Today's stories [7.2.19]
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THE POWERBOOK THAT LEAKED
(A True Story)
In 1993, sometime in December, a customer walks in with a dead
PowerBook 165. Fault description: hangs on startup. An
additional symptom provided was: whilst being carried from the
customer's site to our service center, a 'sloshing' noise was
heard within the machine.
"Has anything been split on this computer?" I inquired, but no,
nothing of the sort had happened, protested the client
vehemently. Taking this with a grain of salt (no-one's going to
admit doing something that totally invalidates their warranty
and effectively wrecks their computer) I went about filling in
the repair order.
Back on the bench, I started the PowerBook up. Sure enough, an
address error on startup, just after 'Welcome to Macintosh'. I
lowered my ear to the keyboard, at which point I heard a
crackling noise (couldn't hear any sloshing noise though)
and became aware of a rather 'sharp' odor which seemed to
emanate from the inside of the machine. Flicking the computer
off and unplugging the adapter, I removed the battery from
its compartment, only to observe that the entire battery
casing was soaked in a fluid which appear to have a rainbow-
like sheen (kind of like what a puddle of soapy water would
look like -- oily and colorful). I also noticed that the
same fluid was leaking out of the battery compartment onto
the static mat, but appeared clear rather than multi-colored.
My first thoughts were that the battery had somehow leaked
acid out into the guts of the PowerBook, which would account
for the sharp smell (which reminded me of ammonia), yet the
battery terminals were about the one part of the battery that
was dry. No, upon closer examination, I ruled the acid theory
out. The battery was wet, but not leaking.
Tipping the machine on its side, I watched more fluid run out
and coagulate on the bench in a puddle about the size of a
compact disc. It was definitely clear, and I observed that
the 'rainbow' effect had been caused by the reaction of the
plastic battery casing to this 'mystery liquid'. I then
unscrewed the computer and separated the two parts of the
PowerBook. The smell suddenly became a LOT stronger. The hard
disk looked like a solid lump of rust, and the daughterboard
appeared to have about three barbecued chips. Although I was
quickly forming my own opinions on what had happened, I
invited several of my workmates in to take a sniff and offer
Safeway has made a $1.7 billion offer for Vons markets.
Says Bob Mills, "The amount of the bid became public
after a checkout clerk was overheard yelling 'Price check
on the company!'"
He adds, "the original offer was $2 billion, but then Safeway
pulled out a huge stack of double-value coupons."
The other day the White House Chief of Staff asked President
Clinton: "What should we do about the abortion bill, Mr president?"
Clinton responded: "Just pay it."
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