Stupid Goofs


Chances are, anyone who has not made a stupid mistake with computers has either hardly ever fixed one or is lying about it.

The Old Switcheroo

My Wi-Fi was not working. The switch on the side was in the on position. The BIOS had internal Wi-Fi on. Two or three USB Wi-Fi devices were plugged in at different times. At least one used the driver already included in the operating system already on the machine or was supposed to. The hardware port worked. The USB Wi-Fi worked on another machine. Still, no Wi-Fi yet. My stupidity was that the side switch was in the on position but was not actually on. Apparently, sliding it off and then on solved it. Granted, that means there’s a defect in the slider, maybe a grain of dirt, but it’s been fine since that one little fix.

The Lunatic Takes a Swing

This one wasn’t stupid, but it sure looked it. I swung a hammer a couple of times at the edge of a large printed circuit board of a proprietary phone system. It was sticking out of its case and most people would have gently wiggled it into place, but I’m not most people. Good luck getting parts for the system. I don’t think it was being made anymore. I don’t think the manufacturer was providing any support anymore. Good luck getting parts on my income at the time. Good luck telling a whole office to function without phones for a few days, as we had no alternative system. The way I swung the hammer looked random, not at all careful. That’s the kind of maneuver that gets people to tackle you to the floor and wrap duct tape around your wrists and mouth while they call a psychiatric hospital or the police or else they leave the room. This time, they left the room. A moment later, I announced that phones were working. I think they tested it. They knew me but they didn’t know I could fix a phone system. I didn’t know I could fix a phone system. I figured it out, though. We never got a manual, because $85 was too much for the office budget. I did most of that work at night, when no one would miss the phones for an hour or so. I did a lot of figuring out.

Stupid Rain

I take my laptop outside most days, in a backpack. (A computer case is almost screaming, "Steal me! Steal me!" Backpacks are common. Also, I don't dress to be fancy.) Sometimes, it’s going to rain. Sonetimes, that’ll be a thunderstorm. I know the weather prediction for the day and night before I leave the house. I have plastic bags to protect my stuff. They’re free, when I shop at local stores. Doubled up, even with pinholes, the bags work well. I carry spares, too. For a thunderstorm, when it’s coming, I slip my laptop into a huge Ziploc bag, so huge I bought it at a large hardware store in a box of four, and it’s made of thick plastic. The zipper thing never worked, it has a red string that came out the first time I opened it, but the bag is so large I can wrap it around my laptop a coouple of times, give or take, and the dry laptop stays dry through a thunderstorm. Except that I don’t remember to move my laptop into my Ziploc bag, which is right there, a few inches away. Then I wonder why I didn’t pack it. Or I forget to pull the other bags over my papers. Then the papers get, um, er, uh, wet. I lose something like a half hour at home spreading everything out to dry and repacking it the next morning. Maybe the rain hates me and throws a ray beam at my brain just to confuse me.