Friday, August 29, 2008

Of Cokes and Keyboards

A reminder, gentle readers, to keep fluids away from your laptop.

Imagine the scene: 7:30 p.m. after a long day, you're downstairs in your living room, having left the upstairs office for the day. Reclining on the couch to veg, with a nice Coke Zero and a warm kitty cat, watching mindless sit-coms is your goal.

Then, the phone rings. A lawyer from the trial you covered last week needs an excerpt of one witness's testimony for closing arguments. TOMORROW. So you traipse upstairs with your cold pop. Turn to your IBM notebook computer which serves as your main computer on your desk. Find the requisite testimony and start to transcribe. A question about HIPAA and its spellng comes up - this is okay, because you have a little cheat sheet on your bulletin board (HIPAA - Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) but... alas, your arm clips the bottle of Coke and it spills, yes, SPILLS onto your notebook's keyboard.

The file that you so diligently found and transcribed - and which was ready to be offloaded - has now disappeared into the ether. Why? Because Coke and keyboards don't like each other. One quick despairing moan and an even quicker pop-fizzle, and like that, your work has been lost.

Fortunately, the file is still resident on a USB drive, but now you have to do it over again.

Hopefully the fast action of a quick run-over with paper towels and a blow dryer will bring my IBM baby back to life (Hey, it happens - my husband's computer had the same thing happen, and after about four days, he was able to power it up again). Only time will tell.

An update upon my return from Denver will be forthcoming.

So the moral, my friends, whether you're a court reporter or not, is DO NOT DRINK SOFT DRINKS NEAR YOUR COMPUTER. Water only, if you must. Instead, take breaks frequently and guzzle your beverage of choice.

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