back to article Try placing a pot plant directly above your CRT monitor – it really ties the desk together

The week is over once again. Celebrate with a watery On Call tale involving a cathode ray tube, a pot plant, and an absent-minded user. Our hero, Regomised as "Sean", had taken his first steps into the glorious world of IT as a trainee support technician for a housing association at the impossibly young age of 18. "One …

  1. David 132 Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    Your headline reminds me...

    ...that the UK and US truly are "two nations, divided by a common language". Many years ago, as a then-recent expat to the US, I was asked for directions to a colleague's desk in the office building. Without thinking, I said something like "down this aisle, turn left at the large pot plant..."

    Protip - that term has very different connotations in a land where there are now marijuana dispensaries on every street corner. I got a very funny look.

    Of course, many of you will cry "bullshit" on my anecdote, but trust me, though hard to believe, it's true - people really did travel to so-called "office buildings" to work together, once upon a time, long ago. Most of the time we had to get dressed below the waist too... no lazy Zoom shortcuts back then... and did I mention that we wore onions on our belts, as was the fashion?

    1. chivo243 Silver badge
      Headmaster

      Re: Your headline reminds me...

      potted plant = a plant in a flower pot. pot plant = wacky tabacky !

      Pedant as he looks like the he enjoys the latter!

    2. imanidiot Silver badge
      Coat

      Re: Your headline reminds me...

      Onions?

    3. Flocke Kroes Silver badge

      Re: Your headline reminds me...

      Neighbour A kept a plant in her window that looked very much like cannabis. Neighbour B told me it was cassava, not cannabis. I later found out how he knew when the police came to his house with a search warrant. They asked him about one of his plants and he told them it was a "pot plant". It took them a while to work out that he was being honest and did not just mean "a plant in a pot".

      Grow lights use a considerable amount of electricity. Be sure to have a good explanation for your electricity bill if you grow plants indoors.

      1. Aladdin Sane Silver badge
        1. lybad
          Facepalm

          Re: Your headline reminds me...

          I was walking to get the bus to work at one point, saw a police car across the road from a local church, and thought they'll be looking for someone dodgy.

          A few days later - https://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/news/local-news/church-was-drugs-farm-2758104

          1. CountCadaver

            Re: Your headline reminds me...

            I cycled past as they battered the door in, while going to work in the co-op for my sins (fill in job) We probably have crossed paths given we were living in the same arse end of nowhere.....

      2. jake Silver badge

        Re: Your headline reminds me...

        "Grow lights use a considerable amount of electricity."

        Not necessarily. The ones I use in the nursery greenhouse use little more electricity than standard fluorescents.

        "Be sure to have a good explanation for your electricity bill if you grow plants indoors."

        One valid answer could be "I'm mining crypto currency". (Actually. in my case I have a couple of mainframes and a small cluster of vaxen running most of the time ... but they are making far more money than mining bitcoin ever could).

        1. nintendoeats Bronze badge

          Re: Your headline reminds me...

          I...how is a vaxen making anybody money in 2021 outside of major infrastructure?

          1. Kubla Cant Silver badge
            Headmaster

            Re: Your headline reminds me...

            how is a vaxen...

            A Vax, plural (jocose) Vaxen.

            1. A.P. Veening Silver badge

              Re: Your headline reminds me...

              A Vax, plural (jocose) Vaxen.

              Correct, but question remains.

              1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

                Re: Your headline reminds me...

                Some vital bit of corporate infrastructure <cough F35 avionics development cough> is running on VMS and they can't find anyone in-house to support it.

                1. Gene Cash Silver badge

                  Re: Your headline reminds me...

                  Wow, I think you're actually just down the road from me.

                  I had a friend at UCF that had a working PDP-11/34A. To complete the circle, we grew up 2 miles from each other in Ocala, but we didn't meet until college.

                  1. SteveastroUk

                    Re: Your headline reminds me...

                    I have a friend that collects and restores old mainframes to full functionality. He created a museum to look after them

                    1. W.S.Gosset Silver badge

                      Re: Your headline reminds me...

                      I had a friend in Britain who collects and restores transputers. He and a similar mate of his competed with each other to make the fastest-possible paper-tape reader. They only stopped when it became physically dangerous to have less than 20 foot of space in front of the exit path. :D

            2. nintendoeats Bronze badge

              Re: Your headline reminds me...

              Sorry, yes, did know that. pre-coffee.

          2. jake Silver badge

            Re: Your headline reminds me...

            Testing code in situ before going live. Most of the live computers are at research facilities of one sort or another and are used to monitor/control/log other equipment. Old stuff to be sure, but it still does the job.

            Why? Because I can, primarily.Restoring and running old computers is a form of meditation for me. But research, maintenance of old scientific systems (somebody's got to do it!) and a misguided sense of tradition are other reasons. It can also be quite lucrative.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Your headline reminds me...

              Every time I read a jake post he makes another outlandish claim. Taken in isolation, any of them could be true, but surely they can't all be true? Is this some kind of super human who has actually lived six parallel lives with six parallel (and mostly very high-flying) careers in six different parts of the world?

              a.c. because, rather like Mulder, I want to believe...

              1. Intractable Potsherd Silver badge

                Re: Your headline reminds me...

                I personally know a couple of people who have lived/are living lives such as @jake describes, so I'm more than happy to believe. They do what they enjoy, and every day is a pleasure for them. They are usually really nice people, too - unless you pretend to be something you aren't.

              2. jake Silver badge

                Re: Your headline reminds me...

                Ask yourself "How many spare hours would I have if I didn't watch telly, and I didn't play video games?". If you're a normal, modern human it probably adds up to over 1500 hours per year. Half a century or so adds up to 75,000 hours. One can accomplish an awful lot in 75,000 hours. (Obsessing over various local Sports teams can easily add another several thousand hours to this figure, as can religious activities, etc. etc.)

                Next, throw in the fact that I cheat ... When I was in high school, I discovered that I got by just fine on 4 hours sleep per night (swotting for O-levels while still maintaining time for drinking playing rock & roll demanded it). I've since discovered that I do even better on 3 hours sleep per night and a one hour siesta after lunch. After around 50 years, that's another 75,000 hours ... assuming a so-called "standard" eight hours of sleep per night.

                I've spent the spare time[0] pursuing things that I find interesting, fun, and satisfying.

                What are you doing this fine Sunday afternoon?

                [0] It's not actually "spare time", we only have a finite amount, use it wisely.

                1. Anonymous Coward
                  Anonymous Coward

                  Re: Your headline reminds me...

                  (original a.c. here)

                  Three hours of sleep sent a certain former Prime Minister dotty after a while, and sent her cabinet ministers dotty even while she was still compos-mentis (or however you spell it).

                  As for this afternoon? At work. My place of employment is open seven days a week.

                2. ICL1900-G3 Bronze badge

                  Re: Your headline reminds me...

                  I can't remember Ever upvoting Jake before.

                  1. A.P. Veening Silver badge

                    Re: Your headline reminds me...

                    I can't remember Ever upvoting Jake before.

                    That probably says something about your memory, do you get enough sleep?

      3. Potty Professor
        Facepalm

        Re: Your headline reminds me...

        Just over four years ago, I moved into a rented bungalow in the Welsh Marches. It had recently been completely refurbished, but there were large repaired patches in the walls of the bedroom upstairs in the roof. I went up into the attic space to check on the level of insulation up above the bedroom ceiling, and found an old screw-top coffee jar half full of some interesting looking seeds. I phoned the landlords' office and asked what to do with them, and was told in no uncertain terms to dispose of them ASAP. I flushed them down the toilet and forgot about them. Some while later, I discovered from one of the landlords' employees, that the house had been used as a cannabis growery at some point in the past, and then realised that those seeds were probably cannabis. I also realised that they would have enjoyed being sent through the tubes into the septic tank, and would probably start to germinate. I arranged for the tank to be pumped out, so there could well be a field or compost heap somewhere close by that is sprouting a fine crop of weed(s).

        1. Caver_Dave Silver badge
          Big Brother

          Re: Your headline reminds me...

          I moved into a house that had both pot and poppy in the garden among the flowers.

          Burnt them very soon after moving in.

          1. Yes Me Silver badge
            Paris Hilton

            Re: Your headline reminds me...

            Why? She says...

          2. DeVino
            Holmes

            Re: Your headline reminds me...

            Anywhere near the fumes as they burned by any chance ? Just asking...

          3. Tom 7 Silver badge

            Re: Your headline reminds me...

            When I was a young lad a couple of old ladies appeared in the local rag when a large dope plant was found growing in their garden. It grew from their budgie seeds the sweet old dears claimed and were let off.

            Found out later they'd been growing the stuff since the 30s and it was only a car crash killing part of their hedge made it visible to the public.

          4. Tom 7 Silver badge

            Re: Your headline reminds me...

            Opium poppies grow wild over a lot of east anglia after they were grown for making morphine in WWII. I believe the green seed heads were really useful for calming teething children.

      4. Dwc2174

        Re: Your headline reminds me...

        Use LEDs.

        Or live somewhere that growing cannabis is legal, I suppose.

    4. Dwarf Silver badge

      Re: Your headline reminds me...

      I had the exact same situation several decades ago. A previous manager was having problems with the SIM in their mobile phone and when looking at it, there was some clear dirt ingress on the pads and SIM socket, so I said go and find a rubber and we will clean it off. I got a very confused look an an "Excuse me ?" that said a heck of a lot more than the words themselves.

      I did not know that a rubber in the USA is not something that was used with pencils to erase the mark. I now know the difference in American between a prophylactic and erasers.

      1. jake Silver badge

        Re: Your headline reminds me...

        I was aghast on my first day of primary school in Blighty. One of my new classmates asked to borrow a rubber ... This Californian knew about prophylactics at the ripe old age of 9ish, but had never actually seen one, much less been in possession of one. Fortunately, the teacher had a few cross-pond clues and translated for me. I think she was more embarrassed than I was ...

        1. yetanotheraoc

          Re: Your headline reminds me...

          "One of my new classmates asked to borrow a rubber"

          It's even more embarrassing when they return it.

          1. Aladdin Sane Silver badge

            Re: Your headline reminds me...

            Used

        2. molletts

          Re: Your headline reminds me...

          I was once asked, by a boy who had recently arrived from the southern portion of Africa, if I had a stiffy that he could use. The sheer unlikeliness of being asked such a personal question out of the blue by someone I barely knew (together with an awareness of the variations in English from one place to another, my Dad having once related a tale of his own faux-pas involving an eraser on a business trip to the USA) alerted me that the word almost certainly meant something different to him!

          He was more than a little embarrassed when, after he'd managed to explain what he needed (a floppy disk), I explained to him what "stiffy" meant to me. It became something of an in-joke between us in the end - everyone else wondered why we found floppy disks so amusing.

      2. Kubla Cant Silver badge

        Re: Your headline reminds me...

        And yet a rubber (eraser) is so-called because it's used to rub things out. The stuff that oozes out of trees gets its name from the the eraser.

        Rubbers are used in all sorts of other activities, for example French polishing (though that comes with its own burden of innuendo).

      3. Arthur the cat Silver badge

        Re: Your headline reminds me...

        Australian English has its own variety as well. Back when I was an academic the prof who headed my research group had a sabbatical Down Under and was startled when the departmental secretary, a very prim and proper lady in her late fifties, burst into his office and asked "have you got some Durex, I need some in a hurry?" He eventually learned that Durex was an Oz trade name for what we call Sellotape.

        1. Aladdin Sane Silver badge

          Re: Your headline reminds me...

          And they walk around in thongs.

        2. Uncle Slacky Silver badge

          Re: Your headline reminds me...

          Jasper Carrott famously did a whole standup routine about Australian Durex:

          https://youtu.be/5SdbEfueBY0?t=1110

        3. Precordial thump

          Re: Your headline reminds me...

          Sorry to burst your collective bubble, but up here in Australia it's universally known as sticky tape.

          1. David 132 Silver badge
            Happy

            Re: Your headline reminds me...

            Next you'll be claiming that your name isn't Bruce or Sheila.

            1. jake Silver badge

              Re: Your headline reminds me...

              Anything but, Shirley!

      4. Martin Silver badge
        Happy

        Re: Your headline reminds me...

        I heard Dave Allen tell that story. He said he was in an art shop and asked for a rubber, and said he wanted one of the soft ones that come to bits when you use it.

      5. Potty Professor
        Devil

        Re: Your headline reminds me...

        When I was on the drawing board at a local engineering company, we had an Australian chap come to work with us temporarily. He was the "Victorian Apprentice of the Year" for the previous year, and had come over to finish his education at a British university. He said that in Oz, they refer to reels of adhesive tape by its brand name, Durex. He and his mates used to have fun going into W H Smiths and similar and asking the girl behind the counter for "A reel of Durex, please".

    5. Steven Raith

      Re: Your headline reminds me...

      I moved from the far north of Scotland to Hertfordshire for work, and one of the first things I learned was that people get confused by the word criac.

      This was after I was pulled into a managers office for asking someone "what's yer criac was today?" (Scottish for how are you) and they interpreted it as me offering them drugs.

      I really wish I was making that up. Good job I didn't do the c-bomb (as is standard in casual Scottish conversation), they'd probably think I was pimping...

      My accent and language have mellowed since.

      Steven R

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Your headline reminds me...

        I had the opposite experience when contracting for an Anglo-Dutch company. I was invited to the company Christmas party in Oxford, and a very senior Dutch executive asked me if I knew where to score some cocaine. I guess he realised he'd made a mistake from my shocked expression, but made it worse by trying to justify his specifically asking me by saying "well you have long hair, so I guessed you would know".

        1. Pascal Monett Silver badge

          Ah, the wonders of stereotypes.

        2. imanidiot Silver badge

          Re: Your headline reminds me...

          And people wonder how the Netherlands has become THE narco-state of Europe.

    6. Admiral Grace Hopper

      Re: Your headline reminds me...

      I was, young, still smoking and stood in a street in New York when I expressed my desire for nicotine with the phrase, "Christ! I could murder a fag!". It took some explanation before my companions calmed down.

      1. Sean o' bhaile na gleann

        Re: Your headline reminds me...

        When working with an American firm some years back, my favourite phrase "Just going to go suck on fag's butt".

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Your headline reminds me...

        Or "Bum a fag"...

      3. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

        Re: Your headline reminds me...

        Story of a Brummie rock band touring the USA in the 70s

        After many meals of burger and fries one of them announces rather loudly - "I could bloody murder an Indian"

    7. Chris G Silver badge

      Re: Your headline reminds me...

      In Spain, although not the law, it is generally accepted that you can grow up to three plants for personal use.

      The smell of cannabis is common in the streets but if you are caught selling it or carrying whatever a cop would consider a commercial quantity, you will be nicked and prosecuted.

      My mate's son, just for a laugh planted some seeds. A couple didn't make it but the others grew to about 2.5 metres and were covered in sticky seed heads.

      A pity I can't stand the stuff!

      1. Blank Reg Silver badge

        Re: Your headline reminds me...

        I don't know how anyone can stand it. it smells like burning dog crap

    8. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Your headline reminds me...

      I completely believe you. That sounds like the normal level of faux pas between two versions of a language that are so, so similar yet not the same. In our case (UK VS USA English) almost the same. But not. Mostly we just dropped the U. I hope you enjoy it here, and I hope the UK catches up to US* on their cannabis laws - I know that they, tragically, followed us down this dark road of ineffectual prohibition almost a century ago.

      *pun intended but no offense intended.

  2. Oh Matron!

    BOBSMEDS

    Those that have worked for a certain fruity company will know about Bob's Meds, apertures, and the ability for a CRT to send you across the room

    1. Vulch

      Re: BOBSMEDS

      The ITV company I worked for once upon a time hired summer work experience students. One summer the maintenance department were contemplating putting calibrated markings on the floor by the monitor repair bench so they could estimate the EHT voltage by how far their student jumped/got thrown back when he touched the internals in an inadvisable manner. You'd think he'd have learnt after a couple of shocks, but this went on for weeks...

      1. Pascal Monett Silver badge

        Yeah, you'd think indeed.

        I certainly wouldn't need more than one shock.

        1. The Oncoming Scorn Silver badge
          Alert

          Builds Up A Charge Very Quickly

          Did it once, never again......

      2. DJV Silver badge

        Re: BOBSMEDS

        Back in my youth (mid 1970s when I was about 19) I was a trainee TV engineer for Rediffusion. I was once at a customers house with the back off the TV and the valve-packed chassis angled slightly downwards from its normal vertical position so I could fault find. The customer, an elderly gentleman, sat next to me watching interestedly at what I was doing. Then he did something I suppose he thought might have been useful. He said, "It was sparking a bit round about here," and put his fingers on the PCB in the high voltage area. It sparked once more, using his fingers to earth the current.

        "Ow," I think he may have said (or possibly something stronger).

        I looked at him, deadpan, saying something like, "I know where to poke my fingers safely. You don't. Don't do that again."

        At least he learned his lesson first time around.

        1. The Oncoming Scorn Silver badge
          Alert

          Re: BOBSMEDS - Soppys Story!

          So a friend at college, decided like myself to bump up his C&G 224 (TV Servicing in his case) to a HNC, with some financial help from the Manpower Services Commission at Swindon College. This was his story.

          "So I'm there on XXXXX chassis in a little old ladies house, adjusting the focus (Or whatever) with my hand down between the boards, when my watchstrap* decided to get friendly & ignore social distancing advice with the HT, when "the law of surprise" kicked in".

          So with the expected flyback, there was a cry of surprise & pain as he & his arm, wrist & hand was predictably distanced from the TV sets innards very quickly, gouging chunks of flesh out by all the solder joints on the way. Leaving him shaking & dripping blood over this little old ladies carpet as she watched aghast at the bloody shaken TV tech uttering expletives like Roy "Chubby" Brown on one of less restrained days as he tried to refocus his senses.

          *You're ahead of me ain't ya & don't need to be told what the watch strap was made of.

          1. Potty Professor
            Thumb Down

            Re: BOBSMEDS - Soppys Story!

            While on a motoring holiday in Italy when I was seventeen, our old Chevrolet developed an irritating tapping noise when one of its hydraulic lifters collapsed. My Father removed the rocker cover so that he could adjust the tappet clearance to shut it up, but in doing so, he shorted between the battery terminal and the battery retaining clamp with his watch strap. Unfortunately, the strap was one of those expanding metal ones, and it heated up rather quickly. Dad let out a howl of pain and pulled the strap away from his wrist, thus burning his fingertips as well. The strap sprang back, causing a second burn farther up his arm. Rinse and repeat, a third burn. I had to do all the driving for the remainder of the holiday because the three stripes across his forearm and the two burnt fingertips on the other hand were causing him a lot of pain, and the Codeine pain killers we bought at a pharmacy were making him drowsy and unable to drive.

            1. jake Silver badge

              Re: BOBSMEDS - Soppys Story!

              A friend of mine reached behind a large bank of relay racks and managed to get his Rolex watchband across the 48V supply ... The resulting loud "CRACK!" and fans spinning down, coupled with the smell of roasting/burning pork, were rather disturbing. To say nothing of the screaming. I managed to calm him down & get him to the ER ... Xrays showed little balls of gold melted into his wrist behind the 3rd degree charring. The surgeons later told him he was lucky to still have full use of his hand. Today, 25 years later, the scarring is still impressive, despite skin grafts. He got a new band for the watch, and now wears it on his other wrist. It still works.

              And people wonder why I always take off my wedding ring when working on electrical stuff. Yes, that includes cars, trucks, boats etc.

            2. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: BOBSMEDS - Soppys Story!

              I forget if it's the Chevy or the Oldsmobile 350 engine that has a wedding-ring sized gap between the B+ stud on the starter and the exhaust pipe. I came very close to testing the fusing current of my ring once.

            3. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: BOBSMEDS - Soppys Story!

              I met a chap who got his watch stuck on the battery for about half an hour. He needed a fair bit of skin grafting to cover the third degree burns

          2. ADRM
            Flame

            Re: BOBSMEDS - Soppys Story!

            Been there done that ONCE. No longer wore the watch at work.

    2. jake Silver badge

      Re: BOBSMEDS

      "and the ability for a CRT to send you across the room"

      There is a reason they call it a flyback transformer ...

      1. ClockworkOwl
        Coat

        Re: BOBSMEDS

        Indeed, and the multiplyer, er...

        Multiplys the distance?

    3. Andy Non Silver badge

      Re: BOBSMEDS

      Not an electric shock, but at my college's open day, the electrical engineering section had an experiment running with a large washer levitating around a bolt. Fascinated, I wondered how much force it would take to move the washer and grasped it firmly to find out... and branded my fingers. It was BLOODY HOT!

      1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

        Re: BOBSMEDS

        Introduction to Induction cookers lesson 1

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: BOBSMEDS

      So, what was the story about BOBSMEDS, then?

      1. The Oncoming Scorn Silver badge
        Paris Hilton

        Re: BOBSMEDS

        It seems to be a left pondian acronym for the steps required to discharge a tube (Googles a handy tool).

        Stands for Buddy, Off, Bling, Strap, Mat, Eyewear, Discharge (Icon), Safety.

        1. jake Silver badge

          Re: BOBSMEDS

          Not common leftpondian ... this this Yank has never heard it.

          Mayhap it's Canadian?

  3. Barking House
    FAIL

    Adding China to my monitor

    As a Field Engineer, I remember going to a call out to a factory that manufactured expensive pottery/china/plates etc and being presented with a PC Monitor that had been accidentally dropped into liquid clay. Was told it was not working and could I take a look and fix it !

    They were most upset when I said it was beyond repair and as they were responsible for dropping in into the liquid clay they would have to buy a new one at their cost. The factory manager was most upset and said there was no point in having a maintenance contract if we would not fix problems.

    All their kit on the factory floor and vast accumulations of clay/china dust, it caused all sorts of problems that we generally did fix but I always though if this stuff is killing PCs etc what is it doing to the people who work there !

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Adding China to my monitor

      A certain purveyor of <cough> tarmacadam, aggregates and concrete had sites that insisted on keeping part of their IT equipment under the conveyors carrying dry cement. Naturally the kit got covered in dust... then it rained, the fans and other moving parts jammed solid and everything died.

      After a few callouts their IT maintenance contract was cancelled by our company as they kept getting annoyed that we were insisting that it wasn't covered by by their maintenance contract

      (and compounded by the fact the we had only budgeted the standard amount of spares for repair by swap-out rather than needing to supply new kit... even though we were billing them full price of replacing each and every breeze-block they had created)

      1. Andy A
        FAIL

        Re: Adding China to my monitor

        Nasty stuff, cement.

        Was once shown a tower-style PC which had been in use at a cement works which had suffered a flood.

        The liquid had been up to the circuit board of the only hard drive. The motherboard showed a tide mark. Below that the components had been eaten off and made a neat pile in the bottom of the case.

        Yes, they had backups. The tapes were stored close by the PC, on the floor.

      2. DJV Silver badge

        Re: Adding China to my monitor

        Ah, solid state technology at its finest!

    2. Francis Boyle Silver badge

      Giving them

      very firm bowel movements is my guess.

  4. Peter Ford

    Adjust the monitor settings?

    Surely the standard method of fixing a bendy display like this is to whack it hard on the side...

    1. Mishak

      Re: Adjust the monitor settings?

      Used to work for a monitor I had that would make a loud whistling noise from time-to-time. A good whack 1/3 of the way down on the right hand side soon fixed it.

      1. ch0rlt0n

        Re: Adjust the monitor settings?

        I also had one that whistled, but only when displaying a certain amount of white on the screen. Minimise Word, or even change the paper color and it went away.

      2. JeffB

        Re: Adjust the monitor settings?

        Good old percussive maintenance, still practiced by Simon Travaglia on manglement!!

      3. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: Adjust the monitor settings?

        "Used to work for a monitor I had that would make a loud whistling noise from time-to-time. A good whack 1/3 of the way down on the right hand side soon fixed it."

        My dads TV was doing that, some years ago when CRTs were still the only option. He mentioned it when I was there so I took a look around the back. The tiny "welding arc light" showing through the vents was a clue something might be up. So I turned it off, went out to the car and brought my tools in and re-soldered the bit that was arcing. Problem solved and I was dads golden boy for a while :-)

        (Yes, I did discharge the tube first. Even I knew that the arc light was probably a high voltage that I didn't want to touch!)

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Adjust the monitor settings?

      "Surely the standard method of fixing a bendy display like this is to whack it hard on the side..."

      Or remove the fridge magnet holding the bit of paper with their passwords to the side of the monitor

      1. Charlie van Becelaere

        Re: Adjust the monitor settings?

        "Or remove the fridge magnet holding the bit of paper with their passwords to the side of the monitor."

        My SVGA (Yes, I was one of the lucky ones!) CRT had a lovely rainbow effect on the base blue screen which disappeared when I realised I had a magnetic paperclip holder sitting atop the monitor, just above the fun part of the display.

        I may have admitted that to a coworker (but I doubt it).

        1. The Oncoming Scorn Silver badge
          Holmes

          Re: Adjust the monitor settings?

          Or remove the unit that recharged the site staffs walkie talkies batteries from its position above the affected monitor.

      2. Lil Endian
        Pint

        Re: Adjust the monitor settings?

        For CRTs with no external controls I became quite adept at waving a rather large magnet around the casing to correct distortions.

        Of course, if a few "sherries" had been involved it could get very messy very quickly!

        Happy Friday all ---->

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Adjust the monitor settings?

      Flat screen with a intermittant horizontal line right across the screen.

      If you hit it on the left - no effect, you had to hit it on the right hand side to clear

      1. DJV Silver badge

        Re: Adjust the monitor settings?

        Yes, the reset circuitry is on the right in that model.

    4. Eclectic Man Silver badge
      Happy

      Re: Adjust the monitor settings?

      Not sure if this was one I read on the Register a few years ago, but it kind of stuck in the memory.

      User complains that in hot weather their display has a strange wobbly picture. This only happens in hot weather.

      Engineer is intrigued and views said monitor. And it is true, the image wobbles in hot weather but not in the early mornings when it is cool.

      Electrical checks of the monitor indicate it is in perfect working order.

      Engineer has bright idea, goes into the office next door and moves oscillating desk fan from the other side of the partition wall.

      Monitor 'cured' of wobble.

      Engineer a hero, back slaps all round etc. etc.

      1. Duncan Cummings
        Unhappy

        Re: Adjust the monitor settings?

        Been there, done that. Carried 17" crt monitor up to the second floor with the aircon not working. Should of used a trolley but young and stupid. Take one look at the desk, and move the portable fan 20cm away from the side of the screen. Problem disappears! Carry monitor back to car mumbling about the intelligence of customers.

        Looking back I realize that most people (including the new generation of hardware maintenance engineers) don't understand basic electro-magnetism or electronics so I was probably a bit harsh.

      2. Old Used Programmer Silver badge

        Re: Adjust the monitor settings?

        One sort of like that I was able to provide a solution for (and it wasn't even my job).

        Huge--for the time--expensive (ViewSonic) CRT monitor. Lousy image. The actual problem was an unshielded power distribution panel on the other side of the wall. The Powers That Be were unwilling to spend what it would have taken to properly shield the panel. So I suggested a somewhat better graphics card for the PC so that the refresh wouldn't be 60Hz. That was done, cranked the refresh to 85Hz. Rock solid image.

  5. Chris G Silver badge

    Back in the olden days

    I had several mates who were firemen, I think TV/CRTs were second only to smoking as a cause of house fires.

    1. Dabooka Silver badge

      Re: Back in the olden days

      And dodgy fairy lights if you go back a bit further.

      That's what my dad told me anyway, and he was a fireman in the 70s and 80s

      1. Chris G Silver badge

        Re: Back in the olden days

        Yup! Fairy lights and christmas trees, though the christmas trees are not what you would think.

        They were plug doublers/treblers plugged into each other with multiple leads attached, adding up to absurd levels of current draw and unsurprisingly if not blowing a fuse would get hot enough to start a blaze.

        1. Dave559 Silver badge

          Re: Back in the olden days

          …and don't forget chip pan fires, too!

          I'm pretty sure there's a typically doom-laden 70s public safety film highlighting the dangers of those (and probably one for each of the other causes of fire mentioned, as well).

          Does anyone actually still fry chips in a pan these days, or does everyone use oven chips, takeaways, or deep fat fryers?

          1. The Oncoming Scorn Silver badge
            Mushroom

            Re: Back in the olden days

            Ex Mrs Scorn, tried to burn the house down that we were moving out of (In 4 days time) in that fashion & wanted to either carry it to the sink or pour water on it.

            Fortunately I stopped her from doing that, having remembered the public safety films on the subject & had been on two firefighting courses on dealing with fires on oil rigs & ships & simply smothered it with a wet tea towel.

            Having moved into the new home, our local B&Q at some point had a fire blanket in the clearance area (With a wall mounted holder). She wasn't very appreciative of that purchase given her track record.

            1. Old Used Programmer Silver badge

              Re: Back in the olden days

              Back in the early 1950s, my father took 8mm movies of cadets at the Maritime Training Center practicing putting out oil fires with water. (My father was an instructor for electrical and electronic systems at the base.)

          2. Martin an gof Silver badge

            Re: Back in the olden days

            Does anyone actually still fry chips in a pan these days

            Yup, me. Two (large, heavy) open pans, 1/3rd full of oil. It's the only way to make sufficient chips for the whole family in one go, other than installing an industrial fryer or three domestic ones. Yes, we have a fire blanket. No, I never leave them unattended. Never worked properly (difficult to get hot enough) when we had to suffer a Halogen electric hob for a couple of years, but they work well on gas.

            I also use cast iron bakestones, mainly for Welshcakes but also for pancakes and such. I have one thin, modern one and one very thick, very heavy one that is probably well over a hundred years old (found three in a shed, gave one away, one recovered very well, the other is still a bit rusty and set aside as a "spare"). The main danger with those is forgetting that they stay hot for perhaps hours after use!

            As for the public information films, try the BFI archive, there should be plenty there to keep you amused for hours.

            M.

            1. Eddie G
              FAIL

              Re: Back in the olden days

              BFI Player doesn't support Linux of Firefox ... so they can just go and crash and burn (there is probably a public information short about that, but I couldn't possible view it).

              1. Martin an gof Silver badge

                Re: Back in the olden days

                I play BFI films in Firefox on Linux (OpenSuse) all the time, well the free stuff anyway. There are a couple of "allows" you need to make if you are running something like NoScript, but other than that it works just fine.

                M.

        2. cookieMonster
          Facepalm

          Re: Back in the olden days

          Re blowing a fuse.

          At a mates house as a kid and they had a problem with a fuse blowing in some power tool, they “fixed the problem” by replacing the fuse in the plug with a piece of sawn nail, the same length of the fuse.

          1. Eclectic Man Silver badge
            FAIL

            Re: Back in the olden days

            One Darwin Award contender, a truck driver, was unhappy that a fuse in his truck was blown and he couldn't drive it. So he replaced the fuse with an undischarged round of ammunition, unfortunately pointing towards his (readers of a sensitive disposition look away now) 'marital area'. Well, you can guess what happened next.

            Remember that the Darwin Awards are for those who have removed their genes from the gene pool not necessarily by death.

            1. Shooter

              Re: Back in the olden days

              Audiovisual Auto-Alert Fuse!

              https://farm6.staticflickr.com/5502/10474490106_7a55252c6e_z.jpg

        3. keithpeter Silver badge
          Windows

          Re: Back in the olden days

          In addition to the Y lamp socket adaptors in the lamp holders (with radio plugged into one of the sockets, so nothing remotely like an earth), there was the nail where the fuse wire should be in the porcelain bank of fuse holders - the kind you pull out - by the leccy meter. My old Dad used to do repairs for neighbours. I remember him not being happy about that one (terraced houses).

  6. ColinPa

    Up to your knees in water

    I was doing support for one of the Olympic games. One of my colleagues told me about the Badminton finals. The computers were underground amongst the pipes. Because of the large number of people in the audience the toilet facilities were stretched. He went down the morning of the semi-finals to find the floor was wet, so he reported it, and they sent an engineer down to fix it. I dont know what they did, but it resulted in more "water" on the floor. They said it would take a few days to fix - so as long as it holds out - they would live with it. If necessary they would get a taller table to put the computers on.

    On the day of the finals - the "water" was about 9 inches deep. My colleague had to wear boots to go and turn the machine on (then leave and get back to base).

    The finals were played. My colleague had to go and turn the machine off - the water was just below the top of his wellies. He left the kit there for someone else to remove, and went for a shower before meeting us in the bar.

  7. Handel was a crank

    Pah!

    I can trump that - as a young man (I was one once) I was watering the office plants. Shortly afterwards the entire office's computers went off. One of the plants was hanging above the partition. Above two mains sockets. It had been overwatered. I'm sure you can join the dots here.

    This was in the days when compiling could take quite a while, sometimes hours. Turns out fellow software engineers don't like such compilations to be interrupted. They did see the funny side... eventually.

    1. Paul Kinsler Silver badge

      Re: This was in the days when compiling could take quite a while, sometimes hours.

      I remember Bruce W compiling a new linux kernel on his laptop, some time in the earlyish '90s.

      I do not recall exactly, but "overnight" may be an underestimate of the time taken :-)

      1. TimMaher Silver badge
        Trollface

        It’s amazing what you learn here.

        I didn’t know that Bruce Willis was a programmer. Wow!

        1. The Oncoming Scorn Silver badge
          Holmes

          Re: It’s amazing what you learn here.

          When he's not saving office blocks from thieves & aircraft in a holding pattern from terrorists\mercenaries or even the Earth itself from rogue asteroids on collision courses.

          1. David 132 Silver badge
            Coat

            Re: It’s amazing what you learn here.

            Yeah but he prefers to use the easier Emacs…

            …he finds Vi Hard.

            1. vogon00

              Re: It’s amazing what you learn here.

              Upvoted for the I.T. version of a 'Dad Joke'..

            2. jake Silver badge

              Re: It’s amazing what you learn here.

              It;s not that Vi's "hard", it simply doesn't exist.

              $ Vi

              bash: Vi: command not found

              $

              1. Eddie G

                Re: It’s amazing what you learn here.

                I always have "alias DieHard=vi" set in my .profile!

      2. jake Silver badge

        Re: This was in the days when compiling could take quite a while, sometimes hours.

        Compiling the Linux kernel on my home 386SX16 with a then largeish 8 megs of RAM took over a day in about mid 1993. It took me six tries to get it right. The end result increased my system's performance by about 3% ... I just used the stock Slackware kernel for several years after that. Seemed to be the pragmatic thing to do.

  8. corbpm

    Most common fault was Magnets

    Desk toy magnets usually, move magnet and to there amazement usually fixed, and don't forget the odd Degaussing button if it had one.

    Also had the "i need a bigger monitor", followed by "i need a bigger desk".

    When i eventually retired my two home desktop monitors i was told at the local refuse site that they are company waste as no-one has two extremely large monitors on one computer , therefore i must be dumping at the household site as a company.

    Two trips to two other sites later and bye bye monitors.

    1. imanidiot Silver badge

      Re: Most common fault was Magnets

      Who the heck DOESN'T have 2 monitors? Certainly nowadays.

      1. Pascal Monett Silver badge

        Kids on their smartphones ?

      2. WonkoTheSane
        Headmaster

        Re: Most common fault was Magnets

        Someone who offloaded them in favour of one of the new SuperDuperUltraHyperMegaWideScreen ones?

      3. nintendoeats Bronze badge

        Re: Most common fault was Magnets

        People who exclusively use laptops (read, most people).

        1. Swarthy

          Re: Most common fault was Magnets

          True, I only have one monitor (at home) I use the laptop screen for the secondary.

          At work I have two monitors, and use the laptop screen as the tertiary.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Most common fault was Magnets

            At my WFH desk, I have two widescreen monitors and use the laptop as the tertiary.

            At my at-work desk, I have two widescreen monitors and a conventional one.

            I had a HUGE productivity boost when I switched to two full screens. To be fair, adding the third screen didn't really help THAT much, but it does help a bit. (And the three together form a nice partition between me and the door - folks will be in the room for a minute before they realize I'm there!)

            For US folks, check out your local Goodwill for cheap monitors. I've bought 2 there for $10 apiece.

        2. jake Silver badge

          Re: Most common fault was Magnets

          The first thing I plug into my laptop is a docking station. The docking station has a large screen attached to it ... and a "dumb" terminal that gets a simple login prompt thrown at it. So large screen, small "native" laptop screen, and a dumb terminal. This is a minimal configuration for a desktop as far as I'm concerned.

      4. picturethis

        Re: Most common fault was Magnets

        When one has 1 43" Ultra4K monitor (no bezel to deal with).

        1. Caver_Dave Silver badge

          Re: Most common fault was Magnets

          Me too. End of line TV, so £230!

      5. Arthur the cat Silver badge

        Re: Most common fault was Magnets

        Single 37" 3840 x 1600 Dell. Can't put another one over it because of the room shape, can't put another one beside it as I'd have to swivel 90° to look at it.

      6. Martin M

        Re: Most common fault was Magnets

        We’re talking CRT era here - the first official multi screen support was in Win98 I think, before that only via expensive/fragile hacks. As corbpm says, until LCD monitors came along an unfeasibly large desk was required anyway, so few people wanted to multiscreen.

        I first had dual LCD monitors in 2003, but probably only because I was working on a trading floor and it was the default, hang the (significant, at the time) expense. When I started a new job in 2006, I had to spend some time convincing the head of department to give the development teams second screens, citing academic studies on productivity increases and defect count reductions. Probably the single best thing I did for them while I was there…

        1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

          Re: Most common fault was Magnets

          "We’re talking CRT era here - the first official multi screen support was in Win98 I think,"

          MS-DOS. AutoCad. Used the text-only MDA screen for the text entry and menus while the gfx CAD display, CGA, or possibly even EGA got the full screen resolution of 640x200 or 640x350, not space lost to menus etc.

          1. MJB7

            Re: We’re talking CRT era here

            Quite: When I started developing CAD systems in 1980 (on a Prime), the normal customer setup was a Textronix 4014 graphics display (for the graphics) and a VDU (eg ADM3A) for the command prompt and dislay.

            1. Martin M

              Re: We’re talking CRT era here

              OK, multi-monitor *graphics* support then :-)

              And to be fair I suspect there were actually quite a few systems doing it well before Windows did, but original context was about widespread use…

            2. Medieval Research Council

              Re: We’re talking CRT era here

              "Hotel de la Poste" ring any bells -- or the pig farm next door?

      7. idiot taxpayer here again

        Re: Most common fault was Magnets

        @imanidiot

        I don't. I have no need for more than one. Besides, if I wanted to look important or impress a customer, I would have three.

      8. Aussie Doc Bronze badge
        Pint

        Re: Most common fault was Magnets

        Two?

        Pah!

        Amateurs.

      9. TheMeerkat Bronze badge

        Re: Most common fault was Magnets

        I have only one monitor. A good one, but just one.

        I prefer it this way.

    2. Martin M

      Re: Most common fault was Magnets

      I had almost forgotten about degaussing aka The Wibble Button. I can’t remember a time my monitor actually needed it, but it was sufficiently satisfying that I did it anyway. Thank you for making my day! DDDONNGGGGonngonggongong…

    3. The Oncoming Scorn Silver badge
      Pint

      Re: Most common fault was Magnets

      I rescued a 24" IIRC CRT monitor from the scrap pile, just about fitted on my desk, nice upgrade from 17".

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    One day, Facebook engineers in the Menlo Park campus had to be reminded that MacBooks are not good substitutes for umbrellas…

  10. Jaspa

    Oldskool TV and pot plant

    My Old Dear did the same years back.

    Plant watered and duly seeped into the top of the telly.

    Cue a Dude in a brown lab coat with a bag of valves muttering to himself.

    Yeah , that ages me :(

    1. WonkoTheSane
      Trollface

      Re: Oldskool TV and pot plant

      At least it wasn't an exploding stuffed penguin!

      1. David 132 Silver badge

        Re: Oldskool TV and pot plant

        Burma!

        1. The Oncoming Scorn Silver badge
          Paris Hilton

          Re: Oldskool TV and pot plant

          Be Upstairs Ready My Angel

          One way of paying the TV repairman I suppose.

          1. David 132 Silver badge

            Re: Oldskool TV and pot plant

            “Norwich”, if we’re now playing that game…

    2. DJV Silver badge

      Re: Oldskool TV and pot plant

      Back when I was working for Rediffusion one of the other engineers told me that he once took the back off a TV in a customer's house to fix it and found the remains of a dead goldfish inside it. He handed its crispy remains back to the owners.

  11. Andy Non Silver badge
    Facepalm

    Been there done that

    Many years ago we kept a spider plant in a hanging basket above the (CRT) television set in the front room. One day the inevitable happened while I watered the plant and water ran out of the bottom of the pot and straight inside the TV set. There was a little cracking sound and the TV died. I face palmed at my own stupidity.

    1. Pascal Monett Silver badge

      Maybe, but at least you were intelligent enough to realize your mistake.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Server room at one place I worked was the former toilet block, dead centre of the ground floor. At least the urinals has been removed, but on warmer days there was a certain smell...

    Anyway, the AC was crude - a domestic, wall mounted unit above the fridge sized Vax cabinets and various Sun 4 series boxes sat on tables. One weekend the AC unit had a fault, and managed to condense so much water that it poured all over the machines before crapping out.

    So on Monday morning we arrived to find the remaining PC and Alpha servers overheating and the room like a sauna.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    jumping power supply

    As a field engineer a long time ago, removed a power supply board from a large CRT monitor and placed it on the desk. Unfortunately the desk had an aluminium edge that caught the contacts of the, undischarged, rather large capacitors. The board 'jumped' and left some nice scorch marks on the desk...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: jumping power supply

      I remember them! Some of those caps were a size of a small drinks can! As a PFY I was told the tale of an engineer that deliberately shorted the contacts to discharge it. There was enough current to weld the screwdriver across the cap!

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Leaky aircon units

    I used to work in a multistorey office block in northwest England that had been built before suspended floors and air-conditioning had been invented, so lot of things had to be retrofitted when computers came along.

    The aircon units were fitted to the ceilings at intervals across each office and inevitably during hot humid weather they accumulated a lot of condensate which was supposed to be piped away but often wasn't, because of random blockages and kinked pipes. The resultant pints of water (pre-metric!) then dripped on to the desks below, often finding the PC or dumb terminal with alarming accuracy.

  15. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    Death by dry cleaning

    Back in the early days of TV one of my aunts took a look in the back of her set and saw the amount of dust it had accumulated. She decided to vacuum it. I suppose it was switched off as she came to no harm. The TV, on the other hand...

    1. Pascal Monett Silver badge

      ??

      Vacuuming should be fine, no ?

      I vacuum my PC every month. Never had a problem yet (of course it's not on when I do that).

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: ??

        Depends if you use one of those wet and dry vacuum cleaners?

      2. ChrisC Silver badge

        Re: ??

        Vacuum cleaners can generate static electricity, and if you don't know what you're doing (or even if you do and just have one of *those* days), said static can end up discharging into sensitive parts of the circuitry which really aren't designed to take such abuse.

    2. DJV Silver badge

      Re: Death by dry cleaning

      She probably sucked out a few of the valves and then put them back in the wrong sockets!

  16. Trixr

    Ah yes. Not nearly as interesting, but my first encounter with a 20" CRT was in 1998, when some lawyer in the firm I worked at *required* one to be installed and working by the next day (a Saturday).

    The thing wasn't delivered till late Friday afternoon, when everyone else had departed for the pub. I managed to lug the thing up to the 14th floor in the lift and then to the lawyer's desk - no trolleys for us desktop support peons. It was no mean feat since my fingertips barely reached the back of the monitor (I'm 5'6" with t-rex arms). Thankfully the lift had hand rails where I could prop the thing while it ascended.

    It being a long day and me being desperate for my escape, it took me a few unfortunate minutes to realise that the connector wasn't seating correctly because I had it upside down. I tutted to myself, turned it right way up, reseated it, turned on the power, and was greeted with a vibrant display in lovely shades of green.

    So I switched off the power, gingerly pulled off the connector, and to my horror, found I'd mashed one pin completely and two of the others were not looking too great. At that time, a 20" CRT was a good chunk of my annual wage - I think in the order of at least 50%, maybe more - so I felt a bit faint at the sight. I scurried over to our workarea for tools, only to find there was zero in the way of screwdrivers to be found or any other suitably pointy tool. The desktop build guys had all departed after I collected the monitor and I did not have after-hours access to their "workshop".

    Necessity being the mother of invention, I located a small knife in the tearoom and with that and a large paper clip, was able to straighten the less-bent pins. The mashed pin took a lot longer to jiggle up, and to my horror, the end of the pin separated completely. Without a pair of needle-nosed pliers, there was no hope that I could get the thing back in.

    Once again, another desperate lightbulb moment, and I stuck the pin into the female VGA port on the PC. With some very careful jiggling due to the delicacy of the other previously-bent pins, I eased the connector on. Thankfully I'd managed to get the loose pin into the correct socket on the first go - it was not going to come out again. Even more thankfully, when I switched on the power, the monitor came on in beautiful RGB.

    I screwed down the connector with extreme prejudice, left the monitor on with the flying toasters flapping across the screen (this lawyer was bleeding edge with his PC toys on Win 3.11), then beat a hasty retreat to the comforts of the nearest Sam Smith (pub). Blessedly, there were no rumptions when I returned to the office on Monday morning - relief, I was then in the plausible deniability zone. Never heard a peep about any issues with the behemoth for the remainder of the time I worked there.

    1. nintendoeats Bronze badge

      I'm imagining how much I would have cursed at you, come the day I came in to replace the monitor (since both the graphics card and the monitor would have needed repair).

      But, I think all of us who have worked with pin/hole connectors have done this.

      1. Trixr

        I totally agree, I would have cursed at myself as well!

        First IT job, first job in the UK, first job in a law firm, first time handling such a large, expensive piece of kit - I was the absolute definition of a PFY.

        In my slight defence, if the desktop build guys had been around, I would have scarpered downstairs and asked for assistance. At the very worst, it's possible we could have scavenged a VGA connector off another monitor and replaced it.Thinking back now, I should have tipped them the nod on Monday morning, but things you do when you're young, foolish and guilty...

  17. Stuart Castle Silver badge

    One of our old users had his own office. It was small, and in summer, could get rather hot. Never found out what he did in his office, but it always smelled of baking bread. Not a nice, oven just warming up the bread kind of smell, but an overpowering smell that made most people (me included) gag.

    Anyhoo, I can't recall any specific problems this user had, but the guy in the office next to him. I have some memories of him..

    One day, I got a phone call. He'd been trying to watch a video and Windows couldn't detect his sound card. I got called in to diagnose it, and following proper static procedure, I went down with the wrist strap, my tools and a new sound card.

    The machine was a tower, and lived on the floor. I dread to think what it looked like, but one of the secretaries walked in, saw me laying on my back apparently tied to the PC via a metal cable, and the user standing over me. She left.... Quickly.

    1. Pascal Monett Silver badge
      Devil

      ooh, that must have made for some interesting gossip.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "following proper static procedure, I went down with the wrist strap"

      Sure enough, Rule 34 always applies.

      But it's good to see Health and Safety procedures being followed on the job [1].

      [1] …apart from those occasions where the customer expressly does not want those procedures to be followed, but there may still be clamps involved, however…

    3. X5-332960073452

      A quick search for - diabetes smell bread

      First result, Scientists have found that dozens of illnesses have a particular smell: Diabetes can make your urine smell like rotten apples, and typhoid turns body odour into the smell of baked bread

  18. Sam Therapy

    Not had this happen but it did remind me of how happy I was when tellies - even pre flat screen ones - went from having large, rectangular cabinets to something more curved. When that happened, it meant the top of the telly could no longer be used as a shelf or display space for ornaments. Blimey, I used to hate seeing clocks, lamps, potted plants and whatnot on top of 'em, and it was always a bone of contention between me and my ex wife.

    I should point out that isn't why she's now my ex wife; that's an entirely different and not entirely happy story.

  19. nintendoeats Bronze badge

    We already had this story!

    WANT NEW STORY! WANT NEW STORY!

    *hides under the covers while crying loudly*

  20. Boris the Cockroach Silver badge

    The call

    came from a relative

    "Moniters dead.. went fizzle fizzle pop"

    Duely turned up, and the nice 19" crt is dead as a dodo.

    Spun it around on the desk and whipped the cover off and WTF!.... cat fur and god knows what all over the innards

    "Oh yes, tiddles likes sleeping on top of the moniter because its nice and warm there....."

    Wheres the vomit icon?

    1. DJV Silver badge

      Re: The call

      My cats used to do that when I had dual CRTs on my PC. They'd leap up from the desk and spend hours curled up on top of them. They were very confused the day I swapped the CRTs out for flat screens - they leapt up and then fell down the back of the desk, the looks on their faces a joy to behold!

      1. Lil Endian

        Re: The call

        Hehe!

        My cat almost did that, but just managed to see "the trap".

        Man! Did I get some protracted dirty looks!

        1. DJV Silver badge

          Re: The call

          Yeah, I know what you mean. Mine did come around to the front again and stand with their front legs on the monitor tops and back feet still on the desk staring at the reduced "top"ology of the new arrangement, no doubt wondering where the nice wide/warm shelves had gone, and giving me the evil eye for some days afterwards.

    2. Old Used Programmer Silver badge

      Re: The call

      We had a cat that liked to lie on top of my CRT with his front claws hooked just over the edge of the bezel. So, not wanting the vents blocked, I cut a piece of plywood to size, put a couple of standoffs on the back and put that on top of the monitor, leaving a clear 4+ inches of space over the top vents. The cat was still happy to hang out on top, but now without the possible adverse consequences.

    3. Robert Carnegie Silver badge

      Re: The call

      Another version of the story, probably on another occasion, describes urinary incontinence from kitty.

  21. Andy A
    Facepalm

    Sometimes the karma gets them

    One place I worked had managers who tried to avoid the charges our outsourcing company had for PC moves. The charges were to cover re-patching etc, and we did the actual shifting of equipment, so if it broke, it was our problem.

    When out in the production area on a fault fix, we noticed that several PCs had been relocated without informing us. They had put the PCs along one wall of an internal office, then used a small ethernet hub to connect them to a working socket.

    We informed management that those PCs were no longer supported, and told them why.

    That night, it rained.

    The Victorian building had the roof arranged as several ridges and furrows. The guttering in the furrows was supposed to discharge rainwater down the hollow cast iron pillars supporting the place. More than one of those outlets was blocked.

    The PCs were exactly underneath the resulting torrent.

    1. Danny 2 Silver badge

      Re: Sometimes the karma gets them

      Two scummy Spanish girls stole a Thich Nhat Hanh book from me. He's a Buddhist poet-monk, brilliant, and the book was precious to me. Why steal a book about karma?

      Well, I didn't know they'd stolen it so I gave them a lift to their flat. They lit one of those wee night-light candles with a metal case and placed it on top of their TV. Ten minutes later it melted through the plastic and dropped down onto the VDU which exploded. Neither of the girls were seriously injured, I wasn't injured at all, but yep, the karma got them.

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Early Colour TVs

    Back in my student days, when colour TVs were starting to get popular, I spent my Saturdays working for a local TV and consumer electricals shop - sometimes selling, sometimes delivering and sometimes on repairs. Every new colour TV (except the Sony Trinitron) needed a service visit to set up - which, for some makes, took up to two hours with a pattern generator. New owners were warned not to switch their vacuum cleaner on or off near the set as the magnetic field generated could upset the CRT alignment. Manufacturers eventually got around to better designs (ISTR a degaussing ring and start-up burst was an early attempt) but we had regular call-outs to realign sets. We would have sold more Sony sets but their screen size was still limited back then.

    Another memory is how the early sets were easy to maintain: the chassis would hinge or slide out in order to give access to all boards and components. Most faults were easy fixes. Not so the Sony: everything was tightly packed and terrible to work on. However, we almost never had a Sony back for repair, whereas the others (Ferguson, Marconi, ITT, etc.) were regular visitors to the workshop.

    1. MJI Silver badge

      Re: Early Colour TVs

      I am in 50s, owned 4 TVs from 20 or so.

      All Sony, so yes reliable

    2. jake Silver badge

      Re: Early Colour TVs

      The only actual TV in this house is a 32" Sony Trinitron, bought new by me in 1988. Works fine for our needs.

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    De-gauss button

    To this day, I'm still not sure exactly what the de-gauss button actually did, but it was always fun to press it occasionally to watch the screen have a bit of a panic before it reset itself. (I got the impression that it was something inadvisable to do too often?)

    1. Potty Professor
      Boffin

      Re: De-gauss button

      Friend of mine worked in a TV shop, back in the days of CRTs. They had a display rack of about thirty different TVs along one wall so that the punters could compare the test card on all of them before choosing which one to buy. The TVs were all on the same electrical circuit, so switching them on at 9AM resulted in every one of them degaussing at the same time. The noise was horrific, sounded like they were going to explode.

    2. Lil Endian
      Joke

      Re: De-gauss button

      The degaussing button's function was to make the unit go

      >Sproioioing< >BZZZZzzzzzz<

      That's what I used It for anyhoo! :)

    3. TWB

      Re: De-gauss button

      OK, I'll bite..

      The De-gauss button demagnetises the CRT. The CRT will build up a certain amount of magnetism over time (and I cannot remember why but it's not that complicated) Any residual magnetism in a CRT will cause the cathode rays to not go exactly where you'd like them and so the red beam might end up hitting some of the green phosphors, the blue the red etc but not necessarily over the entire display.

      CRT's are/were a nightmare IMHO in so many ways..... I don't care what many of my fellow TV engineers say.

      A coil of wire is wrapped around the front of the CRT and when you press the de-gauss button it is energised with an AC current which diminishes to next-to-nothing over a couple of seconds. The coil of wire is therefore magnetising the CRT +ve then -ve by each half cycle of the diminishing AC - going around a hysteresis loop to remove as much stored magnetism as possible. (This is how tape head demagnetising is done) The magnetic field also affects the RGB cathode rays hence the wobbly picture.

      On many monitors and TVs the degauss was done at switch on - which is the "thung............" sound you hear - You would not normally see the picture wobble as the CRT heater gun had not warmed up at this point.

      One other thing about degaussing - it also set the CRT to be correct for its orientation with the earth's magnetic field and so ideally it should be done with the CRT in situ - if you have one which gets moved about a lot......

      There's probably a much better explanation somewhere on the internet.

      [Edited]

  24. x3mxs
    Trollface

    I bet was a plastic plant!!!

    It's that kind of situation!!!

  25. Giles C Silver badge

    Its not just crts

    I had an lcd monitor that one summer a couple of thunder flies somehow got in and ended up walking between the backlight and the front panel. Was interesting when it was alive but it died and then left a small corpse on the screen about the same size as a full stop, fun when you are trying to edit documents wondering what the rogue punctuation is….

    1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: Its not just crts

      In the early days of LCD screens, dead pixels were just a fact of life. Many suppliers would charge an extra tenner to test and make sure you got one with no dead pixels. IIRC, the T&Cs allowed for a panel with up to 3 dead pixels to be classed as good, no replacement allowed.

      1. Giles C Silver badge

        Re: Its not just crts

        Dead pixels that stay black are inconvenient, worse used to be the dead pixel that was stuck on full brightness.

        1. W.S.Gosset Silver badge

          Re: LCD panels' dead pixels

          You can actually "massage out" most dead pixels. It's the actual L in the LCD that's not moving around properly, more or less. Warm the panel, massage around with some squeegeeing type movements into&awayfrom it -- hey presto, pixel fine.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Its not just crts

        Back in the day, about 15-20 years ago, a friend got a noname brand cheapo laptop.

        He was not allowed to test the laptop in the shop before he brought it home.

        It had one dead pixel which was pretty irritating, and as up to 3 pixels were considered fine, he could not get the screen / laptop replaced. So on the same night, he openned up the panel above the keyboard, found the cable connecting the screen to the rest of the body and nicked it - enough to have the display not work anymore.

        Next day, back to the shop to get it replaced. And got a properly working panel this time.

        Wonder how much extra cost and work manufacturers encountered cos of stating up to 3 dead pixels was allowed.

    2. MJI Silver badge

      Re: Its not just crts

      Roughly same size as that useless key left of 1 and above tab.

      Hit it accidentally and code can be very difficult to fix.

      1. A.P. Veening Silver badge

        Re: Its not just crts

        Roughly same size as that useless key left of 1 and above tab.

        It isn't useless, but I'll tell you about it mañana.

        1. W.S.Gosset Silver badge

          Re: Its not just crts

          It's BLOODY useful for any serious unix shell work.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Its not just crts

            "There's no place like ~."

            1. A.P. Veening Silver badge

              Re: Its not just crts

              "There's no place like ~."

              Except for ` ;)

              1. W.S.Gosset Silver badge
                Happy

                Re: Its not just crts

                `echo "echo 'yup' " `

  26. Stevie Silver badge

    Bah!

    I had a couple of dozen ceramic magnets, each about 2x1x1/2 inches. I clipped together two stacks of 12, shoved them up my shirt sleeves, walked over to my mate Frank's desk and announced "I am the mighty Magnetotron! Behold my powers, puny mortal!" waving my hands at his brand new CRT from about two feet away, with the result that the display twisted and pinched nicely.

    "Riiight" he drawled. "I can do that!" and demonstrated by grabbing his phone handset and touching the earpiece against the top of the screen.

    From that day forward, his nice, days-old CRT displayed a glorious four inch pale green disc burned into it, centered on the contact point he had chosen.

    Late that night the Mighty Magnetotron struck again, this time from behind the cube wall of another colleague trying to work late. Choosing a silent attack this time I managed to elicit many innovative swear words from the colleague who to this day has no idea of How The Trick Was Done. More importantly, he also has no Idea Who Did It.

    Sadly, the mighty Magnetotron was forced into retirement by a fiendish deployment of flat screen monitors.

    Some say he will rise again, when the stars are right.

    1. DJV Silver badge

      Re: Bah!

      Keep taking the dried frog pills gamma rays and radioactive spiders.

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