Over the course of the year, we’ve had quite a few broken iPads. Looking at the numbers, Mr Chief wasn’t happy with how many there had been, so he decided that we needed to find a more protective case to offer to people next year. After a bit of research, he got in two to trial: the Griffin Survivor and the Otterbox. There were three things he wanted from the new cases: more drop-resistant protection, a smart cover and an in-built stand. Both cases are highly protective, consisting of a plastic casing, with a rubberised outer skin. We tested both cases fairly well by dropping them, with an iPad inside, in various ways. We tried on the iPad’s corner, flat down, onto concrete and carpet; Mr Chief even tried punching them at one point. For about a week, we just kept dropping them all the time. The Griffin has a bit more rubber to it, so when it hit the ground it would bounce, which Mr Chief hailed as a feature. However, I was sceptical of this. I know that by bouncing, it should take less impact, but it also means it has a good chance of ricocheting and hitting something else which could damage it more. I also noticed that by the end of the week of drops, the plastic casing of the Griffin wasn’t holding closed properly anymore. The Otterbox , on the other hand, is made out of a much more rigid plastic with a design that, while diabolical to open and close, meant it was staying sealed. However, it too had an issue. Even though on the Otterbox the volume buttons are totally covered by the rubber, they somehow got knocked and damaged while in the case. On both cases, in fact, every possible part of the iPad is covered, with little rubber flaps you have to fold back to get to anything, including the charging port, off button and camera. They even have plastic over the screen, however it still works just as well as normal, and you don’t need to worry about getting bubbles in your screen protector. The home buttons, however, are a bit hindered. The Griffin does a good job of making it easy to press still, but the Otterbox is really quite difficult, and requires substantially more force than usual. You’ll need to exercise your fingers for that one! Both cases came with a stand of sorts. The Griffin’s stand is a flimsy piece of plastic with little kick-out legs that can clip onto the side of the case when not in use. When we tried to use it, it didn’t work that well, and it doesn’t fit in portrait mode. The Otterbox comes with a clip-on cover for the front of the iPad, which works as a smart cover and doubles as a stand. It works in both orientations and is quite sturdy. It does a good job of giving the iPad just a bit of extra protection for when it’s in a bag or the like. The Griffin didn’t have anything like this, so technically it fail that criteria altogether. Despite that, Mr Chief ultimately made the executive decision to go with the Griffin Survivor. I’m not dissatisfied. Both cases were imperfect, and I’m happy I wasn’t the one who had to make the final decision.
The Death Disc
The other day, a employee came into the IT Support office holding a DVD and declared “This disc kills PCs!” This statement was followed closely by “Can you help me? I need to get something off it.” When I heard them say this, I instantly though of the VHS tape from “The Ring” that curses anyone who watches it, causing them to die after seven days. In fact, the disc was not cursed; it was just set up to autorun a program that was such a resource hog that your PC ground to a halt without any visible evidence of the reason. The only way to get back to normal was to abruptly pull out the disc. And the problem was, the files that the employee needed were part of this program, so we couldn’t get to them because, no matter what, we couldn’t get the program to run properly. They had to go back to the source of the disc, and see if they could give them the files a different way.
Coffee For Two
We had two separate cases of people spilling coffee onto their laptops in the last month. I was tasked with cleaning the laptops up both times, and it wasn’t a simple task. The first one involved so much coffee that for the first ten minutes, I simply held it over the bin, so that the coffee could drain out. Mr Chief informed me that when something like this happens, you should immediately pull out the battery, so as to stop the components from getting wreaked by having power running through them, with the moisture. It also can cause a gunk to form on the motherboard. After the free-flowing coffee had drained, I tested the machine and, unsurprisingly, it didn’t work. As a desperate attempt to resurrect it, because it didn’t have accidental damage cover, Mr Chief suggested that I might be able to get rid of some of the coffee by pulling the machine open and cleaning it with alcohol. This meant taking the whole computer apart, separating nearly every major component, and spraying down each with alcohol. It was a long, tedious and seemingly pointless exercise, however, when I finally reconstructed the laptop… it still didn’t work. So we had to ring it up and play dumb to try and get it replaced under warranty. Luckily the coffee hadn’t gone anywhere near the hard drive, so all the data was ok; just the motherboard needed to be replaced. Unfortunately, after the computer was returned to the user, they accidently broke their keyboard trying to clean it of the coffee residue, so we had to get that replace, and the DVD drive a week later when they realised that wasn’t working either. The second laptop wasn’t as bad, and with a bit of experience, we immediately went for one of the oldest tricks in the book. We stuck it in a big bowl of rice. Rice absorbs moisture, and is the perfect answer for if you drop your phone in the pool (well, the perfect answer would be not to drop it in the first place…), so we hoped it could work its magic on the coffee. Now, I’m not sure if it worked or not, or if the coffee spilt was just too minor to have actually affected the system, but after a day in the rice, we were able to get the laptop running again. It was as if nothing had ever happened, apart from the now coffee-scented keyboard, although some people may find that a pleasant change.
So, we recently sent out a survey to all the employees to find out what their experiences have been like this year using the IT devices we’ve provided, particularly the iPads. While the comments we got back with the surveys were rather scathing of the devices’ usefulness, the quantitative data gathered from the surveys showed that the devices are getting a fairly large amount of use, even if it isn’t all work related. Contrariwise, the employees were all quite positive about the support they’ve received, which serves as a nice pat on the back for Mr Chief, the Professor and myself.
A little while ago, I designed a wallpaper that I’ve started setting on the computers after we’ve repaired them as a stamp of service. It’s got a picture of a MacBook-like laptop sitting next to a desktop, both with smiles on their screens, and a note saying “Your computer has been serviced by IT Support. ” I feel it gives the process a bit of character. Plus, it can help remind you that that PC’s already all done when you see that it’s got the wallpaper set.
As always, if you have something to say, feel free to tell me in the comments below, or on the Contact page, or on Facebook.