off the desk once and it still worked, there were M&Ms in the disk drives, and people generally beat teh crap out of them. They refused to die. My hat is off to the desiginers of these systems, they took the worst crap the 8th grade class from hell could throw at them, and kept on going.
  • by jht (5006) on Wednesday December 03, 2003 @08:52PM (#7624107) Homepage Journal
    Way back at the beginning of the last decade, I worked for an Apple reseller. The Iomega rep gave me a couple of the then-new Bernoulli 90MB drives, and I wound up using them to shuttle data between home and work. The drives were pretty rugged, but the disks were awesome.

    I used to leave them in my car for days on end in mid-winter (and this is New England - it gets pretty danged cold here) and use them with no problem. But one time, I had no better alternative to use as an ice scraper, so I used a Bernoulli 90 disk, figuring the disk would be toast afterwards (but hey, it was free, so why not sacrifice it?). So I chipped the ice off my car with it and didn't think twice about it.

    The disk worked with no problems at all for years afterwards.

    Needless to say, the later Zip and Jaz drives were nowhere near as rugged, but Zip was the most rugged small media format (the drives were fragile, but the disks were pretty tough) you could get easily until flash drives took off the last couple of years. SyQuest disks, OTOH, would die if you looked at them funny.
    • Oh yeah. The Iomega reps once came to my shop with a little dog and pony show about how reliable the Bernoulli carts were. They had several amusing stories (with notarized affadavits!) but the one I remember best was one story about a fishing boat that went down with a laptop and a portable Bernoulli drive onboard. After a few weeks, they located the boat and raised it the bottom of the ocean. The laptop was hosed, but they drained the seawater out of the carts, fired them up in a new drive, and they ran ju
  • Way back in the day, I had a 1k SRAM that I had abused in every which way possible. It ended up in my TRS-80 to give it lowercase. It mostly worked, but the way it mostly worked was really cool:

    A funny thing about my TRS-80, something different from any other one you've ever seen, is that when you first turned it on, you would only see funny characters on the screen. I mean things like a circle with a dot in it, or a greek letter... that kind of stuff. Then the characters would slowly start to flicker, a
  • My girlfriend is still using my old Compaq Laptop. I figure it must have been bitten by a vampire or something.
  • At my old job a freind and I found an old 300 MB HD. We decided to take the cover off and look inside. Then we plugged it into a 486 we had around and installed Win 3.11 - All while the cover was off. We let it run for a few days and watched the head move back and forth. Finaly we got board of defrags and decided to kill it. First off with compressed air upside down (so it spits a cold liquid) then with magnets. The damn HD kept on going. Finaly we started throwing shit at it. That killed it slowly.
    • Re:Old HD (Score:3, Funny)

      by shumacher (199043)
      So, what you're saying is that you used company time and company resources to destroy company hardware, then you link to your resume in your sig...

      I've been doing it all wrong. Let me know how it works out.
  • When i was building my 1st computer. My 1st processor didn't work. and the company who sold it wouldn't take it back for some stupid reason. So I kicked it around on the ground, kept it in my pocket, combed my hair with it, threw it around, played catch with it... Then I had pcoessor die and was desprate for something. So i stragtened the pins out on my p166 w/mmx and wholy crap it worked after all the abuse and sitting unprotected in the bottom of a bin for several months.
  • My mother's laptop has survived a duck climbing all over it, didn't even scratch the screen -- maybe it's a witch.
  • About 1986 I was living in Fort St. John BC, Canada. It had been a bitterly cold winter, but it was now spring breakup. As I was walking home from elementary school along a dirt road I looked down and saw a watch with no strap in a puddle. I broke the puddle free with a rock, took it home, and thawed it out in the kitchen sink. As far as I know that watch never stopped working; I lost it in about 1990.
  • I know you all are thinking about computers, but I've had some radios that amazed me. When two-way radio equipment started getting microcontrollers in them everybody in the industry started to worry that they wouldn't take the abuse.

    One of my customers, a mining company, had just taken delivery of a new GE radio system including MTL model portable radios. One of the foremen kept sending his radio in for repair and I couldn't find anything wrong with it. I went out to talk to him in person about the prob
  • I'll stack up my ancient Mac IIcx as a survivor, I still have it because nobody would ever want an old dog CPU like that. But in those days, it was state of the art. I had a RasterOps 364 video capture board, which at that time cost almost as much as the CPU. I did some amazing multimedia projects with this board, it was more valuable to me than the computer.
    So one day I'm sitting in my apartment working on the IIcx when I hear the shriek of a table saw coming from next door and the lights start to go dim i
  • I used to do PC repairs for this guy who had the support contract for a local coal mine.
    The coal mine owned a bunch of IBM PS/2 model 60s and 80s which where down the shaft, and their job was to record the incoming coal trains with the load information (ran coax back to the shaft).
    I had to open them a few times and I learned after the first time to wear clothes that I didn't care about since the coal dust was everywhere. Power supplies where stuffed, about 4 inches of the crap on every surface inside the c
  • by pen (7191)
    Just got done watching Star Trek: The Motion Picture [imdb.com] . I nominate Vger.
  • No contest on this question. My brother has a Motorola 120-series cellular phone which he A) dropped in a bucket of tile adhesive, completely submersing it B) left out in the rain twice, both times with it on, once having to recover it from thick mud, and C) dropped a 50-pound motor assembly on. Looks and works like new except for a small dent from the motor. Unbelievable.
  • by slaker (53818) on Friday December 05, 2003 @10:00PM (#7644696)
    I don't know how much they weigh - easily 100lbs. - but one of my customers had an old 3812 line printer that he wanted to get rid of, on the grounds that no one printed from his AS/400 any more.

    Fair enough.

    I was working alone that day, and the dollies were all locked up, so I ended up carrying it out to the loading dock. It was unbelievably bulky and awkward, and by the time I got to the edge of the dock closest to the dumpster, my hards were all sweaty. It slipped right out of my hands, straight down between the dumpster and the dock, probably 8 feet all told, and onto concrete. It went "CLANG", and I could tell it was the printer that was ringing, not the dumpster.

    The dumpster was almost as tall as I am. I knew I wasn't going to be able to safely lift it up over my head by myself.

    So I put it in my car, figuring I could just set it out with my trash.

    When I got home I noticed the thing had a 5.25" floppy drive in it, and the worst thing I could say about it was that it looked scuffed from its close encounter with the ground. It didn't have a parallel port, but it did have a DB9, token ring and twinax interfaces.

    I hauled it out of my car and under my garage workbench, plugged it in and ran a modem cable to it from my workbench PC. Added some paper...

    OK. It didn't print.

    But it WANTED to. There just wasn't any toner in it. I snagged a toner and a fuser kit for it from my client the next time I visited, fed it to my printer and...

    It's a line printer. It doesn't do fonts or any other stupid crap. But it prints text at an amazing 12 pages per minute, probably faster if I had it hooked up through token ring. Perfect for big jobs, like printing out man pages and email and stuff.

    My other IBM example? I stepped on a T20 a couple years back. The keyboard, not the display, fortunately. Some keys came off. I put them back on, everything was fine.

    Ye gads did IBM overbuild their hardware.

    Not really "durable" in a classic sense, but one of my clients also has a Netware 3 machine with just over 3000 days of uptime, an ancient Zeos machine with 4 2GB SCSI disks and UPS that's probably been dead five years, that a half-dozen Windows 3.1 machines still connect to and use every day.

"The greatest warriors are the ones who fight for peace." -- Holly Near

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