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COMPUTER DINING: Liquid spills on your computer

Knut has the worst luck, and he just doesn’t understand it. He has a liquid spill to deal with on his notebook and now he is hating life. After all, you walk into almost any coffee shop anywhere and every single table is occupied by someone typing away on a laptop while they munch their scones and drink their coffee. You’d think it would happen to more people.

He spilled his coffee all over his laptop. It’s a disaster, of course.

pcfixer specializes in computer and laptop repairs

And it is so easy to prevent. Just a few easy steps.

The easiest solution, of course, would be to never have anything consumable close to the computer ever. No water or coffee on the desk, no munching on sandwiches or cookies while reading websites or documents. But human nature being what it is, that isn’t likely to happen anytime soon.

Why does it matter, you ask? Well, let’s start with the keyboard. Crumbs can get in between the keys and affect the ability to depress them. If you can push the key down so it makes a connection with the circuitry, your typing will end up garbled and messed up. When it comes to laptops, the problems can increase, because the keyboard is usually place in very close proximity to the motherboard.

The problem is that when we are working at a desk or table, it is so convenient to have that coffee cup nearby. In fact, our bad habits with food and computers usually start with coffee and water.  A suggestion?  Buy a nice laptop table from a unique tech gadget store.

The important thing to understand is just how many problems dining at the computer can create. I’ve already mentioned the sticky keys on the keyboard (never mind the germs such crumb remnants can encourage). But underneath that is the circuitry that makes the keyboard communication possible. This circuitry can be damaged by fluids – liquids and electricity do not have a happy relationship. You can burn out the keyboard with a serious enough spill.

Beyond that, there is the possibility of short-circuiting the machine itself. This danger is greatest with laptops, of course, because everything is right there. People who use desktop computers tend to get more casual about it, because the machine might be under the desk, or off to one side, seemingly out of range of any food or beverage. But what about your discs and flash drives. You don’t want to go inserting damp objects into the recesses of your computer.

If you are going to eat and drink around your computer then, you need to take some practical steps.

Make sure all beverage containers are kept a good distance from the keyboard and computer. If they can be in bottles with secured tops, so that there’s no chance of them spilling anything when you are drinking, that would be better. But be certain to place them well away from your elbows, hands and anything else that might be moving about a lot. Don’t put your beverage in a direct line between your keyboard and the telephone, for instance.

Don’t eat holding the food immediately over the keyboard. Tempting though it might be, this can only create hidden problems for you later, as dust blends with crumbs, clogging up the keyboard. Instead, have a place set to one side where you set the food, and always turn toward that when you are eating. Push the keyboard out of the way, if necessary. And keep an eye out on accidental crumb-fall near the ports and disc trays of your computer.
Remember also, if your keyboard becomes haphazardly responsive, it may only require some cleaning rather than replacement. Mini-vacuums or cans of compressed air can be used to clean out debris accumulation. Even simply turning the keyboard upside down and tapping it lightly can dislodge particles that are obstructing use.

If your keyboard or laptop needs repairs because of such spills, contact PC Fixer. We can address your concerns. We can even recommend the best accessories for keeping your valuable computer clean of debris.

You don’t want to be like poor Knut, who has ruined more than one keyboard with his bad habits. Nobody wants to become known as a keyboard or laptop killer. Wanted posters might not be put up for the sloppy computer diner, but it isn’t a desirable reputation to build. Especially if you share a computer with someone else, either in the office or at home.

In the future, make sure all your beverage containers have stable bottoms, and never set them down on top of anything other than your desk or table surface. Place them well away from keyboards and laptops, by more than a foot if possible. Always have any food in a container or dish – don’t make little piles of candy or nuts on a piece of paper near at hand.

The smartest computer user would never eat or drink in proximity to the machine. That’s just the wisest choice of all. But if you really have a compulsion to eat while using the computer, think ahead of the dangers. And keep some napkins or paper towels at hand. (And let me know that you have this habit, because I don’t want to use your keyboard, thanks.)


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