Sam Smith, 2008 – Some years ago a high schooler by the name of Sam used to take out our office trash and serve as our computer consultant (in no particular order). Sam is now with a major government contractor complete with a top secret clearance, but I always save up a question or two for when our paths cross, as they did this summer at a wedding.
I asked Sam what it meant when one of my laptops refused to start at all unless I randomly pushed various buttons twenty or thirty times until I happened on the right combination.
“Sounds like you need a new computer.”
I wasn’t going to let him get off that easily, so I mentioned that Maine had been extraordinarily damp this year and did he think that might have something to do with it. He immediately brightened and told me of the time he had recovered a wet cell phone by sticking it in the oven for an hour at 150 degrees. Sam suggested that I do the same.
On my return I quickly decided I had a choice: either Best Buy or the oven. I chose the latter and, being a bit more conservative than Sam, put my laptop in for a half an hour on warm. It then started up immediately.
Unfortunately, the bad weather continued and my laptop returned to its persnickety state. Not wanting to press my luck, I fooled around with the buttons and discovered something further. On the front edge of the Toshiba were a series of buttons I had heretofore ignored. On testing them, I discovered that, in the right sequence, my computer would still not turn on, but that Dinah Washington, who was neatly stored in my media library, would. Further, a little experimentation informed me that once I heard Dinah I was only a button push or two away from full operation. I have been doing this ever since, adding only a minute of downtime to my day, and holding Best Buy at bay for at least another month.