Tell a typical PC or Mac user that you build computers and they immediately see you in a different light. You are a god among lesser humans. Someone sent forth to clear debris from the technology highway. A beautiful mind, invincible, articulate — well, you get it.
What they don’t know is how many times those of us who “build computers” screw up. We sometimes break things and waste lots of money. We also slice our fingers, scratch dining tables, and spill liquids into places we would rather not mention.
Information abounds about how to select the right computer parts, assemble components, and load software drivers. I’ve written hundreds of those types of articles. But, what about the practical stuff? With those of you in mind who are thinking about building your own computer, here are a few slightly disturbing, but very important tips:
1. Take your clothes off.
All the greats do it. Building computers in the nude eliminates static electricity, which doesn’t play well with electronic components. You could also touch something metal first, or wear an antistatic wrist strap, but where’s the fun in that?
2. Don’t get drunk.
I know this sounds like a no-brainer, but it’s not a good idea to build a computer after becoming inebriated. It’s also not a good idea to drink alcoholic (or other) beverages while assembling electronic components. It’s not easy to clean sticky liquor, beer or wine from a motherboard, CPU or fan.
3. If you bleed, do it over the sink.
Like sticky alcoholic beverages, blood is not good for electronics. If you slice your finger on the metal case, or on the knife you use to remove shrink wrap from the new, expensive computer parts, make sure you move immediately to a sink or wrap a towel around the wound. Again, being sober lessens the chance of injuring body parts.
4. Don’t build a computer on the hood of a car.
A slight exaggeration, but unless you want to sleep on the couch for a week, make sure you use a pad or cloth to protect your work area. For example, metal cases and computer components wreak havoc on wood dining tables, and they can certainly scratch your car’s lovely finish.
5. Don’t text and build.
Everyone knows not to text and drive, right? Texting with one hand while your other hand is fiddling around in a case that (you forgot) now has a live power supply is not good. Also, please remember that video chatting while building a computer in the buff is frowned upon by many members of society.