Hey dude, your PC’s really fried

Home science experiment results in dual-use motherboard

Hey dude, your PC’s really fried

You know, rare as it may seem these days, some people really do have too much time on their hands — and the most appalling diets, too, apparently. One of our E-tales stalwarts, who likes to peruse the stranger and stranger on the web, came across this weird-but-sorta-cool tale concerning a hardware hacker who wanted (as one does) to test out liquid cooling.

Accordingly, and in the interests of home science experimentation, our man dumped the motherboard from his old Pentium II in an oven tray and then partially covered it with cooking oil. Meanwhile he continued to play Quake 3 on said PC. The PC carried on working just fine, but then our boy got the munchies and, realising there was no more cooking oil in the house — there were nine litres cooling down the motherboard — he thought, “Hey ho, why not heat the oil up and stick some chips in there for a snack?” — which he did.

The chips fried nicely but, once the temperature reached 120 degrees, Quake 3 crashed. But that was okay, our man ate his chips while he waited for the oil to cool down again. A truly toxicating snack. For the dialect-challenged: chips is obviously English-English for french fries — the word caused our American cousins no end of concern.

Double-speak, double-think

One of our E-talers did a double-take this week when he got a letter from Xtra telling him about some “good news” regarding his surely laughably-termed broadband internet account. Without seeking his permission, he found his 192kbit/s download speed had been summarily downgraded to 128kbit/s. He looked and looked for some real “good news” but this was obviously it. Kind of ironic really, given the new Xtra “broadband unleashed” television ads.

Other commentators, too, are bemused by the goings-on down at Xtra HQ, where, it seems, really fast broadband has been possible for seven years now. Indeed, way back in 1999 the maximum available downstream speed was 8Mbit/s, but speeds for most customers were slashed to 128kbit/s in 2000.

Seems this week’s “good news” is more of the same again. George Orwell would have understood: it’s “double-plus good” — really.

Passport to a sale

A software salesman makes his appointment and duly turns up at Internal Affairs to meet his contact. He ends up being a little late for the appointment, after having to stand in a lengthy queue for those seeking to renew passports. That’s the only reception facility at the department’s Boulcott Street office in Wellington.

O’Riley and the punctuation-challenged net

Telecom’s Brett O’Riley gave his email address to a contact while at a TUANZ meeting last week. He assured him that, yes, the apostrophe is part of his surname.

“An apostrophe in an email address?” exclaimed the other party. “First time I’ve seen that.”

Our E-taler, standing by, assured him that he had communicated by email on a number of occasions with Mr O’Riley and, yes, apostrophes do go through the internet, although some email client programs flag such names as syntax errors and refuse to send the message.

Sadly, TUANZ’s own search engine is one of said cantankerous engines. Looking up details of the event next day, on the TUANZ website, our

E-taler found the notice: “Error performing search: Line 6: Incorrect syntax near ‘Riley’.”

TUANZ website readers are compensated for the unrecognised apostrophe, however. Looking up an adjacent programme page, our E-taler was told the title of Theresa Gattung’s forthcoming presentation is: “Six month’s [sic] on”.

Home science: butter-side always up

And now for some silly science, courtesy of the BBC: some of those souls afflicted with too much time on their hands (see above) have long pondered Murphy’s Law number 101, which states that toast will always fall butter-side down.

Many hours and long conversations down the pub have failed to elicit the reason for this. But now, thanks to those intrepid Mythbusters, from the TV show of the same name, there is a way to ensure this doesn’t happen, by means of the simple expedient of buttering the toast correctly.

Apparently, if you press firmly and quickly with the knife as you spread, the bread’s surface changes, creating a slight dip. The Mythbuster chaps tested the result and found that now it had a slightly curved surface the toast fell butter-side up — 29 out of 50 times, in fact.

Alternatively, a contributor to the BBC’s h2g2 website suggests installing a ladder in the kitchen and dropping toast from on high — the greater height gives the toast time to rotate fully, apparently.

Not sure about this one — anyone brave enough to face family disapproval of said experiment to test this out should write and tell us if it really works.

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