Dead, from second hand smoke



  • So I'm sure most have you have opened up computers and looked at years of caked dust on the inside and wondered how the computer even manages to work. Well, this is much worse.

    I was called by a friend's mother, who's 70 years old, crippled (so she doesn't go out), living in a small apartment, and a chain smoker. She had a computer for a couple years, and it suddenly stopped working. It was plugged in and all the usual stuff, so I figured I'd give it a good cleaning. Well, it was dark, so I couldn't see anything obvious. I took off the case, took it outside (because it smelled so bad), and blew (with my mouth -- no canned air handy) and shook it upside down, and pretty much all the stuff you shouldn't do. I took it back in, and it still didn't work. The warranty has expired, so I offered to take it home to see if I could troubleshoot it.

    I brought it into a lighted area and, to my horror, even after the half-assed cleaning I gave it, and only being a couple years old, this is what the innards looked like:


     

     

     

     

    This was the first computer I've ever personally seen that's died of second hand smoke.
     



  • Wow. I can smell the smoke from here! That's nasty!



  • That's just plain nasty. I don't even want to know what that stuff is.

    For the grossout factor though, I still think that there's nothing as bad as a cat owner. The smell of that PC when I opened it up just blew  me across the room, and still haunts me to this day.



  • Just imagine what the inside of her lungs looks like!


  • Winner of the 2016 Presidential Election

    I live with two chainsmoking women, five cats, a dog, and a lot of expensive electronics.  I have to replace things frequently.



  • Just remember, those smokers INSIST it's their right to subject you to this STUFF.

     



  • @RayS said:

    For the grossout factor though, I still think that there's nothing as bad as a cat owner. The smell of that PC when I opened it up just blew  me across the room, and still haunts me to this day.

    I acquired a cat in the past year and was really worried about what the inside of my PC would look like when I took it apart to clean it. I can't say there was a smell, but there was enough dusty cat hair stuck in the various fans and heat sinks that I could have used it to create a whole new grey-ish zombie cat...
     



  • The smell on those sorts of chain smokers' PCs is the worst part.  There have been computers that I've worked on that I've literally had to open a nearby window to tolerate.  A clothespin to the nose or copious amounts of air freshener were also sometimes called for.



  • @rbowes said:

    This was the first computer I've ever personally seen that's died of second hand smoke.


    @kimos said:
    @RayS said:

    For the grossout factor though, I still think that there's nothing as bad as a cat owner. The smell of that PC when I opened it up just blew  me across the room, and still haunts me to this day.

    I acquired a cat in the past year and was really worried about what the inside of my PC would look like when I took it apart to clean it. I can't say there was a smell, but there was enough dusty cat hair stuck in the various fans and heat sinks that I could have used it to create a whole new grey-ish zombie cat...

    I can do you both one better; the combination of the two.

    The computer was still quite functional, it just had one failing HDD, another HDD with a virus, and Windows 95. Was able to fix 2 out of the 3. :)

    Let's just say that I can never eat Cheetos (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cheetos) again, because that's what it smelled like.



  • That's freaking nasty.

     In high school I worked summers for a guy who wholesaled PCs refurbed from public schools. We'd go into these schools, pull the old crap out, put the new crap in, clean up the old crap, and sell it for $100-200. (My boss made a killing doing this by the way, and probably would have doubled his money if he was only slightly organized.)

     Anyway, you can imagine what public elementary school computers are like. Most of them have bubble gum or other sticky, miscellaneous candy goo on them. Most time we just grab the box nimbly avoiding said goo and chuck it on to the truck.

     One time, however, one of our loyal mexican workers went to pick one up and beatles started crawling out of it. He dropped the box on the ground. Being used to putting up with carelessness from those guys, I immediately turned around about to b8tch somebody out. The guy was screaming "cucaracha!" (A hilarious memory as I look back on it, but at the time I was thoroughly revolted.)

    I took my guys out of there and we never went back to that room. That teacher was furious, caught up with me the next day while we were doing other rooms in the building, thinking she was going to spring a trap on me: "I'll tell the principal!" "I'll tell your boss!" I snapped on her and read her the riot act about what a GD slob she was, how she was endangering the health of not only me and my workers, but also DOZENS of tiny children who certainly didn't deserve it either. Finally she started crying...good times.



  • @joe.edwards@imaginuity.com said:

    I live with two chainsmoking women, five cats, a dog, and a lot of expensive electronics.  I have to replace things frequently.

    Maybe you are replacing the wrong things. 



  • @Rick said:

    @joe.edwards@imaginuity.com said:

    I live with two chainsmoking women, five cats, a dog, and a lot of expensive electronics.  I have to replace things frequently.

    Maybe you are replacing the wrong things. 

     quoted for freaking truth!
     



  • @savar said:

     In high school I worked summers for a guy who wholesaled PCs refurbed from public schools.

     

    That reminds me, I totally missed the end of the story!

    A friend of mine was collecting computers for charity, salvaging parts and whatnot. Because this computer was shot, but there were probably salvageable parts in it, I told him he could have it. I left it in front of his house, and that's the last time I saw it. I really should find out if he managed to salvage any usable parts from it!


     



  • Is that some sort of fungus growing in the fan?



  • @savar said:

    and beatles started crawling out of it. He dropped the box on the ground.

    Because they told him to "let it be"? =]



  • Well, why not, some people have their dead pets stuffed. And how convenient, this PC comes dead AND stuffed already.



  • I used to work for a company that used standard desktop PCs in sealed enclosures as controllers for process control equipment in (primarily) automobile factories and steel mills. While the enclosures were well sealed and met all the applicable NEMA standards, there were always cases where the customer would leave the door open for days at a time, or simply never close them up in the first place.

    I've seen computers that had transitioned gradually from being air-cooled to being oil-coooled, by virtue of the oil vapor condensing out of the air and filling the entire case . I've also seen at least one computer that was entirely filled with lint from a textile operation of some sort - when I opened up the case, you couldn't see anything inside it at all - it just looked like a featureless gray blob.

     I've also seen failures due to people welding on the enclosure and accidentally switching the "hot" and ground leads on the welder. Basically, the insulation melted off every single wire in the entire cabinet, and pooled in the bottom as a multicolored puddle of vinyl.



  • By the way, the real WTF is that according to the pictures' timestamp, cleaning up that PC was your new years eve party :)



  • As a former (heavy) smoker, and current (multiple) pet owner, I think I can add to this thread in a non-trivial way.

    Cigarette smoke is a pervasive, insidious filth creator. When my wife and I both smoked, inside, the smoke residue would combine with dust in the air to make a layer of gummy crap that covered every surface. On hard surfaces, like ceiling fan blades, you could use a solvent or just plain soap, water and elbow grease to eventually clean the surface. On fabric and other soft surfaces, you had to wash several times to get rid of the smell.

    Now we have several cats and dogs. We are 'animal people,' so getting rid of them is not on the menu. (If you could easily 'get rid' of animals, you wouldn't collect so many in the first place!) But we pay a price, that we do. In the context of computers, so many animals contribute dander and lots of fine hair, which collect around the fan of the computer. Everything is OK if you remember to wipe it off the fan grill every once in a while, and vacuum inside every 6 months to a year.

    I can say this as a former smoker: smokers have no idea how badly they smell. When I was smoking, I thought I could get away with sneaking a cigarette inside and my non-smoking roommate would never know. Totally wrong. A non-smoking nose can notice it very easily.
     



  • @unklegwar said:

    Just remember, those smokers INSIST it's their right to subject you to this STUFF.

    Well, for the record, as a nonsmoker I think it's their right to smoke, too.  I don't want anyone else getting on my case for my personal habits.  Luckily none of mine are on the public chopping block right now, but it doesn't change the principle that we should all leave each other alone.  (And I think smokers are doing that - they certainly get on my nerves less often than those who are so vocal about hating them.)



  • Loverly. What I'd like to see is the CPU fan. Nearly every case I open these days has an air-proof CPU cooler. That one must have been pretty solidly caked.

    Oh, and how to fix the smoking problem? Legislate that all tobacco must be de-nicotined. Those souls that want to smoke "For the taste"(WT...) will be unaffected. Those enslaved to one of the most addictive substances known will have to use much less toxic lozenges, patches or gum.



  • @dml said:

    @unklegwar said:

    Just remember, those smokers INSIST it's their right to subject you to this STUFF.

    Well, for the record, as a nonsmoker I think it's their right to smoke, too.  I don't want anyone else getting on my case for my personal habits.  Luckily none of mine are on the public chopping block right now, but it doesn't change the principle that we should all leave each other alone.  (And I think smokers are doing that - they certainly get on my nerves less often than those who are so vocal about hating them.)

    I agree that they have a right to smoke. It's an entirely stupid thing to do but hey, there's no law against being stupid. However, that right to smoke should stop when it involves  spewing that crap over me.

    Likewise it's my right to throw as much mud as I want to, but that right has to end when I start throwing mud in a public place and hitting people with it. And having mud on you isn't even as dangerous as breathing that evil stuff into your lungs.



  • I used to work for a company that supplied and maintained computers for veterinary practices - just don't ask... and if a mouse (of the PC kind!) was playing up taking the ball out to clean inside was [i]not[/i] a sensible option!

    But worse still was a guy I used to work with who did maintenance on electronic boxes fixed on the underside of Australian trains. These boxes were hermetically sealed, but it seems that when kangaroos stray on the line in front of a fast moving train the remains can force themselves through the seals... what a lovely job cleaning those was!
     



  • I used to put computers into hairdressers... those things would be FULL of hair!


     



  • I killed a TV like that.



  • @RayS said:

    For the grossout factor though, I still think that there's nothing as bad as a cat owner. The smell of that PC when I opened it up just blew  me across the room, and still haunts me to this day.

     I own two cats and a PC, and have no problems whatsoever. It gets dusty inside, but not noticeably more so than before I had the cats. Mind you, they're short haired, so that might make a difference, but so far in about 2 years they appear to pose no danger to my PC at all.

    My new door frames and staircase is a different matter...
     



  • @aikii said:

    By the way, the real WTF is that according to the pictures' timestamp, cleaning up that PC was your new years eve party :)

    Nice, I hadn't noticed that timestamp!

    To be fair, I keep my clock on 24-hour time, so that was actually New Years eve-morning :)

     



  • @Cloaked User said:

    @RayS said:

    For the grossout factor though, I still think that there's nothing as bad as a cat owner. The smell of that PC when I opened it up just blew  me across the room, and still haunts me to this day.

     I own two cats and a PC, and have no problems whatsoever. It gets dusty inside, but not noticeably more so than before I had the cats. Mind you, they're short haired, so that might make a difference, but so far in about 2 years they appear to pose no danger to my PC at all.

    My new door frames and staircase is a different matter...
     

    Perhaps this person just had really stinky cats, I don't know. Perhaps the cats were chain smokers. Either way, I'm not going anywhere near a cat owner's PC again just to be safe.



  • I've got a cat, but it doesn't seem to affect my PC much (then again, I do fiddle with the case's insides a lot, and my cat spends most of the day outside). Anyway, I also work in a position where I have to clean a PC every now and then.

    One day, we got back a PC that would run very slowly (but it still worked). I went to BIOS settings, and the CPU temperature reported there was 95°C (the CPU was 2,2GHz Celeron). This is what the inside of the computer looked like:
    [img]http://deeperthought.ena.si/imgs/comp/dust/P3068297.JPG[/img] [img]http://deeperthought.ena.si/imgs/comp/dust/P3068300.JPG[/img] [img]http://deeperthought.ena.si/imgs/comp/dust/P3068304.JPG[/img]
    (note that I already vacuumed the heatsink a bit before taking the last picture)
    And yes, the users of this PC are chainsmokers.

    I've also seen similar things on computers that were near radiators. Two of our clients have a pet rabbit, and both their computers had some kind of white mesh inside - sadly, I didn't have the camera then, but it looked interesting.



  • @RayS said:

    I agree that they have a right to smoke. It's an entirely stupid thing to do but hey, there's no law against being stupid. However, that right to smoke should stop when it involves  spewing that crap over me.

    Likewise it's my right to throw as much mud as I want to, but that right has to end when I start throwing mud in a public place and hitting people with it. And having mud on you isn't even as dangerous as breathing that evil stuff into your lungs.

    You're right, if anyone is actually "spewing that crap over you".  I just don't meet many smokers who do that.  Or maybe I'm not as sensitive to it as some, but it has rarely if ever been a problem.  Sometimes I can tell someone is smoking nearby, sure, but I can also tell when someone brings their toddler into a restaurant and they start screaming.  Some parts of the human condition are just a little bit annoying, but if it's not too bad, we should all just put up with each other.  The tiniest bit of bad smell in the air on occasion shouldn't ruin anyone's day, if a smoker doesn't do it, something else will anyway.

    I guess my big objection is that no one assumes everyone who plays in mud goes down the street flinging it on all the clean cars.  But most of the time the subject of smokers comes up, it's as if all of them live to blow it in your face.  Most that I've met are very considerate.  Maybe they're just shocked to see a nonsmoker being nice to them!

    So, on a case by case basis, if someone is a serious problem then all right.  But everyone in the category of "people who smoke" doesn't deserve to be denigrated automatically.



  • This is exactly the reason why I convert all of my computers to cool themselves using positive case pressure instead of negative.  It's a fair bit of a pain to do, but if you want your computer to last more than a couple of years, especially if you have pets, it's essential.  What I do is invert all of the case and PSU fans to blow air into the case instead of out, and then tack filters onto them (on the outside).  Then it's a matter of a minute or two to replace the filters every six months (which doesn't require shutting down the machine), instead of spending half an hour to an hour shutting down, unplugging and disassembling everything, and vacuuming all the crap out, then putting it all back together.

    Of course this change reduces the total airflow, so then I need to add more fans, which can be tricky depending on the case, and usually involves a drill press and sometimes a milling machine.  And the resulting airflow is usually suboptimal since I have to jam fans in wherever I can get them to fit, instead of where they are needed for the airflow.  So of the two cases I've done this to so far, I'm not entirely happy with the cooling in either one yet, and I'm still tinkering.  Really I should transplant the innards into cases that are better designed.  But at least there's no dust or cat fur inside!  (No smokers in my house to worry about.)



  • 6 months? When I had a similar setup, I had to clean the filters monthly - and the machine was about half a meter above the ground.



  • I don't know about stevekj, but my apartment uses electric baseboard heating.  The only fans moving air around are the cooling fans in my computer, which means there's a [i]lot[/i] less dust in the air than in places that use forced-air heating.  I need to dust out my computer about once a year.



  • @RayS said:

    @dml said:

    @unklegwar said:

    Just remember, those smokers INSIST it's their right to subject you to this STUFF.

    Well, for the record, as a nonsmoker I think it's their right to smoke, too.  I don't want anyone else getting on my case for my personal habits.  Luckily none of mine are on the public chopping block right now, but it doesn't change the principle that we should all leave each other alone.  (And I think smokers are doing that - they certainly get on my nerves less often than those who are so vocal about hating them.)

    I agree that they have a right to smoke. It's an entirely stupid thing to do but hey, there's no law against being stupid. However, that right to smoke should stop when it involves  spewing that crap over me.

    Likewise it's my right to throw as much mud as I want to, but that right has to end when I start throwing mud in a public place and hitting people with it. And having mud on you isn't even as dangerous as breathing that evil stuff into your lungs.

     

    What about someone that farts in public when you are near them.  In this case, little molecules of poop are actually going into your nose.  However, you probably don't think it should be illegal to fart outside. 



  • I am rather surprised that so far, no-one has pointed out that electronics more often dies because of a sudden reduction in "magic smoke".

    For reference see: http://catb.org/jargon/html/M/magic-smoke.html
     



  • Wow, the smoking ones are disgusting...

     I don't get why people would have machines clogged by having cats though... We have 13 cats (no, I'm not making this up, 13 cats. We live out in the countryside, they have outdoor pens and free access into the house) and in my experience, most of the cat hair sticks to the outside of the case, on the grills over the fans (where you can easily just pull it off and dump in the garbage).  Only fine dust gets into the machine, and just blows out with canned air.  It does not smell at all, and I don't see why it would...

    I guess people who never open their case may have trouble... but I don't clean my machines out very often.



  • @tster said:

    What about someone that farts in public when you are near them.  In this case, little molecules of poop are actually going into your nose.  However, you probably don't think it should be illegal to fart outside. 



    You don't really think that's a valid comparison, do you?



  • @Cap'n Steve said:

    @tster said:

    What about someone that farts in public when you are near them. In this case, little molecules of poop are actually going into your nose. However, you probably don't think it should be illegal to fart outside.



    You don't really think that's a valid comparison, do you?

     

    Yes.  If you disagree with me maybe you would like to make an argument.



  • I still think you're trolling, but how about these points:

    1.  Smoking is not a natural bodily function.
    2.  The average smoker probably emits 100 times as much pollution as the average farter.
    3.  I'm no doctor, but I don't think you'll get cancer from smelling farts.


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