If you ever owned one of the first few generations of Macs, you know the resiliency of those devices both in hardware and software. As a pre-teenage boy, I loved to jump on and play games like Sim City as well as mess around in Paint. By the age of 9, I had made the official switch of my affection to PC and Windows machines because of the ability to tinker. But as many of you know, give a boy some knowledge, time to play, and enough courage to mess around, and you will have the blue screen of death.
It was actually a badge of honor in my hometown of nerds to not only crash a PC, but be able to read the HEX code, understand where the error was performed, and within 20-minutes be able to isolate the issue as a hardware or software problem. Windows became a sandbox of putting together hardware that was old, overclocking the processor, networking ad-hoc servers, and coming up with as mischief as possible. But at home, we had our old, yet reliable Mac that I had learned was indestructible.
Bad Mac Juju
I was running a Macintosh Color Classic with 120 MB hard drive, 16 MHz process, 4MB of RAM, and ran the old OS 7 system. I know, it was a beast! But it had become a family computer that I was not allowed to touch or mess around with the hardware. Of course, that did not stop my from trying to optimize the settings.
About this time, I experienced my first Mac crash. Having heard the legendary stories of people finding it impossible to crash, I freaked out at the possibility that I had just destroyed my family’s computer. A quick unplugging and hard restart proved enough to correct the error and I figured I had just done the impossible. I felt like I needed to win an award or something.
The problem is that it would not be a one-and-done scenario. Within my entire middle school life, I would end up crashing that Mac five more times along with at least 40 other Windows machines that I worked on at my public school system student tech assistance program. I began to have superstitious routines to avoid destroying computers. In my lifetime in this program, I had to scrap four different computers. I lived in fear of the dead Mac icon or the blue screen of death on PCs for fear of my bad juju destroying everything I would touch.
Lemons Into Lemonade
I became so proficient at knowing what an errored computer looked like and being able to fix it that by the time I had to think about a college major, there was no question that I needed to do something with computers. It would seem that while I have an affinity for making a computer crash just by looking at it weird, I knew how to revive it quicker than any other person. To this day, I love messing with computers and look forward to passing this blessed curse onto my son as he begins to mess with the next generation of technology.
What is your stories of hardware and software failures?