The (Rolling Thunder) Computer Table

office.jpeg What a mess. All three bookshelves (at the left of the picture) fell forward, onto the computer table, dumping books everwhere. It took me several minutes to clear enough books away to open the door, and several more minutes to stand the bookshelves back up again so that I could assess the damage to the computer system. Surprise! The only damage was a crushed dash key mechanism on the keyboard.

Although you can't really see it, the table is actually a large sheet of plywood sitting on top of two unattached box structures made of vinyl coated steel pipe. Both boxes are mounted on wheels. Because everything was unattached, the pieces were free to slide with the motion of the quake, undoubtedly saving the cumputer system from being thrown to the floor as were the dishes.

The shelf structures above the table held the two scanners, a second printer and the two powerbooks. The piping was not glued down yet (I had just recently built them and was still adjusting the shelf heights, etc.). The shelves collapsed onto the monitors, printer and CPU below in such a way that the shelves protected the system from the falling bookshelves and books.

It took me a full day to dig out my eyeglasses, keys and wallet, all of which had been sitting on the shelf above the computer, but ended up UNDER the table, buried by books. The eyeglasses were unbroken, but from that time on, without fail, I place them in a hard case (and attach my keys to my wallet) before going to bed.

After the earthquake, Apple Japan offered to repair all earthquake-related damage to Macs for half the normal repair charge. I submitted the Extended keyboard II with the crushed dash key and they returned an estimate of 14,800 yen (about $150) to repair it. No, they couldn't sell me just a new key mechanism and key cap. I checked around...a new Extended keyboard II listed for 28,000 yen, 20,000 yen on discount; a used keyboard cost 14,000 yen, the same price as Apple Japan's half-price repair job. I decided to live without the dash key for awhile. When I went back to the states in September, I brought the keyboard with me and took it to Microage at Tacoma Mall. They looked at the keyboard, walked into the back room, came out a minute later with a new key mechanism and key cap, dropped them in and charged me $5. Thank you MicroAge! And no, thank you, Apple Japan.

Nengaletter / Dishes / Earthquake