back to article Drunk user blow-dried laptop after dog lifted its leg over the keyboard

Welcome again to On-Call, our Friday re-telling of readers unforgettable on-the-job experiences. This week, meet “Jim” who once had a manager show up in the IT department and ask for a discreet chat in the colleague's office. When Jim arrived the manager “pushed his laptop bag towards me, whilst giving the bag the kind of …

  1. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    Good on Jim

    He was perfectly right to dump the whole sorry mess. Being a manager does not entitle you to making a godawful mess and then expecting everyone else to clean up after you - except that, obviously, that does tend to happen quite a lot.

    In any case, a melted keyboard is certainly to be interpreted as a dead laptop. Even without the aroma and hygiene issue, it was most likely dead as a doorknob anyway.

    Once I had a work laptop (a Thinkpad) which, due to a mistaken movement which I very much regretted, some Coke spilled onto the keyboard. I immediately turned over the laptop and tried to shake all the liquid out, finishing the job with tissues to dry everything as best I could. The laptop continued working for the rest of the evening, seemingly without trouble. I backed up everything important before shutting down, just in case. Turns out in case was the case, and the laptop never started up again. I got a replacement with an admonishment to keep the Coke away from the keyboard and that was that.

    So yeah, dog pee all over, no attempt to dry it up with paper towels and applying hair dryer until the keyboard melts ? That thing was completely dead. No use wasting time on it and so much for that moron's budget and "important files".

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Good on Jim

      >Once I had a work laptop (a Thinkpad) which, due to a mistaken movement which I very much regretted, some Coke spilled onto the keyboard.

      Now if you had used the solid variety of coke this wouldn't have been a problem, who says drugs are all bad ?

      1. This post has been deleted by its author

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Good on Jim

          >" solid variety of coke" like from a blast furnace?

          Your dealer has ripped you off then, the clue is that it's much darker in appearance than the desired substance. However all is not lost as you could also then additionally snort iron ore, shove a lighted match up your nose and when you sneeze* with any luck you should obtain pig iron in the tissue which then can be used for any number of exciting projects or exchanged for cash at the local crap metal merchants.

          *Do not not sneeze until after you have inserted lighted match as this requires the process to be restarted from scratch.

        2. TRT Silver badge

          Re: Good on Jim

          When presented with a similar situation, involving cat urine, I simply told the user to get the hard drive out themselves and I'd see what data I could recover from it, and they can bin the rest of it.

          The look I gave them when they asked if they could borrow my screwdrivers...

          1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

            Re: Good on Jim

            "The look I gave them when they asked if they could borrow my screwdrivers..."

            Lost opportunity. You should have sold them a screwdriver. About £20 should be right.

        3. chivo243 Silver badge

          Re: Good on Jim

          @Symon

          Have an upvote!

          I was thinking the story was going to end that way. I would have opened the computer on a trash bin...

        4. Allan George Dyer Silver badge

          Re: Good on Jim

          "Urine's sterile, BTW" - right up to the point when it leaves the urethra. After spending the night in a nice, warm laptop keyboard, I should think that all the organisms in the accumulated dust would have multiplied very happily.

          I agree about checking out the disc drive, though. At least see if the compartment is dry.

        5. pLu

          Re: Good on Jim

          Urine is not sterile, not even in the bladder.

          1. This post has been deleted by its author

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Good on Jim

              Re: urine-not-sterile.

              "We don't know if they're a consequence of overactive bladder or if they are a cause of overactive bladder," Hilt said. "We still have to perform more studies."

          2. This post has been deleted by its author

        6. PNGuinn
          Boffin

          Re: Good on Jim Re dog

          Are you sure it was the dog?

          After all the guy admitted getting home pissed ......

          1. imanidiot Silver badge

            Re: Good on Jim Re dog

            That'd be my question too. A normally housetrained dog isn't suddenly going to take a piss on the boss's laptop

            1. Ian Michael Gumby Silver badge
              Devil

              Re: Good on Jim Re dog

              That'd be my question too. A normally housetrained dog isn't suddenly going to take a piss on the boss's laptop

              That depends on the dog and the owner.

              Dogs have personalities and some are known to get in to mischief if their owner doesn't give them enough attention.

              1. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken

                Re: Good on Jim Re dog

                "Dogs have personalities and some are known to get in to mischief if their owner doesn't give them enough attention."

                Pretty much like little kids, then.

                1. kain preacher Silver badge

                  Re: Good on Jim Re dog

                  Well they say a dog has the iq of a 3 year old.

                2. J. Cook Silver badge

                  Re: Good on Jim Re dog

                  Cat are just as bad; I like describing them as four legged two year olds with no concept of memory at times.

                  (seriously. one of the cats in my house is elderly, and when he gets offended by pretty much anything, he poops on the floor instead of the litter box. He at least pees in the box, which I'm thankful for.)

            2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

              Re: Good on Jim Re dog

              "A normally housetrained dog isn't suddenly going to take a piss on the boss's laptop"

              A well trained dog, however...

          2. Mark 85 Silver badge

            Re: Good on Jim Re dog

            I question that also. Unless the laptop was on the floor or somewhere accessible to the dog how did the dog pee on it? Most dogs don't climb up on tables or desks....

        7. Ripper38

          Re: Good on Jim

          ...um. up-voted for the cartoon!

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Good on Jim

        Does of course depend on the nature of the mistaken movement's (potentially on-screen content distractions) as to the effectiveness of either type of coke...

    2. Lars Silver badge
      Happy

      Re: Good on Jim

      I don't agree, he could have easily saved the HD. And once again - beware of cats, they love to lay down on the warm keyboard and they seem to like the sound too. And now that I think about it, why have I newer tried to use my insurance.

    3. tedleaf

      Re: Good on Jim

      But I bet I could have got it working again,and how did you clear all your data before dumping laptop ?

    4. Dr Dan Holdsworth Silver badge

      Re: Good on Jim

      Handing over an unpleasant biohazard to a techie without the equipment or the pay to handle such is basically impolite, irresponsible and just plain stupid. I'm with the techie here; dump the bloody thing straight off and perhaps even feed it through a shredder if there's any chance of there being unencrypted data on the laptop.

    5. phuzz Silver badge
      Meh

      Re: Good on Jim

      I had to work on a laptop belonging to a French friend of mine, who had spilled coffee across the keyboard.

      Fortunately she'd had the presence of mind to turn it off, and then leave it upside down straight away, so it was fine after I'd cleaned off some of the sticky keys (with isopropyl, works better than water). However, it did leave my room stinking of coffee, which might be ok for some of you, but I don't like coffee :(

      1. Adam 1 Silver badge

        Re: Good on Jim

        > but I don't like coffee

        A BOFH who has never had his coffee. Ouch!

    6. Orv Silver badge

      Re: Good on Jim

      "In any case, a melted keyboard is certainly to be interpreted as a dead laptop. Even without the aroma and hygiene issue, it was most likely dead as a doorknob anyway."

      Amusing counterpoint: About four years ago a friend had a rather severe garage fire, hot enough that radiant heat melted plastic components off a clothes dryer that was on the other side of a drywall partition. Before the fire he'd been out in the garage poking around online, and had left his netbook out there. The netbook was not in the hottest part of the fire, but it was close enough that the case warped and the keys fell out when it was opened. He took the SSD out of it, put it into another netbook, and is still using it today.

    7. TheVogon Silver badge

      Re: Good on Jim

      We once had a neighbour's dog that pissed on everything.

      I found an effective cure:

      http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Hotline-HLC120-Gemini-120-Electric-Fence-Energiser-1-2J-OUTPUT-Battery-Mains-/152141201479

      1. TheVogon Silver badge

        Re: Good on Jim

        See https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-wDzICw13ps

    8. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      The laptop smelled like burnt piss?

      I thought all laptops that run Win10 smelled that way.

      /s

  2. Oengus
    Pint

    Back in the day...

    Many years ago I was working on the weekend shift when someone spilt a can of Fanta on to the keyboard of the main system console of our production mainframe (keeping the banking system up for the weekend to allow people to withdraw money from "new fangled" ATMs).

    We quickly turned the keyboard over and switched to the backup console. The mainframe kept running and the keyboard eventually dried out. It continued to work until the system was replaced. The only side effect was occasionally getting one's finger stuck in a bit of residue on the keys or a key sticking... They don't make keyboards like that any more...

    1. Voland's right hand Silver badge

      Re: Back in the day...

      They don't make keyboards like that any more...

      They do not make fanta like that any more either. The fanta or coke of old was all sugar. It dried to a "crisp". It took time, but it happened (eventually). At that point you could just bash on the keys a bit and hoover it all up.

      The obesity nectars of today do not dry - they all remain a sticky goo because it is nasty mix of sucrose and glucose/fructose. A keyboard of old will be as f*** as a modern one if it cops a cup of "become a Wall-E character" juice.

    2. patrickstar

      Re: Back in the day...

      I had a SUN Type 5 keyboard that got literally soked in coke (the liquid kind) twice. Once to the point that the entire thing was totally shorted out - the Caps Lock LED had an omnious glow.

      Both times I simply took the thing apart, took out the controller board and cleaned it manually, and gave the keyboard itself a good shower.

      Worked perfectly fine for many years after.

      1. Stevie Silver badge

        Re: Back in the day...

        Dropped coffee in a brand new keyboard once. Ran it under the cold tap to the horror of all, then dismantled it and dried it with paper towel. The only sticky bit was the rubber sheet under the keycaps popped a couple of magnets and getting them back in place was tedious. Worked fine after for many years.

        Why people think washing circuit boards is a terrible idea after they've been hosed in beverage is a mystery. Air drying is the mistake, as tap water is full of stuff that crystalizes out and can short tracks.

        1. DougS Silver badge

          Dishwasher

          I've run HP's 90s era PS/2 keyboards through a dishwasher, and that cleans them up with no hassle and they work perfectly if you shake them out briskly after and give them a day or two to fully dry.

          Anyone know of any USB keyboards made tough enough to do that? They are impossible to clean properly otherwise!

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Dishwasher

            I've run HP's 90s era PS/2 keyboards through a dishwasher, and that cleans them up with no hassle and they work perfectly if you shake them out briskly after and give them a day or two to fully dry.

            If I recall correctly, a lot of PS/2 computers could probably survive a trip through the dishwasher.

        2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

          Re: Back in the day...

          "Why people think washing circuit boards is a terrible idea after they've been hosed in beverage is a mystery. "

          I hosed out an HP Officejet once after some dipstick left it stored upside down in a box. Ink everywhere. But lovely and sparkly clean afterwards. Drying it out took some time with a fan outside on a warm sunny day and re-lubing all the moving parts, but it worked a treat afterwards. Not recommended, but this was back when HP Officejet MFPs were still new on the market and quite expensive to replace.

          1. TRT Silver badge

            Re: Back in the day...

            Ultrapure distilled is on tap at my place. So a quick rinse in that and a few hours in the drying cabinet will work wonders.

    3. Anonymous IV

      Re: Back in the day...

      > Many years ago I was working on the weekend shift when someone spilt a can of Fanta on to the keyboard of the main system console of our production mainframe...

      Attempted fantacide, I would suggest!

      (Ba-boom, tish)

    4. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: Back in the day...

      "Many years ago I was working on the weekend shift when someone spilt a can of Fanta on to the keyboard of the main system console of our production mainframe (keeping the banking system up for the weekend to allow people to withdraw money from "new fangled" ATMs)."

      Most places, it was a serious offence to have drinks or food anywhere near a system, least of all the system console of a mainframe. Actually spilling it and causing damage would likely be a sackable offence back then.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Someone's pulling my leg and taking the piss with this story, it's just a load of hot air.

    1. Just Enough
      Boffin

      Yeah, that happened.

      This story is clear bollocks. A hair-dryer that melts a keyboard??

      Either they own a lethal hair dryer that would fail any safety test, or a keyboard made out of chocolate.

      1. Hollerithevo Silver badge

        Re: Yeah, that happened.

        Actually, yes. The hairdryers used in hair salons are powerful machines. I was one sitting on ma half-melted plastic tray -- the chap said he laid it there every time he finished using it and the residual heat alone out the back had done the deed.

      2. royprime

        Re: Yeah, that happened.

        Nope, can honestly say if you are silly enough to keep a hairdryer on a keyboard for a length of time it will melt the keys. Seen it myself with someone that watched a you tube video on drying out a laptop. It's got to be a good length of time, but most cheap keyboards (and this one was a Toshiba) are very thin and melt pretty easily.

        1. Orv Silver badge

          Re: Yeah, that happened.

          It doesn't take much. I warped the plastic case of a device once by putting it in a 170F oven to bake out some moisture that had gotten into it...170F isn't really that much, you can hold your hand in 170F air without much discomfort. (170F water will scald you badly, but that's because water is a much better heat transfer medium.)

      3. Stevie Silver badge

        Re: Yeah, that happened.

        Sorry, just enough, you are the one spouting rubbish. Hair dryers can easily muster the oomph to melt plastic.

      4. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Yeah, that happened.

        Actually I worked somewhere and happened to be on holiday when someone managed to pour the best part of a pint of water into a laptop. As I wasn't there to deal with this the best course of action dictated that having remove the PSU (but not the batery) and drained it, they get out the hairdryer. They put the laptop in a vertical position and having placed the hairdryer handle between two books so that it pointed at the keyboard left it on full heat. They returned later to find that the keyboard had melted and they were going to have to explain what had happened to the IT manager at head office.

        I put a notice on what to do if you get liquid on electronics in the staff room the day after I got back and was appraised of the situation. Anonymous to save blushes of the two ladies who thought the laptop would need 30 minutes 'blowing'.

        1. DougS Silver badge

          Re: Yeah, that happened.

          Perhaps what happened is the manager plugged in a blow dryer on his porch and laid it on down, and laid the laptop on its side facing the dryer. Then left it there like that for a while.

          That sounds like the sort of thing I might do being 1) too lazy to stand there waving a blow dryer around 2) wanting to have the smell outside my house 3) wanting the blow dryer on a concrete surface so I don't have to worry about a fire. I wouldn't think about the possibility of melting the keys, but I guess if you had it set on 'high' heat and put it right next to the keyboard...

          Realistically if that happened to me I'd pull out the battery and hard drive, then hold the laptop under the shower, shake it out real good and THEN blow dry the crap out of it and let it sit overnight. If that failed, as it probably would, I'd put it back together, take it to IT and say "my laptop quit working" and they'd be none the wiser :)

          1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

            Re: Yeah, that happened.

            "Realistically if that happened to me I'd pull out the battery and hard drive, then hold the laptop under the shower,"

            The manager concerned was pissed at the time. How pissed is another matter of course, but one tends to make not quite fully fully rational decisions after a few jars.

  4. Evil Auditor Silver badge

    Judgement impaired

    the dog had peed all over his laptop keyboard

    The dog. Yeah, right....

    Been there, done - no I certainly didn't.

    1. Roger Kynaston
      Pint

      Re: Judgement impaired

      Precisely my thoughts. Icon for obvious reasons.

      1. gotes

        Re: Judgement impaired

        Yeah, dog piss doesn't smell that bad either, compared to cat or human.

  5. GlenP Silver badge

    I recall in the bad old days actually having to disassemble a keyboard and scrub it under the tap when a very sugary drink had been spilt on it. It was worth doing in those days (in real terms the keyboards cost as much as some laptops now). More recently had to replace an almost new laptop due to coke spill damage, it just wasn't worth trying to sort it as it had clearly got into several critical places. The user was warned a second offence and he'd be paying the bill.

    The one I got away with was a whole mug of coffee inside a CRT monitor, fortunately I don't take sugar! Next morning it worked fine.

    1. Steve the Cynic

      Many, many moons ago my late wife was a teletype (I *told* you it was many, many moons ago) maintenance technician in the US Air Force. She had some prize stories to tell, but the most relevant here was when one of the teletype operators left a bar of chocolate on the output vent holes at the back of one of the machines. Needless to say, the air coming out of there was hot enough not just to soften the chocolate, but to melt it and make it run all over the insides of the machine. The operators, of course, tried to blame her somehow, but her sergeant was there and saw it too, so that cunning plan didn't work.

      1. http://www.theregister.co.uk/Design/graphics/icons/comment/thumb_up_32.png

        Had a double take there - "my late wife was a teletype"!!

        1. DougS Silver badge

          Well Spongebob's "foe" Plankton married a computer, so why couldn't someone marry a teletype?

        2. Steve the Cynic
          Pint

          Well played. I looked at that sentence and didn't fix it before posting. Silly me. Have an icon.

  6. jake Silver badge

    Jim didn't pull the hard drive & try to save the data?

    So the dumpster diver who bagged the machine did it for him, and retrieved who knows what kind of proprietary information.

    I'd fire Jim. Corporate policy.

    1. joshimitsu

      Re: Jim didn't pull the hard drive & try to save the data? - not my job!

      Dealing with a urine-soaked item is going beyond reasonable call of duty, for sure. It goes up there with being expected to help fish a phone out of a toilet, just because of the IT angle.

      Like with another comment, I'd offer the user the chance to extract the hard drive themselves in their own office, and handle the extracted hd with gloves, mask and overalls on.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Jim didn't pull the hard drive & try to save the data? - not my job!

        Dealing with a urine-soaked item is going beyond reasonable call of duty, for sure. It goes up there with being expected to help fish a phone out of a toilet, just because of the IT angle.

        "Other duties as assigned....."

        1. tfewster Silver badge

          Re: Jim didn't pull the hard drive & try to save the data? - not my job!

          "Other duties as assigned....."

          Sorry, I'm not certified to handle biowaste. Perhaps we should continue this conversation with HR and a union rep present?

  7. Bloodbeastterror

    I can only guess that the manager wasn't a nice person, otherwise Jim might have tried to recover at least the hard drive...?

    1. Evil Auditor Silver badge

      You only guess?

      A nice person doesn't peelet the dog pee in the laptop. A nice person doens't melt the laptop. And certainly, a nice person doesn't dump this stinking motherfucker of a messed up laptop at IT expecting it to be repaired.

      1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        "A nice person doesn't peelet the dog pee in the laptop. A nice person doens't melt the laptop. And certainly, a nice person doesn't dump this stinking motherfucker of a messed up laptop at IT expecting it to be repaired."

        At least not without including a decent bribe.

  8. JonW
    Pint

    Ah, but progress...

    Knocked a glass of wine over my Surface a month or so back. Yanked the keyboard off and gave a good rinse under the hot tap. After it dried out? Perfect.

    As someone who's trashed too many laptops with Liquid (a.k.a Beer), I see this as real progress. Put it down to no volts flowing to fuzz things up.

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

    2. DaLo

      Re: Ah, but progress...

      Many laptops have fairly water resistant keyboards. If you spill something on them, rapidly unplug all connections and immediately turn them on their side (sometimes upside down depending on manufacturer).

      Once you've done that pull the battery and proceed to remove the hard drive (yeah you won't get a clean shutdown but you're probably not running the companies ERP server from your laptop).

      If it was something sticky and you aren't totally short of cash to buy a new one if it fails then spray water up at the keyboard to wash it out. If you are short of cash, with the laptop upside down, disassemble it and remove the keyboard (normally only a few screws and a couple of catches). Then wash the keyboard in warm soapy water, rinse and dry thoroughly. Dab the empty keyboard recess of the laptop with damp then dry paper towel.

      Even though there is still a battery for the BIOS, quick action will usually save a modern laptop almost everytime.

      No too dissimilar for a mobile phone - pull the battery (err, if you can else turn off) immediately then shake out excess water and chuck it in a bowl of rice, completely covered and put in a very warm area/on top of radiator for 24-48 hours.

      1. This post has been deleted by its author

      2. Steve the Cynic

        Re: Ah, but progress...

        "No too dissimilar for a mobile phone - pull the battery (err, if you can else turn off) immediately then shake out excess water and chuck it in a bowl of rice, completely covered and put in a very warm area/on top of radiator for 24-48 hours."

        Dunno about that. Mine's rated IP67, so if it gets a mild dunking, it's just a case of rinsing it well, including as far as possible the various connector socket, and letting it dry (otherwise my pocket gets wet, and I don't want that).

      3. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken

        Re: Ah, but progress...

        Put the damp thingy in a Tupperware container or plastic bag with a handfull of those "silicea" ("silica"?) gel packs that come with a lot of electronic stuff. Sucks the moisture up a lot better than rice.

        1. GrumpenKraut Silver badge
          Boffin

          Re: Ah, but progress...

          While silica gel is better than rice, the average household will not usually have (enough of) it. One strongly hygroscopic material you are much more likely to find is powder for instant coffee. Make sure to prevent the coffee powder from touching the electronics.

  9. Jeffrey Nonken Silver badge

    Sugared drink spills can often be dealt with, but some effort is required. And best dealt with while fresh.

    Also it is often possible to remove the mass storage drive from the failing or failed machine and place it into another, or connect as an external, at least as a data drive.

    Granted that baked dog urine might be something to avoid in any case. Not gonna argue that one.

    1. JimboSmith Silver badge

      Being the only techie person in one day between Christmas and New Year at my ex-firm I took a call from some female youngster who had dropped their phone into some liquid and was now very concerned about it. My first question was is this a company mobile phone or a personal one? It was a personal one so no obligation to help but I decided to be nice (it was Christmas). Second question, was the liquid sugary or not? There is a stunning silence to this question and I had to ask what the problem was.

      "Do you not know whether the liquid had sugar in it?"

      "I'm just trying to remember if I've had anything sugar laden today or not to eat and drink. How long does sugar take to go through you?"

      [fear setting in] "Where did you drop the phone?"

      "In the ladies toilet, and I hadn't flushed it."

      "I do not want to see this phone if it's been in the toilet, have you taken the battery out?"

      "Nope"

      "Well do that and take the sim & the memory card out as well. Drain as much of the liquid out as you can, then flush (pun not intended) with or submerge in 99% isopropyl alcohol and then stick it in a sealed bag of rice"

      "Then what?"

      "Pray"

      "For how long?"

      "Give it a few days"

      "Oh my god I can't be off facebook for that long people will think I've died. I can bring it to you to look at"

      "They won't need to think you've died If you bring me that phone, get the message? Just buy a cheap second hand one."

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Water damage

    Ironically hard drives survive less well than SSDs, because most manufacturers seal the chips after soldering much like the Nokia 3310 of old.

    Yes the controller will be history but the chips will be potentially recoverable, though drives that have suffered mechanical damage (eg impact) might have one or more cracked chips.

    I once found a pendrive wafer which had been run over, files recovered!

    1. William Towle
      Go

      Re: Water damage

      > I once found a pendrive wafer which had been run over, files recovered!

      * recalls Gadget Show episode where they did more than that... *

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NyOFIH-6WGs

      * +1s video *

      (Recently at work we had "SD card vs microwave", in which a whole load of standing back goes on, only for nothing at all to happen ... *grin*)

  11. wolfetone Silver badge

    My mom killed my sisters HP laptop once after she knocked her glass of Vodka and Cranberry over the keyboard.

    She didn't take a hairdryer to it, she was just more concerned that the Vodka (which was about 3 parts Vodka to 1 part Cranberry) was being enjoyed by the dog who was licking it all up from the floor.

  12. chivo243 Silver badge
    Facepalm

    Hair Dryers!

    I've seen two instances of hair dryers being used to dry a keyboard, thankfully no urine involved! One looked like a Dali painting when the attempt was aborted.

  13. Dan McIntyre

    I once spilled coffee in a Kindle DX (was a large American market only Kindle with built in text to speech and storage/speakers for music) whilst waiting at a car dealer for my car.

    When I got home I stripped it down and cleaned it out and it worked fine afterwards.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    one of our users managed to spill a whole cup of coffee over a nice, less than a year old, high spec DELL Precision M3800 so only nearly £2k worth of laptop. Anyway we managed to get the keyboard along with the motherboard replaced under warranty which was nice!

  15. tedleaf

    And then some little git like me finds said laptop in skip,does a bit of simple repair/bodgeing and Bob's yer uncle,I have access to all that lovely sensitive data.

    "jim" should have been sacked,tracking should have been asking awkward questions about missingblaptop..

    I love folk like jim,they have made me tens of thousands of pounds over the years,and that's staying honest,if I had wanted to go into the corporate blackmail game,I could be very rich by now..

    I.t security at its wonderful best..

    1. Stevie Silver badge

      What "sensitive data"? You mean the manager's porn stash?

      Why is everyone assuming with no facts in evidence that there was anything worthwhile on this machine to recover?

      I have managers who get premium kit who are never allowed near anything worh stealing. Don't you?

      The subtext I get from this tale, which has been edited I point out, is that there was nothing worth the trouble likely to be lurking in that lappy. It is also possible that the damage inflicted by the first "repair" also extended to the moving parts.

  16. MrKrotos

    Piss poor service?

    Wow, he didnt even try to rescue the HD or even ERASE it!

    Thats pretty bad, what if someone else picks it up and gets to the data?

    Thats very poor service indeed, sounds like the laptop could have been fixed up for small change (laptop wash, dry and new keyboard).

    1. stephanh

      Re: Piss poor service?

      Perhaps the HD was encrypted anyway?

    2. harmjschoonhoven
      Happy

      Re: Piss poor service?

      Once saw a garbagebag near my home with a label Intel Inside stcking out. Fetched the desktop, erased the letters of application (after reading) and used the HD ever after.

    3. heyrick Silver badge

      Re: Piss poor service?

      "Thats pretty bad, what if someone else picks it up and gets to the data?"

      Funny how so many people are having a go at Jim for tossing the thing. Maybe they'd like to consider the actions of a manager (hence has strings to pull) who did something solid and then hands a biohazard off to IT "to be fixed".

      Touching that is more than he should be expected to do, telling the manager to stuff it is more than his job is worth. And being discreet be could hardly take it out back with a sledgehammer to ensure the drive is unreadable before binning.

      Sorry. I'm with Jim. It's not *him* that created the mess, just him expected to sort it out.

  17. juice Silver badge

    Back in the day...

    I once spilled Yop (drinking yogurt) all over a Toshiba laptop - it was back when Yop bottles had a stupid pop-off lid, rather than one which screwed off.

    Initially, it didn't want to boot, but it eventually recovered after I'd removed/cleaned the keyboard and then left it for a few weeks - I'm guessing some of the liquid seeped under the keyboard and needed to dry out.

    Ever after though, a slightly sour smell of strawberries lingered around it...

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I worked with someone who was an amazingly talented developer, but (with hindsight - I was fresh out of uni at the time and lacking knowledge of such things) was probably bi-polar and/or depressed; they dealt with this by picking up a pack of special brew on the way home every night.

    They also had a work laptop, which one day had to be handed over to IT for repairs, as it had been "dropped" and the keyboard damaged. Fair enough - though as my manager observed, the damaged keys actually lay in the middle of the keyboard, and were in a pattern which resembled the underside of a closed fist...

  19. Nolveys Silver badge

    Meow

    I had to deal with a laptop in the 90's that someone's cat had peed on. I would have thought it was battery acid if it weren't for the overpowering odour.

    The pee had made it through to the main board, causing any exposed metal on component pins to rust. Also some of the runs leading away from the components had rusted and the laminate was peeling off.

    The hdd still worked fine though.

    That was far from the grossest thing I've dealt with in IT and certainly in life. I've shoveled pig shit, dealt with a light fixture that had filled with poo water after a housemate overflowed a toilet on the second floor, dealt with RV tank overflow, got a high pressure blast of sludge (sewage with the grease and most liquid removed) to the face and once had a frog pee in my eye.

    Jim needs to spend some time on a farm or something.

    1. GrumpenKraut Silver badge

      Re: Meow

      > and once had a frog pee in my eye.

      How the heck did you manage to do that? WE NEED TO KNOW!

      1. Putters
        Paris Hilton

        Re: Meow

        What happens in Paris stays in Paris ?

        1. Mark York 3 Silver badge
          Childcatcher

          Re: Meow

          .......for approximately nine months.

      2. Nolveys Silver badge

        Re: Meow

        How the heck did you manage to do that? WE NEED TO KNOW!

        First I picked up the frog and then the frog peed in my eye. Sorry, there really isn't much of a story there, not like the time I found myself being dragged across the forest floor by a rope that was attached to the top of a falling tree. But that's a story for another day.

        1. heyrick Silver badge

          Re: Meow

          "First I picked up the frog and then the frog peed in my eye."

          Second question - is "frog" a little green/brown animal, or a euphemism for a person of a certain nationality?

  20. royprime

    I had a fun laptop repair. Back in the day we used to repair laptops for a large department store, so we ended up seeing some pretty horrible machines.

    One day I went to collect our usual repairs and I was sent up the manager to collect a special repair.

    It puzzled me as it was in a big plastic sealed tub. Manager said, you've just had a baby right? I'm sure you will like this one!

    So, got it back to the workshop, opened it up and nearly fell over with the stink.

    Turns out, mum was using laptop at the same time as feeding very young baby. Baby threw up all over the laptop and mum did her best to clean it, however the milky sick managed of course to filter through the keyboard and the smell was something all parents will know well, but magnified after a period of a couple of days sitting in a cooked laptop.

    Strangely enough, took some pictures and let the store know, yes beyond economical repair.

    Managed to rescue all her pictures from the laptop though, so not all bad.

  21. TWB

    2 Laptops - neither my fault

    Years ago my wife managed to spill hot tea in my Macbook. It failed immediately and after a stripdown and dry out I only had to replace the wifi card and it has been fine since.

    While she was away once with her laptop, my then toddler spilt water over it. This time we could not revive it. I called up the insurance company saying was my laptop covered for damage in the home to which they replied - no it is only covered outside the home - I felt that saying 'Oh it got damaged outside the home' at that point somehow would not wash, although completely true.......

    We sold the damaged one for a couple of hundred and bought a refurb.

    We're still married.

  22. Stu Wilson
    Coat

    I have a knife!

    Once upon a time (1999 to be precise) in a land not so far away (Sunderland), there was a Sales Director with a laptop.

    He was working late one evening in his kitchen, his very expensive Sony Vaio laptop on a stool whilst he ate a late supper.

    In bounds his dog and with one swish of the tail, the dog knocks the £2000 laptop off the stool and onto the floor. The Sales Manager cried 'woe is me!' when he picked the laptop up and it was dead.

    'But I have a knife!' he exclaimed, 'A nice shiny, pointy, kitchen knife and I'll open up this expensive laptop with this knife and fix it myself How hard can it be?!'

    And lo, the Sales Director takes the pointy knife and takes the laptop apart with gusto, saving screws here and there, although some fall away and are lost in the mist of time. But alas, the laptop resists the pointy ministrations and he cries foul 'Away with you to the cretins at IT!"

    The following day, wrapped ceremoniously in a plastic bag from Waitrose, the laptop did make it's way to the IT Manager and the foul petard was foist upon the unsuspecting IT minions for repair.

    The sight was beholden with distaste, the laptop in pieces, missing screws, case carved up with a pointy (but shiny!) knife. Alas, the laptop was no more. Resistance was futile, and the minion dared to say that the Sales Director should not have used his shiny knife and should pay for a new laptop under his own aegis.

    'Nay!' went the IT Manager schill, ''Twould behoove you not to malign your betters! Off with your head!'

    And so the Sales Director was given a new shiny expensive laptop and the pieces of the old were given unto the fire as a sacred offering, to be whispered about in IT forums forever, or until the end of Friday.

    TL;DR

    Sales Director breaks laptop, tries to repair it with a kitchen knife and butchers it irresponsibly, and expects IT to repair it. Gets away with a brand new laptop and not even a slap on the wrist.

  23. Chris King Silver badge
    Coat

    Was it really the dog's fault ?

    Did Jim's manager just spill a beer on the keyboard and blame it on the dog ?

    (Yeah, Yeah, I know, Rover shouldn't have been drinking at the keyboard)

  24. adam payne Silver badge

    Disposal gloves on and hard drive out. Laptop in the nearest WEEE skip.

    "Poor old Jim seems to have had a bit of a run with toilet trouble. He tells us this incident “wasn’t as bad as the manager whose kids kept dropping his Blackberry in the toilet, to see if it floated. But that’s another story.”"

    That reminds me of the time a manager came into our IT department with a Blackberry in a sealed freezer bag. He then regaled us with his story of him urgently running to the toilet and after he had finished turning to flush the toilet the blackberry falling out of his back pocket into said toilet.

    He then went on to regale us further by saying he had run the phone under he tap to get the worst of it off and of course he tried turning it back on hence the phone wasn't working. My boss at the time held his bin up and the phone still in freezer bag went in.

  25. joshimitsu
    Coffee/keyboard

    Another shaggy dog story

    I too had a run in with a pet-mauled laptop: again this was a VIP in the organisation, and it was upmarket for its time: near desktop spec components in a sub-notebook. Very expensive.

    But luckily, no excreta were involved: the guy's dog had been using it as a frisbee. It was covered in dents and bite marks, there was dog hair embedded all over the place, and the keys were missing.

    The whole thing smelled of dog BO though - sweat or saliva? I don't know.

    I can't remember what the actual job was, but I cleaned it was surface wipes before I touched it.

  26. [a-z][A-Z]*

    wash it under the tap - standard practice

    A while ago I worked at a well know telcoms company where the standard practice (as promulgated by the IT support manager at the time) if a keyboard had something spilled on it, was to disconnect the keyboard, run to the toilets and rinse under the cold tap. Worked well for those oh so handsome VT100s and the new fangled SPARCstations we had at the time.

    1. Nolveys Silver badge

      Re: wash it under the tap - standard practice

      if a keyboard had something spilled on it, was to disconnect the keyboard, run to the toilets and...rinse under the cold tap.

      I was really hoping that story was going in a different direction.

      1. GrumpenKraut Silver badge
        Pint

        Re: wash it under the tap - standard practice

        > I was really hoping that story was going in a different direction.

        Something with a large number of frogs? ------------>

  27. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The True Culprit Is Obvious

    I can't believe he blamed the dog.

  28. Andytug

    Urine is bad for electronics

    Way back when I was at college, one of my fellow students had a summer job repairing machines in the local amusement park. Apparently the worst things to deal with were the "sit in" arcade machines (e.g. the orignal wireframe Star Wars game). The manufacturers thought that having some of hte circuit boards under the seat was a good idea. Until little barely toilet-trained Johnny comes and sits in it, gets caught short, and lets go, that is. Seems when urine breaks down with heat the compounds formed attack circuit boards (the solder I think?) pretty efficiently, they usually had to chuck them away and order replacements.

  29. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    keyboard + autoclave....

    I work in a hospital Pathology department, and someone decided to put a standard Dell Keyboard from one of the Microbiology labs into an autoclave "because they thought it needed a good clean up".

    The remains look like a Jackson Pollock and are hung on an office wall as a gentle reminder to all that it's 'not a great idea' to put a plastic keyboard into a high pressure steam cleaner.

    AC, because Microbiologists have access to all sorts of interesting organisms.

    1. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken

      Re: keyboard + autoclave....

      Right idea.

      Wrong method.

  30. Ian Michael Gumby Silver badge
    Mushroom

    Bollocks!

    Look,

    Human urine smells worse than dog urine, however both are manageable and there are worse things that smell.

    All he had to do was to get an old thick towel, buy some rubbing alcohol , cotton swabs and cotton balls and some latex or nitrile sterile gloves and take out the usable parts. Clean them with the alcohol and let them air dry. You could them reuse them in a "new" pc or put them into another pc of the same model. (Wear a surgical mask if you need to.)

    Really you just need the hard drive, but sometimes other parts come in handy like memory if your manager had more memory than the rest.

    I have to wonder why this guy was such a snowflake. I mean there are literally worse things to deal with. Try working with livestock on a cattle ranch. When you put a herd thru a cattle chute to give them their meds and dehorn them or castrate the bulls to steers, you end up getting covered in blood, manure and whatever. You just have to go back, strip naked and then head in to the house to shower off.

    And you're worried about a little piss?

    1. GrumpenKraut Silver badge
      Thumb Down

      Re: Bollocks!

      What the heck? How about basic human decency?

      Everybody who ever worked in any IT-support-ish role has tales of some pig handing over messed up devices to the IT bods "because IT". I once told a guy on the second occasion I was cleaning up his mouse (just hand gunk, mind) that it's not my bloody job and if he cannot do it himself (after watching me doing it twice) I can refer him to a doctor to check his brain.

      That guy owned the company. No, I did not lose my job.

      1. Mark 85 Silver badge

        Re: Bollocks!

        I had a Marketing VP like that. He came in one Monday morning with his keyboard and sheepish grin. Asked me to sort it out as the keys were in the wrong place. The backstory... he took his keyboard home with the laptop to do some work over the weekend and got tasked to "feed the baby his bottle". All went well but the tyke barfed his bottle before he could be burped... onto the keyboard. He carefully disassembled the keyboard (including removing all the keys), cleaned all the barf out of it and put it back together but had a small problem getting all keys in the right places. Took me all of 10 minutes. He watched the process and then did a photo copy of the keyboard to show placement. Nice guy, dropped off a 6-pack of my favorite brew later that day. After that, both laptop and keyboard got a cover of clear, plastic wrap (by him) whenever the equipment when home.

    2. deathOfRats

      Re: Bollocks!

      It's not the piss. It's the attitude.

    3. Swarthy Silver badge

      Bollocks to your Bollocks!

      And why should I, or Jim, have to get/buy a thick towel (because, I just have those those lying around the office), rubbing alcohol, nitrile gloves, cotton swabs, cotton balls, and a surgical mask? If your system is so messed up that it needs those things, then you had best supply them. I don't (officially) know where to get that kind of stuff, I don't work in medicine or hazmat remediation.

  31. VanguardG

    Not the pub, but...

    Back some time ago, when keyboards were expensive, I worked for a reseller. One customer would literally hand out a beer to everyone in his building at 5 o'clock - whether they worked for him or not. There was a bit of a press among the techs to be delivering things to him at that magic hour, I never went myself, as I figured, he's not giving away the good stuff. From time to time, we would receive a box of keyboard from the customer that needed cleaning. They kept a shelf full of spares and would just unplug one and slap in another one until they'd accumulated a box-full.

    The department smelled like a fraternity house the morning after a major keg-party for hours....stale beer is quite distinctive, and some of the keyboards must have gotten a considerable soaking. Careful disassembly and cleaning of the boards would usually resurrect 90% of them, but there were always a few that died of alcohol poisoning.

    The boss at that time was one of those frantic sorts...he'd lambast any tech who was in-house for more than a few hours...until shown the ticket queue that showed only one active ticket, which was awaiting a parts shipment. Then he'd wander off like a puppy whose favorite chew toy was taken away, only to return a few hours later to berate people again. Finally, one tech said "Go yell at the salespeople, we can't install anything if they don't sell anything!" That didn't turn out well, but he was right. Unfortunately, he was disagreeing with the the PHB,

  32. Bandikoto
    Coffee/keyboard

    Tap water? Why not distilled water? Why not pure grain alcohol? (197 proof ethanol)

    Water's all fine and dandy, but tap water? Surely you keep distilled water on-hand to block Communist infiltration, Communist indoctrination, Communist subversion and the international Communist conspiracy to sap and impurify all of our precious bodily fluids.

    For me, the cleaner of choice is pure grain alcohol and a toothbrush. It will absorb the remaining water and whisk it away.

  33. Shez

    I used to work in a hospital...

    ...it was never dog pee I had to worry about

  34. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Anon because the perp still works here...

    In my time in the helldesk, there was "that guy" who you never wanted to be assigned the call for. He was (is still) filthy, the guy you hear pebbledash the toilets and wander out without washing his hands and sometimes you could have swore you didn't even hear the toilet paper used.

    His laptop was a bioahzard, the keyboard was encrusted in sweat, grime and god knows what else and was always convinced that something was wrong with it, so it was constantly in and out of the workshop, as soon as people saw his name appear in the call queue they would make themselves suddenly busy out on a call so they didn't have to deal with him.

    One day his P.A. came into the room and said "his keyboard isn't working, fix it now, he's a very busy man and can't wait for the SLA"

    The laptop lid was gingerly opened and we were greeted with what must have been half a bottle of ketchup, clearly a few days old, not just cemented between the keys, preventing use, but up the screen. The helldesk manager saw this as the final straw and literally threw the laptop at the poor P.A. (not his best moment) and said "we aren't touching that fscking thing until it's cleaned up"

    Strangely after said cleaning, there was no follow up call about the keyboard still not working.

  35. Rasslin ' in the mud
    Joke

    Rank, Ranker, Rankest

    "But he had no concerns about stinking up the IT department and also, more importantly, had rank."

    It generally applies when referring to management compared to people who actually perform useful work, this manager was "ranker" than the IT department. While he was in Jim's office, he was the rankest person in the room.

  36. Alistair Silver badge
    Windows

    okay --

    a) manager in question stopped in bar.

    b) manager in question pushed personal limit

    c) manager in question could not wrangle key in lock, passed out on stoop, peed on laptop, tried drying out laptop (with hairdryer/walpaper stripper/oven/microwave)

    -> just my take on things.

    a) neither human nor dog urine is sterile. Period. **YOUR** urine is *inert* to *YOU* -> at least for 10 to 15 minutes - properly filtered as it comes out, you can actually drink it for the water.

    b) sufficient heat was applied to said device to met plastic. Bacterial activity is not an issue. Smell? well that is an entirely different thing. Dog/cat/people urine? That stuff barely makes a smell, let alone a stench. Go hang out in a chicken shed. Where they have chickens. Like, say, 4,000 chickens. *THATS* a stench.

    c) Data. Business requirements 101. IF YOU CANT BE SURE - destroy the drive.

    Even wandering it out to the parking lot and hammering the ratshit out of the device till the disk was truly pooched would be better than tossing it in the skip.

    My take as the VP IT?

    Fire *both* of them.

    /yes, I'm still in a pissy mood. Two more tapes to sort. 8 year old mylar is *NOT* my friend.

  37. Robert Sneddon

    Doggy piddle

    My flatmate had a visit from a friend with a yap-dog. I unwisely left the door of my room open and said yap-dog came in while my back was turned and proceeded to "lay claim" to the HP LJ4 sitting on my floor, right in the ventilation slots.

    I powered it down, got out the big rubber gloves and cleaned it out and it worked fine ever after. The carpet was another matter...

    1. Dwarf Silver badge

      Re: Doggy piddle

      I powered it down, got out the big rubber gloves and cleaned it out and it worked fine ever after. The carpet was another matter...

      Did it have a dog shaped lump in it ?

  38. Herby Silver badge

    Rubber Gloves...

    Should be in everyones "repair" kit. This example should have shown that.

    Given that moisture of many varieties seems to invade electronics on a semi-regular basis, a good supply (they come in nice boxes at surgical supply stores) ought to be on the "buy" list.

    As always, your milage may vary.

    1. J. Cook Silver badge

      Re: Rubber Gloves...

      When I was still a field tech, I kept a box of the things in my 'PM' kit* for cleaning up printers and computers alike. Certain parts of laser printers are sensitive to the greases and oils in skin, toner's just a pain in the butt to deal with, and the computers... ugh. Especially the ones that sat on the floor under a desk. Or worse, under a sorting table on the inbound 'dirty' line of a uniform company's laundry room. (those machines were perched on wood blocks about 18 inches off the floor, because they hosed the floor down to clean it and the cases tended to rust-weld themselves to the floor)

      About the worst I'd dealt with was the full-tower server that lived in a portal office trailer (such as the type used at construction sites) that was a home to a bunch of rats, until one of them shorted themselves out on the server's power brick. The inside of it was covered in rat poop, and the server sat on a cardboard liner in the back of my truck for the ride to the shop. (I was just the pickup person for it, the shop tech had the horror of dealing with that one...)

      * which also had isopropyl, Q-tips, a roll of shop towels, and a toner-safe canister vacuum in it. It was a BIG kit.

  39. Lars Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    Good on you ElReg

    With more than one hundred comments, indeed, dog piss is more interesting than the "logic" behind Brexit.

    In defence of cats and dogs I have to add this. First of all I must admit that I would trust a dog more than a 3 year old to wake me up in the night if the house was on fire. Not so sure about cats though as a woman I knew died with her cat and all, but then again we don't know if the cat tried it's best or not.

    My "knowledge" regarding cats is due to the fact that my wife had a cattery for ten years. What I would like to point out is that when they piss on your laptop it's not because they want piss you they just want to mark that space for themselves in that way, in lack of better alternatives.

    For the commentard who wrote about his dog shitting on the floor I would suggest that, perhaps, the dog has a message for him. Which reminds me of a woman who become the proud owner of one of our very special cats. She eventually found out that the cat refused to use the litter box unless it was dry clean and void of shit. And then she had three of them keeping at least one nice and clean all the time. And the cat nodded to her and said - you do flush the toilet before using it too, don't you.

  40. Blinkered
    Coat

    One word 'Smartwater'

  41. Harry WWC

    "rank" - hah! :)

    > he had no concerns about stinking up the IT department and also, more importantly, had rank.

    his laptop was pretty rank too :)

  42. Blinkered
    Unhappy

    It's Life Jim...

    "The brave explorers will have to endure potential cognitive and eyesight deterioration, and oh, a bad back". WTF << I have all of those and I've never been 'spaced'....

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