Some trade secrets should remain secret

Pilot fish is called out to fix a secretary's keyboard. "It was cheaply assembled, and it would get stuck due to burrs on the plastic keys that would hang up on an adjacent key," says fish.

"The fix was to pick up the keyboard and drop it flat on the desk. The key would usually spring loose from the impact which would allow you to pry it off with a small screwdriver. You could then file the plastic burr off with an emery board and put the key back on."

That's what fish does, and the secretary is impressed. How did you know to do that? she asks.

That's the drop test, fish tells her with a straight face. It's the first concept taught in repair school.

A week later, fish gets another call from the secretary. The problem this time: Her PC is broken.

"I asked what happened," says fish. "She said the PC had been acting funny, so she picked the unit up and performed the drop test, and now it was saying there was a hard drive problem.

"Mind you, this was a pretty hefty PC -- I was impressed she managed to get it off the desk.

"I replied I would be right out, as I knew what was wrong.

"I then picked up a replacement hard drive on the way over, while promising myself to never explain the drop test to anyone again!"

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Copyright © 2007 IDG Communications, Inc.

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