Working in the computer field and working with tech support you’ve seen just about every little scenario or problem that comes up. 98% of the time the fixes are routine and are easily cured. Well just when you think you’ve seen it all, the strangest occurence in errors becomes known…
I was running late to work and I parked my GP in the closest available parking spot in the back lot of the dealership. I fast paced walked to my office to open up my ADP terminal and login as quickly as my little fingers could type. BAM! I was on time by 68 seconds! What a relief! As I begun to organize my papers and the rest of my day I recieved a commonly expected computer problem phone call/ Yes, another damn computer problem.
Woman on phone:”Yes, my computer isn’t working, I tried restarting it and i can’t get any display on the screen?”
Me:”Did you check the cables on the back of the monitor to see if it works?”
Woman:”Yes, well my computer never really moves around, but yeah they’re still intact?”
Me:”And you said it did the same thing after restarting the computer?”
Me: “Ok, I’ll be down there in a few to see what’s up”
So I walked down a lil flight of stairs from my office and proceeded to her computer. Pushing my face through the plastic car wash thingy’s I sat down at her desk and begun my troubleshooting. I started with the typical solutions, restarting the PC, changing the monitor, trying that monitor on a different PC. After the common troubleshooting I was able to diagnose that any monitor hooked up to that computer recieved no signal what so ever. And each and every one of the monitors worked on a different computer. In the end it was obvious that there was something wrong with the video card within the computer. And well since these computers are Gateway computers they have an integrated video card built onto the motherboard. The solution to this would be to replace the motherboard.
This computer is under warranty meaning that the parts are shipped out to use for replacement at no cost. So in order for me to recieve this part I have to sit on the phone and bullshit around with Gateway to have them finally send me the part out. It’s pathetic, but I know more about their computers then the Gateway tech support themselves. So after being transfered back and forth from department to tech support junkie I was finally able to talk to this one guy. Here’s a small exerpt of our lil conversation:
Me: “So I tried multiple monitors and every monitor didn’t work with that PC and yet those monitors worked perfectly fine with every other computer, so that tells me that it’s definitely the computer and not the monitor, correct?”
Gateway Tech Support: “Yes, that is Sir, ok Sir I want to ask you a few trouble shooting questions, ok?”
Me: “Ok, go ahead”
GTS: “Sir, have you tried different monitors with it to see if its a monitor problem?”
Me: “Yes I have, I just said so”
GTS: “Ok, sir I’m going to have to transfer you to another person who can help order your motherboard….”
Seriously can they be anymore stupid? It kills me. Anyways 2 hours later on the phone with tech support I was finally able have a new motherboard sent out for repair. Then a little bit later I get a phone call from the woman with the computer issue.
She states that it could be the mouse because she tried a different mouse in her computer and then the monitor worked. Now if anyone knew enough about computers the mouse and the monitor have no interaction with each other directly. So for something like that makes no sense at all. I was baffled by it so I had to come down to see myself.
Again I walked down to the desk to see the computer and what was going on now. The computer seemed to be working perfectly fine with a different mouse. Strange. I really didn’t get that. So after trying a little bit of troubleshooting it was clearly proven that indeed the mouse was causing the problem. I had no explanation to why this was happening. What the fuck?! So after we switched back the computer to it original configurations with a different mouse, I decided that I wanted to keep the weird mouse. Turning the mouse over I was like sweet!, since this mouse doesn’t work I’m gonna keep the mouseball. Completely oblivious to the color of the ball, the woman was like, “Awesome, my mouse ball is cool colored.” I then noticed that her mouse blue instead of gray the standard color of every other mouse ball. I thought it was quite unique and more than happy to keep it. I asked her where she got this and how it got that way. Come to find out, when she gets bored she uses her blue Bic pen and colors in the whiteness of her mouse pad.
Over time the ball begun to soak in the ink and change in color. It then hit me! Maybe the ink on the ball had something to do with the mouse causes problems with the computer. Sure enough after a little research I was able to determine the following: Since the mouseball had been soaking in the ink and consisting covering it with blue ink, in doing so the sensors within the mouse were reacting to this. There is a small electrical charge within the ink of a pen and the friction created through the ball point of the pen. This cause enough of an electrical charge that when the signal from the mouse sensor was being sent to the computer through the PS/2 cable it was causing a short circuit within the motherboard, in turn disabling the signals from the monitor. Who would have ever thought?!
In figure 1 you can see the obstruction she had done to her mouse pad with a comparison of a normal mouse pad. She really did ink it up. As you can see in figure 2a the bottom of the used mouse is very dirty, the frictionless pads are deeply colored and the mouse ball is soaked in blue ink. A close picture has been taken for a better examination of the mouse ball. Detailed in figure 2b is the difference in colors of the mouseball.
It’s really quite amazing to think that something could happen like this. It definitely proved to me that when you think you’ve seen it all you’re proven wrong. Working with computers can never bore you. It amazes me sometimes what these damn machines can do.
Anyways thats the end of story time and the magical story about the amazing lil mouse ball of a different color.