Friday, August 27, 2010

Canned Air is a Miracle

A couple of months ago I had a crisis that really caused me a great deal of consternation and worry and fretting.  As some background I need to add a little history.   It was all because my computer was giving me all kinds of fits. 

About six years ago I bought a computer.  It was a great tool, It had acres and acres of storage space to put music, pictures, data, all kinds of stuff.  I went to work trying to fill that empty space and I did a pretty good job of it.  I saved pictures of all kinds; family, scenery, things I liked and things I thought were neat, all kinds of things.  I am a big music fan so I saved all kinds of music; cowboy, pop, rock n roll, oldies, folk, classical, I had all kinds.  It was amazing what I could save on this computer. 

The computer that I had before the second one had an 18 gigabyte hard drive and I used to worry about running out of space but I was told several times by my computer expert friend that I should not worry because I had oceans and oceans of space.  

I have never been too certain how much area a gigabyte takes up but if 18 of them makes oceans and oceans of space then a gigabyte must be a pretty big area.  Then I upgraded to the newer computer and it had 120 gigabytes of storage.  That is a whole lot more than 18 gigabytes and that also meant that with the newer computer I could save anything I wanted.  If 18 gigabytes was oceans and oceans then 120 gigabytes of space really put me on a roll. 

 So I started collecting more music, data, pictures of all kinds, all kinds of things.  I even have a collection of Hazelden Daily Thoughts that span almost 8 years.  I don't know what I am going to do with them, but at least they have kept me sober.

Then a day came along when all these gigabytes that I had started to get full.  Of course I guess after 6-7 years a computer starts to get tired also and my computer started acting up and doing funny things.  Sometimes when I was looking for more pictures or information the computer would decide it didn't like what I was doing and so it would turn off and then turn back on.  And there were times when I would shut it down at night that it would turn right back on.  I guess it was not ready for bed----but I was though. 

Then I started to notice that I did not have oceans and oceans of space left in the storage area.  That and the fact that the computer was doing funny little things made me think that it might be a good idea to get rid of some of the saved things that I didn't use much anymore.  I hated to do it but I went in and started to delete old programs and such that I didn't use.  I was looking for more space to refill. 

After I had deleted a number of things I wasn't using  I decided to restart the computer because  that is what they usually tell you to do when you put new stuff on the computer.  So I hit the restart button and the computer shut down fine.  Then it started back up but all it would come up with was a black screen and a message that said that it could not find the LTDS-NFL??????  Why was it looking for a football game?  Every time I would try to start it I would get the same message, so I called my computer friend and told him my story and how my computer was snubbing me and he and his step-son came over to see what the computer was doing.

 The step-son is a computer expert and knows how to talk to computers and he worked with it for a while but was not able to make much headway with the computer.  It still could not find what it was looking for, so we decide to take the hard drive out and he would put it in another computer and see if he could find what was missing or determine what had happened and hopefully restore the system.  Restoring the system was important because now all those things I had saved all these years were locked up in that little box.  All my pictures, my music, all the data and information I had gathered, even the 8 years of Hazelden Daily Thoughts were locked up in there. 

So we pulled the computer box up on the desk and took the side panel off and 'HOLY STINK', you would not believe the dust and lint and gunk.  It was an absolute mess, course I guess that was to be expected after 7 years or so. 

He carefully took the hard drive out (where all my music, pictures, information, Hazelden Thoughts were stored and it wasn't all that big, where was all the oceans and oceans of space that I had heard of).  He then put the side back on the computer and locked up all that dust and goop inside the box. 

He said he would put the hard drive in a new computer and see if he could find the windows on it.  I guess that was what was lost.  My computer couldn't find the windows.  I didn't even know they had windows in them.  Maybe if they opened the windows more often there would not be so much dust and goop! 

Anyway he took the hard drive and told me to stop at the store and pick up a couple of cans of air for him to use to clean out the inside of the computer when he came back.  OKAY!  Now just where is the air store?  I had no idea where the air store was so I decided to stop at Wal Mart.  They have everything else!

 I stopped at Wal Mart but I couldn't find the air section.  I thought maybe the department where they mounted tires would have some, but that was in Costco not Wal Mart, so I stopped at the camera bar and asked the girl there where I could find a couple of cans of air---She looked at me like I was nuts!  At least she didn't run away.  So I explained to her what had happened and that I needed the air to clean out my old computer.  She was sharp!  She told me I should check with the computer section and see if they could help and so I did.  I went to the computer department and asked a young man there if they had a couple of cans of air.  He told me he was not sure and would have to check. 

He called an older gentleman over and asked him and he said. "I usually do but I think we are out at this time."  He went over to the shelf where it was supposed to be and they were all gone.  He told me to check in the business supply department, that they carried it also. 

I went to the business supply department and found some stuff called dust buster.  I think that was what I was looking for but when I picked them up there was liquid in them and that really concerned me.  I didn't want to spray a bunch of liquid into my old computer, then it would be full of mud, and so I left Wal Mart. 

I thought about taking the computer down to the tire store and just blow it out down there but decided that was probably not a very good idea.  Instead I decided to stop at Staples, a computer store, on my way home.  The first person I asked knew where the cans of air were and they were on sale.  It still made me nervous because I could still feel liquid in the can.  The guy said not to worry the liquid does not come out.  Did that mean I was only getting a part of a can of air? 

 So I took my cans of air home and then I got the computer and set it on the desk in my office and started to take the side panel off of the computer.  As I was working on the side panel a thought crossed my mind.  Where was all that dirt and dust and lint and gunk and crap going to go when I turned the air loose in there?  That was a good thing to think about at this time because I did not want all that crap on my desk and all over my books and bookcases and everything else.  I decided to take the computer out on my deck and so I put the side panel back on and moved to the table on my deck. 

I got the side panel off and took the 1st can of air and inserted the little red tube in the nozzle hole and shook it up and there was still liquid in there.  I took a chance anyway and pulled the trigger on it and stuck the little red tube in the computer.  You would not believe the mess!  Dust and lint and gunk and dirt came flying out of that computer and right back into my face.  Nobody warned me about that!

I had to sit down for a few minutes to get the dust and dirt and lint out of my eyes and nose.  After a few minutes I was able to see again and when I looked a lot of the dust and gunk was gone from the computer.  AND NO MUD!  The liquid didn't come out!  There was more to get out though so I got the can of air and got ready to go again.  I was wary though so I kind of snuck up on the computer and stayed to one side when I let the air go this time and things went much better.  I stayed out of the way and was able to get all the gunk out of the computer.  It was pretty clean so I put the side back on and took the computer back in the office.  

Then I had to go back out on the deck and clean up the dust and lint and goop that had settled on my table, chairs, and such.

 I'm just glad I didn't do that air thing in my office.  Now I had to wait for the computer guy to do his thing and so I was waiting and while I waited I didn't have a computer to be working on and after a couple of days I was really bored and I got to thinking.  That canned air thing was really kinda neat and I started thinking about what else I could use it for. 

As I looked around I took notice of the grape vines that I have in my front room.  I really like them but they really gather dust and I can't imagine dusting all those little leaves.  A while ago I was told to put the grapevines in my shower.  They are not real grapevines, they are phoney, but they look good when they are not gray with dust.  So I put some of them in the shower and gave them a shower.  It worked great except one problem.  All the big beautiful purple grapes changed color.  Now the grape clusters were white instead of purple.  Grapes aren't white, even for white wine they use green grapes so white doesn't work.  They looked like clusters of marbles, so that was not a good idea. 

So I thought what the heck!  I took the grape vines out on the deck and fired up the canned air again and it really did a good job.  The leaves get cleaned of the dust and the grapes don't change colors.  I have even cleaned the phoney plants and flowers I have and they look much better.  I am still looking for more ways to use that canned air but needed to get back to the computer because it was still in crisis mode.  

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