Thursday, May 8, 2008

COMPUTER WOES

Dear Friends,

I feel that I should inform you as to why it took me from May 2nd until May 6th to make the first entry to my blog after my arrival on Crete. When I got back to my apartment from my first trip into downtown Iraklion on May 3rd, I decided that I would set up my computer, write an entry, and then post that entry as soon as I was able to obtain access to the internet. But first, remember: The standard wall current here is about 220 volts, while in the U.S. it is 110 volts. That is why I purchased and brought with me two current converters before leaving for Crete. So, I plugged the receptacle adapter into the wall outlet in my apartment, plugged the current converter into the adapter, and plugged my computer surge protector into the current converter; however, something inside of me told me to refrain from plugging my laptop computer into the surge protector just yet. The current converter has a “High” and “Low” setting...so, to be on the safe side I put it on the “Low” setting. When I flipped the “On” switch on the surge protector, nothing happened – no lights - no bells - no whistles ...nothing. Therefore, I assumed that the “Low” setting on the current converter was insufficient, so I flipped the current converter setting to “High”. Big mistake! There was a sudden and intense display of fireworks as multi-colored sparks flew in all directions followed by a plume of white smoke as my surge protector gave up its existence in the performance on its duty – simultaneously, the lights in my little apartment went out. To go from a brilliant array of lighting to pitch black in a nano second is rather breath taking...and scary. When I got up off the floor, I had suddenly developed an intense urge to urinate, but I knew that water and electricity did not mix, so I attempted to exercise restraint. There was just enough light coming through my window that enabled me to reach down and unplug the surge protector from the current converter; next I unplugged the current converter from the adapter plug, and finally the adapter plug from the wall receptacle. Fortunately, the circuit breakers were located just above the wall receptacle in which my current converter and surge protector had been plugged. I opened the little box and reset the breaker that had been tripped and immediately my apartment lights were back on. I reached down held the still warm, but quite dead surge protector in my trembling hands. I decided something special should be said over any piece of equipment that gives its all and then succumbs because of the ignorance of its handler. So, I walked over to the trash can, gazed down at the surge protector one final time and said, “Sorry. S#!t happens”, and unceremoniously, dropped it into the can. I then decided to go back and re-read the instructions for the current converter...notice I said, “re-read”. I had originally read the instructions that came with the current converter about three months before, but didn’t recall anything having been said about which setting to use with a surge protector. Aha! That is because the instructions did not address using the current converter with a surge protector; however, it did say, “Do not use with a power strip”. Hmmmm...Power strip...surge protector...power strip...surge protector. I glanced over at the trash can which had become the final resting place for my surge protector. I felt a twinge of guilt knowing that I had probably caused its untimely demise. I raised my glass of Raki in tribute, and said, “Sorry. S#!t still happens”, and then with one final gulp, both my Raki and my guilt were gone!

Stay tuned for further exciting episodes in Bob’s Three Month Cretan Adventure!

Take care, stay well, and let me hear from you.

Your Friend and Fellow “Silent Warrior”,

Bob (Electro-Man) Armistead

1 comment:

Robin said...

I present to you the ancient secret of the transistor as such principles apply in this case as well. The magic smoke is supposed to stay in the little magic box. Liberating the magic smoke from the little magic box does not provide you with any type of existential experience. On the contrary, you have deprived the little magic box of its magic smoke, and it can no longer perform its electronic magic.

What a way to go...It's okay, I blew up a Gallium Arsenide MESFET about two weeks ago. That thing came off my circuit board in two pieces when I desoldered it. Those little things are expensive for discrete transistors at around $3.00 a piece.