December 7, 2008

Saving a Laptop from Your Clumsy Wife

Filed under: Not Tech — Chris @ 4:15 pm

Believe it or not (nobody is more surprised than me), I am writing this from a laptop that was doused with a full cup of coffee two days ago (by my lovely and wonderful wife, against whom I hold no grudge whatsoever, but whom I do most definitely blame). Here are the details of how my computer was rehabilitated, in the hope that they might be of use.

  1. Within one second of The Incident, the power indicator on my flashed red and the computer turned itself off. This seems to have been some self-preserving behavior on the hardware’s part and not a sign of catastrophic electrical failure (?).
  2. As quickly as I could (this wasn’t very quickly as it was early in the morning and I hadn’t had my coffee yet), I disconnected the computer from the AC power and removed the battery.
  3. After some dithering, I dismantled the entire computer, right down to the motherboard, wiping things off with a damp rag as I went. This turned out to be a good idea: there was milky coffee in the pins of my CPU. If that had dried and hardened in place, all would have been lost.
  4. I put the keyboard and plastic pieces through a rinse cycle in the dishwasher. I somewhat more delicately rinsed off parts of the motherboard and the CPU. This may seem a little risky, but clean water is not dangerous to (disconnected) electronics—much less dangerous than milky coffee to be sure. The key is to make sure everything is completely dry before you put it back together and plug it in.
  5. I waited 2 full days for all the components to dry out before I re-assembled the laptop. I also bought a hair dryer blew cool air on each component for a little while before attempting re-assembly. I have no idea if this could be done faster, but I didn’t want to take any chances.

Et voila. It works. I haven’t tested all of the external ports (after a similar incident, with less effective disaster relief, H lost the use of the video port on her old iBook. It wouldn’t be such a big deal if I lost my external video, since I have never successfully used it to give a slide presentation), but I am feeling confident. I will update later if anything goes haywire.


“Banh D”? More Like “Banh F”

Filed under: Food — Chris @ 1:10 pm

Having now made the same mistake twice, I need to get this down in Google to protect my future self: the “Banh D” sandwich at Sidecar is not only a bad value compared to a $3.50 Ba Xuyen banh mi, it is not even a particularly tasty sandwich, poorly conceived from top to bottom.

Every attempt I’ve encountered to “class up” a banh mi has been a failure. This is perplexing. The banh mi is a very simple sandwich, which offers very simple—though profound—pleasures. It stands to reason a clever cook could “elevate” (to use an obnoxious Top Chef cliché) the banh mi into something both delicious and worth $11. But… no.

I mean, tell me: why ciabatta? Vietnamese baguettes are absolutely delicious: crispy, fluffy, and chewy all at the same time. Ciabatta is not an improvement. Is there any such thing as a good sandwich made better by ciabatta?

In fairness, I will point out that Sidecar’s fried chicken is delicious (though they charge an extra dollar or two for dark meat, which is bullshit). I also hear good things about the burger.

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