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Want To Learn How Something Works? Break It – Daily Blog #74

The flash was an intense blue and the bang was deep and solid. The smoke came next, only to be soon followed by an intense burning smell.

I’d been looking at that red switch on the back of the computer for a while at this stage, always wondering what it did. And now I knew – it got me into trouble. 

I’d actually thought at the time that it was a self destruct switch, given that the computer was now dead to the world, and I knew I was up shit creek without a paddle. But like any 8-year-old boy, I didn’t say a word to anyone, just turned around and walked away.

It was a lesson hard learned, and one I’ll never forget; we all know that fear you get as a kid knowing you’ve broken something and are just waiting for it to be discovered.

Breaking things and fixing them, though, is a great way to learn and is how I’ve picked up most of my modest levels of DIY skills.

I’ve had to reinstall windows countless times after messing with the settings so much that I end up bricking a computer. Our shed is filled with bits of old lawnmowers and belts, fossils from things that were broken beyond repair.

But while I was busy making all these mistakes and not quite getting things fully fixed, I’ve picked up skills that have led to far more things being fixed then being left broken, and knowing how to look after things the right way to stop them getting broken in the first place.

Get out, find something that’s broken, take it apart, and try to fix it. What’s the worst that can happen?

Oh, and that switch on the back of my computer? It was the voltage supply switch – I’d essentially doubled the voltage being supplied to the computer and, well, turns out that lets the smoke come out.


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