Anatomy of a Computer Prank

OK, OK, you got me!

Here is the prank. I came into the office and plugged my laptop into its docking station. When it booted up it made a very bad vibrating, buzzing, whirring hum that sounded like the hard disk was about to fail. My heart sank, because I was very had at work preparing for an extended vacation. I certainly didn't need my computer crashing at this critical juncture.

I shared this with my co-workers, who appeared very concerned and helpfully suggested that I remove my laptop from the docking station and reboot. So I did as they suggested and the laptop stared up just fine - no noise. I heaved a heavy sigh of relief.

However, when I placed the laptop back in the docking station the buzzing-whirring noise came back worse than before. I resigned myself to the inevitable and started to dial the help desk.

I took a closer look at the docking station to give the help desk as much information as possible about the issue. It was then that I noticed someone had put a small USB fan under my docking station. The rotating rubber blade tips were just grazing the bottom of the dock case creating the noisy racket. This of course only happened when my USB port was live in the dock so it mimicked a hard disk problem pretty accurately only when the laptop was docked.

Everyone had a big laugh at my expense and I appeared appropriately chagrined...

My colleagues should keep in mind the old proverb - "Revenge is a dish best served cold!"