WML : Screw You, Computer Hardware Manufacturers!
Continuing with the screw theme, let me share with you another piece of fastener lore that I’ve learned over the year. As any person who ever cut her hands on ragged edges of cheaply made computer cases knows, when you buy a filthy overpriced little baggy of computer screws there’s a weird and confusing variety inside.
Here are the most common, left to right: chassi screw, cd-rom screw, floppy screw and hard disk screw. Now here’s the confusing part – The hex headed chassi screw is a bit bigger than the very similar cd rom screw. But the soft metal of computer components makes it possible to use it to fasten everything – floppy drives, cd roms, hard disks. It is the most useful screw of the four. I get the feeling that the hard drive screw is just a tad bigger, which makes it almost as useful, but it will get stuck if you try to attach a floppy drive with it. The cd rom screw and the floppy screws are next to useless – without knowing the proper type of screw to use, most people already embiggened the holes with chassis screws, and the little cd rom screws end up pretending to go in, but then falling out. They end up filling up all the useful space in the little box where I store my accumulation of computer screws.
Since I mostly buy cases with motherboards already mounted in them, I am not going to delve into the whole plastic vs. metal motherboard standoffs. I’ll just mention that the metal ones sometimes cause shorts by themselves, and plastic ones are sometimes not strong enough to prevent shorts from flexing. There, I said it. Now I’ll merrily continue my screw rant.
But at least the computer screw weirdness makes peoples life harder not on purpose. But some fancy pants computer (cough Hpaq cough) and consumer device (cough TIVO cough) manufacturers use torx screws and tamper proof torx screws. For that exact reason I own a whole bunch of torx screwdrivers. That is a bit sneaky.
But not as sneaky as the hardcore tamper proof screws made by Tamperproof Screw Company of New York:
Snake EyesÂ®, which I see a lot in elevator button panels, Tri-WingÂ® that I hear is used in GameboyTM devices, OpsitTM, which is which is built to make mockery of the holy mantra of “Righty Tighty, Lefty Loosey” – it tightens conterclockwise (just like MTA lightbulbs). Ð¢here are other weird things like philips or torx screws with a pin in the middle and one way screws.
Also there seem to be a whole bunch of Pozidriv screws around. I think that the last cam out fiasco that I had was caused by me trying to use a Pozidriv bit on a Philips screw or the other way around. It’s very hard to tell them apart. Luckily I had screw drill out set similar to this one. It works ok on easy cases, but for every screw that I remove with it there seem to be a couple where I end up just completely breaking down the head of the screw leaving the rest under surface.
This is just like one of my favorite Russian sayings – “Ð?Ð° ÐºÐ°Ð¶Ð´ÑƒÑŽ Ñ…Ð¸Ñ‚Ñ€ÑƒÑŽ Ð¶Ð¾Ð¿Ñƒ ÐµÑ?Ñ‚ÑŒ Ñ…ÑƒÐ¹ Ñ? Ð²Ð¸Ð½Ñ‚Ð¾Ð¼. Ð?Ð° ÐºÐ°Ð¶Ð´Ñ‹Ð¹ Ñ…ÑƒÐ¹ Ñ? Ð²Ð¸Ð½Ñ‚Ð¾Ð¼ Ð½Ð°Ð¹Ð´Ñ‘Ñ‚Ñ?Ñ? Ð¶Ð¾Ð¿Ð° Ñ? Ð»Ð°Ð±Ð¸Ñ€Ð¸Ð½Ñ‚Ð¾Ð¼”.