Singed

Remember: Safety first.

Computerworld  |  Shark Tank
Computerworld / IDG

It’s the ’90s, and pilot fish is an independent computer consultant who gets a call from a client who wants his AMD system to run a little faster. Fish buys the faster chip and goes to client’s office to install it.

He powers everything down, but doesn’t unplug the power cord, because pushing a CPU into place is no big deal.

But it’s a stubborn little thing. Fish pushes, and pushes, and — POW! A blast of flame shoots straight up. Fish is shaken, to say the least, but physically the only damage is some scorched hair on his knuckles.

OK, maybe pushing that CPU into place was a bigger deal than fish figured on; he unplugs the PC. Then he sees what happened: The power cord was so much longer than was needed that the extra length was tucked neatly under the main system board. When fish pushed, the solder pins for the CPU socket went through the power line casing and touched one of the wires.

Fish is going to have to eat the cost of that new CPU, but he hopes this job isn’t going to cost him any more than that. He takes everything apart, makes sure that the power cable is out of the way, and puts the old chip on the system board. And the system comes up purring like nothing had happened.

And eventually the hair on his knuckles grows back.

Feed the Shark! Send me your true tales of IT life at

It’s the ’90s, and pilot fish is an independent computer consultant who gets a call from a client who wants his AMD system to run a little faster. Fish buys the faster chip and goes to client’s office to install it.

He powers everything down, but doesn’t unplug the power cord, because pushing a CPU into place is no big deal.

But it’s a stubborn little thing. Fish pushes, and pushes, and — POW! A blast of flame shoots straight up. Fish is shaken, to say the least, but physically the only damage is some scorched hair on his knuckles.

OK, maybe pushing that CPU into place was a bigger deal than fish figured on; he unplugs the PC. Then he sees what happened: The power cord was so much longer than was needed that the extra length was tucked neatly under the main system board. When fish pushed, the solder pins for the CPU socket went through the power line casing and touched one of the wires.

Fish is going to have to eat the cost of that new CPU, but he hopes this job isn’t going to cost him any more than that. He takes everything apart, makes sure that the power cable is out of the way, and puts the old chip on the system board. And the system comes up purring like nothing had happened.

And eventually the hair on his knuckles grows back.

Feed the Shark! Send me your true tales of IT life at sharky@computerworld.com. You can also subscribe to the Daily Shark Newsletter.

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