If it's broken...

If it's broken, I can probabaly fix it. If it works, I can probably improve it, or I can usually break it.

The thing I like about stuff that's been written off as "broken" is that there's nothing to lose by tinkering with it. Yet, it's my thought that nothing's actually broken until I've failed to make it work again. It's just temporarily on the fritz. The photo is a Creative Zen V that one of my co-workers plopped on my desk over lunch yesterday. The fix was surprisingly easy, as the battery pack's wiring had failed. Getting the little bugger apart was as simple as some prying with a flat-head screwdriver and removing some small philips screws with a jeweler's screwdriver. A little bit of "creative" (pun intentional) modifications to the wiring and all was right in the world again.

While improving a working process or device usually requires more than a mere modicum of grace and scientific process, the techniques one can use when working on a piece of non-functioning hardware can be as gentle or relentless as you desire. In the case of the broken MP3 player, it was more of a "here, tinker with this, it's broken" kind of a deal. I opted for a fairly gentle approach to disassembly and was able to return it to my co-worker in a functional condition. One of the buttons had cracked in half as well, remaining only as little pieces rattling around the inside of the MP3 Player case. I borrowed some clear fingernail polish from one of the ladies in my aisle to "glue" the button back together. Now, it works like new.

I apply the same method to many of my dumpster and curb-side finds, although I'll often turn around and re-sell them for a little extra geek-out cash, rather than return them to whom discarded them.

Are you the "MacGyver", fix-all person at the office or elsewhere? What have you fixed recently?

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