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Another Keyboard Story November 19, 2009

Posted by indigobunting in Uncategorized.

My laptop is 5 years old, but the computer at my desk is even older. It could as many as 9 years old. I could go try to find a receipt, but I don’t feel like it.

It’s had its ups and downs, but it’s a Mac, so I’ve been blessed with not so very many downs. It’s had its hard drive replaced at least once. Given the type of work I do, it’s all still working fine and meeting my needs.

But this morning I dumped a cup of coffee on the keyboard.

I know.

This happened to me a few years ago. So I bought a new (Mac-compatible) keyboard. All was well, I thought, until I hit the key that is used to open the disk drive.

Nothing happened.

And apparently I have one of the only models Mac ever made that does not have some exterior way on the tower to open a disk drive. It relies solely on that one tiny key at the uppermost right.

If there is a disk in the disk drive, I can drag it to the trash. That works fine. But once the drive is closed again (and one wants the drive to be closed), there’s no way to open it up.

Of course, back when I made this unpleasant discovery, I called a Mac dealer or two. It turned out that the particular keyboard that worked on that particular Mac had long ago been discontinued, and the new keyboards were not going to open my disk drive.

Not long after, I happened to be visiting a dear friend who had gotten a new computer. And I noticed, in a corner of her office, a keyboard just like my old one. She gave it to me. I’ve happily used it ever since.

Until this morning.

After I sopped up the mess and tested the barely-wet-at-all-really keyboard, I dragged out the backup keyboard, this keyboard, which I had held onto for just such an [inevitable?] occasion. Now that I have wireless, I think I should be able to transfer most files to my laptop and burn a CD from there if I need to.

Still, what a pain in the ass.

Yet another friend and computer geek has a Mac keyboard that she says is configured like the one I described. She bought it a couple of years ago. Just because it’s configured that way doesn’t mean it will work on a machine as old as mine, but I’ll borrow it to see. If it works, maybe they’re still making it.

Of course, I’m denying that after nearly a decade, perhaps it’s time get a new computer. But it’s so painful, both money- and transitionwise. There are always complications. There are printers and routers and cables involved. Everything has to talk with everything else. Software needs to be reinstalled. I don’t know how to make it all work. (I have a guy, of course, who does, but not technically at my beck and call.)

And, you know what? I freakin’ love this keyboard. I like the feel of these keys. I feel like I’m typing much, much faster. Or at least it sounds like I am. I love that sound.

So why, oh why, can’t it just open that disk drive?


1. Mali - November 19, 2009

My new (ish) laptop only ejects things from the disk drive via software. There’s no button. I hate that too!

(I think a manual insert/eject latch would do me just fine. Call me a Luddite!)

2. indigobunting - November 19, 2009

Luddite. (Oh, I think the trial keyboard just pulled up!)

3. Dona - November 19, 2009

Paper clip?

4. indigo bunting - November 19, 2009

Oh, this story has a happy ending (and now I will try to only bring sippy cups to my office). We tried her keyboard, which worked but (although my USB extension cord wasn’t compatible). So we tried to find out if this keyboard that I like so much had some other key that would open the drive, and lo and behold, it does! I had tried combining the usual suspects with eject key to no avail, which was her first inclination too…but then she thought to try the function keys. I was going to get to them, I swear, but I was on deadline. And I never use them. For anything. One worked.

Whew. I’ve bought myself a little time, I hope.

5. Adam Byrn Tritt - November 19, 2009

At least you didn’t kill a nearly new laptop by dropping cherry Italian ice into it.

6. indigo bunting - November 20, 2009

Adam: Good point. Thank you for the perspective.

7. helen - November 20, 2009

I’m spotting a need for some sort of invention that protects keyboards/computers from spills of coffee and cherry Italian ice.

8. Elizabeth - November 20, 2009

Helen, you are right and the solution is obvious: a snack tray that covers the keyboard. You insert your hands under the tray to type – of course that means you can’t see the keys but that should not be an issue for Indigo who has risked the kind of payback only Gods can deliver to tell us that she does not need to see to her keyboard to type; lesser mortals could get a transparent model. Hmmm, come to think of it Indigo, perhaps the Gods have been reading you after all…

9. bridgett - November 20, 2009

wed to an IT guy, Bridgett never has this problem. Ha ha ha ha ha. Yeah, right.

10. laurie - November 22, 2009

i dumped hot tea on doug’s keyboard. fortunately not on doug himself.

it was this nifty wireless keyboard and it shorted out immediately. back to the old one.

glad you found a function key! that’s a big whew

11. LisaS - December 14, 2009

yay on finding the function key! very useful, those are.

having dumped many a beverage, some of them sugary, on keyboards, here is my solution which has never failed to work (don’t try this with a laptop):

unplug it IMMEDIATELY.

take it straight to a shower/water hose, and wash it out thoroughly. you’re gonna wash out a lot more than soda–shocking how many crumbs/wads of cat hair/dust bunnies come out of my keyboards.

then, lay out a towel and lay the keyboard upside down on it. let it dry for a day or two, until its absolutely dry. i usually use canned air–or a hair dryer on the cool setting–to verify that it’s dry.

hasn’t failed me yet ….

12. indigobunting - December 16, 2009

Wow. This is amazing advice. I am going to print this out and stick it in a nearby drawer…


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