Wednesday, June 21, 2006
On assuming the apparently obvious... salt pigs
Say you've crashed at a friend's house after a party and woken up early. You wander into the kitchen and dig up the coffee, milk and sugar bowl and fix yourself a cup. The coffee is horrible because instead of sugar in a sugarbowl it turns out you've picked up "the salt pig" - a sugar bowl like thing containing salt and a salt spoon.
This happened to me in my younger days and it taught me a valuable lesson: some people do things that are totally, totally wrong.
Take, for instance, my assuming that LCD projectors all have a video-in from your PC, and a video-out to the monitor so you can have dual displays. Just like every LCD projector I've ever seen (and there's been a few). Wrong. Painfully wrong. Costly in time and money wrong.
Or that a motherboard with onboard video and fast PCI will allow you to use a video card AND the onboard video to support dual monitors - a method I've been using since PCI came out. Oops! Sorry! Not anymore! Have to get a dual output PCI card and I'm not going to tell you the headaches that brought on.
All this stems from today's incident where I may have fried $1K worth of electronics because I assumed that a heat sink would be grounded. Nope. -15V. My Bad. Ouch.
I go through life making assumptions based on experience. Most things are predictable (like a sugar bowl will have sugar in it). I'm not going to stop and check everything. I will check the important things like, yes I shut off the breaker and the voltmeter confirms this, or go for a physical to make sure my body still works.
And I am aware that "the rules change" - like the world my sons are coming into is different from the one I came from ( different but the same ).
But not grounding a heat sink - Great Bouncing Buddah in a Sidecar full of Gibbons! What the hell were they thinking!