December 5th, 2003

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Other Peoples' Computers

Is it bad that I think it's a fun challenge to try to troubleshoot a computer from someone else's memory of the problem? Not frustrating, but entertaining? To try to figure out what questions to ask to jog memory, to figure out problems from weird descriptions, to get a best guess from too little information?

I fixed the computer of one of the girls in this dorm that way. (I can't think of her name. Note that such namenesia is nothing out of the ordinary for me.) She flagged me down in the hall at Wohl Center and told me about her computer problem: She couldn't log in, and sometimes it wouldn't even boot. She initially suspected a virus, but I figured out otherwise...

"Oh, and the caps-lock is upside-down."
"Yeah, someone pried it off, flipped it over, and glued it on."
"Shut up. No, I mean that when typing my name, it types caps with caps-lock off and types lowercase with caps-lock on."
"Oh. You have a stuck SHIFT key."
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    geeky geeky
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Why Washington University Is Cool

Paraphrased version of an e-mail exchange between me and the guy in charge of the CEC:

"I really like the Linux lab. Linux is better than Windows. But the machines don't have the Java environment I'm used to- could you please install Eclipse on them sometime?"

And they say it takes several people to get things done.
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Kistaro's Guide To Creating Weird Mental Images

1. Take any common two-word noun, concept, phrase, etc. "Kamikaze pilot," "rain storm," etc.
2. Pick a word that would almost make sense with one, or even both words, but not the two together. Or even a totally random word.
3. Insert said word in two-word phrase.

And that's it! Look what you can create:

Kamikaze dirigible pilot
Scotch bagpipe tape
Electric umbrella outlet
Removable intimate adhesive
Water hazard pay
Computer pilot error
Very happy regurgitation
Final physical exams

This is what happens when studying for exams plus four hours of programming meet to erode the little sanity I posess.
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