Thursday, August 19, 2010

Water under the bridge, and toolkits

I don't have my own toolkit at work. If I need a screwdriver, I borrow a big one from the custodian's toolkit. All the computers are either so old that they have honking big thumbscrews holding them together, or so new that they just pop and slide apart without any tools. So Tuesday when one of our "live-in" patrons, bless his heart, spilled his water bottle on a laptop, I didn't even have a single baby Phillips head to open it up with.

As soon as I got to the scene of the accident, I unplugged the power cord and the mouse, turned it over, and started shaking out as much water as I could. (Meanwhile the patron decamped and was not seen again that day, nor all of Wednesday.) Still keeping it upside-down, I used paper towels to try to wick out as much water as I could. Then I used a can of air to try to blow out more water. Finally I slid out the battery, which is removable without tools, and saw that it was dry, so I had reason to think that the disk drive, CD-ROM, and memory module were probably dry, too. If I'd had a hairdryer, this would have been the point at which I would have used it to try to dry up the last of the water. I left the laptop lying face down overnight.

Wednesday morning I came in with my own computer toolkit and removed the hard drive and CD-ROM. The hard drive felt vaguely damp, but not really wet. I replaced everything, turned it over, turned it on, and everything seemed normal. And if it hadn't been? Well, it's old as laptops go. Replacements are dirt cheap on eBay. Still, you don't like to lose a useful, working machine for something so preventable. Oh, well. It could have been worse. It could have been coffee or cola.