foobar on computers, software and the rest of the world

Hillarious laptop abuse - nightmare for IT department

, posted: 27-Jul-2008 12:36

So, I'm sitting here in the Qantas business launge of the Sydney airport, waiting for my flight back to Auckland. A few tables across from me someone has just powered up his laptop. I know it's a business traveler, because his laptop has a business card and a company sticker - a large, well-known news organisation - glued to the lid.

But apparently he is not happy with some crumbs or other debries being stuck in the keyboard - I can see him blowing at it and wiping over it. Doesn't seem to have the desired effect, though, so he takes the opened laptop, holds it sideways (imagine someone holding an opened book in front of them by the outside edges) and shakes it. Still not content and hoping to finally dislodge whatever particle is annoying him, he starts to hit the laptop edge first on the table a couple of times. He hits it pretty hard too, because I can hear the loud bang, bang on the table.

Now mind you: The laptop is powered on, the hard-drive is spinning, while the whole thing is being hit repeatedly against a solid obstacle.

No, that can't be good. I can see it already: He comes back to his office to tell the IT staff that the laptop stopped working for some inexplicable reason, or that it suddenly started to complain about IO or disk access errors. Of course, he will have no idea how this could have happened. Naturally, he will then tell the IT department that he mustn't lose any of his important data either, and might even grumble about the 'unreliable' system he has been given by IT.

Maybe before handing a new piece of electronic equipment over to new users someone should have told them about not treating it like a brick, lest it will end up being one.


Other related posts:
More Apple madness (follow up)
The GPU, your personal desktop super computer
A truly light-weight OS: Written in ASM, with GUI, networking and apps

Comment by freitasm, on 27-Jul-2008 13:10

ROFL. What an idiot.

Comment by rofl, on 27-Jul-2008 13:46

Whenever I set up a laptop for a user, I would tell them that "laptop" was the worst name for these things and that even having it on your lap was dodgy. Now most laptops I configure have software that detects bumps and automatically parks the hard drive's pickup (actuator) arm to stop damage to the disc surface. If his laptop was one of mine it would have parked the heads, protecting the dickheads data.

Author's note by foobar, on 28-Jul-2008 07:10

@rofl: Parked disk-heads is certainly a good start. But still: If you hit an opened laptop with a side edge on the table, it will either hit first with the lid or the main piece. So there is quite a load  suddenly on the display hinges. The plastic of the casing can crack. The electronics and connectors to the ports on that side can come loose. Keys can fall off! Parts internally can be shaken loose, etc. If you protect your hard drive, that's great. It's still not a good idea to hit a table with it! :-)

Comment by knoydart, on 28-Jul-2008 09:28

Maybe just bulk buy some toughbooks? We have one here and could do with a few more for the folks out on the road.

Comment by barf, on 28-Jul-2008 14:00

good selling point for solid state hdds!

almost as funny as joggers going for a run with their iPod!

Comment by rscole86, on 28-Jul-2008 15:58

@barf, its even funnier when those joggers do it in the rain! They then say they 'didn't' know it would damage it.

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New Zealand

  • Who I am: Software developer and consultant.
  • What I do: System level programming, Linux/Unix. C, C++, Java, Python, and a long time ago even Assembler.
  • What I like: I'm a big fan of free and open source software. I'm Windows-free, running Ubuntu on my laptop. To a somewhat lesser degree, I also follow the SaaS industry.
  • Where I have been: Here and there, all over the place.

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