Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Necessity is the Mother of Repair

Or "Google is Your Friend"

One of the household Dell monitors crapped out. Four months ago, when I was employed, this would've been solved by buying another monitor while cursing the shoddy workmanship of the Chinese who toil night and day at pathetic jobs that pay shit to give us the cheap, disposable stuff we demand. But as a man slowly learning the value of thrift, a Google search revealed that you could find bad, bulging capacitors on the power supply board. So I tore it apart and sho nuff, there the little bad bulging bastards were.

Regardless of what you're trying to do in your life, be it diagnose your own ailment, hang a ceiling fan or fix a power supply board on a cheap monitor, the forums are trolled by people slowly finding themselves out of work. They resent that you are trying to do their jobs and they hate thinking of themselves going the way of travel agents, encyclopedia salesmen, graphic artists and copywriters. The doctors get on the medical forums and say, "See a doctor! You probably have a horrible disease!" The electricians get on the "how to" forums and say, "Hire a licensed electrician or you will probably burn your house down!" and the computer techs get on the computer forums and say, "Stand in a puddle of water, plug the thing in and then stab it with something metallic and non-insulated! DIE, you stupid know-nothing fucks! And I hope all your porn gets deleted in the process!"

Despite the dire warnings from the computer techs, I set about saving some money.

So I tried to remember how to de-solder something and got those ugly-ass capacitors out and took them to Radio Shack, where the worthless clerk said, "Nope. I suppose I should have those since everyone seems to want them." I guess crapping-out Dell flatscreen monitors are all the rage. So I went to a crazy place in Winter Park, where a flying saucer and a pair of rockets have been landmarks for years. They have everything a mad scientist or a terrorist could want, including a wall of capacitors, none of which were of the rating I needed. So back to Google, who said, "There's an area of Orange Blossom Trail where it starts to go from ugly-industrial to totally sketch. In that creepy region is a place that goes by the name of Acme." Acme is staffed by a grey, long-haired guy who looks like he might be in a cover band at a beach bar on the weekends and a super-tall lanky dude who looks like he might be a refugee from the German techno scene. These gentlemen had the capacitors, for like 28 cents a piece. I only needed two, but I splurged and got four.

Then I tired to remember how to solder something and got those cheap bastards secure in their holes. Then I buttoned the thing back up and was quite pleased to only have two leftover screws when I was done. (Someone needs to tell those Chinese women and children making our monitors that they can save a couple steps.)

Then the test; that all-too-scary moment when you will be revealed for a fool or a hero. I was a hero. Actually, all credit goes to Google and the people who, for whatever reason, offer help at no charge, dispensing their little piece of knowledge on obscure sites so that someone else can save a few bucks. And apologies to the computer techs who didn't get my repair business. And to Best Buy or Target who didn't get to sell me a new monitor. We're all doing what we can in this economy. See you on the soup line.

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