2. A story, non-fiction, New Ham[p]shire 1975. I was working for Wayne and Virginia Green in Peterborough, and computers were just starting to happen. Wayne published a ham radio magazine and was looking into the idea of starting a hobby computer magazine. There were a bunch of newsletters around the country, and one of the more promising ones was done by Carl Helmers who lived fairly nearby in Massachusetts. Wayne set up a meeting to see if maybe a magazine could be put together on the subject, and my job was to make lunch. There were five people at the table: Wayne, Virginia, Carl, and his housemates. I could see little thought bubbles over both ends of the table: "Who are these people and what do they want from me?" My thought bubble had this in it: "I know what these people need -- butter!" I fed each of them a whole stick of butter. Now your thought bubble has this in it: "How the hell did you do that?" Easy -- stuffed artichokes.
3. If your external disk drive is starting to make weird noises but there's no data loss, the problem is likely in the fan bearings. And if strange sounds, as if the Chrysler Building were preparing to blast off into orbit, are coming right out of your computer, it might be bearings in a chip fan. Most Macs don't have them, but a few do, and they're common in Wintel boxes. It's amazing how much noise can come from such a little thing. In either of these situations you can often oil the fan bearings by getting a hypodeemic nerdle from the local pharmacy or veterinary supply house, drawing in a little light oil, poking the needle through the label on one side of the fan, and putting a couple of drops of oil in there. Then wash off the label with 409 or some other cleaner and put a piece of tape or a small label over the hole you made. This all might work on the fan that's in the power supply in your machine but I'm not going to tell you to go in there. It's all dark and dusty and full of spiders and scary things.