One day, I got a panic call from a customer:
"I'm here trying to get through airport security, they need me to turn on my laptop"Well, it turned out this particular machine was prone to a problem that would start happing shortly after warranty -- the ROMs in the machine were in sockets which would work loose with time. The design was the type of parts that the textbooks said you should use in that application, but the provider shipped bad parts. The sockets would get so loose with age you could extract the ROMs with fingers only -- that is very bad, esp. for a laptop!
"And it won't boot up, right?", I said.
"Yes, how did you know?"
"They won't let me on the plane with my laptop like this, and I need to get on the plane, and I need the data that is on my computer!"Picking up and dropping the laptop would reseat the ROMs well enough to get the machine booted. The machine was at no risk, I often demonstrated the durability of our computers by dropping them, and it was my OWN laptop I used for these demos, not a store machine. Zenith fiddled with a bunch of official fixes, but the best was probably just adding a dab of solder to each pin and soldering them in place. Yes, upgrading the ROMs would be pretty difficult, but that wasn't a common issue anyway.
"I can get you on the plane, but you need to follow what I say carefully."
"Ok, what do I do?"
"Do you have a table in front of you?"
"Yes", he responded
"Turn your computer off, pick it up, and hold it about two inches above the table"
"Now, drop it on the table"
"Turn it on" I said.
"YOU ARE A GENIUS!"
"Bring it in when you get back in town, we'll get you fixed up properly"
Copyright 2002, Nick Holland
Return to War Stories
Return to Nick Holland's Home Page