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102 ways to kill your computer
This guy melted a NeXT Cube with a blow torch
Update 2 Thanks to everyone who sent us their killer computer links. We've compiled them all at the end of this article for ease of reference.
The casings for NeXT Cubes are as light as plastic (reader Sean Lukes writes), but phenomenally difficult to destroy, as they are made out of solid magnesium. Yet when he was a columnist for NeXTworld magazine, Simson Garfinkel wrote an article on his attempts to set the magnesium casing in an old Cube ablaze. It took a very hot blowtorch and other preparations, but he finally got it going, and boy does magnesium burn! He still has a picture of it here.
By far the most popular submission was Dan's Data, an Australian site which gets straight to the point in "How to destroy your PC."
With sections such as "Static is Your Friend", "Get it Wet", and "Killing Chips", Dan counsels: "Remember -- slapdash, ill-informed, incompetent work is what's expected of you. Don't let the industry down."
And so to Project Eunuch, British ingenuity at its best. Using a fridge freezer and alcoholic beverages (hence Eunuch -- The Extreme Use of Nearly Universal Cooling Hardware), the Castratis overclock a 486 PC made from scrap components to 247MHz.
Or rather they blow up a 486 PC, as they explain with remarkable lack of shame.
"It would appear that after all the motherboard jumpers were removed for storage, someone accidently powered the system up. This caused the whole setup to run uncontrollably fast. Fortunately, one of the technicians (the one who had destroyed the least of the "coolant") had the presence of mind to check the clock speed... 247MHz!
"There was only one thing to do. Halflife.
"Completely playable, the game ran fine for 2 minutes and 34 seconds (or 3 minutes 12 seconds, depending on who you listen to...) then crashed horribly. By this time, however, the processor was utterly wrecked. As was the motherboard. And the power supply, graphics card, soundcard and RAM. Most of the Holy Spirits had boiled too.
"The only thing to survive the ordeal was the freezer, proving that superior British engineering always prevails (or something)."
Now for something completely peculiar -- the Scottish gaelic-speaking, Amiga-loving, self-proclaimed genius, Wally Dug. Check this out for a saboteur's guide on how to make your own storage media, using inter alia four muffins and two litres of Irn Bru (Scotland's national fizzy drink).
What is it with Texans and Guns? First, Texan nationalist Kyle of HardOCP, renown has a link to an old 486 getting overhauled with a shotgun and a .22 here. Then we have this tale from Ron Dear, witness to an attempted computer homicide some years ago at a "large retailer based in Dallas, TX".
"The retailer had "installed a 'new' machine and it just never quite got into the 'groove'. For a number of weeks, the hardware people could not get together with the software people and the machine would continue to crash at random intervals. The purchasing department had been entering orders... and I believe it was about the fifth time they had to re-enter all the purchase orders when the incident came to a head.
"This young lady of gargantuan proportions storms into the computer room yelling and screaming and waving her limbs in a serious display of agitation. As I was about to inquire about her problems and how I could assist her... she removed a .357 from her purse! I politely excused myself and vacated the premises... then called security. She never did shoot the machine, but I thought it would be prudent for me to NOT BE THERE!"
Hammer, safety glasses, cutting tool
We are indebted to Jonathan Margolis and the Sunday Times for alerting us to
The Illustrated Guide to Breaking Your Computer.
Author Tom Murphy VII (is he a clone?) offers step-by-step instructions in how to partition a disk-drive using a hack-saw. This method is "advantageous over fdisk because it allows partitioning of individual platters and is independent of operating system. You also get to make cute designs".
Murphy VII also tells you how to destroy CRTs, under the heading: "Monitor + Hammer = Good Clean Fun!". There is a health warning attached with this activity which "can actually be dangerous and bad if you are unsafe about it, so be careful".
It is, however, a matter of some debate as to how careful you can be using Murphy VII's suggested "apparatus" of hammer, safety glasses, glass cutting tool, long crowbar and short crowbar (optional)". Monitors explode. Extreme caution is needed here.
Art for Art's sake
Murphy VII is a no-nonsense PC demolition man. Kay Buena is a very different animal: she blows up PCs in the name of art. You can check out her exploits here.
Blame it on Microsoft
It's not so spectacular -- a reader, who prefers to remain anonymous writes -- but my favorite way to destroy a really annoying person's PC is simple. Rub some fine grit steal wool above the expansion slots. Plug a junk card into each slot then remove.
The fine strands of steal will create intermittent shorts and will drive them insane. e.g. fiber shifts slightly, shorts two contacts. Crashs machine, and burns (the fiber not the machine). Repeats until they get a new computer. Don't worry, Microsoft will take the heat.
Booby trap your PC
This link at I Am Not A Geek tells you how to booby trap your PC. Unfortunately, physical destruction is confined to data and you need a modicum of coding ability - you have to use the dreaded DEBUG utility to prevent intrusion.
Too bad it is out of print
Computers Are Useless: One Hundred Uses for a Dead Computer
Library of Congress Entry
Computers are useless: 100 uses for a dead computer / by James M. Ley
LC Control Number: 83051250
Type of Material: Book (Print, Microform, Electronic, etc.)
Brief Description: Ley, James M.
Computers are useless: 100 uses for a dead computer / by James M. Ley;
drawings by Eileen M. Logsdon.
Sunnyvale, CA : Thunderbolt Publications, c1983.
 p. : chiefly ill. ; 14 x 21 cm.
Help us to help you
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Killer PC reference library
The Register offers PC cleaning tips
Bad Day Office worker captured on CCTV destroying PC. Stunt unfortunately, but still amusing Dan's Data: How to destroy your PC
Kay Buena kills in the name of art
The Illustrated Guide to Breaking Your Computer
Booby trap your PC
486 firing range
Fully automatic: Thompson, M-16, and M-11
Identical disk drive platters: different bullets