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The year is 2003. Planet Earth has no inkling of the terrible fate that will befall it in less than three years time, George Bush is still president of the United States, and Royal Mail is called Consignia for no apparent reason. Now that I have given you sufficient background knowledge to transport you far back to these bleak, barbaric times, I shall begin:

It was one PM. For various reasons your humble narrator is unemployed and working for scant pennies wherever he can find freelance work. One such opportunity has arisen, and he now has four point five hours to treat it, quote for it, and submit a tender to see if he can do it.

He begins.

His computer turns itself off.

He presses the power button.

Nothing happens.

He presses the power button again.

Nothing continues to happen.

He checks the fuses, the plugs, the kettle leads, the power LED.

With a startling blast of apathy, nothing explosively happens.

Inside the case, the source of this lack of power is explained. The power switch, which hitherto had been held together with a cunning mixture of blu-tack, string, sticky-back-plastic and luck had run out of the latter. It was dead, kaput, and would never complete a circuit again. I now have four hours to put together a tender for contract.

The sun was setting in the evening sky as I effected my egress from my home with the purpose of travelling to the local Place of Computer Bits which – for reasons I won’t bore you with – was Maplins.

Maplins sold me a new case.

That is, I tried to replace the micro switch, realised this was going to require mucking around with wires and other things I dislike doing, observed that even a new micro switch was going to have to be held in place by aforementioned unholy alliance of sticky substances, and bought a new case.

The only case Maplins had in stock (that was less than 100) was an iCute. It’s blue, shiny, and – gods have mercy on my soul – has a blue light and a window so I can see the motherboard.

Shortly afterwards, Having put my computer into its happy new home, I turned it on again, and with a burst of excitement not seen in this country since we won the cricket, nothing happened.

The reason nothing happened – and here I am glossing over about half an hour of frantic cable tying – was that when the micro switch had given up the ghost, it had taken the power supply with it.

I now had two hours to put together a tender.

Of, went I, suddenly aware that I appear to have switched from third to first person, to the Bright Land of Maplins, where I asked…

“Do you have any 350 watt power supplies?”
“Yes” replied the man behind the counter. “Just a second”.

“No” he amended scant seconds later.

“400 watt?”

“Of course, sir, Those are on special offer at the moment. Cheaper than the 350s”
He went. He came back again.
“I’m sorry sir, we appear to have run out”

“Tell me, this is a computer equipment shop?”
“Finest in the district, squire”
“On what do you base that assumption?”
“Well, it’s so clean
“Certainly uncontaminated by computer equipment. So, what power supplies do you have?”
“We have a 450 watt supply sir”
“You do? Excellent.” said I.
“I think it’s a bit expensive, sir”
“Oh, I like it expensive. It’ll make this less of a waste of time”
“Well, it’s very expensive, sir”
“No matter, fetch the Supply El 450. Mwmmmwah”
“I think it’s more expensive than you want, sir”
“I don’t care how fucking expensive it is, hand it over with all speed”

“90 please sir”


And that, and I’m not joking, is why I have a gold plated power supply in my desktop machine.

And no. I didn’t get the contract either.

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