It started with my monitor. It just wouldn’t turn on. It made that sort of monitor sound ‘…zzzzapp! – crackle …crackle’ but then there was a kind of quiet ‘clunk’ at the side and it then just sat there looking blank.
I left it to cool down a bit and then tried again. Zzzapp – crackle crackle …clunk.
Now, of all the apparatus I have lying around or hooked up to the PC, the monitor is the newest …and it is not second hand or on permanent loan – I actually went to a local ‘cheap’ PC shop and bought it just 2 years ago when my old monitor had got so greeny-dark of picture that it was like peering into a festering aquarium.
This seemed to be a job for the vacuum cleaner. It gets incredibly dusty in my ‘office’ and that often leads to the electronic stuff overheating – which also leads to clunk type noises as various equipment gives up the struggle.
So I went and dug the hoover out of the broom cupboard and hauled it into the room. I noticed a few wodges of dust under the desk so I sucked them up first. Then I tried to hoover the monitor through those little slits at the back – I gave the casing a couple of thuds too to loosen the dust inside. “While I am at it,” I thought, “I might as well do the PC”. So I put the nozzle of the hoover at the back against the grill where the fan is and let that do a bit of dust sucking too.
By the way, the German language, once hailed by philosophers for its clarity and literalness, has a fine expression for vacuum cleaner. I mean “vacuum cleaner” is a bit weedy and non-descriptive anyway, which is probably why in English we use the much more evocative and onomatopoeic “hoover” in everyday speech.
Erm ...where was I? Oh yeah, German.
Well, the German for vacuum cleaner is Staubsauger which literally translated means “dust sucker”! Isn’t that great? For me it ranks alongside the German for “glove” which is Handschuh – literally “hand-shoe”.
So, vacuum cleaner still in hand, I looked over at Lappy. “Hmm, keyboard could do with a quick once over” – lots of mini-crumbs there from too many biscuits and sandwiches consumed during translations.
So I ran the nozzle from side to side across the keys until suddenly – thhhhunk….rattle rattle rattle …thwunk…
The zero key was gone!!!! Down into the unappetising bowels of the dust sucker.
I had a moment of vague panic as the hoover seemed to be screaming out for more and I looked at my disfigured keyboard waiting for blood to come pumping out of the wound…then I gathered my wits and turned the moaning mutilating monster off.
Into the kitchen; newspaper on the floor; open up the hoover; remove the bag – ER theme music in the background… I started exploratory surgery. I carefully tugged out some tufts of hairy dust… no key …then some more …nothing … swab …oxygen …
Finally there it was, the zero key still attached to a little bit of black plastic. Right, back into the ‘office’. On the keyboard itself there was a rubbery stump sticking up and another little black plastic part. Obviously these two little black parts fit together somehow.. hmmm.
I had often wondered how the keys work on a keyboard and now I know… it’s dead ingenious and dead fiddly when you try and put it back together having to rely on deduction and reverse engineering to understand where each bit goes. Anyway after about an hour of delicate plastic manipulative surgery, including bits pinging away onto the floor and a fair degree of cussing and swearing I finally got the key clicked back into place…
Aaaahh… that’s better!
Now, what was I doing again…?