Thursday, August 24, 2006


Working in IT gives you the opportunity to moonlight. Thankfully moonlighting does not have the same negative connotations as it would in other professions. I have undertaken and successfully completed several jobs on the side (so to speak) although perhaps only a handful in recent times. There is always be a need for a so called 'IT Expert' with more and more people having sophisticated equipment at home. Just look at my friend's younger brother who is on a completely different planet. At age 10 I did not know what a computer was. He has a 19" TFT screen, 4mb always on broadband wireless keyboard and mouse, all under his bunk bed. While my friend is struggling with wired keyboard and mouse. Kids do not know they are born these days. Though I digress from my main point. My favourite task is being the Doctor, bringing computers back to life. I have done this only once before for a colleague at work, whereby I was well (if rather stereotypically) back in March 18th to be exact. This time around it was more than a simple Windows XP reinstall and reconfiguration. There was actually a job to be done, a mission if you will. I am not to sidestep a true challenge.

The patient, an old 450 PII Gateway PC about six years ago. The kiddies computer for a colleague who was subsequently leaving which meant it was against the clock, to a certain extent. The diagnosis? Originally my colleague and I believed the problem to be the powersupply, but rather then ordering a replacement powersupply, which was expensive and unnecessary, we advised the following. To purchase a new case and we could transfer the motherboard and components across to the new case. This would be a simple transplant process, nothing too fiddly. I was so convinced this would be an easy job I carried it out at work. Or rather started. The timing perhaps on my part was atrocious . My colleague left yesterday afternoon, but in a piece of comic genius the goods arrived on the same day from eBuyer (even though there were not expected until Friday). This coincided with my first Champions League fixture at Emirates, so I had to leave the office early. Nevertheless, I left the office determined to get the computer working no matter what it took.

Today I transferred the components but did not power up the machine. There were many reasons for this. Firstly was only a two man band manning the helpdesk for the day (and the entire week, as the record will show) so jumping to answer the phone did not help with my progress. Around 4pm I made the executive decision to take the machine home and work on it in the evening. I expected to get the machine up and running within an hour. How wrong was I to be!

I spent over two hours trying to get the machine working but removing components, I realised what the problem was. One of the memory slots was burnt out. Perhaps this had been the course of the problem in the first place. Back to the drawing board. Returning to my room and computer, I was despondent, annoyed with myself and looking for a way out, a solution. I jumped on eBay for an old motherboard but it was just not worth hunting down. It would take a few days to get here and then at least a weekend to get it all working, plus it would mean calling my ex-colleague and asking for more money. That was the last resort and I had one final ditch option, the last chance saloon if you will. I text my friend Dave, who had recently bought a brand new Dell desktop. Did he still have his old machine? He replied to my text instantly (which was rare for him) and explained he did! Result. I would pick the machine up on the way home on Friday, work on the machine over the weekend and take it from there. Another minor miracle worked, or so I hope.

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