Secret Scotland

If it's secret, and in Scotland…

Beware computer faults that aren’t!

Keyboard slashAfter a reasonable start to the year, when I managed to maintain a reasonable discipline – just for fun – of something close to ‘a blog a day’ during January, things fell apart in February, and for some strange reason I managed to trash a load of stored info that I depended on for running my browser, and doing research.

Entirely my own fault, rather than a system fault, this meant that the usual backups or copies of the same info went with the originals – backups only work when they still exist. But that’s another story I need to work around, but at least I learnt something useful, and discovered a backup pitfall I had not encountered in some 20 years of looking after successfully looking after networks.

Although nowhere near what it was, things have begun to return to some semblance of normality and convenience, and I can get things done with some of the workflow automation I used to enjoy beginning to fall into place once more.

This morning, I thought I facing a hardware failure, just to make sure I couldn’t relax.

I notice a slash character on screen (the ‘/’) – and despite restarting both browsers and computer… this stayed on the screen.

I tried various editors, and even graphic programs – but no matter what I did… the slash stayed on the line as I entered characters, or drew over the same area.

I was beginning to resign myself to some sort of ‘stuck’ memory, or a failure in the memory area – and bad news.

Then, I noticed something odd – as I watched the characters I typed reach and pass that part of the line… the slash character appeared to be darker than the black of the character I was typing.

That seemed wrong, since an LCD shouldn’t be able to achieve a better contrast ratio for just one character at one spot on the screen.

Time for the finger test…


The ‘/’ moved.

The ‘/’ turned out to be single fibre than had landed on the screen, and by sheer chance happened to be same length as ‘/’ character, and at the same angle as a real ‘/’ character.

One of those chance happenings you probably couldn’t manage without spending hours, and deliberately plant a single fibre on a screen to masquerade as ‘/’.


I’ve had ‘stuck’ characters and duff video cards in the past, so this simple fix just didn’t occur to me at first – I have to remember the’ finger test’ next time.

(But now I know how to wind someone up – maybe one day – and with a little touch of glue, just to be sure.)

Now, if only I could get my head back into ‘blog’ mode – I seem to have dropped the ball, as I don’t see anything particularly interesting, or I have just lost concentration thanks to the unexpected break.


February 24, 2012 - Posted by | Uncategorized | ,

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