When Computer Parts Fly

When Computer Parts Fly

Working in IT is meant to be safe.  The most dangerous it can get is when you’re installing a new update on your computer or being hit by the famous Blue Screen of death after not saving your work.

But in 1987 I discovered just how wrong I was.

I was called by a Caltex distributor to assist him onsite.  He had a DOS system which was using a network product called Novell, which I am certified engineer in.

The owner was getting frustrated by the speed or lack thereof, drop outs, data error (human mainly) hence my reason for being call in.  Little did I know how frustrated he was. I opened the door to his office a keyboard (which back in those days weighed 5 times as modern-day ones) flew past my head.

I was able to dodge the incoming projectile as it flew past my ear, missing me by only a few millimetres.  If it had hit me, I would have been knocked out.

The keyboard wasn’t the only computer part that went flying that day.  During that meeting I watched a mouse, and another keyboard fly around the room along with some Australian slang for good measure.  I’m only surprised that the computer itself wasn’t thrown out the window.

 

From that day forward I made sure I knocked before entering a client’s room.  I also added danger money to their invoices for any airborne equipment.

 

OZ IT – Amusing Stories – The Most Expensive “Any” Key

The Most Expensive “Any” Key

 

Its 1985, MS Dos has replaced CPM and us geeks are arguing about whether PC or MS Dos is more stable. Currently I am writing a database for some indigenous communities to calculate how much federal money is to be sent to Aboriginal run sites such as Yalata.

I get a phone call from a young woman who was currently updating her PC but has encountered a problem. She is stuck as the computer is saying “press any key” to continue but she can’t find the “Any” Key anywhere.

I explained to her that it was asking her to click the space bar or literary any key but she refused to touch any of them stating “if I stuff this up, I will get into too much trouble – I just won’t do it. Can you come here and fix it up?”

Thinking she was local, that is Adelaide based, I said yes and asked for an address.  Her Address – Yalata General Store.

This meant taking either a 15-hour drive in those days, or flying in. I was not going to drive for 15 hours, so I took a local plane (2 days later), was picked up by a four-wheel drive and driven to the local Yalata General Store.

When I arrived, I was met by the same lovely women from the phone. She showed me her PC, it was still on the same screen waiting for the “Any” Key to be pressed. I pushed the space bar and the update went along perfectly. After it was updated, I took out my black pen and wrote ANY KEY on the space bar to ensure this issue never occurred again in the future.

Due to the location I had to stay overnight before flying back to the city the next day. That same day I sent them an invoice for the work which due to the time and travel cost came out to $3,500, for the installation of an “Any” Key.

It was likely the most expensive “Any” Key in history.