Cosmic Geek Irony

I remember, back in the ’90s, when I used to laugh at people who would smack electronics to get them to work, or hit their desk or their keyboards to make the computers work. You remember the drill, right?

Bad picture? Smack the monitor. Computer hung up? Smack the thing. CB or tape deck started acting up, get a big baseball bat and whack the thing.

Disk Error Reading Drive C: <A>bort, <R>etry, <I>nfluence with large hammer

People did this because back when things were all vacuum tubes and copper wire, intermittent contact due to heat swelling was the most common cause of failure. If your TV went out and you gave it a good hard whack, it might make the connections shift and restore the picture. But in the 1990s, everything was electronic and solid state, even the CRTs. In fact, the only things with parts that could be effected by the whack was your hard drive and your VCR, and those depended on such a delicate mechanical balance that whacking them could screw them up permanently.

Obviously, the practice of hitting electronics is useless and stupid, not to mention potentially expensive. Electronics have no moving parts. They have nothing that could be affected by shaking, whacking, or moving them around.

So, now it’s 2011. I have a smart phone. With an accelerometer. And some functions require…well…hitting the phone. Or waving it around. Or tapping it gently. And it’s giving me flashbacks to those old TV sets.

The Wheel turns.

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3 Comments

  1. I used to refer to the whacking of nonfunctioning electronics as “percussive maintenance.” But yeah, everything comes back around in the end, I guess.

  2. Ironically, you can also watch old tv shows on your new smartphone.

  3. Hmm…perhaps these little beasties are just astral projection units for old TVs bent on getting revenge on the world for being thrown out.

    I sense a new Lombard Alchemist tale brewing…
    -Dan

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