The Literary Corner: Renegade Writer’s Guild
Published 10:02 am Thursday, April 5, 2018
“Confidence- Well Shaken”
By Kevin F. Wishon
Many years ago, I occasionally repaired computers on the side. The purpose was never about money but what I could learn. I enjoyed looking at these ailing systems and returning them to smooth operating condition. Additionally, I had the pleasure of working on several computers I could never afford. After a couple of years of repairing this equipment, I was feeling comfortably confident, but I should have known better.
I’d seen machines that had experienced severe situations before. Once, I looked at a computer that had been through a house fire. Most of the time, the internal circuitry damage is not worth the money it would cost to repair. It was with this truth, I approached the next situation. A laptop had been through a lightning storm and would no longer boot. The owner thought this pro-line laptop had taken a severe electrical spike. If there was any chance of repair, the owner wanted to know.
Sure enough, it would not boot. I removed all the peripherals and still nothing. I tried powering the laptop from the power cord only. It was simply dead. I wanted to be able to tell the owner precisely which internal components had failed, so I disassembled the laptop. After a complete disassembly and testing, I was no closer to an answer. Finally, I had to accept that the electrical damage was not visible. I called the owner and notified them of the bad news. After returning my call, the owner said he understood, and we agreed on a date to return the laptop.
After some time, I reassembled the laptop in preparation for its return to the owner. Afterward, just for fun, I pressed the power button, and to my shock, it booted. I felt lousy after this. I was glad it was working, but I was unsure why. I returned the laptop to the happy owner and did not charge them. Troubled by the experience, I researched the matter and finally discovered that newer computers have power management circuits, which can have their data corrupted. If this occurs, the computer will appear to be dead until all power drains from the power management circuitry, and it resets. In the past, I felt confident to rely on experience until this situation occurred. Later, I approached each issue as a new situation, making no assumptions.
By Marie Craig
Several years ago, I owned a home with a garage attached, but it had a less-expensive metal, segmented door without any insulation. It faced west, so it was very hot in there during the summer time. In the winter, it was extremely cold in the garage. I knew I didn’t want to spend money on a new door, so I pondered what to do. In studying the door, I realized there were metal projections on the inside that curved so it would be possible to insert big strips of something inside the door along each section. I measured for each future strip and decided I could insert sections of inch-thick Styrofoam insulation. I put the numbers and information into my purse so I would have it with me. Three sheets, four feet by eight feet would be the quantity I would need.
Driving by a home supply store late one afternoon, I decided to stop there and price the foam sheets. I parked my van and went inside. When I realized how light weight and inexpensive these sheets were, I said to myself, “I’ll just buy these three right now.” I was able to tuck them under my arm and walk awkwardly to the checkout counter. I paid the clerk, and she asked if I needed help getting them out. “Oh, no,” said cocky me.
When I got outside, the wind had started blowing very hard, and I had a good way to walk to my car. I wondered how I was going to get the back door up and then realized that the seats were up and the sheets probably wouldn’t fit. As I started walking that way, a big gust of wind pushed the sheets and me in the opposite direction of where I wanted to go. It was amazing how helpless I was at walking in a straight line to my van. I ricocheted all over that parking lot back and forth. I wished I had paid more attention when my father-in-law took me riding on his sailboat.
I had to swallow my pride and ask a man walking by to help me. I gave him permission to laugh as I went sailing by. Another man came to help also, and we soon had the wayward sheets in my van, and I was able to get home, laughing all the way.
The end project turned out fine and made a great difference in controlling temperature. The mess I made cutting the foam was another matter, but that’s a different story.