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New use for old hardware

By GuruOfDos ·
Well, Mrs Guru wasn't too happy with me originally, but has she ever come around to my way of thinking!!!

I have mentioned previously that GuruJr (9 months old next week) has already started taking an interest in computers and technology. The down side of this is that my corner of the house is under threat from having cables pulled or chewed, crusts fed into floppy drives and hardware trashed by 'drool related failure'. Mrs Guru has also suffered 'blended threats' to her computer and other unwelcome attacks. Just this morning, a carefully-aimed spoonfull of breakfast cereal ended up splattering her screen and her mouse has become decidedly erratic since GuruJr tried to eat it!


I removed the cable from an old PS/2 keyboard and mouse and carefully dispensed judicial quantities of hot-melt glue to prevent small loose parts from falling off. I also had an older Ericsson mobile phone kicking around and having permanently 'welded' the case together so the battery can't come out, that has now been converted into a plaything. A carefully chosen screen dump, laminated and glued to an old shoe box provides the monitor for her 'workstation'.

Well, you just woudn't believe how much fun a baby can have with their new 'office' and now we can safely let her trash her own hardware without compromising ours!

I get occasional complaints from the Missus about me coming in late in the evening, then grabbing a coffee and settling down for a couple of hours 'work' on my system. Well, now even baby Kathryn can gurgle "If you can't beat 'em, join 'em!"

Another client of mine has a problem with their cat. The cat insists on sitting on top of their monitors where it gets nice and warm. A paw or two dangle down over the screen and make work difficult if not impossible. In order to get on the monitor, the cat has to use the keyboard or telephone as a step, and many times I have witnesed a program crash or close (with unsaved data) or a call get dialled by the cat trying to get to her 'perch'.


I had an old 12" 640x480 monochrome VGA monitor which actually generates more heat at half the power than a modern monitor. The cat is naturally attracted to this old screen, thus preserving a 'feline-free' workspace for the rest of the office. And, just for gag value, I found an old Olivetti 486/25 which runs 95 without a keyboard or mouse, and uses an old After Dark screen saver to produce a virtual fish-tank on the screen - just in case the cat needs entertaining!

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by TheChas In reply to New use for old hardware

My friend, you are very creative.

My children were older when we brought home our first computer, so I did not have your problems.

When we had cats, they had a distinct preference for our soft laps than the hard surface of a monitor.



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This particular pussycat

by GuruOfDos In reply to Creativity

Even the owners admit she's a strange one! She doesn't 'do people', pehaps because she's a pedigree Burmese and they tend to be a bit stuck up.

Lil, as the cat is called, is absolutely gorgeous and always comes and says hello whenever I'm working in their shop, but many an unwary customer has come to grief when they try to stroke her.

These clients run a 'Mom and Pop' domestic appliance shop and the son wants to go online selling spares and new machines, and I'm setting up their website and helping him out with the database, so I spend most Saturday mornings there. The cat has eventually accepted me as 'benign' and no threat to her territory (so long as I don't need to get near 'her' monitor) but unwary callers are fair game. Almost every Saturday, a visitor browsing for a washing machine or fridge will notice the cat and try to stroke her as she's roosting on the monitor...and usually leave with less blood than they entered with! Never mind bolts through the chassis into the desk or Kensington locks on their stands a chance with Lil on guard duty!

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Love the ideas

by Oz_Media In reply to New use for old hardware

You're a regular Martha Stewart (sorry).

WHat I found most stunning is that you said guru Jr is now 9 months old !!!

How could that be if you only had her 3 months ago??!! (it WAS only 3 months ago right, time isn't really flying by that fast, or is it?)

My G.O.D.! It's watching kids grow up that makes us relize just how fast life moves as we get older. Then again when I'm feeling old myself, I just remind myself that the government expects me to work another 30 years before retiring. That's like every memeory my miniscule brain can remember X 2, no wonder some people get a big head as they get older! I don't intend on working until the government deems me fit to retire though as I owuld rather have 30 years of retirement instead and maybe another 15 of work.

"And then the one day you find ten years have got behind you
No one told you when to run, you missed the starting gun"

Gilmore /Waters circa 1978

9 months !!!

Glad to hear you are enjoying this time with her and not working so hard it goes by unnoticed.
Health and happiness to you all.

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After thought

by Oz_Media In reply to Love the ideas

Sorry, I guess Martha Stewart was a bad reference.

Thinking of the stack dump glued on the box makes me remeber the stickyback plastic crafts so often on Blue Peter. So perhaps equating your 'crafty' skills to Blue Peter would be more appropriate.

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by GuruOfDos In reply to After thought

Gimme the empty toilet roll tube, a pack of felt pens, a pair of Valerie Singleton's old knickers and some sticky-backed plastic and I too can change the world!!

Or at least, upgrade a Packard bell!!!


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Jealous cats ...

by jardinier In reply to New use for old hardware

My cat, Smokey, was jealous of my guitar. She would climb onto my lap in between myself and the guitar so that I could not play it.

As animals are not allowed in the block of units (condos) in which I live, I do not have to put up with cats walking across the keyboard, as I am sure Smokey would have done had she still been alive.

At the time I had Smokey, I used to sit on the floor with my legs outstretched while talking on the 'phone. As soon as the phone rang, Smokey would appear from nowhere to curl up on my outspread legs.

Regarding After Dark fishes screensaver (one of my favourites) I have never been able to get a dog or cat to recognise as real, anthing on a TV screen, or even their own image in a mirror. Even when there was something on TV showing cats, my pet was oblivious. I guess animals are smarter than us, and can easily distinguish between a live object and an image.

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I think it's scent

by Oz_Media In reply to Jealous cats ...

To the best of my knowledge:

As cats and dogs have awful eyesight they rely on their noses for identification. Even though they are far from blind and can distingush many things, they don't have the same depth perception and see in black and whitish tints, not the full spectrum we see.

An image in the mirror may appear to be something to them but as it has no smell they cannot relate to it.

Although there are many domestic pets who do react to mirror images, cats generally only relate to moving shadows and heavy contrast movements.

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Makes sents to me ...

by jardinier In reply to I think it's scent

Thanks Oz for your explanation. It sounds quite plausible.

However it would not explain why my dog Sweetie did not acknowledge the presence of her mate, Bubby, who was lying in a sack under the house, awaiting disposal after being put down.

My interpretation was that Sweetie did not acknowledge the corpse as it was not alive.

And while we are on this general subject, I once observed a cat committing necrophila on a deceased cat.

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Cats and mirrors

by TheChas In reply to Jealous cats ...

We had a cat who used to attempt to play with the cat he saw in the mirror. Until, we moved and the mirror was now on a wall next to a doorway. Once he went around the wall and did not find the "other" cat, the game was over.

This same cat also tried very hard to "play" with the catfish in our fish tank. The only fish in the tank that he would pay attention to was the catfish.

When I read the newspaper, this cat would crawl up my lap and position himself between me and the paper.

He never did get along with our son.
One day, he was curled up on the couch next to my wife who had our son on her lap.
Our son let out a cry.
The cat jumped up on it's haunches, back arched and fur straight up. He hissed at our son and leap off of the couch.
While the cat never tried to hurt our son, he would not let our son get near him.

Our cats never paid much attention to the TV or stereo with 2 exceptions:
They "freaked" out when I played the National Geographic "Whale Song" record.
They scurried for cover when I borrowed a sub-woofer and played the Telarc recording of the 1812 overture with live cannons.


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Telarc's 1812

by Oz_Media In reply to Cats and mirrors

That used to be one of my favorite system demo CD's when I managed a stereo store as a kid. 19th century field cannons, nicely captured resonance.

My last cat whas a little terror as a kitten, I came home to hear him mewing and simply could not find it. As it turned out, he had scratched the entire woofer dampener off my JBL monitors (STUDIO MONITORS FOR HEAVEN'S SAKE!!) and crawled INSIDE the speaker BOTH of them.

I also had to call him everytime I sat down as he would crael between the couch cushions and into the back of the couch. After removing the bottom cover from underneath the couch, he found it much easier to get himself out, until I came home a year or so later and he was meowing wildly as he had been stuck trying to get into the back of the couch all day, once he got his head in and lifted a foot, the cushoins moved and locked him halfway in/half out. Funny, he never did it again, problem solved.

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