Thursday, January 27, 2011

Special Screws

From Miscellaneous
I'm going to lose my science cred if I don't put more charts on here, so here's an attempt to summarize yesterday's blog in graphics.

I'm told that there are a lot of illegal mods for X-Boxes so I made that the pinnacle of nefarious purposes. But I'm really not sure what the deal is with public bathroom stalls having those screws that can be tightened but not loosened. Is that to prevent blatant destruction of property with common hand tools or to prevent juvenile pranks where the walls fall down on cue? I made it the middle ground because I just don't know. I found an online store selling screwdrivers  to remove those one-way screws but the picture showed them with a rubber cap on the end so I can't see what they actually look like. There was a warning that they are only for removing, not installing the screws. I want to know how they work!

Weird segue -- how do I educate the managers of establishments with public bathrooms in the workings of a floor drain? Maybe I should go to Vistaprint and get a pack of preprinted post-it notes to stick to the mirror.
Dear Management: There's a curve in the drain pipe down under the floor -- a trap -- and you have to keep water in it. That stench in your bathroom is the sewer. Pour water in that hole in the floor. Thank you.


  1. Your chart gave me a chuckle :)

    I would like to know how your Totally Authentic Facts arrived at the conclusion that there are 50% more nefarious reasons to open an iPhone than legitimate ones. I listed several legitimate reasons yesterday like replacing the battery, screen, or case. I can't think of (or google) a single "nefarious" reason to open it. There's not a modder community out there looking to cheat at online games (like with X-Box). You don't need to open the case to jailbreak or unlock it, and I would say neither of those is "nefarious" anyway.

    Also, most hard drives just use standard Torx screws. They are often pretty small, but even if uncommon in cheap consumer kits, they use a standard and easily obtainable tool. Again, I'm not aware of a single nefarious purpose to opening a hard drive. I guess you could mess one up pretty bad opening it, but you can do that pretty well with the claw end of a hammer, too, or a puddle.

  2. Dude, I don't know. I just made that up. You pointed out the good reasons to open an iPhone -- battery and screen replacement. Cheryl pointed out the bad ones -- warranty fraud. I have master Google fu. Here's the first thing my search found:

    "Can I creatively get one of the buttons to stop working or get the vibrate to go dead or something which will allow me to be able to take it in to apple store and get it replaced under warranty?
    It works quite ok but has been scratched up and dinged up quite a bit and I would love to get it swapped before the warranty expires."

    What an asshole.

    As for the hard drive, you're right, they have mostly plain torx screws. I included them to make the point that there is something even riskier to take apart than an iPhone. Somebody told me their roommate took apart a hard drive that stopped working thinking he could put the platters in a new hard drive and get his data back. I assumed it was a joke and that was the punchline. That's why I gave it the lowest rating of suitability for repair. I just took 6 hard drives apart a few weeks ago with the instructions to destroy the platters to be absolutely certain that nobody could recover any HIPAA protected data from them. I had to make 2 trips to Harbor Freight to get the screwdrivers to do this job. I think a hammer would be useless against a hard drive. The cases are cast aluminum and protect the platter amazingly well. And how would water hurt the platters? Even water out of a rusty iron pipe won't have enough magnetism to do any harm. Between that and the NSA standards of hard drive destruction I made up the nefarious number as being worse than the iPhone. If they're worried about the email though, then it might be comparable. Recovering the memory out of a disabled iPhone would get you the same thing. I don't know, maybe I just watch too many cop shows.

  3. Even the excellent tool manufacturer Wiha Doesn't make the five lobe driver for I-phone for example. Eh?