Miscellaneous Musing |Techie Talk by Judy @ 3:15 PM

I should have know something was up. The Mom Radar was working, yes, but I kept wrapping it in a don’t ask don’t tell blanket for as long as possible.

#1 Son has his own computer. It’s built mostly from parts handed down from my computer, but since he’s not a big game player it’s more than serviceable for his needs. (Heck… it’s better than the one I’m using here at work.) He has his own printer. It’s also a hand-me-down, but it’s a very good printer for school papers, etc.

A while back, #1 Son started asking me to print documents on my computer instead of his. He said his was out of ink. So I got new ink for him. He still wanted to use my printer. He just liked the way mine printed better.

Then he started asking to use my computer to do his schoolwork on. At first occasionally, then every night. It’s not that I don’t like to share. Let’s face it, I share my whole house and all of my belongings. But I built a computer for #1 Son so he could use his and not mine.

After several nights of this I pressed him a little harder. You have your own perfectly good computer. Why are you using mine? No I won’t buy “I just like it better.” ‘Fess up.

And he admitted that his has been a bit… flaky. How flaky? Well… almost anything he does causes the dreaded Blue Screen Of Death. No, he didn’t read the error message. He just switched to my computer. But it might be the video driver.

So I promised to take a look at it Saturday night. (Some people plan dates on their Saturday nights. I plan computer maintenance and driver downloads.)

While trying to determine why his computer kept BSODing (which it was indeed), I happened to see that his desk lamp — the long, retractable office type lamp that fits into a clamp on the desk — had fallen over onto the printer. I picked up the lamp to put it back upright, and that’s when I saw it…

The lamp had apparently been on when it fell over. The heat from the bulb had been hot enough to melt the plastic case of the printer. Right over all of the control buttons. Which were now about 1/2″ further into the case than they were before and were firmly and permanently fused into one solid piece of plastic. Those buttons would never control anything again. Ever. Even if the printer still worked, there was no way to turn it on. Or off.

It was all clear now. #1 Son had to use my printer without causing suspicion. The lamp was left artfully arranged in its fallen position so that it hid the damage from casual glances during room visits. But he couldn’t ask me to figure out what was wrong with his computer or I’d notice the printer. And, oh yes indeedy I did.

I was actually sort of surprised that I wasn’t really pissed off. After considering it briefly, I decided to just be glad that he didn’t burn the house down. The printer was the only thing damaged.

His computer? Turned out that his puny little 8 GB hard drive was full. (He does have a bigger second drive. It really is a decent computer.) XP couldn’t write to the small drive when necessary and so died. A quick trip to CompUSA yielded both a larger hard drive (160 GB) and a USB printer router. While the data transfered from his old hard drive to his new drive, I hooked up the printer router to our little home network. His computer is now stable and he can send his documents to my printer without having to use my computer.

And I’m going to find him a less dangerous desk lamp.

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