Expensive beer kills computer, honesty kills my budget

Things have been delayed around here, and elsewhere, because last Wednesday I spilt a beer onto my MacBook Pro, sending it comatose. That’s one damn expensive beer. And it’ll take me a while to catch up.

Now a splash of beer or, presumably, any other liquid should you be mad enough to drink them, won’t necessarily kill a computer or smartphone. The emergency procedure is straightforward.

Turn it off. Pull the battery, if you can. Get rid of as much liquid as fast as you can by mopping it up. Then get rid of any lingering moisture: dismantle the device as much as it can be, and put it in a sealed container packed with silica gel or uncooked rice for three days or more.

If the liquid is potentially damaging to the device — a certain popular cola drink, say, which is acidic and will damage some components — you can rinse it with distilled water or isopropyl alcohol too. Choose the one that’ll dissolve the threat.

With a laptop computer, if you’re quick the worst case scenario is that you might lose the keyboard. I’ve managed to resurrect completely saturated smartphones.

My procedure failed. MacBook Pro computers now make the keyboard extremely difficult to get to. I simply couldn’t get in there promptly. I had to transport the computer to the rice, and in doing so it was carried on its side, potentially allowing liquid to flow into other parts of the computer. And then, in my impatience, I powered it up after just one night on the rice to see how things we going.

How things were going was not at all.

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Experiencing the Desire, part 1

I’m reviewing the HTC Desire smartphone as part of the Telstra HTC Desire Social Review program.

Telstra has given 25 people, including me, a free HTC Desire handset as well as a bunch of credit on their Next G mobile network to provide “a mix of opinions and perspectives” on this so-called “superphone”.

Before we received our phones, we were asked to explain our expectations of the Desire. “We will be interested to compare this to your thoughts after the review,” said Telstra.

Here’s what I said:

HTC Desire is a “superphone”, eh? It should therefore integrate quickly and reliably into my workflows, and have the grunt to last a long working day. I reckon it could replace my laptop for staying in touch, coordinating my business and gathering media when I’m away from my desk. Android‘s meant to be “open”, so it should let me do things the way I want. I should beat my current Nokia N96 in every way.

Us reviewers will be using the hashtag #telstradesire so you can find our tweets, and Telstra will lead our discussions through a series of posts at Ben Bevins’ blog starting on Wednesday.

I’ve only just started to use the Desire. But here’s my initial impressions, along with a bit more information about what I hope to be able to do.

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To podcast or not to podcast? Podcast!

Photograph of Sennheiser 825S microphone

You’d think that with more than a decade’s experience in radio I’d have started podcasting ages ago.

Three years ago I bought an iPod so I could listen to podcasts. It’s languished in a drawer ever since because, to tell the truth, I don’t like blocking out the world and living within a music bubble. Life does not need a soundtrack, but it does need more people paying attention to the reality around them.

I’d also resisted podcasting because as a (former) broadcast professional there was creeping perfectionism. I wanted any podcast o’mine to be really good, lest I be judged by my former peers. But no more.

This Internet thing looks like it’s actually going to catch on. The time has come to start using my production and presentation skills. So, a podcast… How and what, exactly?

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