Weekend Assignment #153: Share a story of true computer horror. Your computer blow up just before a big presentation? You forget to take down a compromising picture before the in-laws come over? Ever thought you were IMing with one person but in fact were IMing someone else? Share! You'll feel better. Really.
Extra Credit: So, ever actually hit your computer in frustration?
Many many years ago, when computers were less complex and I was more sophisticated, and I had just up-graded my new TRS-80 Radio Shack computer from a 4 MB system to the new, grand 16 MB RAM, I noticed that from time to time I would get a missprint in my read out.
Even though I was a better typist then than I am now, I thought maybe I was making typos and not realizing it. So I blamed myself, not my TRS-80. Yet, weird things happened from time to time.
Eventually I noticed that when text scrolled past a certain spot on the screen it would change -- sometimes. I finally pinned down that particular spot. Using a chart I figured out that a certain byte in the Screen Display was intermittent. Further, by noting what it was changing the data FROM to TO, I was able to rationalize that the third bit of the 1653rd byte of the Screen Display was working and sometime not.
I took the computer back to Radio Shack and complained that "The third bit of the 1653rd byte of the Screen Display was intermittent."
They looked at me as though I were nuts. Nevertheless they took it back, replaced the chip with the ONE faulty transistor out of the hundreds of thousands on that chip, with a new chip.
Extra credit: Did you ever HIT your computer? No, what I did to demonstrate that I actually knew what I was talking about was to carefully construct a sentence, which when scrolled up the faulty screen display, would prove my point by changing the text as itscrolled past the faulty transistor.
The sentence I composed was: "On performing a vasectomy on a wealthy patient, be careful not to cut the patient's balls," said Dr. Moneybags.
When that sentence scrolled past the faulty transistor, the text became a more honest "On performing a vasectomy on a wealthy patient, be careful not to cut the patient's bills," said Dr. Moneybags.