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When Technology Fails, Part 2: Fighting Back

at 2011.01.20

A corollary to Murphy’s Law says that your fancy, expensive, shiny piece of technologyHow do you fix a wet cell phone? will choose to break when you need it most. Especially if it’s a piece of tech that you absolutely rely on. Luckily, there’s usually a simple trick that will fix things, at least enough to get you by. Yahoo! News has put together a list of 6 common problems and solutions, and we have a couple of comments to add:

1)Touchscreen phones that won’t work with gloves on:

Yahoo!’s Becky Worley recommends cutting a hole in your gloves or buying a fancy stylus. Fine solutions, if you don’t mind a hole in your gloves or a stylus that falls to the furthest reaches of your bag or pocket and passes through a magical gateway to an alternate dimension, never to be seen again. There’s a simpler way, though, two of them in fact. The first is to buy double-layer gloves with a Thinsulate layer, then strip one of the fingers (I do the thumb) of it’s outer layer. The black Thinsulate material is thin enough that it registers on touch-screen devices while still keeping your fingers relatively toasty. The other solutions is to just buy fingerless gloves with an optional mitten part -you know what I’m talking about- and pull a finger out whenever you need to use the phone. No cutting, no freezing, yes phone.

2) Dirty Cell Phone Case:

As per the Yahoo! article, just toss it in the dishwasher. The washing machine will work, too.

3) Wet gadgets:

The Yahoo! article just about covers it, except they leave out one very important bit: do NOT turn on your device until you are positive that all the moisture is gone. Better yet, immediately upon fishing your device out of the puddle or (more common, but more tragic) the toilet, pull out the battery if you can and leave the back-plate open while submerging it in rice. Don’t reassemble it or power it on for at least 24 hours, as a live current will only make the risk of a short that much higher.

4) Scratched DVDs and CDs:

The Yahoo! advice is good, except what about those of us who don’t own furniture or automotive polish? What are we to do? Well, turns out toothpaste works just fine. Just make sure you use one that doesn’t have any of the larger “polishing grains”, or whatever they call them, in it. Most regular toothpaste will work just fine: Put a little dab on a wash-cloth or clean rag, moisten it slightly, and rub in straight, even lines starting at the inner circle and going straight out towards the edge. Again, do NOT rub in circles. And in case you didn’t notice, DO NOT RUB IN CIRCLES!

5) Work PCs that sign you out too quickly:

The ticking watch trick from the Yahoo! articles is interesting, in a “I liked to pretend I was James Bond when I was 8” sort of way, but really, who wears a watch these days? And do you really want to be taking off your watch every time you think you’re about to be distracted for 5 minutes? There’s a much simpler solution: right-click on your desktop to pull up the drop-down context menu, select properties, click on the screen-saver tab, and change the time to something longer. If you don’t have access to it, or if your system uses an alternate means of logging out, just call up your handy IT guy and ask him nicely to up the time-out interval. Hint: Bribe him with Cheetos. IT guys can’t resist Cheetos.

6) Not enough D batteries for your flashlight:

Are batteries or flashlights still considered high-tech? Actually, has anyone even seen a D battery in the last 10 years? I thought we had all moved on to hyper-bright white LED flashlights or cell phone screens by now.

Well, that covers some of the basics, and if you have anything worse than that, at least you know a good laptop and gadget repair shop that’ll get your device back up and running in no time, and offers a 30-guarantee on all work. Just stop by and we’ll fix you up!