Sunday, November 1, 2015

The Ghost in the Keyboard.

The problems started when one day my laptop met with a serious accident. The power LED was the lone casualty; at least it looked that way. Not a case to cry upon; accidents are a part of life.

Then while typing a note, I observed that all of a sudden a '/' came out of nowhere in the text. I dismissed it as a case of slip of my fingers when all of a sudden there was a train of '///'s. Now how could one explain this?

Probably some grit under the chicklet key of '/' must be doing that, hence I removed the key, brushed under and put it back. Problem solved for the moment, just to be back in the next 5 minutes. But it was a small problem which I was managing in a number of ways and so a few weeks passed by in which I had learned how to live with it.

I had tried Googling (Caps for my respect for Google) up to find possible causes, but to no avail. When it comes to Googling, I have had the most weird queries, and each time I do such a search I realise I am not alone - there are others who share my weirdness. But in this case, this was a problem only I had faced in all these years of human history. So now, as Googling was not an option anymore, I started using my imagination and the most obvious speculation was that of a Ghost in the Keyboard.

We know about Ghost in the Shell, but Ghost in the Keyboard? There are trojan horse viruses which get installed in our machines maliciously and try to record keystrokes but in this case, this thing was hell bent on typing this single uninteresting character of '/'. What was the reason this ghost had chosen this key? In the times of new age theories and aliens trying to contact us from within a Black Hole (inspired from Interstellar), I found this theory both interesting and hard to shake off.

So what to do about the ghost? Maybe try a few mantras. I used to hit the key hard and mentally chant some mantras I know, and it seemed to work for a while till a day, the ghost went crazy and would not allow me to type anything meaningful. This meant that when I tried to force a restart to solve this problem (yes we Indians think a restart can solve all our problems), I was no longer able to type in my password. Holy Fish! A serious problem indeed!

Having had disassembled my laptop some months ago I thought of giving it a try to see if this could solve my problem. A huge task in itself, but was a quick thing to do this time. But once assembled, the problem came back.

Now all of a sudden, I realised what I had not realised in all these days of using my efforts and my imagination - there was another key with '/' on my keyboard!! I realised the issue, removed the key, cleaned underneath it and voila! all is well.

This experience made me realise that there are 2 basic principles in trying to solve any problem

1. Raising ones awareness to find all the possible causes of the problem.

2. Using minimum imagination as possible.

But yeah, imagination does help people like me put up blog posts like these to illustrate simple principles...;)


Shan said...

hehehe.. funny... good one though!

Shrinath Shenoy said...

Thanks Shan...:)