Friday, June 19, 2009

Coke & Computers do not mix

A client required a new system a while back. I built and tested it, then delivered it 50kms west of town for free. The client called me a few weeks later in a foul mood because the computer had failed to power up. He was pretty aggressive on the phone and I tried to calm him down and just have him bring the system in for assessment.

They arrived and I put it on the bench. The hubby was effing and blinding about the computer being unreliable, a pretty poor attitude all round. I opened the case and found a brown liquid had run down the back of the system into the power supply and it had shorted. I said "that looks like coke". He swore black and blue that it couldn't be coke as his kids were little angels that never took a soft drink near the system ever.

I dipped my finger in the liquid and tasted it.

"That tastes like coke" I said.

Oh no it couldnt be coke as they had never drunk coke in their lives and if they did it wouldn't be anywhere near the computer.

"You taste it then" I said.

Oh no Im not tasting that says he. It might be glycol from the power supply, cos my father was an electrical engineer and he knows all about power supplies.

Sure, even I know that the electrolyte is usually boric acid or sodium borate in aqueous solution together with various sugars or ethylene glycol which are added to retard evaporation.

I've tasted Ethylene Glycol. Sure it has a chemical sweetness similar to aspartame but is generally foul.

But this looked like coke an smelled like coke. It was enough like coke that I was prepared to taste it. There was no chemical aftertaste or acidity. The volume of fluid was way beyond the capacity of even the largest electrolytic capacitor in a power supply. Its path of ingress was from the top of the system down through the power supply and across the motherboard, to pool in the bottom of the case.

My sister turned up for a visit. She saw the open case and stated "that looks like coke".

"It tastes like coke too" I said.

I stripped the system. Washed the motherboard (as coke is a corrosive) and replaced the power supply. It booted and ran.

We worked out a deal. He picked up some bike parts for me in Melbourne and I wore the cost of the power supply and repair.

Everyone happy. Well sort of anyway.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Crescent Head

My girl was up for the week so I took her fishing at Crescent Head. I called uncle Barry and he brought his metal detector. We didn't do so well with the fish but Savannah did ok on the "treasure hunt". A nice lunch at the kiosk and a walk around was enjoyable as well.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Rust Prevention

Its been the wettest year for ages up here. My poor old Hilux is out in the weather and starting to show signs of neglect. So I stripped the front skirts and bullbar off it to give it a preventative coat of rustproof paint. A new second hand bullbar and some better spotties will help too.

eBay shill bidders..

I use eBay a lot. I've scored some cheap building materials and bikes on it over the years. Ive also sold a lot of gear for other people. Im honest in my descriptions and transactions.
Some people aren't.

Take this cement mixer for example.

I waited up to bid on it and was outbid by a zero feedback user. The only other item the secret bidder had ever bid upon was another one by the same seller. (you can check this in the bidding history even though the identity is hidden).

I thought this a bit suspicious initially and this was reinforced when the seller relisted the mixer first thing the next morning.

Now you'd think if the person who won bidding on it declined to continue the transaction there would be a few days of back and forth and some bad feedback left.

Not in this case.

Now most sellers would offer a 2nd chance to the next lowest bidder as a matter of course. Nope, he just re lists the item and hopes it goes higher this time.

This would indicate the seller has another account which he uses to drive his auctions higher.

Its called "shill bidding" and it sucks because eBay cant/wont police it.

The higher an item sells for, equals more money for them.

Now I'd be happy to purchase the cement mixer, even at a higher price. But do I want to deal with someone whose sales are fraudulent?

Ummm No.

So fuck you pigsy427. You're obviously shifty.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Spontaneous Keyboard Destruction?

I had a laptop in for diagnostics the other day. The client stated that the keyboard had suddenly popped from it mounting and then refused to boot. Upon removing the keyboard I noticed that it was quite bent. The motherboard, mounting plate and switch circuit board have both been damaged. It appears as though someone had smashed both fists into it in a fit of rage. I questioned the owner and he seemed to have no idea how it occured.

Yeah right.


The beaches have certainly copped a hammering over the last few months from the storms and king tides. Theres a massive wall of sand from Crescent Head to Hat Head.

The access at Richardsons crossing is quite good now though, with the council banking a gravel ramp down to the beach. Yes, I have a beach driving permit.

And so does Uncle Barry. He loves his little tipper.

The kiosk at Crescent Head has a good feed and friendly service.
The views arent bad either.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009


The flooding in this area has started to abate once again. Its our second close call in a matter of months. The CBD was sandbagged and shop owners were moving stock above predicted water levels. Luckily the rain held off for a little while allowing the river to drop.