Old Macs (e.g., 68K) were delightfully easy to service -- typ *one*
screw (or none!). And, none of this hidden crap.
But, then again, they were MUCH larger and not pressed to try to be
sleek and sexxy...
I repair a *lot* of different items. I'd be willing to bet many have
*no* teardown videos (because they are old, too unique, too high-end, etc.).
With patience, you can usually figure out hwo to get things apart,
where screws and latches are likely to be hiding, etc.
But, when it's not your item, there are two things working against you:
- you're not keen on spending a lot of time on it
- you've a responsibility to not "break" it!
When it's *your* item, you can fudge each of these...
last year I got my technician license, to use
amateur radio bands. I found an email list, about
two way radios. A couple posters say much the
same thing. When selling discount radio equipment,
the buyers are often cheap penny pinchers who are
totally demanding. often they will expect free
programming of radio they bought from Amazon seller.
I try not to deal with the people that don't have a clue for technoligy. A
few years ago I got a phone call from a local ham that bought a new
amplifier. This was a ham that had his Extra Class license, the highest of
the 3 classes. He said it would not work the first time and sent it back
and they installed a relay the was suspose to be plugged in by the owner
I told him just to ship it back as I did not want to do anything that may
void the warrenty.
When someone buys something, he either needs to know how to make it work or
pay for some lessons on how to use it before he jumps into it.
I part of my work was trouble shooting problems. Best call I got was when
someone said a machine would not start. I walked up and he was pressing the
big red button labled STOP. I said try pressing the green button labled
I fixed a lawn mower for some folks, one time. The
stop switch wasn't working, so I put on auxiliary
stop button, that goes on the mower push handle.
Couple weeks later, the user (teen age boy) can't
get it to start. I told him it would start a lot
easier if he'd take his finger off the kill button
while he was pulling the start cord.
On 03/15/2016 07:02 AM, Stormin Mormon wrote:
People often don't pay attention to what they're doing (like that finger
on the kill button). I knew someone who insisted his apartment had self
locking doors. He failed to notice that every time he opened the door to
go outside he put his thumb in the middle of the knob, pushing the lock
Could have been a keep alive button. I bought my son a push mower a while
back and you have to pull back on a bar or the thing stops running. I was
thinking it had to be pulled back to get it started, but could be wrong.
Also thinking that you could not tie it back ot it would not start. I know
that you do something to a lever and you have just a few seconds to pull the
rope or it won't start and you have to do it again.
I do it on a regular basis, but it's to the point I have to charge
enough to cover the inevitable right up front. If they think I'm
charging too much, that's fine with me. I'm getting ready to retire -
I don't particularly need the work.
On 3/13/2016 2:05 PM, email@example.com wrote:
My time is worth more (to me) than the money I could make charging for
such repairs. So, I smile and shake my head when someone asks me to
OTOH, friends/colleagues *deserve* my time (else they wouldn't be
in that category!). So, I put a brave face on and "gladly" tackle
whatever mess they've got themselves into -- with a "wisecrack"
to suggest they not make a habit of doing so!
E.g., a friend lent one of his ToughBooks to someone for a "deployment".
It came back with ransomware. Do I tell my friend *he* should eat
this -- it was his fault for loaning it out? Or, do I bail him out
KNOWING he has learned his lesson and will be really slow to let anyone
else use his stuff again?! (most folks realize they are asking a lot
and don't make repeat requests).
Likewise, had a friend break the power inlet on his Dell XPS laptop
(pricey piece of kit). I had to tear the thing down to bare metal
in order to gain access to the power connector. Bought a replacement
("no charge"). Machined the case to accept the modified replacement
(obviously, someone realized there was a flaw in the original design!).
Rebuilt the machine, and delivered it.
I'm sure the next time I see that machine with a "broken power inlet"
he will be GIVING it to me to dispose of...
On 3/14/2016 7:26 AM, firstname.lastname@example.org wrote:
I reinstalled the OS and painfully recovered all of "his files"
from the original drive.
In the process, learned that there are several different approaches to
The first is aimed at neophytes and just threatens them (browser hijack)
coupled with some crude blocks on the OS itself to make parts of the file
system inaccessible (without really damaging anything). Note that
if you want to lock out most files QUICKLY, you can't afford a
process that takes a long time to walk the filesystem WHILE someone
is expecting to be using large portions of it! This is relatively easy
to do -- and easy to workaround.
The second is more involved and is willing to sacrifice large parts of
the OS in the process. I.e., you *know* something is happening to your
computer WHILE it is happening; things stop working! This can also be
worked around -- but requires more "surgery" to recover.
Third makes a mad dash to try to encrypt or move/hide things in the
hope that you don't catch on to what is happening before the damage is
done. I suspect it exploits the fact that most files on a machine
are NOT accessed "most of the time". So, if it avoids mucking with the
OS and applications until it's done most of its damage stealthily,
it can go unnoticed until too late.
I've also been told there are some that make no attempt at being
recoverable; they try to damage the system quickly and effectively
with no hope of recovery -- but, let you THINK there is a way
out (when your IT friend claims HE can't fix it!) if you'll just remit
the "requested payment".
And, some that are apparently script-kiddie products that just
hijack the browser and lead you to believe your system has been
hacked (but are trivial to reset).
I've thought about it and it should be relatively easy to design
an exploit that stealthily goes about encrypting the drive's contents
SLOWLY (so you don't notice the disk thrashing a lot and the system
slowing to a crawl) while leaving the "unencrypt" function active
at the same time.
[I.e., automatically decrypt any files you have encrypted that *happen*
to be accessed, coincidentally, before you are ready to disclose your
Then, when you're done, "flip the switch" that removes the unencrypt
"courtesy functionality" that it had put into place WHILE it was doing
its dirty work and leaves the entire contents encrypted!
I've taught friends who are paranoid and proactive how to image their
machines regularly (to an external many-TB disk) so they can avoid
using a potentially compromised OS and still do a complete restore...
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