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Wednesday
Aug172011

Coffee Disaster

It was bound to happen. I spend countless hours tapping away on my MacBook Pro and I drink lots of coffee while I’m at it. So inevitably, as always when chances are small but opportunities abundant, disaster struck and I managed to pour half a cup of Rosabaya de Columbia on my Macbook’s keyboard. Don’t ask for details. Let’s leave it at too lazy to walk twice, balancing too many things, and the presence of gravity.

So I ended up with half a cup of coffee on the WASD area of my keyboard plus some on the trackpad, going for the edges. What do do? I went for:

  1. Calming down by shouting expletives
  2. Turning the laptop upside down
  3. Shutting it down
  4. Fetching a vacuum cleaner to suck out coffee, while holding the machine upside down (a situation man apparently doesn’t find himself in very often, or evolution would have had us develop a third arm)

Initially that didn’t help much. After rebooting I found that some keys appeared to work while others didn’t. It took me a moment to realize that actually all keys worked except the ‘fn’ key, which was ‘stuck’ in the on position. Or rather coffee remains bridged it into a pressed state and it wouldn’t go.

In a situation like that you find out things you never would otherwise, like:

  • fn + cursor keys does nothing – even though fn + pretty much any other key sends the key
  • I never missed forward delete, on the contrary, I’m more of a backspace person (fn pressed will turn backspace into forward delete and drive you mad)
  • keys with state are a nightmare and I love the fact that you can turn off caps lock on Lion
  • speaking of caps lock, why is it even there and why didn’t it break instead of ‘fn’ (ok, I wouldn’t notice even if it had, actually)
  • the keys can be removed rather easily (revealing things better left unseen…)

and finally:

  • the aluminum bluetooth keyboard actually fits perfectly on top of a unibody 15” MBP

The battery compartment rests nicely in the groove above the function keys and thanks to the identical key size and layout you end up with a nice piggy-back set-up that you can actually work with:

Strap-on Keyboard

The even better news is that after a day of drying, the ‘fn’ key has decided to get stuck in the ‘off’ position. That means I can’t control the brightness nor the volume from the keyboard right now but at least the rest of it is back to normal.

Update: And a few days later everything is back to normal!